Gun Spree Zone

*Posted by Kirk Spencer

“I am a worm and not a man.”
Psalm 22:6

When I was in prison, I met some bad people who had done bad things; as a matter of fact, “doing bad things” was their chosen career.  They were very business-like about it, explaining how careful they were to choose a time and location which would give them the best chance of doing the “most bad” with the least risk.  Such “career planning” can be seen in the fact that we don’t hear much about “shooting sprees” (or gun-crimes) at gun ranges, or gun shows, or police stations.  Someone might say “Well, what about Fort Hood… that was a shooting spree on an army base…  What about that?”  Good point.  How in the world does a lone gunman kill 13 people and wound 29 others on a military base—of all places—where everyone has a gun?  Why didn’t someone just shoot him?  “Someone didn’t just shoot him” because the guns were safely stored in the armory.  On U.S. military bases, no one carries a gun other than on-duty military police (and terrorists).  So a military base (in America at least) is as “gun-free” as say a Luby’s Cafeteria or a Cinemark Movie Theatre (No OC, no CCW, only LEOs).

Outlaws and Inlaws

It is a simple equation: “Gun Free Zones” become “Gun Spree Zones” because criminals want to be the only one with a gun.  In other words, they are looking for a safe working environment.  And we advertise them with signs in the window.  These “Gun Free Zones Signs” serve important purposes.  They inform those entering the establishment of the requirement that they disarm.  And those who care about what the establishment (authority) wants—will.   Those who don’t—won’t.  These signs also inform career criminals that this establishment is a safe working environment to “ply their trade.”  It invites outlaws by disarming “inlaws.”  Gun laws only apply to those who are under the rule-of-law.  Outlaws aren’t, by definition.  I know I’m belaboring the point, but isn’t it a very important point considering the kind of things we are doing, (or think we are doing)?  It also helps to explain why cities that are setting world-records in gun-crime (such as Chicago and Washington D.C.) are the very same cities which pride themselves on their strict gun-control laws.  Obviously they are only “controlling guns” on one side of the law and thus allowing the more profitable use of guns on the other side—outlaws on the outside.

Weakness as Bait

The simple equation of “Gun Free Zones” becoming “Gun Spree Zones,” derives from an even simpler principle: “Weakness is Bait for Evil.”  This dark principle functions on many levels.  The bully on the playground bullies the weak kids, not the strong.  Criminals criminalize the defenseless not those who are prepared to defend themselves.  Even empires attempt to grow into territories that have weakened themselves and telegraphed their weakness.  And the mistakes made at one level will be repeated in the others:  The ideology that would force a reduction in concealed carry in hopes of reducing gun violence will unilaterally reduce strategic arms in hopes that aggressor nations will do the same.  In its attempt to make society safer, these actions only make a safer working environment for criminals and tyrants.  These bad people, because they are bad, often end up in control.  Good people might show compassion when confronted with weakness in others.  Bad people don’t.   Weakness only makes their aggression more profitable.   Weakness draws them like flies.  For they serve the Lord of the Flies (Beelzebub).

Reasons for Gun-Spree Zones

If Gun-Free Zones are created because of the fear of accidental discharge or collateral damage by untrained handling of weapons during a “shootout,” rather than doing away with concealed carry or prohibiting it in certain Gun Free Zones, strict training could be required for licensure (and continued licensure).   Those that would seek to engage criminals would “train their hands for battle” to keep from injuring the innocent (Psa. 144).  We allow open-carry (OC) in the case of Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) and security guards.  These guns are enclosed in a holster with safety features and under the control of trained professionals.  I could even see some kind of compensation for those willing to undergo the training and carry a weapon for defensive purposes.  We place air marshals in areas of condensed risk.  We might consider doing this on land (land-marshals).

Gun-Free Zones may be created because it is believed that concealed carry guns would not be effective in shooting sprees as they often occur quickly and are so confused that there would be little time to react.  I have heard testimony from survivors that say the shooters just walked around and shot people at their leisure.  At Fort Hood, there were accounts of soldiers who were shot and killed in the process of attacking the shooter with tables and chairs.  These soldiers had been trained to use weapons in combat situations but tables and chairs were the only projectiles they had at their disposal.  Their guns were lock up in the armory.  So obviously there are shooting sprees slow and methodical enough that concealed carry guns would be helpful, rather than having trained combat personnel using whatever they could find.  Yet even if shootings were quick and confused there would still be time to shoot into the air.  If nothing else, this will let the criminal know that they were not the only one in the room with a gun.  In most cases this would be enough to cause these career criminals to “close up shop.”  Who knows, it might even cause some of them to go out of business and choose another career path if we made the risks high enough to outweigh the profitability.

Symbolic Jesters

If guns are not going to go away, then it makes sense that, rather than creating an atmosphere of fear, we begin to educate everyone on what they are, how they function, how they are to be operated, how to use their safety features, how they are to be handled, secured and stored safely.  Not that everyone would own a weapon or even want to own one, but they would at least be educated about them.  There is real safety in such knowledge.  Maybe even make it part of the education system in America.  In Israel, there are guns everywhere, especially when a group of children are out in public.  The guns send a message.  This is the message: “Not a safe working environment for those who wish to hurt children.”  I have heard that all Israeli citizens have mandatory military service where they learn how to disassemble, assemble, clean, secure, store and operate firearms in combat situations.   Israeli soldiers (and many citizens) carry their firearms with them in public (and on military bases) and their firearms are loaded.  I know because when I was there in ‘87 one of my students said they were not loaded and I told him to go and ask them if their guns were loaded… he did.  They were.  They told my student (after laughing at the question) that their guns would not be of much use if they weren’t loaded.   Reality has taught them the absurdity of symbolic gestures.  When I first wrote the preceding sentence, I wrote “jesters” for “gestures.”  It was an appropriate mistake for much of what happens in America is becoming more and more only symbolic gestures which make jesters of those who like showy symbolism with little or no substance.  It makes people feel like they are doing something about the problem when they are really making it worse.  For instance the desire for gun-control reaches a fevered pitch just after a tragic shooting spree.  Legal gun sells also go up after a well-publicized shooting spree.  And there is some evidence that crime rate goes down during this time.  And that raises the question: Is the dip in crime rate because we are making it harder for “inlaws” to have guns with gun-control or is it because legal gun sales are making it harder for outlaws to find Gun Free Zones.

An outlaw kills a large number of innocent people with firearms.  And in the aftermath, gun control laws are passed, which by definition do not apply to outlaws, but make their job easier by making more Gun Free Zones.  And, at the same time, the very outlaw that killed innocent people, is being “celebrated” (being made a celebrity) in the media by giving them attention in the form of news coverage and public televised trials—just what they wanted.  And maybe an easy insanity plea, plea bargains, decade long appeals, parole hearings, etc.  Defenselessness before the crime which is supposed to make us feel “safe” becomes slow ambiguous justice after the crime to make us feel “humane.”  They are symbolic jesters—celebrating outlaws and proscribing their weapons (or rather weapons in general).    

Blood and Sacrifice

At one level, I can understand the call for proscription of both the criminal and their weapons.  There is an expectation of justice (balance) when the world is out of balance, a desire to do something to put it right, to make things gone bad, good again.  In times of great grief our natural sense of justice cries out for blood or sacrifice—criminal blood (death penalty) or liberties sacrificed (weapon control).  It is the way of the world, the battle between grace and the law, love and justice, blood and sacrifice.  But here is a point we should not miss:  Christ paid the ultimate blood sacrifice once-and-for-all.  And the “all” includes us.   And Heaven did it by using one of the world’s darkest principles—Evil gathers in for the kill around the defenseless.  Or as mentioned, weakness is bait.  Bait for Bad.    And the Fisher of Men used Himself for bait.  The cross was the hook, so to speak.  And the “hook” was this: “Badness” mistook Christ’s meekness for weakness.  “Weakness” is inadequacy leading to inability.  “Meekness” is power (ability) under control (adequacy).  And when badness took the bait, thinking Christ’s meekness was weakness, the hook was set and Death, thinking it had swallowed life, was itself swallowed in the victory of Life.  And this is the Truth:  Jesus Christ is The Way for bad people (which is all of us) to be made good despite ourselves.

This is what I taught when I was in prison, working out my three-year sentence (or rather contract)…I was there once a week for three years teaching the Bible.  During this time, I noticed that even though the bad people I met had done bad things, even though they had chosen a career in crime, they could be transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ and they could exchange their career in crime for the calling of God.   They came to recognize that our hope is not in laws that might control our liberties or demand our blood, but rather our only hope is found in the free gift of justification, regeneration and transformation we find in our Creator.

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13 Responses to Gun Spree Zone

  1. Well said, Dr. Spencer! I am licensed to carry, but I am often conflicted by the words of Jesus, “all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword” (Matt 26:52), and also, “Recompense to no man evil for evil” (Rom 12:17). Of course, He also said: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). So, when someone is “packing,” he/she must be aware that he/she may be called upon to “lay down his life for his friends” and in doing so, he/she is taking the chance that he/she may perish” (albeit not eternally, if they are redeemed).

    • Kirk Spencer says:

      Hey Ernie…

      It’s good to hear from you. You are missed around here.

      I was fascinated that you mentioned Matt. 26 in your comment. I actually had a section in the post dealing with this narrative. However I focused on the parallel passage in Luke 22. The main point was that the sidearm in the first century was not a gun, but a sword and in the Luke narrative Jesus actually says to sell their clothes and by a sidearm (sword). Of course without clothes I’m not sure how you would “conceal carry”. But we have the whole self-defense scenario played out in the same passage in the Garden of Gethsemane. I guess the Garden of Gethsemane did not have a Sword Free Zone policy. Peter draws his sidearm and tries to protect Jesus from the soldiers. There are several points to be made.
      • The soldiers represented the government authority so this is not about defending from criminals, but a criminal action in itself.
      • One Peter had something to prove… and made a mess of things. He was carrying for something more than just defense. He wanted to prove that he was willing to die for Jesus, still stinging from Jesus statement that not only would he not die for Him, he would deny that he even knew Him that very night.
      • It is a dangerous “game” and, if you play, you play with your life. (live by the sword and die by it).
      • Even if we have sidearms to protect the innocent, God does not need defending. He has angels for that. And all Jesus had to do is appeal to His Father and a legion of angels would appear. One angel took out over a hundred thousand Assyrians, so I can image the damage a legion of angels could do.

      It is true that defending the innocent from criminals might require our lives. In the cases where there were not guns available for defense the defenders used anything they could find, including their own bodies to defend the innocent. I heard a story of two men who died at the Aurora Shooting covering their girlfriends with their bodies and took the bullets for them. The point (in human terms) is if concealed carry had been allowed they may not have had to give their lives.

      Though your point is well taken. When I was attending UT in Austin, I worked as an assistant manager of a gun store with a gun range. I knew many of the police officers, secret service agents and handgun trainers who used the range. There was a general consensus that anyone who wants to carry a handgun must be trained and must be ready to give their lives to protect the innocent and (even more important) they must “know” that if it was required of them, they could take someone else’s life. If they cannot do this, they will hesitate and it is much more likely the gun will be taken away from them and used against them. Spending time with LEOs (Law Enforcement Officers) is a great way to get a better perspective on the issue.

      Thanks so much for the encouragement Ernie…

      Take care

      ks

  2. Reblogged this on reflections of Matt Stevens and commented:
    Good thoughts from Christ and Culture

  3. Jill Smith says:

    Hello and blessings,
    I agree with your article 100%. I’m a police officer (and a female by the way). I do wish more people would consider getting a concealed license (and train-train-train!). I also believe that the laws limiting where concealed hand guns can/can’t be carried should seriously be changed. We used to live in a world where we could confidently tell everyone ,”Don’t get involved, just let the police handle it.” That just doesn’t work so well anymore. Time and time again we are seeing that cost lives. Even police training has been reshaped by the many mass shootings we have seen over the years. I’ve been an officer for 17 yrs. I’m trained in several hand guns as well as the AR-15 rifle. I’m a very good shot. No, I’m not bragging, my point is that even with all that training there is no guarantee that myself or any other officer (on duty or off) will be in the right place at the right time to stop a disaster. If we do happen to be on scene there is no guarantee that we will be able to stop an active shooter/s. We must have more civilian people who are trained, ready, and willing to do what must be done in order to protect lives. There is an old saying that comes to mind, something to the effect of, “when good men do nothing evil prevails”.
    Keep up the good work and thanks again for your great post.

    • Jill, I have a question for you and other police officers that has been troubling me for some time. I have the highest regard for all of our military, police officers, fire fighters, etc. — men and women who put their lives at risk for the sake of others. But I fear that the time is coming, and I think that it is not in the too distant future, that our government will demand its citizens to hand over their weapons. Knowing that the military, and police are trained to follow orders without question, what will happen when the feds order our police force to go around collecting guns from otherwise law-abiding citizens? What is the general attitude of our police force in that eventuality?

      • Kirk Spencer says:

        Hi Ernie…

        I’m not Jill (and I’m a terrible shot) but as I was reading your question, thinking about the “what will happen” part—two things came to mind. (Now my comments are from a strictly realist perspective). First of all the founding fathers clearly believed (and was stated publically by John Adams) that a moral electorate is necessary for the constitution to function. And the 2nd amendment of the constitution, as a part of the constitution only functions with a moral electorate. So if we allow our society to become immoral and thus have an immoral electorate then all bets are off. And “What will happen” is whatever is right in one’s own eyes. The police force and military which are following the orders are also a part of the moral (or immoral) electorate and so their level of morality is important also. And if the military and the police force follow such an order then (and here the realist part) there is little hope that Americans will keep our sidearms. (Elections do have consequences) The second amendment was written when the state-of-the-art was the flintlock. Today the government has aerial gunships bristling with a variety of Bushmaster cannon (over three rounds per second) that can lay down an almost continuous stream of lead. To attack one of these gunships with an AR-15 (or even M16) would not be much different than using a flintlock. When you’re dealing with this kind of firepower, it becomes extremely important to think about the morality of the electorate and who they elect and the morality of the man with his hand on the trigger.

        ks

      • Jill Smith says:

        Hi Ernie,

        Sorry for the late reply- been busy! Good question. Most officers that I personally know believe that citizens should always be able to keep their guns. I think that many of us would walk away or be fired upon refusal to follow an order under the circumstances you give. Of course, I’m sure we could find creative, honest/legal ways around that should such an order ever find it’s way to us. Let’s pray not!

    • Kirk Spencer says:

      Hi Jill…

      Let me first say, “Thank-you for your many years of service.” And thanks so much for the kind words. I can certainly believe you are a very good shot. As I mentioned I worked as the manager of an indoor gun range for several years and one of the most surprising things to my “sexist” perceptions was that the best marksmen on the range were almost invariably women (or markswomen). Now this is only anecdotal and not a statistical study… but it was my experience.

      Thanks again for taking the time to read and comment.

      Take care

      ks

  4. Thanks Kirk! I’m a very good shot, but I make an even better target! :) You are absolutely right — the survival of the nation that our founders framed for us hinges on the morality (Christianity) of our leaders and of our people. That seems to be in rapid decline; however, if our Lord delays His coming, there is still hope that we can turn this thing around (and we must work toward that end). We first need a “great awakening” of dormant Christians that can exert their influence on our nation. Frankly, I’m not too optimistic about that, neither do I discount the possibility altogether. My hope is in Christ’s return. I believe that the “rapture” is coming, but I am not convinced that it will happen before we as Christians suffer through at least some of the tribulation’s persecution (I think we are seeing the beginnings of that right now). That being said, I am under no delusions that the 2nd Amendment will offer us any protection. So when they come knocking on my door, should I willing lay down my arms, or do I make them “pry them from my cold dead fingers”? Either way, I am confident that I am in God’s hands, and He will provide whatever protection I need as He sees fit. So, if or when that knock at my door comes, should I capitulate or resist?

  5. HDD says:

    Response from a retired military member. It’s not correct that those in the military are required to follow orders without question. We are required to follow LAWFUL orders and are obligated to refuse to follow unlawful orders. The classic example is being ordered to kill a defenseless prisoner of war. That would be murder and executing the order would likely lead to prosecution. I’m confident most in the military are true patriots and are learned enough to realize being ordered to indiscriminately confiscate civilian weapons would be unlawful. I sure hope I’m right.

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