Will you help get rid of all guns in America so another child doesn't need to die? Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida?
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Another school shooting. Death of any type is saddening, but murder even more so. Unfortunately, as a former homicide detective, I observed far too much of it in my career. Grief, dispair, and varying emotions fill us all. But, while we weep with those that weep (Rom. 12:15), we should also find ways to curtail such depraved activity as school shootings (Eph. 5:11; cf. Jas. 4:17).
Someone wrote in asking me to support a total ban on guns, which they believe will curtail such events. But gun control in the U.S. is not the answer to school shootings! The answer is much more complex than that. The depraved heart (Jer. 17:9) seeks out many inventions (Eccl. 7:29; Rom. 1:30) in which to carry out its evil intentions.
Do away with guns and another methodology will be used; some far more destructive than a simple gun. This is easy attested to by the numerous weapons used in other murders across the world (poisonings, bombs, fires, automobiles, planes, etc.).
Even the first reported U.S. school massacre (The Enoch Brown School Massacre) in the United States is said to have been during Pontiac's War, where on July 26, 1764, a group of Lenape American Indians entered a school near Greencastle, Pennsylvania, and shot and "scalped" the schoolmaster and "tomahawked and scalped" a number of children. So, doing away with tools, such as guns, is not the solution! The problem(s) is much deeper and far more difficult than doing away with just one tool.
While the Bible is against murder (Gen. 9:6; Exod. 20:13); it is not anti-gun or anti-self-defense. Jesus told his disciples to carry a sword; "He said to them, "But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one"" (Luke 22:36). Jesus could have stated to merely carry a shield, but instead he chose a weapon that can be used for both defensive and offensive purposes.
While a Christian should never carry a gun to avenge themselves, to resist Christian persecution, or to advance Christianity by force, we should recognize that it is not "loving one another" if we do not defend others and ourselves in such situations as school shootings (Rom. 13:8; 1 John 3:18, etc.). Christians are called upon to defend the weak (Psa. 82:3-4; Prov. 31:8-9; Isa. 1:17; 1 Tim. 5:8; cf. Exod. 22:2-3; Neh. 4:16-18).
Of course, this does not mean that the sword is the answer to every or even most disagreements (cf. Matt. 5:11-12, 38-39, 44-45), as after Jesus' command to carry a sword, he told Peter to put his back up because God's will - Jesus' arrest - was necessary (Matt. 26:51; Mark 14:47; Luke 22:49; John 18:10-11). The Bible steers Christians towards peace when at all possible; "If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all" (Rom. 12:18).
However, the Bible is not against offensive weapons; as attested to in both the Old and New Testaments. However, it is also for proper training, common sense, etc. At the end of the day, everyone, including Christians, have the right to defend themselves from certain types of violence. Biblically everyone (of proper age and training) in America should be able to carry a gun to defend themselves. In the United States, the 2nd Amendment recognizes and guarantees this right. As Ra McLaughlin writes:
In America, The Bill of Rights recognizes the right to self-defense (in the 2nd Amendment) as a pre-existing natural right. It is important to understand that the Constitution does not grant or delegate this right, but it does recognize and guarantee it. This point is important as it is an inalienable right (rights which are not contingent upon the laws, customs, or beliefs of a particular society or polity) and thus cannot be taken away.
So, what is the problem behind the problem of school shootings? What is the sin behind the sin, per se? While no list on such a topic could ever be complete, I can think of a few:
- (1) Improper Parenting - not teaching children by word and deed proper ethics, such as the value of life. You have to have a license to drive a car, to even carry a gun, but there is no required parenting training? (Deut. 6:6-7; 11:19; Eph. 6:1-4).
- (2) Improper Home Discipline (Prov. 15:32; 23:13; cf. Psa. 94:12; Prov. 3:11; Heb. 12:5, 11).
- (3) Certian Video Games, Music, and TV programs desensitizing death (Prov. 22:6). Non-restricted use of iPads, iPhones, etc.
- (4) Media's sensationalizing of such events, therefore giving perpetrators the limelight for a season while media outlets make themselves millions off such tragedies in advertising. Do a search for school shootings online and look at the number of ads that want to make merchandise off the tragedy. Why aren't these millions being made off such tragedies being given to make our schools safer? Why is there any merchandising at all being made off crime?
- (5) Law enforcement, schools, and social services not properly following up on reports of people that may be prone to such acts of violence.
- (6) Not having laws that allow for the legal and proper communication between schools, mental health professionals, social services, hospitals, and law enforcement.
- (7) Gun free zones, where a perpetrator can murder without fear of immediate reprisal.
- (8) Not properly training and arming qualified teachers to help defend against such tragedies.
This list could continue and be very, very long. However, as one can clearly see, humanity has far more problems than merely taking away guns from law-abiding citizens, which would only serve to escalate the problem! In all my years of law enforcement, I never arrested a gun, saw an indictment against one, and never had the occasion to try one or have it found guilty of murder. The problem is not the tool being used, but the person using the tool.
The solution to curtailing mass school shootings begins in the home. However, the home must get its instruction and education from a trusted source. This is not the TV, music, iPad, or violent video game babysitter. The trusted source that has been in existence for generations is the Bible (2 Tim. 3:15-17; 2 Pet. 1:18-20). Of course, one needs more than just the Book of books, they need a personal relationship with its Author too; Jesus Christ (John 3:1-8). "Ye must be born again."
Ever since America has removed prayer from schools, problems in schools have increased. No prayer, more problems! Children grow up seeing laws that allow for and protect the murder of infants = abortion; and we wonder why they think so little of human life.
When society suppresses the knowledge of God (Rom. 1:18), hearts are darkened (Rom. 1:21), and debased minds are the result (Rom. 1:28-32). In such a society and while still hating evil (Rom. 12:9), the Christian should expect evil (1 Pet. 4:12); endure it (1 Cor. 13:7), but overcome it with good (Rom. 12:21) while fully exposing it (Eph. 5:11); continuously praying for deliverance from it (Matt. 6:13), while thanking God for its refining effects (Rom. 5:3-5; Eph. 5:20; 1 Thess. 5:18).
Ultimately, Christians should help society resist evil (Jas. 4:7). But assisting others will take more than prayer (1 Thess. 5:17-18; Jas. 2:14-27). It's going to take time and getting involved with others at the family level. It means getting involved in society and contacting and attempting to help schools, mental health professionals, and law enforcement tackle the problems.
It means getting involved in politics. It going to take peaceful protests against media outlets and their advertisers that sensationalize and attempt to make profits from such sad depraved events.
It's going to require getting rid of gun-free zones and qualified instructors voluntarily training others to defend themselves using different skills; such as boxing, wrestling, martial arts, guns, etc. Organizations such as the NRA, IDPA, etc. have an immense amount of training resources that they can make available to assist in helping to train qualified teachers and others.
Let's get to work "together" as a nation!
Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (IIIM).
First published at the Third Millenium Ministries.