September 29, 2023

Parable of the Prodigal Gun

By: Laisha Harris

HOUSTON-The NRA (National Rifle Association) Convention was held this weekend at the George R. Brown Convention center, open only to members of the NRA and their families. The convention was held in the same week that 21 children and adults were slaughtered by an 18-year-old in Uvalde, Texas. Succumbing to political pressure, Governor Greg Abbott and Lt. Governor Patrick did not attend the convention in person but spoke on a pre-recorded video. Musicians set to perform included Jacob Bryant, Don McLean, Larry Gatlin, Lee Greenwood, and Danielle Peck, and they all withdrew from their performances set at the NRA convention in light of the violence in Uvalde. However, guest speakers like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz stood their ground, loud and proud to deliver “an important address to America” as they continue to pray for the victims, their families and for [the] entire nation—we are all in this together,” Donald Trump said.

The NRA denounced ’the acts of the ‘lone, deranged gunman,’ and remained extremely silent on the many issues relating to gun regulation. The shooter in Uvalde waited until his 18th birthday before being able to lawfully purchase two assault-style weapons. While the purchases were lawful, many are pointing out that it is easier to purchase automatic assault-style weapons than it is to obtain an abortion or even baby formula.

NRA Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre thinks he’s “fighting against partisans who would rather disarm law-abiding Americans than protect the innocent and our God-given rights.” Somehow, convention goers like Ryan Busse believe that enforcing stricter gun laws would not have prevented the school shooting and that they are “unfairly targeting law-abiding gun owners’ rights.”  Let’s unpack that.

“Law-abiding Americans/gun-owners”- In 2009 and 2014, there were two mass killings carried out at Fort Hood Army base. In 2017, 26 people were killed at First Baptist Church during Sunday morning service in Sutherland Springs. In 2019, a racist in El Paso opened fire at a Wal-Mart. The shooter in Buffalo, New York drove 1,700 miles to kill 10 black people. The shooter in Uvalde, Texas shot his grandmother before driving to a school and opening fire on children. The mass shootings of people of color are motivated by racism and hate. In no capacity are we intending to suggest that law-abiding Americans are included in those who commit acts of racial violence. However, a hit dog will surely holler.

“Rather disarm than protect our God-given rights”- I’m going to be completely honest: I have never read the Bible entirely, front to back. I am 1000% sure that God does not give us, humans on Earth, the right to bear arms. I may not be a former President or an Executive Vice President of a multi-billion-dollar organization that funds private prisons and produces weapons of mass destruction, but I am pretty sure that the Second Amendment was a right granted by the white men who wrote the Constitution, not God himself.

“Stricter gun laws would not have prevented the shooting-” In reflection, that actually might be correct. Whites believe in the right to arm themselves with whatever weapon of their choosing in case there is a need to defend themselves or their property. Whites have never shied away from their use of firearms. In fact, guns are how they were able to colonize the globe with little to no resistance from the people who did not have or know what firepower was.

We are at a point in history where the whites are letting their guard down, removing the niceties and letting us know how they really feel. Police officers stood in the parking lot as an armed gunman shot brown children. They did not care about the cries of the parents. They did not care about the lives of the children. They do not want to do anything about the racial violence. Now, more than ever, it is obvious that we are not in this together.

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