The “Gun Violence” Nobody is Talking About
In this divisive political season, we’ve heard about guns at every debate, whether from the right or left. With recent events like the shootings in San Bernardino, California, Roseburg, Oregon, and Charleston, South Carolina, fresh in our minds it’s no wonder this is such a political football. The horrific pain endured in the aftermath of these tragedies leaves an indelible ache in the hearts of family members and friends for the rest of their lives. Accordingly, gun violence is an issue deserving of serious discussion as we seek to keep all people safe while balancing second amendment rights.
But what if I told you there’s a “gun” pointed at every young person daily in this country, destroying lives and futures – not to mention countless marriages and families? And this gun hasn’t registered a blip on the political radar screen even though it affects every single American.
Then what if I told you there’s a message we could share that everyone – regardless of religious or political affiliation could agree on – that could immediately begin to take the bullets out of this “gun?” For some reason, most in our culture seem to a have a flight response every time this particular “gun” is mentioned. We’re not too afraid to participate in firing the “gun” or complacently allowing others to fire it.
Many are too fearful of what others might think to do anything about the “bullets” riddling our families and our defenseless children. Others in our culture, due to being uniformed or misinformed, blithely believe the lie that the “gun” is harmless and even fun. They see merely a water pistol where in fact there is an AK-47.
The name of this “gun” is pornography.
It’s fired at our youth from cell phones, iPads, cable TV, movies, video games, and magazines. In its “softer” forms it’s fired from billboards, network television, and advertisements. Blatantly and arrogantly pornographers wave the “gun” around, selling us a demeaning, degraded view of ourselves in order to line their own pockets. This “gun” is loaded with bullets that tell our young women over and over again that how they look is more important than anything they can achieve through education, hard work, a winning personality, or a tender heart. This “gun” is loaded with bullets that tell our young men in a million ways that the sole value of a woman resides in her appearance and how she can be used as an object for their selfish sexual gratification.
This “gun” is leaving the children of 56% of our families to deal with the pain of a home shattered by divorce.  The bullets from this “gun” are destroying the self-esteem of our children and threatening to permanently change their brain chemistry This “gun” is making increasing numbers of our youth vulnerable to becoming a sex-trafficking statistic, with an estimated 200,000 American children being used for commercial sexual exploitation every year. 
Maybe you feel the analogy is misplaced; that actual death is more serious than the death of millions of marriages and families, the death of self-worth in a generation of young people, or the death of human intimacy and dignity for an entire nation. My response would be that loss is loss. And we stand to lose more than we can possibly imagine if we ignore this issue of “gun” control.
Finally, consider this: would you want your daughter, sister, or wife – or your son for that matter – to be in a pornographic film? In a sexted photograph or amateur sex video that winds up on the Internet? Date raped or sexually assaulted by those acting out what they’ve seen glorified in music videos and movies? If not, perhaps you will consider sharing the message with your friends and neighbors, at work and in your house of worship: that every woman is somebody’s daughter; that every man is somebody’s son.
Take a look at the language you use, the “entertainment” you consume and consider how you might change your behavior so as not to contribute to a culture that objectifies human beings. If each one of us can do these two simple things, then maybe we can begin to unload the “gun” and build the kind of world where women, children, and families are valued and cherished.
Until next time,
Steve Siler – Music for the Soul
Originally posted 5/3/16
“Using the power of songs and stories as a bridge to hope and healing for those facing life’s most difficult issues“
 Patrick_F.Fagan Qtd_in “The Effects of Pornography on Individuals, Marriage, Family and Community.” Marriage & Religious Inst. , Family Research Council., Love & Responsibility Project: Center for Study of Catholic Higher Ed. Scribd. Web. 11 Dec. 2009. <http://www.scribd.com/doc/23930556/The-Effects-of-Pornography-on-Individuals-Marriage-Family-and-Community>.
 Jill Manning. Testimony: U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, 10 Nov. 2005 “Why the Government Should Care about Pornography” Web 3 Dec. 2009
 The Psychopharmacology of Pictorial Pornography Restructuring Brain, Mind & Memory & Subverting Freedom of Speech; Judith A. Reisman, Ph.D.,The Institute for Media Education