A Typical or Atypical Pastor's Wife-whichever one you come to believe

Welcome to the barnyard. Watch your step! The things written here are raw and unedited. Just my thoughts thrown on a page as they flow from my heart.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Another University Shooting???

Today I go a place that I rarely go-current events and politics.  Why?  Because Christian universities and Christian students are very dear to my heart AND because the need and necessity to carry some kind of protection has never been more evident than in the crazy society and world we live in.   Even 30 years ago, I would not have said this, but let's face it, sin is increasing exponentially, just as scripture says it will in the last days.  We need to not only learn to discern the times in which we live, we also need to figure out how to survive them.  Sin and it's effects are ugly and indiscriminate. It preys on the guilty and the innocent alike.  Therefore, we must not only guard ourselves from sin preying on our own hearts, but we must also guard ourselves from the effects of sin in the lives of those around us because quite frankly, we are often the innocent victims of another's sin.

On April 2nd, in Oakland, CA, a man stood up in the middle of a class at Oikos University, drew a gun, shot a student squarely in the chest and then sprayed the room with bullets killing 7 people and wounding 3 others.  Chaos incurred.  Up to 30 shots were heard by those hiding in closets and behind locked doors.  Eerily similar to the VA Tech, the Columbine massacre and the Penn State shootings a few years ago, it is obvious that campuses are not secure.  It appears that unless you can carry a campus policeman with you, you may not be safe, even in school.  

I've heard all the arguments against allowing students to carry guns but when these shootings are happening more and more frequently it becomes obvious that something has to change.  Most people opposing the right to concealed carry have never been in a situation where they or a loved one have been in a situation where they were threatened by someone else's violent intents. 

There have been several times that my husband, and consequently our family, have been threatened with violence because of the ministry.  More than once I have had to take special precautions to insure the safety of our children both at home and school due to threats made by mentally unstable people who have crossed paths with our ministry and did not like something we did or stood for.   As a mother, it enraged me that I had sit down with my elementary aged children and tell them what to do if so-and-so ever showed up at our house.   Once I was followed all over Wal-Mart by a person who had made such threats and was trying to intimidate me.  At that point, all I had was pepper spray on my key chain.  A deterrent, yes, but not much help against a knife or a gun.  It was very frightening.  

Fifteen years ago, on a sunny afternoon, while hundreds of students relaxed on the lush green grass of Old Main lawn, a young woman with a hunting rifle crouched behind a bush and began shooting at students.  One young woman died, another student was wounded and several others found bullets lodged in their backpacks after returning to their dorms.  (Finally....a good use for those 20 pound science books that no one ever reads).  This hit home for me because that happened literally in my back yard which was only one block from campus.  It is totally conceivable that given the right trajectory, some of those shots could have ended up in my yard. My kids play in the yard.

When I think about these situations and especially the Oikos shooting, I often wonder what would have been the outcome if just one of the students or faculty had been armed and could have neutralized the situation before 7 people ended up dead?  Let's face facts. 

 Bad people who want guns will find a way to get them.  There is absolutely nothing we can do about that!  Taking guns from good citizens will not fix this problem.  Banning all guns is a pipe dream.  It will never happen!  A ban on guns altogether would only heighten the intensity and increase the frequency of what the ban was trying to eliminate.  There will be and should always be guns.  So the only alternative that makes any kind of sense is to allow people who have been screened by local law enforcement to have their own protection.  California, where this latest shooting took place, does have a concealed carry law but one of the requirements that must be met to qualify is the "need" of the person applying for the permit, a decision that is totally left up to the discretion of the local official processing the application.  In a lot of cases, personal protection is not considered a "need".  However, it was on April 2nd.  Personally, I'm not willing to be another statistic in the "died without a chance" category.  

After yesterday's shooting, it appears that the "need" for protection could be simply that you attend college or that you live in California!   Here is an excerpt from an article written by Representative Cliff Stearns which says:

"So many liberal politicians and self-appointed experts want to keep honest Americans from having access to firearms, even though, since 2003, in states which allow concealed carry, violent crime rates have been lower than anytime since the mid-1970s. The reverse logic of this "knee jerk" reaction is astounding and has lead to an outright assault on our basic Constitutional and natural rights.  These misguided policies to keep firearms out of the hands of law-abiding citizens literally mean a death sentence for thousands of Americans.
In research sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice, in which almost 2,000 felons were interviewed, 34% of felons said they had been “scared off, shot at, wounded or captured by an armed victim" and 40% of these criminals admitted that they had been deterred from committing a crime out of fear that the potential victim was armed. 
Allowing law-abiding people to arm themselves offers more than piece of mind for those individuals -- it pays off for everybody through lower crime rates.  Statistics from the FBI’s Uniformed Crime Report of 2007 show that states with right-to-carry laws have a 30% lower homicide rate, 46% lower robbery, and 12% lower aggravated assault rate and a 22% lower overall violent crime rate than do states without such laws.  That is why more and more states have passed right-to-carry laws over the past decade."

As a gun owner, a  concealed carry license holder, and a shooting competitor I can say that deciding to own a gun was a BIG decision for me!  And not one that I took lightly. I was not raised around guns, in fact, until just a few years ago, I was scared to death of them.  That fear has now become an extremely healthy respect instead of paranoia.   

As I have met others who also believe that a gun is legitimate form of protection, I have found that they don't take the responsibility lightly either.  Most have taken classes, as I have, to learn how to safely maintain and operate a gun in a way to minimize injury and harm both to the offender and the innocent.   Why?  Because we are responsible citizens.  Because we care about our families and our society.  Because we agree that  "inalienable rights" of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness do come from God.  Because we are blessed to live in a country that recognizes  those rights as coming from God and recognizes our rights to pursue them. 

My prayer everyday is that if I am ever in a situation where using lethal force is my ONLY option that I would use it to save a life and not take one.  In a large majority of cases, a gun in the hands of a law abiding citizen is more of a discouragement to violence than an actual weapon of one.  Most people who go into a place with the intent to shoot innocent people go to a place that they know is a "gun free zone", like a school or a church, or a government building.  Unless they are just a total psychopath or someone intent on dying themselves, someone calling their bluff by pointing a gun back at them or by putting a red dot from a laser site on their chest is a huge deterrent and often leads to the surrender of the perpetrator.  

The controversy will continue.  The lines will continue to be drawn between two schools of thought on this issues.   The theological debates will continue too.   

The Bible speaks of love in terms of giving your life for friend.   And there is every anti-gun person's favorite "thou shalt not kill."   Unfortunately this commandment cannot be used in the context of self defense.  In the original Hebrew, the commandment is "thou shalt not murder", that is you should not kill with evil intent. 

 Scripture also tells us in Proverbs 25 "not to give way to the unrighteous".  In Luke 22 Jesus instructed his disciples to sell their cloak and buy a sword if they didn't have one before going out to preach the gospel. ( I seriously doubt that the purpose of the sword was to slice bread for dinner or to clean fingernails.  They too lived in perilous times.)   Nehemiah instructed Israel to "fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes."   And in the law, if someone was breaking into your house at night and you killed them, you were not held responsible for their death.  

As someone who has had incidents like these hit too close to home,  I have to say that I am in favor of a revision of the concealed carry laws on university campuses.  I have two children heading to college in the next several years and I would want to know that if the occasion ever arose where they needed to protect themselves, they would have the option to use whatever means was available to them.  

The perception that anyone who owns a gun is a crazed nut-case that would use it to murder innocent people is just not correct.  Of all the people that I know, those that carry a concealed weapon are some of the most level headed, law abiding, conscientious  people that I have ever been around.  They understand the responsibility of carrying a gun and they take that responsibility very seriously.  

We live in times when people have less and less regard for human life.  So, in response, we must be guarders of the innocent more than we ever have been before.  To me there is no difference between guarding the unborn or guarding those that are already born.  And if I would take a life or lose my own when using a gun to save another, I believe the Lord would be just as pleased.  

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