Guns send a message. During this Covid Time, I have seen guns used in a smorgasbord of ways, and almost all very concerning.

INTIMIDATION: Revolutionary signs of “Don’t Tread On Me” are coupled with men carrying assault weapons and pistols to Minnesota and Michigan Statehouses to intimidate lawmakers to open up their states for business. In California, a demonstrator carried Swastika, another a picture of the entrance to Auschwitz with the fake “Arbeit Macht Frei” mantra. The proliferation of “boogaloo”, anti-world government militia groups wearing Hawaiian shirts, carrying military-style weapons to intimidate and use fear to manipulate decision-making are “matches” in a sea of human gasoline. A friend and colleague commented, “You have lost your moral right to dialogue.” (paraphrase) Reasonable, thought-out dialogue was not on the table. Guns send a message.

MASS SHOOTING: A Canadian opened-fire in Nova Scotia, killing 18 innocents. Prime Minister Trudeau acted decisively to eliminate the sale of assault rifles saying “You don’t need an AR-15 to kill a deer.”  What moved the shooter to murder in the mass? Was it a form of Covid Stress? It cannot be eliminated. Guns send a message.

IMPOSITION: Like many, I have been binge-watching Netflix movies. Majoring in history-political science, and writing a doctoral thesis on nonviolence reflects my openess to studying warfare among other forms of gun violence. Watching films of marching German, Japanese, Spanish, American, French, British, Vietnamese, Iraqi and other soldiers battle to impose their iron will, I saw rifles, pistols and machine guns ignite violence on steroids! Guns send a message.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: Covid Time means in-home stress. Stories abound on domestic trauma! The last six ENGAGE Blogs have focused on the effects of social distancing stress cause by isolation. I urge you to read the stories and statistics. The mass purchase of guns is frightening! Concern for protection during an uncertain economic future makes us defensive. Defensiveness is caused by and stirs hostility. More guns draw us into the danger zone. Guns send a message.

GUN SAFE: One of my grandchildren and I been having a conversation about guns. He owns guns for protection and hunting. I have stressed gun safety. He and his wife have a young son. Yet, he did not own a gun safe which meant their son could satisfy his curiosity by finding a gun and having “fun”. Thankfully, our grandson purchased a gun safe and posted a picture on Facebook. Guns send a message.

What messages are we sending with our guns? Do our messages nurture life? Do our messages plant flowers of peace? Do our messages align with Jesus’ call to love one another?

Guns send a message.


Ron Letnes
Rev. Dr.