Thursday, December 27, 2012
Faced with the overwhelming sadness of more violent shooting deaths recently, Americans have resurrected the gun debate. Some believe that people are using the tragedies as a political tool to get what they have wanted all along: gun control. Others feel, all politics aside, it's time to have a reasonable conversation about the issue. Here's my take:
Guns don't kill people. People kill people. Mentally ill people kill people. Evil people kill people. I am in favor of having a conversation on the issue of guns, but that conversation must include 2nd Amendment rights, facts, common sense, and compassion.
People have the right to bear arms. So says our Constitution. The vast majority of gun owners are law-abiding citizens. Disarming them will not protect anyone from someone mentally ill or evil. It will only make them less able to protect themselves from the criminals who, common sense tells us, will not give up their weapons. Criminals don't care about the law. That's why we call them criminals. Having said that, do average citizens need certain types of weapons, military-style weapons, for example? That's part of the reasonable conversation that should be had. Nonetheless, recent history shows us that these restrictions have not reduced crime at all. In fact, the reverse seems to be true.
As someone who cares deeply for children, I believe we must do what's necessary to protect them. Our children are vulnerable within the school setting. Why people are so opposed to armed officers guarding our hallways is beyond me. Banks have them. Other government agencies have them. Politicians who oppose citizens' gun rights have body guards who have them. Yet we want our children to fend for themselves. It defies all logic.
Posting "gun-free zone" signs around our communities makes no sense either. Who do those signs impact? The honest, sane individual isn't inclined to use a gun irresponsibly, and the person who came to commit a heinous crime couldn't care less about the sign. It's not like he's going to see the posting and then say, "Oh, wait. The sign says this is a gun-free zone. I can't do what I've planned. I'd better go put my weapon back." Again, let's use logic. The only thing the sign does is alert someone that those inside are unprotected and therefore easier targets. In fact, I understand that James Holmes, the man arrested for the Aurora, CO shooting, did not choose the biggest theater in the area to carry out his evil deed. Nor did he go to the one closest to his home. He went to the one with a gun-free zone sign. This ought to be food for thought, if nothing else.
Surely, we must do our part to enforce the laws already on the books, look at the areas where loopholes to those laws exist, and examine access to gun purchases at gun shows. Furthermore, we cannot fail to address mental illness. It seems to be a common thread in many of these tragedies. The entire issue of violence demands conversation, but it must be intelligent, rational, common sense conversation.
Evil will always exist in the world because sin exists. The Bible teaches that in the end times wickedness will increase. Therefore, we cannot ignore the elephant in the room. A culture that denies or suppresses God sets itself up for all kinds of problems. Many have chosen to ignore this most obvious, most basic, truth. We see the results everywhere we look, and we're paying the price for it in these dark times. It is vital that we remember that darkness isn't really a thing. Light is. What we, in our limited understanding, call darkness is merely the absence of something real called light. Without God's light, we get every evil work. It's not that God is punishing us; we've chosen to punish ourselves.
The key to true transformation is not changed laws, but changed lives--which comes only by the power of Jesus Christ.