A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Let Us First Be Angry, Let Us First Grieve

It didn't take long for the NRA Fundamentalists and Gun-Control Advocate Fundamentalists to start their long and nauseating debate, even before the parents of the victims of the VT massacre have had time to plan the funerals of their children.

I have never understood how more liberal gun laws will make people safer. It will just mean more guns that will translate into more tragic accidents. At the same time, I do not see how stricter gun laws would have necessarily prevented the evil perpetrated yesterday. We have laws against recreational drug use, and yet, unfortunately, those who want to get drugs seem to be able to do so. We have laws against child pornography, and yet, unfortunately, perverts manage to get it. I am not suggesting, for a moment, that we should legalize both, but it amazes me that people think that all we need is another law to fix a problem. We should not be so naive as to think these tragic events can be avoided just by putting more guns into the hands of law-abiding citizens, nor can we prevent them by making laws prohibiting people from owning guns. Most guns used in committing crimes are obtained illegally anyway. Why should we think stricter or more liberal laws would have prevented the worst massacre in American history?

I do not own a gun and never will. At the same time, if my neighbor wants to own a gun, I frankly don't care. I simply do not have a dog in this race. But what really hacks me off, is that people can't even wait to have this debate until the victims have been buried. I am angry this morning, not at people who have strong views about gun control one way or another. I am angry at a young man who perpetrated a great evil; who snuffed out the lives of 32 people, each one of them loved and cherished in a home somewhere. I am also grieving today. Many of the victims had their whole lives ahead of them, and some professors will teach no more. Having a daughter in college, I can imagine, but only in a small way, what so many parents and families are going through today. I am angry and I am grieving.

No doubt we will have the debates over guns and security and procedures and, yes, politics. What would the argument be without politicians! And it is the case that the discussion should be had. But, please, do the angry and the grieving a favor: let us have our anger and let us have our grief, and save the arguments until after the funerals.
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Cross-Posted at RedBlueChristian


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this blog, Allan. It is so hard to put a framework around this event, but more guns is surely not the answer. I hear this morning that most of the victims were shot 2 to 3 times - think of how many decisions he made to keep shooting. Sick!! - we also have to remember that 32 dead and many wounded is just one bad day in Baghdad! I wonder if any of us think about the grief those families must feel.

Allan R. Bevere said...


Thanks for your thoughts.

Since the beginning of time, it has been a bloody and violent world. We all know that, but there are certain tragedies that leave us speechless as we think about it.

Anonymous said...

When I first heard about this aweful tragedy I turned the T.V. on to CNN. What I immediately noticed was that the focus was not on the tragedy but upon the political implications of the event and the need for gun control. Later discussion highlighted what might be the impact upon the upcoming Presidential election. Later in the day a Vir. senator was shown. He appeared to be blaming the incident on President Bush and the Republican party. Frankly I was surprised and disappointed. I expected better of them.
Are more laws the answer? No. More laws will not make men and women more law abiding. And there is no law that can make anyone love. Is confiscation of guns the answer? No. In England and most of Europe guns are rigorously controlled. Yet crime against persons and property remain problematic and this among mostly homogenous populations. And for many of these countries, violent crime is an increasing problem. In a recent conversation a young woman from France spoke of the dangers faced in Nice and Paris by those who use public transportation in the evenings. She stated that it was not uncommon to see women harrassed and even assaulted. She said help was seldom offered because people were afraid. True she was only expressing her opinion, yet she offered it as a contrast to what we thought to be the less than ideal norm of public transportation in Boston.
Significantly the young man who committed this crime came to our country at 8 years of age. From news reports I gather that he had a lot of personal problems. I wonder if anyone ever sought to share Christ with him? Our colleges and universities are filled with young men and women who increasingly are under pressure to "excell... to reach for excellence." Some are not able to cope with such unrelenting pressure and turn to alcohol and drugs. Some turn to alternative or self-destructive lifestyles. Some direct destructiveness toward those around them. Maybe there needs to be a concerted effort to bring the message of the Gospel to the college and university campuses of our nation. Maybe we need to send missionaries to these campuses. There seem to be so many students who are hurting and deeply in need. I think they need more than suggestions from guidance counselors and academic advisors. We all need to pray for those whose lives have been so inexcuseably violated, pray for those whose hopes and dreams have been destroyed, pray for those who are now struggling with grief. And maybe our denominational leaders need to seriously consider how significant effort can be made to reach the students of these campuses with the good news of Jesus Christ.

Allan R. Bevere said...


Thanks for your comments. I cannot speak to the situation in Europe, as I am quite unfamiiar with it, but you are certainly correct that the political posturing going on almost from the beginning was quite disappointing.

Matt said...

Allan, thanks for these words. It is a horrible situation all around, and seeing it manipulated for any political purpose is distasteful.

It is difficult to wrap my mind around the number of lives that will be changed by this.

Allan R. Bevere said...


Thanks for your words. It is quite impossible to comprehend the tragedy.