DISFUNCTIONAL UNION describes guns and neural circuitry. Like a marriage destined to disunion, yet wed by common neurosis.

Author R. Douglas Fields writes in SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, “Trump’s strategy does not target the neural circuitry of reason in the cerebral cortex. In the 2016 election, undecided voters were influenced by the brain’s fear-driven impulses – more simply, gut instinct – . . . driven by emotion, not thought.” Trump continues to to use the “same strategy of appealing to the brain’s threat-detection circuitry and emotion-based decision process to attract votes and vilify opponents.” In the debate with Biden, “Trump annihilated the foremat to inflame emotion.”

Fear accounts for the huge spike in gun sales in Michigan. Recoil Firearms has sold out Glocks, AKs, ARs, and semi-automatic pistols. 75% are first-time buyers. On Sight Armory says sales are the highest in five years with tons of single mothers buying guns. M.R. Guns says people are stocking up because they fear Biden could take guns away. Their inventory is wiped-out! Meanwhile, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has shut-down gun stores, deeming them “non-essential” businesses.

In this time, guns are not being purchased for hunting. Protection is the name of the game. Protection is also Trump’s election and governing strategy. He courts White Supremist groups like the Boogaloo Bois and Proud Boys who parade with their AKs and ARs, giving promise of protection, waving the revolutionary flag of “Don’t Tread On Me!” Trump shouts accolades upon the police, rejecting legitimate calls for reform, making those who want to “defund the police” a campaign attack. He brags that he could quell protest in “15 minutes” by sending the military or his own paramilitary force. “Antifa and the Left” have become his favorite projections. Trump’s “trump card” is tapping the neural circuitry of emotion, causing people to buy guns and ready their trigger fingers.

What does this truth say about the character of Trump’s soul? He plays to our fears, to our emotions rather than our other neural circuitry of reason, of facts, of thoughtful discourse. He caters to a cowering non-love which chooses to use gun violence as dark redemption.

“Perfect love casts out fear” says I John 4:18. Love gives wisdom to emotion. Love restrains hateful impulse. Love opens the mind to factual reflection. Love embraces the “other”. Love is the fruit of faith. “For God so loved the world, that God gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in Jesus may not perish but may have eternal life.” (John 3:16) Guns are the neural circuitry of fear.

Blessings and Peace!

Ron Letnes (Rev. Dr.)