When the school shooting happened last week, I was on a much needed, long-delayed 36-hour overnight away with my husband.
One of the ways I’ve been trying to deal with the question of anger versus seeking Godly justice is simply to cool down my emotional temperature by insulating myself from the news. It’s hard to keep the temperature down when you’re constantly being triggered.
These days, most of my car time is devoted to my chromosomally-gifted daughter’s love for pop music, so I don’t really have time to listen to much news. When I do turn on the news, I often feel my heart crunching, my chest compressing my breath, and I recognize that stillness is what I actually need. So I often turn off the radio altogether and drive in silence.
Thus, I didn’t actually know there was a shooting until pretty late, and it wasn’t until Friday that I realized it happened at a private Christian school.
My first reaction, before I knew it was a Christian school, was that it wasn’t worth getting angry, because I know perfectly well nothing is going to change. A horrible, jaded reaction, but one I’ve been conditioned to by the incredibly dysfunctional relationship between American politics and the idolatry that is gun culture.
My second reaction happened the following morning, when a neighbor flagged me down, near-hysterical, to tell me that while she’d been out walking with her twin two-year-old grandchildren, she’d found a loaded gun lying on the sidewalk. (Well, anyway, it had a clip in it.) Less than two blocks from my house. “It’s spring break!” she cried. “Any kid could have found that and killed themselves!”
That was when I got angry. Because she is right, and the idolatry surrounding gun ownership—yes, I just said it again—insists that “freedom” (which is not the Catholic definition of freedom, but some twisted secular one—ironic, given that gun advocates are nearly universally Christian) is more important than protecting life. I spent a lot of time that day reminding myself that the world to come is the point, not how close—or not close—we come to mirroring the Kingdom in this one.
My third reaction happened when I realized this time, a Christian school had been targeted. I thought, I wonder if NOW it will make a difference. Because the people who have made guns an idol to worship almost universally profess Christian faith AND already believe themselves to be a persecuted minority.
Rather than attempt to reflect myself, since I’m clearly not the right person to do so, here are two extremely level-headed, not-polemical, Christianity-centered responses to the shooting, and by extension, to the political movement that has enshrined rigid resistance to any gun reform above life, human dignity, and Gospel values.