GUN VIOLENCE IS NORMALIZED. It is accepted as the normal price of Constitutional-American life. Normal is banal.
Hannah Arendt coined the phrase “banality of evil” in describing the Third Reich and Adolf Eichmann in particular. To paraphrase her description, “The greatest evils in history generally were not executed by fanatics or sociopaths, but by ordinary people who accepted the premise of their state and therefore participated with the view that their actions were normal.” (Wikipedia) I would submit the gun violence epidemic has been normalized by governmental leadership taking the Second Amendment out of context and treating it as a narrow stand alone permission slip to disallow safety first GVP laws. Sections of our political leadership have nurtured ordinary people to accept this narrow stand alone premise as normal. Hence, GV is banal.
How can we address the banality of gun violence? First, as Lutheran Christians, our FAITH affirms SOLI SCRIPTURA, SOLI GRACIA AND SOLI FIDES, all centered in God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. The ethics expounded is foundationally nonviolent. Sin is not promoted. Violence is not the goal. God’s will is LOVE. Love is choosing to not kill each other. Love and nonviolence are the anti-thesis of gun violence banality.
Second, gun violence political banality is a violation of the Preamble of our CONSTITUTION. The Constitution was not formulated to justify killing each other. Foundational commitments state that “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, . . . insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity .” Read together, NONE of the Amendments promote violence. Tranquility and general welfare are linked with liberty for all people now and in the future. Nonviolence is the ideal, the purpose of this national triad. Insistence upon unbridled “rights” and “freedom” is contrary to the spirit of the Constitution.
Third, Lutheran Christians and American citizens, must see the Second Amendment as INTERPRETED by faith and the Constitution, both which promote nonviolent love. The purpose of faith and the Constitution is not to license killing each other. The purpose of guns is not to license killing each other. The purpose is recreation, hunting and defense. Therefore, it is right and proper to devise laws which promote these legitimate gun uses and limit usage that create illegitimate violence.
We as Lutheran Americans are provided the foundational graces of faith, Constitution and interpretation to promote and demand GVP laws that express our national character, and move us beyond the banality of gun violence to a beloved community of love.
Love and Peace!
Ron Letnes (Rev. Dr.)