A Murderous Monster’s Weapons Stash

How easy is it for an average citizen to acquire an arsenal of assault rifles and high powered hand guns in our country? So easy, even a convicted murderer

Photo: Glen Stubbe, Star Tribune

who has been institutionalized for insanity can acquire a weapons permit, and then collect a stash of them (see the pic) over a period of years. He only had to switch his first and middle names on the permit application. Easy as that.

Thankfully, an astute sheriff in Minnesota took notice of Christian Phillip Oberender’s name, having recognized him as the 14 year old boy who killed his own mother. An investigation turned up the arsenal at his home, along with a disturbing note recently addressed to his deceased mother:

I think about killing all the time,” Oberender wrote. “Why god do I feel like this? The monster want to hurt people. Guns are too fast. The monster want it to be slow and painful. There is so much pain in my heart and soul. Me want other to feel it.

Much of the gun conversation revolves around questions of rights. I wonder why we don’t talk more about duty? It seems especially odd when Christians talk so loudly about their individual rights–seemingly neglecting the greater, more pressing, and I would argue more biblical question of duty.

Most people in favor of greater gun control and tighter regulation are not trying to take away Uncle Charlie’s hunting rifle. They are trying to change a situation in which a convicted murderer and mentally unstable person can acquire enough guns to go into a school, a mall, or wherever, and unleash the “monster.”

We have a duty to attempt–at the very least–to create a society with greater protection for the innocent as well as to invest greater care in the mentally sick and unhealthy among us.



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About Kyle Roberts

(PhD) is Associate Professor of Public and Missional Theology at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities (beginning in fall of 2014). Roberts has published essays on Kierkegaard and modern theology, including several essays in the series Kierkegaard Research: 2014-10-14 10.26.51Sources, Reception and Resources (Ashgate / University of Copenhagen) and other collected volumes on various topics, including Pietism, Karl Barth, and Christian spirituality. Roberts has published Emerging Prophet: Kierkegaard and the Postmodern People of God (Cascade, 2013) and is currently co-authoring a theological commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Eerdmans).