Modern Sporting Rifle
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Hold that thought for a second.
First, let’s talk about the modern sporting rifle.
When you hear the words ‘modern sporting rifle,’ what image does that conjure up for you?
Now, I’m not a hunter or a gun enthusiast. You ask me, every damn gun made would be banned forever. But no one’s asking me. So, take my attempt to describe a modern sporting rifle with a grain of salt. And here it is…
I think of a single shot long arm rifle that discharges a single bullet or a cartridge with a pull of the trigger. It is used by the sporting types who like to hunt. I imagine it being used for game like deer, or elk, or for the more adventurous maybe bear. It would have a kickback that one would be wary of, but that a veteran hunter would handle with aplomb. I even see a little puff of smoke emerging from the barrel as the hunter stands proud surveying the landscape of his kill shot.
Modern Sporting Rifle.
Even for a soul like me who despises any gun and wants them all banned forever, this sounds innocuous. Well, not for the deer or the elk, but on a relative scale it doesn’t worry as much as, say, a semi-automatic rapid fire weapon like an AR-15 or an AK-47. Those things just scare the living daylights out of me. I’ve come face to face with white supremacists menacing crowds with them slung over their shoulder. It has the desired effect of intimidating.
What I don’t think about when I hear Modern Sporting Rifle is 18 slaughtered children and two school teachers lying dead in a pool of blood in a Texas classroom.
We can all take an educated guess at why, but contemporary gun dealers decided some time ago that they could more easily market and defend their military-style semi-automatic implements of mass destruction by referring to them as the “Modern Sporting Rifle.” The AR-15 that was used to mass slaughter 18 children and two school teachers in Uvalde TX is marketed and sold as one of those ‘modern sporting rifles.’
And there are 20,000,000 of them now in use today in the United States.
20,000,000 child-killing machines. No one is hunting deer with those suckers. Tell me again why we need them? I am hearing on the news reports now out of Uvalde that when the police tried to enter the building, they backed away because of the gunfire that emanated from a single shooter using an, ahem, modern-sporting rifle. That sporting rifle kept a massive show of force outside the school at bay for almost two hours while children and teachers lay dying atop each other.
This is not the space in which I release my ire at politicians who fail to lead and who disregard their duty to public safety – so I’m not going to make any call to action here or identify by name the Senators who are currently held captive by the NRA and refuse to protect us from modern sporting rifles like the AR-15.
But it is a space that seeks pathways to spiritual health and wholeness. In that context let it be said that any land that witnesses mass shooting after mass shooting and does nothing to curb the violence or regulate an NRA that markets and protects 20,000,000 assault rifles is a land that will never sleep easy and for whom it will never be well with their soul.
This is not just a political crisis we are living through. It is a spiritual crisis of the most egregious order. Morning after morning I wake weeping watching coverage of children dying tragically at the hands of young males on whose behalf our government conspires to protect their right to kill over the child’s right to breath. My greater fear is not that more tears will come, but that in time none will as we become numb to it all.
May the one whose vision invited us to beat our swords into ploughshares and our spears into pruning hooks heal us all from these gaping wounds, restore unto us a passion for peace and an end to violence, and call us to action that ends our foolish desire to own 20,000,000 assault rifles on this, our journey Into the Mystic.