America is so fundamentally unserious about addressing the gun violence pandemic that we allow gun manufacturers to stoke the flames of our not-so-cold culture war with abandon, literally selling guns inscribed with Bible verses and given unsubtly racist and Islamophobic names like “the Crusader,” as Spike’s Tactical calls its AR-15 style rifle.
The gun is stamped with Psalm 144: “Praise be to the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me.”
As history professor Thomas Lecaque observes, the gun is also marked with a Templar cross, and its three safety settings are called “Pax Pacis, Bellum, and Deus Vult” – that is, “Peace, War, and God Wills It.”
Imagery associated with the Knights Templar and the phrase “deus vult” is commonly used in alt-right memes, meaning the gun’s branding is unsubtly designed to appeal to both conservative Christians and white supremacists (groups with which there is, of course, considerable overlap).