When the Second Amendment Enables Terrorism: Why Killing Children Isn’t a Well-Regulated Militia

A lot of people today are asking questions.

“Why?”

“Where is God?”

“How could this happen?”

Today, though, I’m not in the mood to ask questions. Because I know why mass shootings happen in America, and it hasn’t got a damned thing to do with God

But everything to do with us.

Do you want to know why I’m not asking questions today?

There are lots of things you can blame God for. Guns is not one of them.

Because I asked questions after the last half-dozen massacres with guns.

Like we all did.

It is shocking and disturbing and horrifying that so many young boys and girls were murdered in Connecticut. No less so than the 12 killed in Aurora, Colo. No less so than the seven killed in  Oak Creek, Wis. No less than the 12 killed in Columbine. No less than the 32 at Virginia Tech.

We ask questions. And we grieve. But we, by and large, move on when the news cycle does and when the candles at the vigils burn out.

Where is God in all this?

Ask it if you must but ask this one, too.

Where were we in all this?

Because I will tell you where the NRA and gun lobbies were. They were on Capitol Hill, flush with money, lobbying, pushing for stand your ground laws, making sure that almost anyone could purchase a gun, even if they used it to end dozens of barely lived lives in a handful o minutes with a fistful of bullets.

Today, we are all weeping, grieving, watching television and hugging our children. These are all well and good. Do these. And do these however helps you grieve. But don’t think the gun lobbies are doing the same thing. They are readying their armies of lobbyists to make it politically impossible to make our country safer, more secure and less violent. They are trying to add the mass murder of children to part of our inalienable Second Amendment rights.

This isn’t a Second Amendment issue. Killing children isn’t part of the well-regulated milita the Bill of Rights envisioned. I’m convinced of it. Killing scores of people in a theater, in a place of worship, at a workplace is not essential to the security of a Free State, as the Bill of Rights envisioned. Guns, particularly  today do not bring safety and security as the Bill of Rights envisioned.

Rather, they bring the opposite: terror, destruction and mass violence.

Will getting rid of the guns end violence? No. But it can’t help but mitigate it.

Will banning assault rifles solve our gun violence problems? No. But it is a crucial piece to keep our citizens safe, our children safe, our country safe.

See, because that feeling we all have right now? That’s not just the feeling of sorrow or grief. That is the feeling of being terrorized. Of being afraid to let your children attend school, play outside, be innocent and young.

Today, I’m all for a war on terrorism. Control the guns. Ban assault rifles. Terrorism is terrorism is terrorism.

Today, I hear people asking, “How long, O Lord? How long?” It is a question of Advent.

Today, I suggest we ask a different question. “How long, O people of God? How long?”

Today, I am desperate enough to hope.

Write your representatives, your senators, the attorney general, the President. Show your support for a ban on assault rifles. Join your local chapter of the Brady Campaign.

Today, let us begin to be the answer to our own prayers.

Right.

Now.

 

 

About David R. Henson

David Henson received his Master of Arts from Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, after receiving a Lilly Grant for religious education for journalists. He ordained in the Episcopal Church as a priest. He is a father of two young sons and the husband of a medical school student.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=500671579 Virginia Nancarvis

    I agree

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Nunez/100000281459047 Chris Nunez

    Thanks for this reflection David. It pains me to say that many decades ago when the United States, the then-Soviet Union and China were sending guns, rifles and AK assault weapons into the Third World, I could not help but wonder what was going to happen when our ‘chickens came home to roost.’ This is a little bit of what people outside the United States experience every day. It’s what too many inner city neighborhoods experience. I have no answers for what to do, but to support efforts for better ‘regulation’, the closest we can do to create that ‘well-regulated malitia’ that seems to have vanished from the constitutional understanding. I’m lost and can only pray.

    • DrPhrogg

      As James Mason wrote in his papers reference the 2nd, who is the militia? It is the entire people and to disarm the entire people is the quickest way to enslave them.

  • Kpyron

    Give me a break. The 2nd amendment is the right to bear arms. Not to kill children. Idiots are the ones that kill kids and or people in general for no reason at all. We have the right to protect ourselves, we do not have the right to go on a killing spree and just kill anyone that gets in our path.

    God is in the same place that he has always been. The difference is, He was taken out of school and everywhere else. So dont blame God. He has not gone anywhere. People just dont want him like they should.

    Now, if you dont want a gun then dont have one. But just because I or someone else wants one dont force your opinion on me. The thing to do is to have tougher laws to get a gun. Something as simple as if someone has mental problems they
    can not have a gun. But to ban guns, no. I will fight to be able to keep mine and everyone one I know that has one will do the same. You people forget, people use their guns to hunt to put food on the table. But you sit on that throne up high there and blame a gun for what stupid people do. See where that gets you. I will say a lot of prayers for your high morals.

    All the people I know will be praying for the people that have had to go through this horrible thing.

    • marie

      You use assault rifles to get your food? And whose God belongs in school, just yours, righ?

      • DrPhrogg

        By some people’s definition of assault rifles, I use one to hunt.

      • Micsanpic

        Mabry it will take your 80 year old mother to be tazered to death by the so called good guys for someone like you too understand!

      • VoxPopuli

        Assault Rifles are illegal marie and davidrhenderson. Maybe you meant to say “assault weapon”, a word created by gun control activists to scare and intimidate people into hating something they don’t fully understand. I don’t have to use my “personal defense options” for any purpose either. I don’t have to just use them for hunting or sporting, or whatever limits you arbitrarily attach to it. It’s my right given to me by the 2nd amendment to the constitution. It’s my right to be as armed as the criminal that forces his way into my house to rape my wife and daughter. It’s my right to have 30 rounds in the magazine to stop multiple men from doing the same. It was everyone’s God who did this. It was everyone’s God who allowed normal men with arms that were modern at the time throw off the chains of bondage by bloodshed. Maybe you should remember that it was by righteous bloodshed that you are enjoying the freedom to do what you are doing right now. Maybe you should remember that before World War 1, anyone could order a firearm by mail and have it shipped to their house. Yes, they had assault weapons, capable of firing multiple rounds from a magazine, and yet, there were no school shootings. You move 100 years into the future and all of a sudden the guns are to blame? Your ignorance is astounding.

    • Ikennen

      The 2d Amendment is not the right to privately own firearms… It is the right to bear them as part of a well-regulated militia. Militias keep their firearms in armories and strictly control the issuing of them out.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/7G4DQ2CMYNK2USX4RS4FSUMGBA freddie

        Militias do not use armories. Do not forget the second part of the second amendment “the right of the people to KEEP and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”. The second amendment was to keep the population armed so as not to be trampled on by the federal government. Much the way the Swiss do it today.

      • http://www.thechurchstateguy.com/ The Church State Guy

        First off, even if keeping and bearing arms kept the early colonists safe from being “trampled on by the federal government” our rifles (assault or otherwise) are slingshots compared to our federal government, so that is simply not valid.
        More importantly, though, I don’t think we can compare our system to the Swiss in any way whatsoever. I lived in Switzerland for four years and had a personal friend who showed me his weapon and explained the system to me. This is what he told me (to the best of my memory):
        Every male serves in the military for a set amount of years (they can choose to stay longer if they are hired for a position, which my friend did). They then leave with a weapon and a specific amount of bullets in a locked suitcase (paid for by taxes). Then inspectors come by your house occasionally and count how many bullets you have and if your weapon is clean and UNUSED. There are serious penalties if the weapon is used or bullets are fired without authorization. The have the weapons in their homes for national crises. The weapons are NEVER taken out in public unless for official purposes. Our system cannot be any MORE different from the Swiss. They have an actual well-regulated militia. We have the Wild West.

      • DrPhrogg

        As James Mason wrote in his papers reference the 2nd, who is the militia? It is the entire people and to disarm the entire people is the quickest way to enslave them.

      • Matt

        Really? What Militias?

      • VoxPopuli

        I think you and Mr. Henson need to do a bit of research before you begin interpreting for yourself what a Militia is. The historical context of the issue is quite clear, the Militia spoken of is the people as a whole. And even if you refuse to acknowledge that fact, the supreme court has ruled multiple times that there is indeed an individual right to carry arms. If you don’t like that, then try to amend the constitution.

        Mr. Henson states about guns: “Rather, they bring the opposite: terror, destruction and mass violence.

        Will getting rid of the guns end violence? No. But it can’t help but mitigate it.

        Will banning assault rifles solve our gun violence problems? No. But it is a crucial piece to keep our citizens safe, our children safe, our country safe.”

        These statements are at best the results of an ill-informed individual, and at worst, deliberate lies. I have seen zero evidence that disarming the public mitigates violence. In the case of Australia, it actually did the opposite:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGaDAThOHhA

        Safety is not being helpless in the face of danger, safety is being able to protect yourself when confronted with danger. No one will ever be safe if you disarm good men, giving free reign to the evil ones among us.

    • rascal sage

      The point of the article was banning assault weapons not all guns. You seem to be overreacting just a bit.

      • DrPhrogg

        What is an assault weapon? To some people, it is any gun that fires more than a single shot without reloading. Automatics have been illegal since 1939. I have yet to meet a politician who knows enough about guns to tell me which semi-autos qualify as an assault weapons. In NJ, the Boy Scout .22 used to earn a merit badge is an assault weapon, but most firearms used in WWI & WWII are not. That is called a common sense gun law.

      • Misanpic

        Is that not what Hitler did????hello wake sheepville.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1155292343 Lee Tilson

    Thanks for your thoughtful piece.

    If you feel this post is off topic, feel free to delete it.

    You might be interested in yesterday’s action by the Michigan Legislature. As a part of a huge slew of bills jammed through the legislature (jammed = bills come to life on Wednesday night and are passed by both houses of the legislature on Thursday of last week, and similar types of pushing, with no hearings, no testimony, etc. ), one of the bills that was passed eliminates the Concealed Weapons Boards, puts the decisions about permits to carry weapons in the hands of elected sheriffs, and makes it easier to carry concealed weapons into schools, churches, hospitals, football games, and day cares.

    Now there might have been some hearings on the weapons bills. The weapons bills were part of an avalanche of bills shoved through the legislature in less than a week in this lame duck session.

    Michigan’s past week.
    http://www.freep.com/article/20121214/NEWS06/121214016/michigan-house-senate-bills-passed-abortion-gun-emergency-manager?odyssey=tab

    Links to information about the concealed weapons statute
    http://legislature.mi.gov/doc.aspx?2011-SB-0059

    http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2011-2012/billanalysis/Senate/htm/2011-SFA-0059-F.htm

    http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2011-2012/billanalysis/House/htm/2011-HLA-0059-7C4AD496.htm

  • Andie3254

    GOD? Who took GOD out of schools? who took GOD out of every where, We might offend someone? really? This is horrible that guns kill, People kill not guns. I will not debate the gun laws. I will tell you that my husband had 40 guns and not one of them were registered. NOT ONE. when he passed (i no longer have guns) only because they were stolen from a friends house, and guess what one was used to rob a store. was this my fault? NO did the gun rob the store? NO! So quit blaming guns or whatever, blame the crazy azz hole that did the shooting

    • KatR

      What sane person needs 40 guns???

      • Bkrtrash96

        Birthright of living in a free country, you don’t get to decide what what someone else needs or wants. I don’t think we need TV, and the internet enables child porn…..lets ban that instead.

  • http://twitter.com/stephaniedrury Stephanie Drury

    Beautiful.

  • http://twitter.com/ajswillis Andrew J.S. Willis

    There is a science to reducing violence, and it is time for America to apply it.

  • Dean1

    ban knifes, ban baseball bats,, ban chains ban rope, ban cars, ban rocks, ban nails, ban lighters, etc etc etc etc etc etc….. get real already.

  • Jan Nunley

    Before another shot is fired: A prayer of repentance in the midst of gun violence

    Holy and gracious God, we stand before you today abashed and ashamed.
    We are alive today in a nation that does not cry out against the violence it permits to be done against its own citizens. We are alive today, and we do not know if we will remain alive tomorrow, because we have not cried out, and we have not acted, and we do not know where or
    when the shadow of hate will fall on us.
    For too long, we have put the Second Amendment to our Constitution in the place of your Ten Commandments, most especially the injunction not to do murder.
    For too long, we have believed and acted as though signing petitions and holding candlelight vigils are enough.
    For too long, we have cried “Freedom! Freedom!” when the only freedom left to our fellow citizens was the freedom of the grave.
    For too long, we have made our children “pass through the fire to Molech,” while the priests of our national religion of Mammon beat loudly on drums so the cries of the victims cannot be heard.
    In former days we asked you for blessing, healing, and compassion. We need all those things, and we hope for them, but we do not deserve to ask for them.
    For we have received them so many times from your hand, and yet have not done what ought to have been done to prevent the murder of our own.
    “For the weapons of our warfare are not merely human, but they have divine power to destroy strongholds” (2 Cor. 10:4), and yet we sit in silence and fear.
    Grant us grace, O God, but grant us backbone. Grant us comfort in our grief, but grant us also holy fierceness. Grant us deliverance, but grant us the wisdom to seek unceasingly the path that leads to it, and the courage to set our feet on that path, before another shot is fired in anger or despair.
    Amen.

    • http://www.facebook.com/unorthodoxologist David Henson

      Amen.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, obviously guns are the problem, not the psychopaths that murder children in cold blood. Banning all guns will get rid of all gun related crime.

    Oh wait, it doesn’t.
    http://hotair.com/archives/2012/11/27/mystery-virginia-gun-violence-falls-as-gun-sales-soar/

  • Qsachse

    Guns are not the problem. Our modern society’s attempt to legislate morality and personal responsibility away is the problem. Trying to blame this on gun laws, is to ignore the fact the people of faith have allowed our nation to ignore the morality that we are obligated by God to share. This nation wages a war on morality on a daily basis, and those that live under God’s laws must take a stand to change this before we are lost. As a side note, Connecticut has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, which should be proof to all of us that more laws are not the answer, more morality instilled in our children, and our society as a whole is. This is why God gave us morals, and why he called those without them heathens.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cynthia.astle Cynthia Astle

    Well said. Absolutely right.

  • Bruce Gillette

    See this hymn of lament over school shootings:
    http://www.carolynshymns.com/god_we_have_heard_it.html

  • Rugbflanker

    More children are murdered in the middle east every year than in America. The gun is not the weapon of choice there. The motive does not matter because harming children is crazy no matter what faith. The problem is you cannot legislate away crazy. They will always find a way to do harm be it a gun or ryder truck full of fertilizer. The second amendment is not to blame for this tragic event.

  • guest

    As a good friend stated, ‘first step is to look to the laws in CT and see why they failed rather than jump on an emotional band wagon. Secondly, the founding fathers knew that an armed populace was the guarantee of a free state hence the wording of the second amendment. As James Mason wrote in his papers reference the 2nd, who is the militia? It is the entire people and to disarm the entire people is the quickest way to enslave them.
    Our problem is violence in this country, plain and simple. There are more people murdered in NYC nightly on television than in reality. Parents allow their children to play shoot em up games for endless hours rather than teaching and interacting with their children. Car rides are plug the kids into a video in the back seat so we don’t have to interact with them. Americans need to get off the ‘woe is me, government please protect me’ pill and get back to the founding fathers ideals of self reliance and responsibility.

  • Malcolm Mor

    And had I been at that school, had one of my firearms with me, and dropped that psycho before he could kill children, mushy headed liberals like you would be wanting to charge me under the gun laws you have already made for “having a gun in a school zone.”

    Don’t blame the second amendment. Look in the mirror.

    • KatR

      Right, macho man. Even if the school hadn’t been a “gun free zone”, who would have been there waiting for an armed psycho to start shooting? Or is that what you are telling us? That we shouldn’t be able to leave our homes without being prepared at all times for the possibility of slaughter, no matter where we go?

  • Sandbilly1

    Maybe just maybe in all things we have turned from God ….bad has always been with us but now we see it in all places in our whole world in an instant…there are many reason we can say but the bottom line we need to find our way back to our creator

  • Micsanpic

    How about the 200 innocent people killed by hellfire middle in afganistan or the millions killed in Nagasaki or Hiroshima or the allmost 100 children killed in Waco Texas by the federal government?

  • Masjrny

    I think this is a powerful message. There has to be an end to the slaughter of innocents. The 2nd amendment was never created to allow people the “freedom” of access to any and all dangerous weapons. It was initiated in the 18th century allowing colonists to defend themselves and to hunt — with stick-reload muskets. It seems to me that with greater freedom comes greater responsibility. And it also seems to me that we, as a society, have forfeited our “right” to these weapons through unregulated and uncontrolled usage. Until we can responsibly safeguard our innocents, sophisticated weapons of widespread destruction do not belong in our hands. Period.

  • Bkrtrash96

    You’re really an idiot, you know that. Hows that 99% prohibition of civilian firearms working out to the south of you in Mexico. Want to see what your good intentions lead to, ask the citizens of Laredo, Monterrey or Mexico City. The law of unintended consequences hasn’t been repealed ya know?

    You can’t outsource your personal security to a cop who is legally not responsible for you, and may not even care about you. These things like this won’t happen if people stop outsourcing their kids to TV and giving them Ritalin like candy. Blame the real monsters here. Place responsibility where it properly belongs…..not the other 300 million guns that just sat in a safe last Friday.

  • Mickjess10

    Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

  • http://notdarkyet-commentary.blogspot.com/ Charles Kinnaird

    Thank you for this word of admonition. I included a track back to this blog on my own blog today for the Feast of the Holy Innocents.

  • Matt

    This has to be the most terrible argument I’ve read. At least by a blogger. You my friend, live in a Fairy tale world. I truly wish I could live in your world. But get off it. Keep us safe? Yeah, just like all of the changes in airport security have “kept us safe”? I’m a liberal by the way. But there’s a time for sensationalized false safety, and a time to think logically and rationally. And you have thought this through. Or if you have, then I suppose ignorance truly is bliss.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Russ-Hallberg/733668285 Russ Hallberg

    Use your education for critical thinking. Don’t you know what a false flag operation is? Should we give up self defense against a government with 4 billion hollow point bullets aimed at us because a mind controlled patsy was blamed for mass murder? Satan is a master of deception. Get hip.

    • http://www.facebook.com/unorthodoxologist David Henson

      If you think arming one’s self against the U.S. military isn’t anything but an exercise in paranoid delusions and extreme futility (see: drones), then I would redirect your comments regarding critical thinking and education right back to you, friend.


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