Two for Tuesday

Well, let’s try something, I keep falling behind, and often I have two (or more) articles that bear on the same thing. Let’s see if we can connect them and make a coherent whole out of it. For Instance:

The school shooting in Florida is still rattling around the internet, but finally, some sensible people are saying things. These thoughtful people we should maybe be reading and thinking about. Gene Veith over at Cranach picked up an article that got my attention too at The Federalist. Rev Veith says:

On the most basic level, according to Romans 13, we are not to impose justice by taking personal “revenge.”  Rather, God protects us and punishes evildoers through the agency of authorities whom He has called to “bear the sword.”  In today’s terms, that would include police officers, our military, and other lawful officers.

A well-ordered society is not going to be what later political theorists would call “a state of nature,” in which everyone has to battle everyone else in order to survive.  God’s gifts of vocations makes for an interdependent society.  Then again, not all societies are well-ordered.  Lawless societies, as in the “wild west,” function differently.  And even in a well-ordered society, those who “bear the sword” cannot be everywhere.  But vocation still applies.  Keep in mind that we have multiple vocations, not just in our particular line of work, but in our families, the church, and society.

That’s important I think. We do have multiple vocations. Like him I’m using the term in the Lutheran sense of a God-given job, whether it’s preaching, policing, carpentering, homemaking, fathering, mothering, whatever. None of us is only one thing.

In his article linked from Rev Veith, Mathew Cochran says this:

It is therefore no wonder that, like people who work in schools and other gun-free zones, American Christians are beginning to ask themselves, “What happens when the shooter comes to my church?” How are we to handle a situation like that? Like anyone else, Christians would rather mentally and physically prepare for such an eventuality rather than being caught unawares.

I recently encountered a story about one such congregation’s deliberation on the issue. They opted to take advantage of a course on active-shooter situations offered by their local police department. Unsurprisingly, they caught a lot of flack on social media.

There was, of course the usual hatred about how these killings prove the supposed inefficacy of prayer or non-existence of God (how that reasoning applies to a religion that believes God sent his own son to be killed for us, they never quite explain). But someone also questioned how Christians, who are supposed to love their enemies, could possibly fight back against a shooter. Doesn’t “thou shalt not kill” prevent a Christian congregation from shooting a guy who came to murder them all? It’s not only a question Christians are asked, but one that we also ask ourselves.

On the Question of Returning Fire

First, nothing in that story talks about the congregation arming themselves so they can fight back. Nor is that implied simply by arranging a class of this kind. I attended the same kind of class at my church several years ago, and while I think they broached the possibility of shooting back once or twice, it was largely focused on other strategies to maximize survival.

And yet, there is no inherent dichotomy in a congregant returning fire. Last night I reread, Andrew Branca’s The Law of Self Defense. It’s something I do regularly, and you probably should too. In matters of life and death, there is no substitute for getting it right the first time.

Not for the first time, I was struck by how closely the US law on self-defense parallels the just war theory as expounded by St. Thomas Aquinas, and yes that has secular predecessors as well. One of the things that gets us is a quirk of the English language. Most of us know the Commandment as “Thou shalt not Kill” but the usage of the work kill has broadened since the King James version was written. For what we mean as kill, the translators used slay. For what they meant as kill, we use murder, including involuntary homicide, which is a different matter.

It’s still something you have to figure out between you and your God, but it seems pretty clear to me.

But that doesn’t really solve the problem, does it, although it might lower the body count a bit. Other factors than self-defense are necessary to make a real difference. My friend Leslie Loftus on Medium wrote a bit about how training is everything and linked us to another article there. That article is by Benjamin Sledge, and it is outstanding.

The Military Does a Better Job at Gun Control Than Anyone

One thing that has baffled me over the years is that I can go to the grocery store and buy a pack of tic-tacs and then walk across the street and buy a gun. I’m not baffled that I can buy a gun, as I believe it’s an important liberty to have, but it’s the ease and utter lack of training in which I can buy something that has no other role than to kill something.

A knife can be used for cooking and a bat for baseball. But a gun? Unless you’re collecting them for a museum, the point of a gun is to kill something.

Let me give you a breakdown of how the military has gun control right, and society has the process backwards.

When you enlist in the military, you will spend several weeks learning weapons safety and training. Before you are ever allowed to fire a weapon, you must be able to disassemble the rifle, clean it, and then reassemble the weapon. You will take tests and quizzes asking you questions pertaining to the distance and speed a bullet can travel. Once you pass your exams, you will then fire the weapon under the supervision and training of drill sergeants and weapons experts. Last, you must qualify with your weapon on targets. If you’re unable to do that, they will not allow you to graduate from basic training.

He’s correct, it is rather silly. When the system works properly (not always a given) we do check if one is a felon, and sometimes if there are mental issues, but it’s not all that rigorous, and it’s pretty much of a one-shot deal, even more than your driver’s license is. That doesn’t make a lot of sense. Read his article – I don’t completely agree with all of his points, but it makes the most sense of anything I’ve read on the subject.

For instance, I have no problem with arming teachers who volunteer, with their eyes wide open to the responsibility and possibilities, say like veterans who have become teachers, but there is room for debate there, not simply the yelling at each other we have been doing. I understand why we are doing that yelling, I do my share. But while it is important not to give away our God-given rights, this is not productive, in fact, it is harmful, to us, and to the Republic.

What cannot continue, will not continue, and having our kids shot down in school should not continue, and won’t for all that long.

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About NEO
Lineman, Electrician, Industrial Control technician, Staking Engineer, Inspector, Quality Assurance Manager, Chief Operations Officer

5 Responses to Two for Tuesday

  1. the unit says:

    Ah well, after 55 years of owning my Springfield 30-40 Krag that my great-uncle gave me, I found another use for it besides killing something, which I’ve never done with it. This is no lie. Recently after a day’s work of stooping and lifting I woke up in the night with a terrible backache. Not having a 2×4 handy in the bedroom at the time, I stuck the rifle under the mattress, bolt action knob down so as to support and keep the small of my back straighter. That helped a lot.
    It wasn’t loaded. I didn’t want to end up like LBJ’s political rival, suicide – shot in the back of the head with a rifle…twice. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      Yeah, that’s where I separated from him, I like military weapons for the same reason the military does, they pretty much work, no matter what, although you found a new use there, I think!

      Reminds me of an official Lake Co. Indiana (Gary) coroner’s report back shortly before I left. Guy committed suicide by hitting himself in the head with a hammer, 24 times. That’s determination! 🙂

      Like

  2. the unit says:

    “vocations…God given jobs… preaching, policing, carpentering, homemaking, fathering, mothering, whatever…” Ok, ‘I’m OK – You’re OK’, I can go along with those. Intersectionality? Not so much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      Yeah, you’ve a point there!

      Like

  3. Reblogged this on boudicabpi2015.

    Like

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