What is it about the gun? Why do so many Americans worship this mechanical device? Why does anyone value a piece of hardware more highly than human life?

For millions of Americans, the reverence for guns is stubbornly emotional, impervious to logic, obstinate and unshakeable. Rabid gun lovers are unpersuaded by statistics showing astronomically higher rates of gun violence in the U.S. compared to other developed nations with strict gun control laws. They refuse to acknowledge the obvious relationship between gun ownership and gun violence. Facts and data don’t matter.

Gun lovers deflect obvious truths about mass shootings and gun violence in America by blaming other things – any other things – rather than indicting the gun. They blame mass shootings on video games, the mental health system, the lack of prayer in schools, and “hateful” rhetoric by liberals against conservatives and Donald Trump. Blind to the absurd irony of the argument, they contend there would be fewer mass shootings if there were fewer “gun-free zones.” Their mind boggling solution, in other words, is more guns, not less guns.

Gun lovers demonize those who look to solve the problem of gun violence with obvious, common sense solution – like making it harder to buy a gun, and reducing the number of guns in circulation. Gun lovers become morally outraged when – in the wake of mass shootings – gun control advocates “politicize a tragedy,” and “blame the gun” rather than the shooter. “Don’t blame the gun,” they insist. “Don’t ever blame the gun. It’s the shooter, not the gun.”

These Americans treat the gun as a religious icon which must not be blasphemed, and cannot be regulated under any circumstance: even under the insane circumstance of our ongoing national bloodbath and orgy of mass shootings. To them, the gun is holier than the Virgin Mary and more sacrosanct than the baby Jesus. Lost in their reverie is the fact that the gun is a man-made object. Idolatry of objects is cult behavior – common in ancient cultures but forbidden by the core value system of Christianity and other monotheistic religions. Any preacher will tell you that idolatry is the worship of false gods. And yet, ironically, a great number of gun worshipers describe themselves as Christians.

In this age of identity politics, the gun is a defining political identity. Gun worshipers advertise their fealty to the gun with pictures and videos of themselves with their weapons on social media, showing off their guns like designer jewelry. Many take pride in demonstrating that they engage in open carry, as if they are flying the American flag.

Donald Trump admitted in the wake of the El Paso and Dayton mass shootings that he rewarded the NRA for supporting him by appointing two pro-Second Amendment Supreme Court justices. He effectively explained that he shaped the long-term future of our country based on one single issue: gun ownership. Irrespective of all the mass shootings, the gun cult loves him for it.

Gun rights champions equate gun ownership with freedom, and gun control with tyranny, even while gun violence terrorizes us all. The intransigence of gun cultists derives from this association of guns with the core American ideal of freedom. Give credit to the marketers at the NRA. In our shallow-thinking, image-driven culture, the NRA did a bang-up job of branding – appropriating the American flag, the bald eagle, the cowboy hat, and American military uniforms as symbols of gun ownership. The messages: gun ownership is patriotic; to favor gun control is to hate America and oppose freedom. The message is that gun control is an assault on the Constitution, and an affront to the flag and the republic for which it stands. This twisted propaganda campaign has enabled the selfish to make themselves feel noble. It has allowed gun lovers to claim the moral high ground, despite the fact that America’s gun laws facilitate the wholesale slaughter of innocents.

To the gun fetishists now effectively running the federal government, gun control advocates are the enemy.

I get it. Nobody likes being told what to do. At a personal level, people especially don’t like being told what to do by people they don’t like, i.e., “liberals.” At a societal level, we naturally distrust government control in country founded on the ideal of individual liberty (setting aside that whole slavery-thing-enshrined-in-the-Constitution for the moment).

But enough is enough. It’s time to grow up and grapple with modern reality. In the world today, there is not enough community, not enough human decency, and not enough love for our fellow man. There is too much social isolation, too much individual dysfunction, and yes, too much mental illness, to allow our society to thrive with everyone having easy access to guns.

Americans need to stop worshiping the false god of the gun, and get over their firearm fetish. It’s time to end this sick business of facilitating mass shootings to own the libs.

The Second Amendment was written to ensure that “a well-regulated militia” would be available to fight foreign enemies. It was written at a time of single-firing, muzzle loaded muskets. Assault weapons weren’t contemplated. The framers didn’t envision – and surely did not intend to subjugate the American citizenry to – the constant threat of gun violence. They sought to guarantee life, along with liberty and the pursuit of happiness – none of which are possible with laws and lawmakers controlled by those who venerate the gun.

America was founded on the ideal of individual liberty, but there can be no liberty in a country so plagued by gun violence that we risk random, violent death whenever we attend a concert, go to the movies, worship in church, go to school, or shop at a Walmart. There is no freedom in a nation where gun violence so permeates everyday life. The Preamble to the Constitution aspires to guarantee domestic tranquility, the general welfare, and the blessings of liberty. None are possible in this nation drowning in guns. None are possible in a society plagued by the constant threat of gun violence. Where gun violence affects and threatens every city and town, no community has the blessings of liberty.

Loving guns does not make you patriotic. It just makes you a person who loves guns. You are worshiping a false god. You’re engaged in idolatry, at the expense of domestic tranquility, the general welfare, and human life.

We rightfully revere our veterans and those who serve in the armed forces. Why? Because they have sacrificed their own interests for the greater good. They placed country over self, and they have worked, fought, and/or died for the general welfare and the good of the nation. If you really love America, you can’t maintain your love affair with the gun. You have to put country first.

Repeal the Second Amendment and ban guns. It is the most patriotic thing we can do.

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