What is the Answer?


When I first thought about writing this post I had a lot of things I wanted to say and there was going to be very little filtering involved, but I’ve had a little time to calm down and to measure my words carefully. I may say some things you disagree with and if you stop reading that is fine. You have a right not to read what I have to say. I hope that you will consider what I say as my honest feelings and respect them for what they are. With that being said, I am going to mention some things I have seen posted by friends on facebook and elsewhere. I am not going to call those friends out and I respect their right to say what they believe, but I wanted to be upfront with what may seem hypocritical on the surface.

Now, if you are ready to continue, read on and leave whatever comments you would like. I only ask that you keep things respectful.When I first heard about the shooting in Connecticut yesterday, I was at work and it was nearly one o’clock. I was busy and detached from the news outlets, so it wasn’t until I heated up my lunch and hopped online that I heard about the shooting. I was horrified and for the first time in my life since 9-11, I was glued to the news. I had to know what was happening and the more details the better.  I texted my wife, told her to hold our kids close and to meet our  oldest at the bus stop. She had not heard about the shooting either.

As I sat at my desk hitting the refresh button and looking for the minute to minute updates I cried. My boys are in second and fourth grade, the same ages as the children killed in this senseless act of violence. If it could happen there, why not here in Mooresville. I had to fight the urge to leave work and pick up my oldest from school (Connor was home sick). I would have given anything to hold my children in my arms at that moment. Fortunately, I had a customer call with a problem that kept me busy pretty much until it was time for me to leave, so I was spared some of the self torture I was inflicting upon myself.

In the aftermath of the shooting there are a few things I thought about and saw that I wanted to address here. This is the part you might be offended by, so be ready.

First, I have never been a big gun control person. I tend to think that there are certain things that everyday people should not have access to. Assault weapons, armor piercing bullets and body armor are just a few of those things.  My father explained to me when I was younger that the right to bear arms is not so much about protecting yourself from criminals or those that would harm you as much as it is about being able to resist the government should they ever try to take away our personal liberties. It made sense to me. Now I am older and I still see the logic in it, but I believe there is a tipping point where the amount of protection gun ownership affords us is less than the danger that nearly unlimited access to guns represents.

By no means am I a Second Amendment/gun control expert, but I have heard enough of the arguments out there to feel like I can say a few things about it all.  I do not think people should not be allowed to have guns, but I do think there should be a limit to the number and type of guns that we should be allowed to have.  In most, if not all, of the recent shootings, the guns were all purchased legally by the shooter, a relative or a friend. So the argument that criminals will find a way to get guns no matter what doesn’t hold much water with me. Anyone can get a hold of a lot of guns legally or illegally, so why make it easy?

Another argument is that if more people carried guns then there would be less risk of these shootings because of the fear of being shot.  There are two problems with this argument as I see it. First, the people who are carrying out these shootings are clearly derange. No amount of deterrent would have kept them from shooting some place up. Would they maybe have gone to a different location if there were armed guards at the venues they targeted? Possibly, but that brings me to argument number two. The shooting outside of the Empire State building left a number of people wounded. Most of them were hit by friendly fire. In this case, friendly fire means the bullets came from the guns of the police officers who were trying to stop the gunman that had started the shooting in the first place. The police, who are highly trained in the use of their firearms, accidentally shot innocent people. I do not blame the police officers, I am merely pointing out that in the heat of the moment, highly skilled professionals missed and hit innocent people. What would make anyone think that a bunch of gun toting civilians in a crowded movie theater would do any better? And this is part of the reason I don’t like the idea of armed guards at our schools and much less do I like the idea of teachers or administrators being armed. A school should be a safe place for learning. Let’s keep the guns outside of the campus, not inside it.

Second, the lack of organized, in school prayer is not why people shoot up schools. Last night and this morning I read a number of posts about how God is not allowed in school, so that is why these school shootings happen.  Really? God is not allowed in school? Last time I checked there was nowhere that God could not go. The laws of men do not bind him and he is everywhere. How arrogant are these people to presume that there is some sort of connection here.  The people who perform these acts are monsters plain and simple. I would suggest that God has been in the very places where these atrocities are taking place. He brings comfort to the scared, courage to the responders and peace to the dying. God is not responsible for these horrors, but man is.

Another part of the religious chatter on this subject is that these shootings are a sign, that they are a warning from God to change our ways because we have strayed from the path. I consider myself a Christian. I believe in the God of the new testament that believes in peace and redemption, not the God of the old testament that was filled with wrath and rage. To say that these are a sign sent by God flies in the face of his love of children. To punish them for the sins of the adults of this word flies in the face of a loving Christian God. I don’t pretend to be a religious scholar, but if the shooting in Connecticut was a sign from God, then he is not a God that I would ever worship.

More than anything, I came away from yesterday worried about my children. They go to public schools and I had never given much thought to the dangers of someone coming from outside the school to do harm to them. I know that it will be a very long time before I don’t worry about them when they get on the bus in the morning. I hope and pray that the families who lost their innocent children find peace some day and that the poor souls that witnessed the events at that school and survived can find a way to heal and move on.

 

 

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