Category Archives: guns

They Just Don’t Hold Water

I have heard many arguments on why AR-15s or the like should not be banned, but I am not convinced that these arguments hold water.  I am willing to be convinced that they do, but for now I’m not seeing it.

  1. Only the law-abiding citizens will obey the law.  The criminals will not.  That’s true.  That’s what makes them criminals.  They commit crimes.  They break laws.  We could say that about any law.  We ought not outlaw theft because only the law-abiding citizens would not steal.  We ought not outlaw murder because only the law-abiding citizens would obey.  We shouldn’t have speed limits because only law-abiding citizens would go the 55 mph required.  I’m not sure if law-making should be based on who will and who will not obey the law.
  2. We have the right to defend ourselves.  Yes.  You and I absolutely have that right.  Again, I normally have a 9mm that I legally conceal carry on me.  I do not go around with an AR-15 however. I’ve never met anyone who does.  They are a bit difficult to conceal.  However, people may have them in their homes.  Again, it is their right.  However (and this may just be me), if someone breaks into my home, I would not be reaching for my AR-15, as it is not the easiest to grab, aim, and shoot.  There are too many of my family members around.  I would go for my 9mm.  I’m not sure how many times I would need an AR-15 for self-defense.  I know. I know.  But that one time I do need it, I will wish I had it.
  3. We are allowed to defend ourselves against a tyrannical government.  I admit, that was the original intent when the amendment was written.  That was written, however, before the tank, submarine, aerial warfare, drones, ballistic missiles, nuclear weapons, and such weapons as these, which none of us can own (except non-lethal drones), and which none of us would really be able to defend against in the first place.
  4. People who want to kill will find a way to do it.  I’ve seen these memes out there with a lighter saying, “Ban semi-automatic matches.”  Or there’s the argument that we would need to ban trucks since they are used to run into crowds.  Like the first argument, we cannot make laws based on people’s abilities to skirt around those laws.  Otherwise, we will have no laws.  To make light of the predicament that we are in, doesn’t help matters; it only muddies the water.  We cannot stop all crimes (or all murders) from happening; that is true.  We can however seek to curb the number of these in logical ways.
  5. This isn’t a gun matter; it’s a heart matter.  That is true, but that’s true about everything.  It isn’t a prostitution matter; it’s a heart matter. It isn’t a heroine matter; it’s a heart matter.  It isn’t a stealing matter; it’s a heart matter.  Those are all true to a degree.  However, most people are not against the laws against any of those issues.  The Ten Commandments were based on curbing the heart-issues becoming hand-issues.  They were made to keep what was in the heart away from being acted upon.  That’s how all laws work.  Just because it is a heart matter does not mean that it is not a gun matter.  It’s both.  We cannot cure the heart (only Jesus Christ can do that), but we can curb the act.

When Foresight Fails

I just read two articles back to back.  Both dealing with information not being followed up on.  The first was a case that existed a few years ago, when the first wife of Devin Patrick Kelley (the man who killed 26 people at a Texas church), reported that she had been sexually assaulted, abused, and even water-boarded by her husband.  The case was inactivated when the victim did not return a detectives phone call.  The second article was about Nikolas Cruz (the young man who is accused of killing 17 people in Parkland, FL).  The FBI received what now seems to be crystal-clear information that Cruz was ready and willing to shoot as many students as he could at his former school.  The informant, who knew Cruz well, told the FBI that he had the guns, the anger, and even a post stating he would be a professional school shooter.  Yet the FBI did not forward the information on to their Miami branch.

There is a lot of what I call “millennial outrage” these days.  That’s outrage for outrage’s sake.  Other people are outraged, so therefore I should be outraged.  It’s perpetuated especially on social media.  Some call it, “outrage porn.”  But these two articles are enough to make anyone outraged.  It would seem that if these reportings had been followed up on, investigated, or forwarded to the proper people, 43 people may still be alive, and many, many more uninjured physically, mentally, or emotionally.  Families upon families would be together, without this emptiness in their hearts and lives.

How does one handle such outrage?  How does one handle the fact that the very ones we expect (and pay with our tax dollars) to protect us and our family and friends fail to act as they ought?  Let me give a few thoughts:

  1. Seek to understand their job.  We may not be able to walk a mile in their shoes for various reasons, but we can at minimum seek to understand what it is that they do.  How many tips, how many investigations, how many hours, how many current cases, how short-staffed, etc.
  2. Ask if those involved simply made a mistake (even though that word seems so underwhelming) or if they are incompetent.  As devastating as these events are, foresight is often not enough.  Sometimes it is.  Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20.  What do these people’s personnel records/jackets look like?  Are they consistently missing leads or ignoring cold, hard facts or information?  Is this an isolated (though major) miss?
  3. Know that these are people.  These are not machines.  Again, what seems so obvious after the fact, may in the person who had all the information, seem dubious.  Humans are human.  They don’t have algorithms like computers, and they cannot tell the future.  These are humans.  They know their mistake.  They know that their mistake led to human blood being shed.  I am sure they feel the guilt and weight of their decisions.

These shootings are tragic.  They tear at our hearts.  They cause us to get angry and look for people to blame.  That is all very natural.  People must be held accountable for their actions.  Cruz and Kelley must be held accountable.  Those who did not foresee these killings, though they had information as to the persons committing the crimes, must be held accountable.  But justice (which we all desire to see happen) cannot happen with unchecked rage.  “Anger [wrath, deep seething anger] does not produce the righteousness of God,” (James 1:20, ESV).  We must be careful that we are not as Cain, who when anger was warned that sin was crouching down waiting to devour him.  Rather than rule over his anger, he allowed his anger to rule over him.

We must be careful what we do with such anger.  It can lead us to slander (libel), hatred, distrust, and any number of other sins.  Let us pray and seek justice, but let us do so without seeking vengeance.  “For we know him who said, ‘Vengeance is mind; I will repay.’ And again, ‘The Lord will judge his people.’  It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God,” (Hebrews 10:30-31, ESV).