I have the utmost respect for our law enforcement officers many of whom frequently put their lives on the line — and sometimes lose — on our behalf.
Having recognized that, there are a couple of statements quoted by carry-your-gun advocates that, while promoting personal responsibility, also can be taken to demean the “Boys in Blue.”
The first has been said in so many places and so many times that its origin is almost certainly lost.
When seconds count, the Police are only minutes away.
We expect our Police and other security forces to provide exactly that, security. And, in the long term, they do. Unfortunately, they can’t be everywhere at all times so the sad fact is that, in the short term, you’re on your own.
The second statement, which I am hereby coining, carries a note of a terrifying truth known to a few unfortunate communities.
When seconds count, the Police are waiting outside.
While it is true that I am far too ignorant of the harsh realities officers face in such situations to pass judgement on their departmental policies and procedures, the fact remains that there are reasons for not charging in blindly the moment they arrive.
In personal terms, that means you and I are still alone with the gunman.
As public shootings over the past few years have shown, you don’t have to be in a crime-prone location to become a “random target”. Indeed, it doesn’t matter where you are, be it in the shopping mall, at school or at a religous retreat. If someone starts shooting, you are going to be on your own for what will certainly seem to be a nightmarishly long time.
Like it or not, you will then be forced to choose between being a victim or a fighter. And make no mistake, making no choice is choosing the former. That’s what the gunman wants, to kill you.
I pray none of us will ever have to face such a terrifying, faith-challenging situation. But as the news tells us, it is happening here and now, in our malls, in our schools and even in our most sacred religous institutions and retreats.
How will you exercise your God-given right to life?
That question does, I have to confess, leave me conflicted. Wrestling with the sanctity of the God-given life versus the preachings of Jesus … well, as I say, I’m conflicted.
In another blog, I did a lot of soul-searching as well as Bible-reading and research before coming to a contrary conclusion. In “Okay, I’m Convinced” you can read the Bible references, arguments and finally my conclusion which is that Jesus would not condone his own defense — indeed, he did not — and he advocates we do the same.
So now I live with the contradiction because I will tell you that I am a fervent follower of His teachings, and I carry a legally concealed weapon and will defend myself.
You might then ask, “Doesn’t that make your beliefs inconsistent? Aren’t you contradicting yourself? Aren’t you then advocating ‘situational ethics’ where right and wrong can no longer be clearly defined?”
Yes, it does. That’s true.
And it’s because we live in a grey world where good and bad are often mixed together.
God didn’t say this would be easy.
So, I am conflicted.
And I am armed.