If this violence really does demonstrate an underlying spiritual sickness, then the solution cannot be to simply have more guns around so that we can shoot the shooters. That is a way to address a symptom but not the root cause. It's also a very surface level "solution" to the problem of violence, showing a lack of insight or cultural creativity, especially if the problem really is a deep spiritual problem. Moreover, it contributes to a way of life where fear is all-pervasive. What we fail to recognize is that a culture of fear is not a response to a culture of death , but that a culture of fear generates a culture of death.
Think back to Genesis and the sin of Adam and Eve. At the root of it was fear: fear that God was not truly good, fear that the world was not truly a good place, and fear that they were not in ultimate control. And so, driven by fear and doubt, they attempted to control their own destiny, only to find that in that seizing of godlikeness they had brought death upon themselves. For the fear that drives us to attempt to establish our independence from God can be nothing less than death. To desire to be independent of God is to desire death.
My worry is that Christians who see guns as a solution misunderstand the root problem: fear. Being armed to the teeth is not a solution to fear; it is a symptom of fear. As John says, "Perfect love casts out fear" (1 John 4:17). The opposite of love is not hate, but fear. The opposite of fear is not courage, but love. Love of God allows me to truly love not only my neighbor but also my enemy. Why? Because if I love God, my enemy can't ultimately take anything from me, including my life. If we think otherwise, then we're not thinking biblically.
In the wake of Newtown, the deepest hope that Christians have to offer a watching world is a life without fear. The more we call for guns as the ultimate solution, the more we will reinforce a culture of fear and death. We need not deny or ignore the reality of sin, death, and evil, but we also must remember that these have been conquered by Jesus. As the martyr missionary Jim Elliott put it, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." That's not just a nice saying for missionaries abroad. It's a point that must ring true for Christians in their everyday life here in America as well. Those who live by the sword will die by the sword, Jesus said (Matt. 26:52). Are we living by the sword or by the way of the cross? The way of the cross is the way of love, and it does not fear death precisely because it knows that death has lost its sting, thanks to the resurrection of Jesus.