When Mass Shootings and a Pro Life Position Collide

Fact 1: A “mass shooting” is defined as an incident where there are several victims of gun violence.
Fact 2: In the United States, there have been 146 mass shootings in 2023 (not in the last 23 years or 23 months, in the first 100 days of this year). Last year there were 647 mass shootings in the United States. 
Fact 3: These 2023 mass shootings have occurred in a bank, a Christian school, a University campus (where I know the interim president and students who were on campus), a dance hall, farms, homes, you name it.
Fact 4: In the United States, the number one killer of those under 18 is gun violence.

Those aforementioned facts, make all Americans sick. It is a national disgrace. Here’s the problem: Often after a mass shooting, there is a pattern that we’ve followed. It goes like this: 

1. People die at the hands of a mad person. 
2. Thoughts and prayers.
3. People protest guns, gun laws and what we are doing to prevent such evil from happening.
4. One side says: Eliminate guns. 
5. The other side says: Have more police and better mental health awareness. 
6. There is an uproar on both sides on social media. 
7. The news cycle dies down.
8. Nothing happens.
9. Another shooting occurs and more people die. 
10. Repeat steps 2 through 10

I am Pro-life which means from the womb to the tomb. I am pro-life. Every single life should have a chance to live. 

Born into good situations.
Tragically born into not-so-good situations.
Good People. 
Bad People. 
Old People.
All People.
Kids in school.
Workers in a bank.
People within their homes, churches, stores and workplaces.

In other words, it’s not up to me who lives and who dies. Live and let live is my motto and, I’m pretty sure, it’s God’s motto too (see Deuteronomy 30:19). This means that violence, all violence, is abhorrent to God Almighty. Naturally, being Pro-life through and through, informs my view on assault rifles too.

Moreover, changing gears slightly, in the Church of the Nazarene where I pastor, we’ve decided the best way help those who struggle with alcohol is to advocate for abstinence. We don’t think having a glass of wine sends a person to hell (FYI…Jesus turned six jugs of water into wine). But in our world, where alcohol has had such devastating effects on individuals, families and society, we’ve chosen to side with those who struggle. If drinking alcohol causes someone who struggles to fail, then we say, “we willing give up alcohol.” In other words, if our “sacrificing” alcohol helps someone in harm’s way and helps society, it’s a no-brainer. We will sacrifice alcohol.

Why bring up alcohol when talking about guns and being pro-life?

The same reasoning should apply to assault rifles. Like our stance on alcohol, if we err, we should err on the side of helping those who struggle. Being pro-life and pro-active means if we err, let us err on the side with those with mental health issues who need love and care so they don’t pick up an assault weapon (or any weapon). Let us also err on the side of those on the other side of those assault weapons, the victims of violent crime.  Can’t we say like in the case of alcoholism, our society is drunk on weapons. Owning an assault rifle doesn’t send anyone to hell, but we willing “sacrifice” those weapons for the good of victims and society.  

Pro-life in a violent society, means for the good of society we act. We love. We sacrifice. We do whatever it takes to curb the death and destruction. Pro-life people need to rise up and are advocates for life in all circumstances – especially as it relates to violence in any of its forms. Pro-life means just that… all people should have the freedom to live.