Glocks in the State Capitol Building

Glock owner at State Capitol hearing. Photo by David Joles, StarTribune.

Glock owner at State Capitol hearing. Photo by David Joles, StarTribune.

Not in my worst nightmares did I think I’d see the day.

This morning’s Star Tribune front page “Debate Triggers Show of Weapons” and the accompanying photographs are chilling. There are two photos. In one a young man with a loaded Glock strapped to his waist stands with arms folded, looking defiantly smug while he waits to testify about before a legislative committee in the Minnesota State Capitol. In the other two men sit at the hearing table with microphones. One reads from a manuscript; the other covers his face with his left hand as though he can’t believe they’re even discussing this.

I identify with the man with the hand covering his face. I don’t understand the man who brought the .40-caliber Glock to the hearing loaded with 15 rounds. Why would he do that?

“You have to be your own hero on your own white horse” is the way he explained it. He feels safer with his Glock.

Put next to that the statement of Pope Francis, as reported by Vatican Radio: “Faith and violence are incompatible.”

The Pope was preaching on the exact text often used by those who believe that violence and division are compatible with Christian faith. The text is Luke 12:51 in which Jesus asks, “Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division!” The division, as interpreted by the Pontiff, is between living for yourself or living in the light of God. Here are Francis’ words:

“The word of the Gospel does not authorize the use of force to spread the faith. It is just the opposite: the true strength of the Christian is the power of truth and love, which leads to the renunciation of all violence. Faith and violence are incompatible”.

The halls of a legislature are intended to be sacred spaces where differences are resolved for the sake of the greater good, where my self-interest and your self-interest, as they are perceived by elected representatives, are expressed and resolved peacefully without intimidation. The chambers of representative democracy are the last place where any legislator or innocent visitor to the State Capitol should face the explicit or implicit intimidation of someone with a Glock.

Faith and violence are incompatible… so are democracy and intimidation.

6 thoughts on “Glocks in the State Capitol Building

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  2. It’s really not me… but it occurs to me. Should these throw-backs be mocked into embarrassment? Should they be shamed? What is the most effective response? It may be too late for gentle advice. While it’s true that we know these people could be worse, as we consider gently waiting for them to pass on. But is that a sensible solution? Waiting? The behavior is so widespread. Hate/fear based activities and rhetoric are flying as never before. Never in history have we had such massive broadcasting of encouragement toward right wing anti-human ideas, except in Nazi Germany. Frankly I don’t think that these young gun-fetishists have a clue about the history of their attitude. We know that right wing haters routinely include Christianity as part and parcel of their profane thoughts. It’s what inhuman propagandists do… rationalize. Our American hate propaganda is worse than the Nazis because it is so much more attractive and effective. It reaches more people than the “big Nazi” ever dreamed possible. We have a huge problem. The front page Star Tribune photo of the young man with his gun reminds me of the “brown shirts” of Europe. It’s more painful because here it is in my choice for the most sensible humane state in the country. These angry people are in our faces and they express themselves as best they can at greater and greater frequency. I think to myself, just what could have been done in Germany in the 1930s? Didn’t we withhold our sympathy for the German people for their failure to stop the madness? As the clock ticks, as racism raises it’s pestilent head, as Right Wing politicians choose to prevent the functioning of the country unless the Right Wing has complete control, …as all of this happens, the American people RE-ELECT the president. Minnesotans fully reject the Right Wing and elect a Democratic state house, senate, governor, and two effective Democratic senators. Minnesota and the US are on track. It is likely that the Right Wing will continue to fail. The authentic conservatives are not going to tolerate the over-the-top extremism. I guess my bottom line suggestion is that we just keep on voting well, and actively promote the suppression of right wing madness every chance we get. I want Minnesota to prevent free-carry of guns… all of it, except law enforcement and regulated licensed hunting. It is so obviously wrong to freely carry guns. Well, just a little mockery: Mr. Glockbelt, why don’t you wear your Lone Ranger whites or your Cisco Kid blacks, and a bandolier? Get yourself a great white horse… or a black one. Get yourself a partner named Tonto or Poncho. Get some silver bullets.

    Gordon… you are right. Democracy and intimidation are not compatible.

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    • Robert, We share the same feelings of dismay and horror. People who seek a more peaceful society of mutual respect in all of our differences cannot and should not be passive or silent on this matter. It is more than a cultural difference. It is a profound spiritual difference. And, as you know all too well, that violence has often paraded under the banner of the cross of a man who himself was crucified, ironies of ironies. My experience recently tells me, however, that it is more often than not people who have concluded that the church is for pansies, people who don’t get it, people who talk about love and all that stuff and live in an unreal world. The strangest of things is that these people are not Marxists; they are anarchists in the image of Ayn Rand and Rush Limbaugh. They know nothing of their real history or the history of the world that they unwittingly mimic and reincarnate. I don’t believe in reincarnation, but I see the Nazi storm troopers standing with their Glocks at the State Capitol. And Governor Dayton is not concerned? What’s happening to us is hideous. Yes, I’m afraid nothing but confrontation with the values that bring a loaded Glock to the State Capitol is not only called for. It’s essential to a sane and peaceful society.

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