OK, I’ll begin by ‘fessing up. I am a member of the NRA. I posses a concealed-carry permit. I am a responsible, well-trained, and armed citizen, owning several pieces of hardware that would be banned under proposals to – as the catchy slogan says - “end gun violence.”
My interest in such equipment is partly aesthetic – as is people’s aversion to this “style” (as in “military-style”) of gun. I like that style.
But this interest is also practical. Such equipment would come in very handy if I had to defend my family or community, as I once defended our nation as an infantryman in the U.S. Army.
Unfortunately, every day many Americans must defend their home and family from violent intruders who don’t respect gun laws. I have tools to defend against that possibility. Such tools could also help defend my community should I be picking up my children at school when another Adam Lanza tried to commit mayhem and murder.
It takes a good guy (or gal) with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun. Can we count on police to be there whenever a crime is being committed? Only in a police state. Our American constitutional system has devised a better way. Along with liberty, it entrusts citizens with enormous responsibility to manage and defend their own lives and communities and property.
And the danger (remote as it may seem) of a police state also makes the citizens’ possession of “military-style” weapons a practical necessity. Ask the American colonists under King George III. Just as we can’t always count on government power to be there to defend us, we also can’t always count on those who hold government power to stay within their limits and not try to usurp our rights as citizens.
The state-sanctioned mass-murder of Armenians, Russians, Jews, Chinese, Cubans, Cambodians, Ugandans, Guatemalans, Rwandans, Tibetans, Iraqis, Sudanese and others in the last century bear witness to that immutable fact. Most were preceded by measures to disarm the population, often in the name of “public safety.” Our Constitution protects us from would-be tyrants by providing for an armed citizenry, as the great seal and motto of the Commonwealth of Virginia reminds us (and them): Sic Semper Tyrannis.
I find this narrative quite compelling, as do many of our fellow citizens, but in the rush to “do something” our elites are trying to demonize us. There seems to be a LOT of that these days.
Will you let them do that?
I ask you to consider the recent focus on firearms in a broader frame. Think of it in context of ALL forms of violence in America. Where is the MOST violence to be found? What systems support it…and hide it from our view?
During the gun debate I’ve been struck by the flagrant disproportion of it all. Here are our political and media elites trying to blame the murders of Newtown, and of some 2000 other children last year, on a “style” of hardware made of metal and plastic.
They call it “gun-violence.”
But lay that fact next to another: last Friday was the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. It marked the purposeful, systematic, elective, legitimized killing of 59 million Americans since 1973.
Can we call it “womb-violence?”
This silent slaughter is the equivalent of a Sandy Hook School massacre EVERY 10 minutes for the last 40 years. The opinion-makers are trying to distract us from this reality by demonizing owners of firearms.
Are you going to take the bait?
Instead consider this. Mother Teresa drew a causal link between abortion and the violence we all decry in America. She said:
“I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child—a direct killing of the innocent child—murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? . . . By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And by abortion, the father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. That father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching the people to love, but to use violence to get what they want. That is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.”
Is she wrong?
In your horror at American violence why blame a certain “style” of equipment made of plastic and metal? Why not turn your righteous indignation instead upon a vastly more voracious destroyer of children’s lives in America today?
Tom Simmons is a Guest Columnist
The CJS Forum seeks to promote an open exchange of ideas about the relationship between faith, culture, law and public policy. While all the articles are original and written especially for the CJS Forum, they do not necessarily reflect the views of the Center for a Just Society.