Guns (on the Roof): Freedom Ain’t Free

The following is written by AJ aficionado (whatever that means), Matt Morin. My only contribution is the inclusion of The Clash song at the end. You can also locate this post at Profligate Grace. Cheers.


Because I am either a charitable hearer of opposing viewpoints, or a glutton for punishment, I try to tune in to Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity at least once a week when I am in my car. Rarely do I find myself nodding in agreement—for example, unlike Hannity, I don’t “define peace as the ability to blow your enemies into smithereens”; nor am I persuaded by Limbaugh’s line of reasoning: “How can I be anti-woman? I even judged the Miss America pageant.”

So imagine my surprise last week when, during the topic of gun violence in the United States, one call-in guest reminded his host that “freedom isn’t free.”

YES! Finally, someone who gets it. At last, the anti-gun message is starting to sink in.

In the United States, the “freedom” to exercise our phallic fixation through gun ownership means that there are currently 89 legally-owned guns for every 100 citizens. And in a series of bizarre statistical twists that nobody saw coming, the highest rate of gun ownership is somehow correlated with:
(1) The highest rate of gun deaths per 100,000 people among top exporters.
(2) The second highest percentage of homicides with a firearm among the same.
(3) The highest rate of homicide against children– 1300 percent greater, in fact, than other developed nations.

Apparently, guns actually do kill people. (Now where did I put my bumper-sticker remover . . .)

Moreover, according to a recent statement by an eight-year-old boy who watches too many movies, NRA vice-president Wayne LaPierre, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” Given such a neat and tidy division of the world, LaPierre argues that the only reasonable course of action is to place “armed guards” in every school across the country. (Protip: When committing the logical fallacy known as the “false dilemma” or the “fallacy of bifurcation,” it is generally discouraged to highlight your error with italics.)

This, then, is life in America: There is an 89% chance that the guy you just cut off has a gun in his car; children must enter school through a designated security checkpoint; if you choose not to own a gun, it is only a matter of time before you are shot dead in your home by a bad guy; and if you choose to own a gun, it is only a matter of time before you are shot dead in your home by a good guy.

And what about the freedom of those citizens who would prefer not to own a gun? What about the rights of children to learn in environments free from the constant threat of violent death? What about choosing to live at peace with your neighbors, rather than looking upon them with paranoid suspicion? In other words, what about the freedom from guns? In the United States, such a freedom does not exist; only freedom for obtaining guns matters.

This is the high cost of living in a gun-saturated society. American freedom is, indeed, not free.

Matthew Morin lives in Milwaukee, WI and worships with Milwaukee Mennonite Church. His current work in comparative theology lies at the intersection of changing diapers and swinging kettlebells.


Thanks, Matt. I’m really torn on which song by The Clash I should include: Guns on the Roof? I’m So Bored with the U.S.A.? Safe European Home? (Even though the latter is about Jamaica, many have speculated that the line ‘I can’t take the gun-play’ fits well within the borders of the U.S.). Tough call, tough call. Eh, we’ll go with a classic.

“Okay, so let’s agree about the price . . .”–Joe Strummer

Matthew Morin :
  • Dave P (Zeteo)

    It’s about damn time you wrote something about guns! Oh wait, you didn’t write this. anyway, it’s nice to see someone arguing this point from this perspective. I’ve often discussed this with other supposed Jesus followers whose only defense is “guns make us safer”. As soon as we start discussing intangibles, like how much it would suck to send my daughter to a school with armed security, they disappear. Or if it’s on facebook they just delete my posts.

    Recently in the youth group I currently lead I introduced them to the New Testament and then asked them how they can reconcile it with the desire to fill people with potentially fatal amounts of lead. Shockingly, they failed to do so. Here’s to raising up a generation of people who want freedom from guns! (Well put Mr. Morin, well put.)

    • theamishjihadist

      Haha! Yeah, sorry Zeteo. I guess I’ve never bothered writing anything about guns because my assumption is that if you’re a Christian then you won’t have them. I feel like by even having certain conversations you entertain possibilities that need not be entertained. Kind of why I also don’t talk about torture and savings accounts. It’s just too obvious.

      • Matt Morin

        “Look at the birds of the air– they do not pack heat or stow away in barns.”

        • theamishjihadist

          Very true, Matt. But if you ever come into contact with an African Ground Hornbill or a Cassowary, back it up. They will maim you like a champ (especially the latter, the former will just stalk you–but you should be okay . . . unless they have numbers).