“Why don’t you pick up that gun and blow your brains out?”
“You could kill a whole lot of people with that gun.”
“Why not shoot her right now? That would shut her up!”
Those are the sorts of dark thoughts and impulses, too horrible to dwell upon or even acknowledge, that occur to many people at the mere sight of a firearm or a naked blade.
When they see the weapon, they sense the presence of evil – so naturally they assume the gun is its source, when actually the gun’s close proximity caused their own buried, angry, violent tendencies to surface for a moment.
Thus, many people who “dislike” or “are uncomfortable around” guns are actually afraid of what they might do if they had a loaded firearm in their hand. And I’m not talking about criminal types here. I’m talking about “nice” people – nice on the outside, and lots of buried and perhaps unrecognized rage inside. Again, the presence of the gun simply causes his or her own dark, angry propensities to “stir a little” deep down.
But the reality of all this is too heavy and “negative” for many of us to face, so we instantly and unconsciously project our own buried violence onto the gun, as though an inanimate hunk of metal – a tool – could somehow be intrinsically evil.
Obviously, a loaded gun has great potential for destruction and havoc – for evil. At the mere squeeze of a trigger there can be murder, suicide, terrorism. Even without being fired, the gun represents the magic ticket to armed robbery, forcible rape and every other form of coercion. For a person with lots of anger, albeit buried, a gun represents the shortest distance between two points – between the suppressed violent nature within him or her and the maximum expression of that nature. Therefore, the mere sight of a gun excites that dark part of us, causing it to beckon wordlessly, “Use me!”
Let’s examine this admittedly spooky phenomenon a little more closely.
Have you ever stood close to the edge of a cliff, or out on a balcony of a tall building? Did you notice that some “force” almost seemed to want to pull you over the edge? Most of us have experienced something like this – a momentary loss of balance, an unexplainable fear, some mysterious pull toward the edge. We have a moment of disorientation and fear, then we pull back to safety.
In this life, the malevolent intelligence we call “evil” is constantly scanning each of us for opportunities to tempt or even destroy us. The Bible has a famous verse: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). In critical moments of the sort I’m describing, evil seizes the opportunity to give us a mental “shove.” Unfortunately, for some people that “shove” is strong enough – especially after a lifetime of giving in to anger, doubt and despair – to pull them over the edge.
We’ll never know how many “suicides,” in which people tumbled off a cliff or a balcony, occurred this way – not because of a premeditated suicide plan, but because they were vulnerable to the opportunistic impulse of evil.
Similarly, how many head-on auto accidents occur because someone inexplicably crosses the center line to crash at high speed into an oncoming car, having succumbed to a wordless, instantaneous mental suggestion from hell? All in a timeless fraction of a second the message impresses itself on your mind: “Crash your car into that one coming your way. Life sucks. Go out with a major bang! Everyone will be shocked! You have the power! Just do it! Do it now!”
Does this scare you? If so – if this description resonates with you even a little bit – it’s only because you have the same problem to some degree. It’s OK; we’re all in the same boat, all subject in some measure to the “dark side of the force.” It’s called being “born in sin.” But some people honestly face what’s wrong with them and quietly call out to God for help, and His help comes. Others live in denial – until tragedy and death end it all.
In any event, this same phenomenon is at work with firearms, because of the potential they provide for immediate and ultimate destruction. Guns literally bring to the surface of the mind the suppressed potential for violence that exists inside every angry person. For that reason, they make a perfect scapegoat for people not ready to face their own darkness.
The preceding was adapted from “How Evil Works: Understanding and Overcoming the Destructive Forces That Are Transforming America” by David Kupelian.