Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Prolife Gun Rights?

prolife gun rights?
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Prolife gun rights?

This is for anyone, but specifically for my brothers and sisters in Christ. That is because of the nature of what this post is about to discuss. I know that the topic is divisive and makes people, in and out of the Christian community, emotionally edgy. That is because it speaks to out core values on the value of human life and freedom, and our vision for both. Both sides have similar values on this issue both totally different visions on how to make it all work. I only feel the urge to post on it in light of a tragic mass shooting that happened last week.

Pulse Nightclub Shooting & Here We Go Again

It seems that, over and over, tragedy repeats itself in the form of mass shootings. We hear about school shootings, theater shootings, workplace shootings, and a Pulse nightclub shooting that killed 50 people. Do they show any signs of stopping? Where will it happen next? Sadly, these are the questions we now are forced to ask. We have to face the fact that we are not safe anywhere, not at work, walking outdoors, not in a public or private building, not at events, or even in our own homes! Violence can erupt anywhere, even as the result of an escalating argument. But, brothers and sisters in Christ, we know that our faith is supposed to be in God first, to free us from living in fear and to know that even if bad things happen, that He will bring good out of these if we love Him. Why is it, then, that I see those in the Christian community to be the most vocal and the most passionate in advocating for our gun rights, even before safety itself? "God and guns" is a common saying in some Christian circles. Putting God and owning firearms in the same category? I saw this post a few days ago, framed in general terms and it was worded something like: "My aim is to disarm my citizens" and this saying was attributed to Adolph Hitler. I saw another, similar, general post: "The mark of an oppressive government is the effort to disarm its citizens." It is brothers and sisters in Christ who are in my social networks, who post most frequently about gun rights, especially, it seems, in the wake of tragic shootings. Yes, I see some posts in favor of gun rights by those outside the Christian community. This post is not about "gun control" or the taking away of any law-abiding citizen's rights to own a gun. No, this is about the safe and responsible use of firearms! We should not need to legislate safe and responsible ownership of firearms. Sadly, it seems that we need this! These mass shootings are not stopping. And guns are used in other forms of killing, including other murders and in countless suicides. I know that the case conservative "gun rights" advocates make is that other weapons are also used to kill, including knives, ropes, baseball bats, even a killer's bare hands. But why make another weapon available for killing? That is the question.

Fort Hood Shooting & What Will It Take TO End These Tragedies?

I'm sure that most of you are aware of the Fort Hood shooting that happened last week, at a Texas Army Base. An Iraq veteran, 34, killed three fellow soldiers, injured 16 others. Then he ended his own life. Ivan Lopez was this gunman's name. Now, four people are dead and many the lives of many others are forever altered. They have lost much and will never forget. Yes, we are now talking about mental health, banning all gun rights to those with mental health issues, providing services to those with these issues, and ending the stigma of mental illness. In this case, as this is a military case, our nation, the US, is talking about why veteran suicides and violence are rising, how we are failing them, and what we can do about that. These are all things that we ought to be tackling. But during the Vietnam Era and during and after that war, veteran suicides were not nearly as prevalent. The stress on Vietnam veterans was even worse, as they were drafted into service and they did not receive a "hero's welcome" when they came back home but were spat on as "baby killers." They did not have the support that today's soldiers have, and SHOULD have. Many years ago, I recall that one Vietnam veteran said, in comparing the level of support in contrast to what Iraq soldiers at the time were getting: "I don't think anyone prayed for me." Yet veteran suicides are continuing and show no signs of ending. I believe it has risen to eighteen veteran suicides per day, far higher than among any other people group. The rate of suicide and homicide have also risen among teens and even among middle-aged adults. In earlier decades like the 1960s and 1970s, when I was growing up, guns were not nearly as accessible and this period spanned the Vietnam War. I wonder if our far easier access to guns has something to do with the fact that we have become a more violent society? Isn't this ironic that this has co-incided with the legalization of abortion? Life has become cheaper in the developed world.

Preventing More Mass Shootings, Some Ideas

None of us, Christian or non-Christian, wants to see any shootings, let alone mass shootings. Yet so many among us seem to believe that we need to operate on fear and protect ourselves with our guns. Isn't this what people like George Zimmerman and Michael Dunn did with unarmed boys whom they saw as suspicious? Do our gun rights make many of us who own guns too quick to use those guns when we see anyone we believe poses a threat, even if they do not? This easy access to guns means that people with anger management problems, as both George Zimmerman and Michael Dunn were both documented has having, can get guns and misuse them. In light of this, the National Rifle Association's (NRA) argument that we can save lives by arming all citizens, even teachers, seems to be risky and unwise, inviting those who have anger issues or violent tendencies to get more tools to satisfy their dark urges. Yes, there is much more to preventing violence than promoting safe gun ownership. We need to raise children to be people of self-control, empathy, and compassion, accept and welcome those who the marginalized, support our veterans, seek help for a family member who is dealing with mental health issues, pressure the government to expand mental health services funding, and, as Christians, by covering the whole situation in prayer.

May I hear from you about any of this, even if you disagree?

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