Editor's note: Psalm 46:1-2 reminds us that "God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea." The following quotations about guns each come at that idea from a unique angle. They remind us that love is stronger than fear, that true community is built on open minds and hearts, and that while guns may symbolize strength, their use feeds off "fantasies of the reptile brain" and cannot come close to genuine strength.
Not Needed for True Community
"A true community does not need a police force. The very presence of a law enforcement system in a community is an indication that something is not working. And the presence of the police is supposed to make it work. Such a force is essentially repressive, which means that certain people in such a dysfunctional community do not know how to fit in. A community is a place where there is consensus, not where there is a crooked-looking onlooker with a gun, creating an atmosphere of unrest.
"In my village, houses do not have doors that can be locked. They have entrances. The absence of doors is not a sign of technological deprivation but an indication of the state of mind the community is in. The open door symbolizes the open mind and open heart."
— Malidoma Patrice Some in Ritual
Not a Tool of God
"Life is arbitrary but God is not; God is not in the business of loading guns, breaking hearts, bankrupting families, dissolving once loving relationships, or destroying homes with a clap of thunder or a rush of rain. No, God does not engineer suffering and loss but rather calls us to redeem it, to die into something."
— Eric Kolbell in What Jesus Meant
"A gay man in America lives in the shadow of death, never unmindful of the fact that he is one blood test away from being told that he has an incurable disease. A teenager growing up in an inner-city neighborhood plagued by guns and drug dealers, too often hearing gunshots and police sirens, feels haunted by the shadow of death."
— Harold S. Kushner in The Lord Is My Shepherd
A Response to Feeling Danger
"We notice that the Alarm System has become highly mobilized in the sibling society. The growth of the militias and the National Rifle Association testifies to that. As one feels danger from the persistent violence, one sinks farther and farther back into the fantasies of the reptile brain."
— Robert Bly in The Sibling Society
A Symbolic Form of Strength
"Even today collectors treat guns with loving attention and seem to appreciate the association of Mars with Venus. Instruments of aggression do, in fact, excite the imagination and spark the soul's aesthetic impulse. They are attractive, as a strong person might be, for their potential power and their Marsian aesthetic qualities, and, of course, they hold in symbolic form the strength and power we need in daily life."
— Thomas Moore in The Re-enchantment of Everyday Life
A Terrifying Equalizer
"Worldwide violence depends largely on ours, for the United States is gunsmith to the world. … For terrorists around the world, the United States is the Great Gun Bazaar. … Guns as equalizer is the neatest, fastest, and cheapest expression of the open society and popular democracy. Guns appear to be more necessary to personalized security, individualized liberty and fungible equality than having your own castle, a roof over your head."
— James Hillman in A Terrible Love of War