The Gun Issue is Only Part of the DNA of a Bigger Problem PART ONE
Let me make this clear, no essay, tweet or Facebook post is going to solve any problem, let alone those reflected in the latest headline tragedy coming out of Sutherland, Texas. We have become a nation seeking bumper sticker solutions from “Just Say No” to “Hope and Change.” Nothing is so simple, and to be even blunter, the hole we are in was not dug overnight. It’s going to take a hell of a lot more than rhetoric and one-size-fits all shouts and statements to fix what is wrong.
With that said, here are some things that need discussing up front.
I will name the two men from the Sutherland massacre who brought down the shooter: Stephen Willeford, legal gun owner, shot the gunman when he was leaving First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs. I will not give the name of the attacker, as the media gives far too much attention to these people. More on that later. Willeford wounded the gunman, forcing him to flee.
Willeford, a plumber by trade, was said to be an excellent sharpshooter and pierced a gap in the shooter’s body armor.
Willieford and Johnnie Langendorff, 27, gave chase, cornering him where it is believed he
committed suicide. I will be clear, these men are heroes. They do not believe that, but I do. While 26 people died, it could have been more. Legal gun ownership countered illegal ownership in the hands of a person who should have never had access to the weaponry he used.
Next, I need to revisit my own words on gun ownership. In the past, I have publicly stated that “the right to bear arms” is fundamental to our nation. Our forefathers did that for a reason—to prevent not just a foreign entity from bringing the civilian population harm, but also a domestic one…the enemy within. The Second Amendment allows us to enforce laws and protect our sovereignty–independent rights.
Here is what I have said in the past:
I will also save you the trouble of Googling so many articles. Here’s an entire search page for your convenience.
Where do I stand on this today?
Here is what has not changed:
I believe the good guys still need to be outfitted with proper weapons. The bad guys need to know that the GOOD guys have guns. As the church shooting recently showed us, if perhaps someone in the other mass shootings had been able to fire back, we might’ve seen fewer casualties.
But this is not a singular answer.
Not everyone is good and “the bad guys” also have access to the same weaponry. It gets even murkier from there.
How do we discern good guys from bad guys? That’s one of the first questions. The phrase goes: “Guns do not kill people. People kill people.”
While in England I was talking to a woman who expressed disdain for my “gun-loving culture” in the USA. When I replied that she must be relieved to have such strict access to guns thus lower crime in the UK, she laughed and said, “Oh no dear. We just stab each other.”
As for physical guns…the genie is out of the bottle. So let’s argue for a moment that there is a nationwide confiscation of every personal weapon. Not a single gun is in the hands of anyone but law enforcement and the military. We are talking hundreds of millions of weapons and ammunition taken away and destroyed or redistributed to government and military hands.
A logical person knows, this can’t happen. Like Prohibition, people will move into the shadows. Weapons will be hidden, cached and stockpiled. Homemade guns can now be made from simple plastics. The technology can’t be erased from our memory. It’s here and it will stay. So the response is, “get rid of them. We’ll just make more.”
Changing gun laws are not changing people. You can’t legislate morality. As said, we saw the failure in Prohibition and we can see this failure around us in the ongoing “War on Drugs.”
Which then leads to the next layer.
How do we classify “good” and “bad?” Military personnel undergo psychiatric analysis before manning heavy equipment. Apply what happened in Texas, Las Vegas, Orlando or Colorado (the list is just too long) to a fighter pilot. This person has access to a deadly weapon. What stops an unstable pilot from using the missiles and guns outfitting his jet on a civilian population?
We’ve seen commercial jet pilots down their own planes full of passengers over depression and personal issues. What happens if and when one of our own soldiers go rogue and for whatever reason turns our own weapons on our people?
While this sounds the stuff of a Hollywood disaster-action movie, am I far off the mark in this thinking? Assault rifles, homemade explosives…hijacking airliners…the step to mishandling military equipment …
Now let’s look at a recent event that happened to me on social media. Please look at this screen capture from my Instagram. This “gentleman” who likely thinks he is from “The Tolerant Left” assailed me as the following:
I afforded him the kindness of erasing his name and face. You understand this man has access to guns as well. Everything he screamed at me says “unhinged.” Look at the follow up picture. While I had his face smeared to prevent identification, it’s not hard to imagine these photos as part of a news article about a mass shooter, is it?
A step in the right direction is the call for true implementation of comprehensive psychiatric
screenings. If you need a test to drive a car, teachers need a test to prove mastery of education; you need screenings before you travel, then why aren’t psychiatric screenings required as part of hard background checks on an individual?
But who conducts these and what is the proper litmus test for approval?
The media has told us that the Texas shooter was dishonorably discharged for physical assault on his wife and child. In addition, neighbors and friends listed their concerns and grievances against this man for years. Likely he has a criminal record as a civilian.
How was he allowed to get a gun? That’s the question. He had one illegally but the system in place wasn’t able to catch him and filter him out. Which is my point about changing legislation on analysis. However, I am saying we need to look at a very big picture that’s been painted with numerous brushes.
While giving the “good guys” guns is simplistic, the other side shows us that truly demented people have little concept of “good guys with guns.” This man went into that church and opened up with a verbal phrase right out of an action movie. He started firing and only fled because someone fired back. He went into a place of worship, banking on the idea that the “religious people” he so despised would be armed with Bibles and nothing else.
He forgot he was in Texas.
The mentally ill people are not going to conceive of the “good guys with guns” notion because they don’t have the mental capabilities to do the math. It’s not in their equation and I can almost assure you this guy was not figuring on any type of resistance.
When we talk about “gun laws” we need to look at the loopholes that allow people to get these weapons. Gun Shows must be examined and regulated but I find it interesting that no mass shootings have never taken place at a gun show as of yet. Maybe it’s because there will be a number of people who are going to fire back.
No, we can’t just give everyone a gun. No, we can’t just take everyone’s gun. The logistics make it impossible. But we need to re-evaluate ourselves as a society and what that society stands for.
The evil that drives these “bad guys” does not care to what end. That man going into a house of God and shooting crying babies at point blank range has a force driving him that no man can understand and no medication will cure.
They may be able to psycho analyze his state of mind but that’s not understanding the deeper issues that can be masked by clever individuals.
We are not going to change laws based on analysis. There is no way to for us to make sense of this horrific tragedy. God is the only one who understands this horrible incident. God is the only one who can bring peace to these victims and their families. God is the only one who can guard the hearts and minds of men. The same God that this latest shooter mocked.
“Where is your God now,” some have asked me online and on my Twitter feed. Here is my
God put Stephen Willeford and Johnnie Langendorf there to be warring angels to take down the enemy at the location and that time. He said it out of his own mouth. God gave him the ability to shoot the target. Thank you Father for arming a man of God.
I have no easy solution. We need to talk as a nation. We need real conversations in every home, every school, and every meeting house. We are losing our identity as a nation and what we stand for and hold dear.
My next piece will look further than just legislation and mental illness. It will look at our society and for influences coming from our own culture.
Reject bumper sticker mentality. Reject politicians looking to further their own agendas with false outrage and to scare an already frightened populace. We need to shine light in the darkness.
“The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.”