by Ted L Glines
Let me say something a little bit shocking as a preface, and I do promise to explain. In certain respects, it is our own morality which is destroying any chance of peace and harmony in our culture. That statement may shock some people, but it is true .
I discuss current events with people all across America; from Seattle to Miami, from San Diego to Bangor, Maine, and all points in between. There is not one of those people who believe that criminals should have a right to bear arms. In quiet conversation, they think that criminals should not have any civil rights (perhaps not even the right to life).
The residential districts of our cities are strewn with houses which have wrought-iron bars on their windows. They look like small jails instead of family homes. The people are afraid to walk outside after the sun has gone down.
People, whether innocent or not, are killed by criminals with weapons, and the criminals are mostly allowed to roam free to kill again, and again, and again.
Police agencies, spread too thin, underfunded and demoralized, lost the war on crime years ago. There are areas of our inner cities where the police are afraid to patrol, because they are outmanned and outgunned ... by organized criminals with AK-47s, assault rifles and machine pistols.
The idea of morality seems, somehow, to suggest a scriptural reference. I do not know whether that applies here. But, in the era when Jesus was alive, criminals were not allowed to terrorize the people. Criminals were killed and that put an end to their menace. Does that mean that people in the time of Jesus lacked morals? Not hardly, but it does mean that their morality was acted out in a way different from our own, in these modern times. Morality in the time of Jesus did not include tolerance. If you violated their moral laws, as proscribed in the Ten Commandments, you were killed. End of problem. This zero-tolerance probably did act as a deterrant against criminality.
"For most of history, imprisoning has not been a punishment in itself, but rather a way to confine criminals until corporal or capital punishment was administered. There were prisons used for detention in Jerusalem in Old Testament times. Dungeons were used to hold prisoners; those who were not killed or left to die there often became galley slaves or faced penal transportations. In other cases debtors were often thrown into debtor's prisons, until they paid their jailers enough money in exchange for a limited degree of freedom.
"Only in the 19th century, beginning in Britain, did prisons as we know them today become commonplace. The modern prison system was born in London, as a result of the views of Jeremy Bentham. The notion of prisoners being incarcerated as part of their punishment, and not simply as a holding state till trial or hanging, was at the time revolutionary." ~http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prison
I wonder what Jesus would have thought of the idea of giving criminals the right to bear arms? I would not dare to ask Jesus this question because I am sure that He would chew my foolish head off. He would likely treat this as being in the same category as locking homeless people out of churches. Immoral.
So sometime, between the era of Jesus and the 19th century, morality altered to the point where criminals were accorded some degree of civil rights. Something else changed across that same time span, and these two changes may be connected. In the time of Jesus, the only sheep were animals which were herded in meadows and on hillsides. People were not taught to be sheep in those years. But by the 19th century, people called their congregations "flocks" and they were proud to be "sheep" - and a herd-mentality enwrapped society in its safety-net. Morality for a new world order. A more gentle way of societal interaction. Or, is it?
But the "safety-net" is anything but safe for the law-abiding citizens of our land who bar the windows of their homes and are afraid to walk outside at night ... a night which is ruled by criminals with guns and killing attitudes. And the root cause/blame for our fear is the changed morality we have embraced as we avidly defend the Second Amendment rights for all of us, including the criminals. A sensible person might doubt that this is what our founding fathers had in mind when they wrote that illustrious amendment. Those founding fathers probably assumed that later generations would have more common sense than to give criminals the right to bear arms.
The President of Mexico has deployed the Mexican Army to deal with the armed criminals in Juarez. Meanwhile, we have gang elements of the Mexican drug cartels in El Paso, Houston, Phoenix, Seattle, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Miami. Sheeplike, our people remain in those cities and are afraid, even as they defend gun rights.
When it comes to guns, and the effective use of guns, most law-abiding citizens would not have a prayer when confronting the armed gangland criminals of any of our inner cities. The macho "militia" guys in Montana, for all their bluster, have not seemed anxious to go and clean out the violence-ridden ghettos of their own Montana cities.
Regardless of how well-trained they may be in the use of their flaunted weapons, they have one fault which would seal their quick doom in a firefight with criminals; their soft morality would cause them to hesitate, and during that pause, the criminals would kill them. Gang members have no such soft morality and, by their own admission, they like to kill. Bang, bang, you're dead. There is one simple rule to winning a fire-fight. Don't get shot. It does not get simpler than that. You do not wait for an enemy to point his gun at you. You quickly kill anyone who might shoot at you. They are dead. You did not get shot. You won. That is the way that the gang-land criminals think. Law-abiding citizens, with their hesitant morality, should never go there.
How long do you think it will be before our own military is deployed to surround our cities, declare martial law, and move through its ghettos, cleaning out the armed criminals in a very final way? Let us hope, when that time comes, as it surely must, that no shred of morality causes them to hesitate. Their survival will depend on it.
It is a pity that we have let it come to this. But, like the song says ...