*Posted by Kirk Spencer
“I am a worm and not a man.”
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.
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.