Shooting people

Act of arguing
I've never understood why the right to bear arms, including hand guns designed for shooting people, is considered relevant in a democratic society like the USA. But what do I know? I'm a UK citizen, where not even police routinely carry guns. And that's a freedom I want to preserve.

Since last Saturday I've thought about the tragic shooting in Arizona of Gabrielle Gifford and others. One was a 9 year old girl whose face features in a book about children born on 11 September 2001 called 'Faces of Hope'. She died. Her family must be wondering, 'what hope?'

Commander Kelly, brother-in-law of Ms Gifford (the congresswoman shot in the head) made this comment from his viewpoint in the International Space Station,
"As I look out of the window, I see a very beautiful planet that seems very inviting and peaceful. Unfortunately it is not."
It's too soon to know what led the perpetrator of this hideous crime to do what he did. Some people have linked the shooting with the increased polarisation in American political ideology and the use of violent language in public debate. John Ortberg, in a blog post alarmingly entitled "GOD BLESS AMERICA - AND TO HELL WITH OUR ENEMIES" wonders about this. He took his title words from a car bumper sticker he'd recently seen. He comments on the tragedy of the Arizona shootings and discussions in the USA about the need for more tolerance about political, religious and ethnic differences. He points out that
"when we begin to view people as ideology-carriers rather than as human beings, we begin to travel a dark road".
He says that more than tolerance is needed. Love is needed. Transformation of heart is needed.
"That is why prayer - and the searching of my own heart - is a good place to begin."
And he ends with these words that are my main reason for linking to his post:
"Jesus did not say: 'convince your neighbour of your ideology'.He said: 'love your neighbour as yourself'."


  1. I'm glad you found my blog ... because now I've found your blog! Thought provoking. Thanks.

  2. Thanks for your comment Elizabeth. I think I probably do aim to be thought provoking in most posts, although I'm still trying to figure out why I blog at all!

  3. In the USA the right to bear arms means that good people can own guns and can protect themselves and others.
    In the UK the ban on firearms means that any bad person can get hold of one (really, it's not hard and it's not expensive) but no good person can own a legal one.
    Where's the sense in that?

  4. You make a good point Anonymous, but how far does normalising bearing arms for all or most people actually makes society safer? Or just more fearful of each other?

  5. I don't know what normalising bearing arms means, but I do know that if the bad people have guns I think it might be a good idea for my helpful neighbour to have one as well and for me to have one. Get rid of all the guns (fat chance) and I'll be happy, but I'm not going to criticise Americans for bearing arms responsibly and with good reason.

  6. Anonymous, I think I meant accepting bearing arms as a right, so people think of it as a 'good'. I'm not sure that it is.

  7. Thank you for the clarification. A knowledge of history is always useful in these affairs. I remember from my reading that it was pretty commonplace until recently for people in England to own firearms. And I know that the 39 Articles stress the right of Christian men to bear arms. It seems that there was no restriction against owning firearms until 1920, and only small restriction until 1937. I'm sure that like me you will remember that Sherlock Holmes carried firearms and that in many a thriller or detective story a character would look for 'my old service revolver'. So the lack of a right to own guns in England is pretty recent, and many more people would have owned guns in what is considered a more peaceful era.
    Guns don't kill anyone. People kill. Look to changes in society, not to prevalence of guns.

  8. People kill, not guns, as you wisely say Anonymous. Changes in society are needed and transformation of the human heart. I don't agree that the 39 Articles "stress the right of Christian men to bear arms". Article 38 at the end of a long paragraph about civil magistrates simply says "It is lawful for Christian men, at the commandment of the Magistrates, to wear weapons and serve in war". This is rather different from all having the right as of personal choice.


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