Mr. Koehler’s critiques the U.S.'s violent gun culture from a utopian angle. This has pluses and minuses.
Both domestic guns and military arms are declared necessary for protection, but they actually feed violent acts and belief in violence as a solution. The problem is not just easy access to guns, and the solution is not just government control of guns, he argues; the problem is how guns make people feel in control and ‘people’ in a culture in which people feel isolated and devalued. And real solutions to gun violence must involve transforming the culture so that people feel “empowered” and valued by bonds to community.
This utopian and, I believe, underlyingly religious critique has the value of sweeping aside policy details for a vision of peace and love - a vision that goes so far as to treat the murderer compassionately at the very moment of the shooting.
But I reject Mr. Koehler’s division of human action into a quasi-religious ‘kingdom of ends,’ where we seek to spread goodness and forgiveness to all from the start, versus a ‘kingdom of means’ where any ‘steps’ must fail or are judged basically inadequate.
Specifically, what is judged to be an inferior “governmental” and “bureaucratic” solution - a gun control movement - in fact depends on a great, empowering, communal marshalling of human energies - a marshalling that can surely create the transformations and commitments to peace on earth that Mr. Koehler calls for.