Pastor Tim’s article that appeared in the Evening Leader on Monday, January 5, 2019
We live in a violent world. I am sure that isn’t news to you. As I am working on this article, I am reading about the aftermath of the church shooting in Texas. I am writing this article on Monday, Dec 30, so this article won’t be published for a week and I am wondering if this shooting in Texas will be the most recent mass shooting by the time this article is in the paper. Isn’t that frightening? That’s the kind of world we live in.
Everyone wants an explanation for why this happens. Is it the gun’s fault? To follow this line of logic, then if we outlawed spoons, obesity would subside. If we think guns are to blame, then I could make the same argument that guns are the answer. If the sick person who perpetrated this crime knew that the shooting spree would end with him getting shot in the head seconds after he decided to pull the trigger, that could have deterred him from killing anyone. I think it makes more sense to have more guns than to blame the one gun that was there in the hands of an evil man.
The problem here isn’t a problem of weapons being available. The problem is that there are people in our world who have decided the only way to air their grievances with the world is to kill people who had absolutely nothing to do with what they think is wrong. And full disclosure – if it comes out in the next few days that the people he did manage to kill had interacted with him in any way before, that in no way justifies what happened.
I grew up around guns. My Dad is a champion sporting clay shooter. He taught me respect for guns and how to use them. I could probably hold my own in target shooting against anyone reading this article. In all the time I spent shooting guns, I never one time considered hurting someone with those skills. Outlawing guns would be just as effective as outlawing drugs has been.
There are two reasons why people want to blame guns. First, it is the easy thing to blame. If it is the gun’s fault, then we don’t have to embrace the fact that there is a sickness going through people right now that prompts them to kill. I don’t like that fact any more than you do, but shifting the blame to an inanimate object does nothing to curb the problem even if it does make some folks feel better.
The second reason people like to blame guns is it appears to be an easy solution. If we repealed the second amendment and took away all of the guns, then we would all be safe. That is a lie as plain as day, but at least it makes some people feel like we are doing something about this. We want to do something, but gun blaming is counterproductive.
Having said all of this, we have got to do something. What can we do? We have to keep our eyes open. We have to pay attention to our surroundings and listen to our gut when something doesn’t seem right. The same people who believe banning guns will solve this problem are the same people who scream that you can’t judge people for any reason. Both of those ideas are wrong. If something doesn’t seem right to you, don’t ignore it. If you notice someone who is isolating themselves and is not well, tell someone. Get help, call the authorities. Find out what is happening. When you are in a public place, take a glance around and see what is going on around you.
The worst thing we can do is cower in fear. If we allow the violence to push us further apart or cause us to change in response to fear, then the violence worked and that cannot be. I understand the fear – that is the motivation behind these acts of senseless violence. But we cannot allow the fear these killers want to create to change what we are. We are peace-loving, God-fearing people who care about our friends, families and neighbors and we won’t allow anything to take those values from us.