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The Cognitive Dissonance of Guns, Bibles and the Vaccine

3 min read

Reminiscent of the unfounded fears spread around by conservatives about the Affordable Care Act and “death panels,” President Biden’s call for a door-to-door educational program about the coronavirus vaccine sent the GOP and conservatives into a paranoid tizzy. Republican members of Congress, fake news stations, and right-wing bloggers went into high gear panic about how your guns would be confiscated during such a canvas. I am not sure if gun owners think they will lose their ability to shoot the virus or legislators on Capitol Hill. It may be unfair to stereotype people who venerate their guns and bibles with the same reverence—as paranoid red hat-wearing Trump supporters—but somehow I doubt if they are eating avocado toast while wearing Birkenstocks.

That sort of cognitive dissonance with people who end all conversations about science and innovation with the words, ‘covered in the blood of Jesus’ baffles me; because the idea of covering others in their own blood, apparently, is reasonable. When twenty-six people including 20 first-graders were slaughtered at Sandy Hook Elementary, the right-wing did not say equip teachers with bibles they suggested they be armed with guns. When a man shot fifty-nine people killing twelve in an Aurora City, Colorado movie theater in 2012, after the thoughts and prayers, conservatives suggested next time the movie patrons should be armed in the darkness, the outcome would have been different, they say.

The shocking occurrences of massacres at nightclubs, churches, or outdoor concert venues garners headlines and sympathetic flag-lowering but no real action. We wait a few weeks to discuss gun control [out of respect for the dead] and ultimately file away the horror until the next child dies running for their life while wearing a backpack. We are living in a mass casualty event every day in America and it only rates a headline if the bloody carnage is spectacular enough to create a good photograph. A lone child lying in a gutter from a stray bullet gets just an ‘oh well’ from the public and in neighborhoods of color, blaming of the victim; Why was that child out at night, what kind of parents would allow that, etc. Meanwhile, as much as the gun enthusiasts hate to admit it, no one addresses the real problem, there are too many guns, too easily available.

I am a law-abiding citizen, I work hard, am educated, and live comfortably. Yet, I live in the heart of a major city that saw twenty-three people shot or killed in 72 hours, this past weekend. I can walk out my front door and within an hour purchase an illegal weapon on the street. Sure most would consider me safe and responsible but the problem is the killers and shooters of twenty-three people over a weekend have that same opportunity. Mixing fear and guns is a deadly combination, police officers shoot suspects, armed and unarmed, far too often. I do not believe it is from inherent animosity or hatred, but fear. When legal and licensed gun owner Philando Castile was shot to death by Officer Jeronimo Yanez in 2016, the fear in his voice of a black gun owner was so palpable that the outcome was inevitable. If trained police officers have trouble containing their fear; what does that say for a 16-year-old in possession of a gun? Thoughts and Prayers…

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