rights, firearms and me

As I’ve previously stated in my blog, I’m part of the responders to the Lexington Herald Leader’s Faith and Values Questions of Faith.  Their latest has to do with the Second Amendment, guns, our rights, etc.

This was a particularly hard question for me to answer, mainly because I do not like to offend people.  And for whatever reason, [actually, I suppose we know most of the reason] sharing one’s thoughts on gun control can open up a proverbial can of worms.

I have friends, close family members and I’m fairly certain neighbors who have guns and believe strongly in the right to [bear] them.  I cannot recall ever touching an actual gun in my entire life.  I have no desire to fire one, own one or even look at one.

In May of last year, a young man was shot and killed across the street from our home.  My son walked home from his bus stop on a Thursday afternoon to a crime scene.  Whether or not the guy killed was involved in something he should have been, is beside the point to me.  Someone fired a gun and killed him.  Life over.  Wasted.  Done.  Another young man sent to prison.  Another life most likely wasted, at least for quite a few years.

Last fall I stood in front of a middle school while a group of school staff, a couple of my coworkers, and a lady from an apartment complex across the street gathered to pray for the school and neighborhood.  A young man had been shot point blank at the apartments a week or so before.  Another life wasted.  People left behind.  Kids who think having a gun is the answer.  Revenge.  RIPs on Facebook.  Domestic issues someone wants to take care of, but ends up creating a gazzillion more.

Just yesterday, a youth was shot in the neighborhood in which my husband works.  He’s employed at the Lexington Rescue Mission.

Yes, I realize these are [urban] cases.  Violence in the [not so great part of town].  Kids involved in stuff they shouldn’t be.

Bad guys are going to have guns whether they’re legal or not.  We hear that all the time.  We have a right to guns.  We have a right to protect ourselves and our families.  We hear that all the time too.  But at what point do we decide enough is enough?

Here’s my contribution to the Herald Leader.  The italicized section was left out by the newspaper.  I guess that’s their right. [as long as we’re talking about rights…..]   Or you can read it at the HL site:



If you own a hand gun or assault rifle, or basically anything beyond a rifle used for hunting, and have ammunition for the gun, I would surmount you are prepared to wound, if not kill another person with it.  You have already made the decision you are willing to take a life, most likely in a split second decision.

When I compare that scenario with the Sermon on the Mount, I do not see the parallels.  When I look at the words of Jesus, I read nothing that encourages me to grab a literal weapon and be prepared for a shoot out.

People often bring up the issue of ‘rights’.  There are those who don’t care to own a gun yet still believe they have a right to, and of course, those who do own, often preach on and on about the Second Amendment.  If I believe in living life aligned with the teachings of Jesus, I have to be willing to give up my ‘worldly’ rights.  As followers of Jesus, our citizenship is to be in heaven, so our rights here don’t matter all that much.

This past spring, my son walked home from his high school bus stop to a crime scene.  At approximately 3pm on a May Thursday, a nineteen year old was shot across the street from our home. He died a few hours later at a hospital.  While arming our home might seem like a safe and reasonable response to such violence, I choose to disagree.  Teaching our 18 year old honor student with excellent hand-eye coordination from years of drumming to defend the family with a hand gun might seem the smart idea, but I differ.  I choose an example of peace and reconciliation.

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