Guns, Self Defense, Defense of the Innocent, and Gun Free Zones

Catholic Social Responsibility includes a right to self defense and an obligation to defend the innocent.  Something worth thinking about when considering our Second Amendment Right to keep and bear arms.  In many states this means keeping a gun in the home, or getting a license to carry a concealed gun for self defense.

Guns are not the problem. On the contrary, lax criminal penalties and laws that disarm the law-abiding are responsible for giving criminals a safer working environment.–article

Today’s news about the cold blooded attack on patrons of a movie theater is a case in point. This man, armed with tear gas (later reports say they are unsure what the gas used might have been) and gun, chose a gun free location to rack up the maximum kill numbers possible before he fled. His armor, booby traps on his apartment, and the guns which were purchased over a six month period, indicate this was planned for quite some time. More complete story: HERE.

The AP reported that The University of Colorado Medical School said Holmes had withdrawn from school there, but did not know why. He may have been pursuing a Ph.D. in neuropsychology until recently. Other reports state that Holmes’ apartment, which police searched, was booby-trapped with explosives and flammable material. [–Hot Air]

An armed citizen might have been able to shoot back and end this horror BEFORE 12 people died and many more were injured.  This is the purpose of the 2nd Amendment: to allow for an armed citizen to defend himself and others from criminals such as this man.  However nobody had any means of self defense and so, we can only pray for the souls of the dead, the healing of the wounded and grief stricken, and the repentance of the murderer.

There is a responsibility here that is so often forgotten as the press spouts anti-gun statements, and that is that a person who takes the training to properly use their gun and is dedicated to the obligation to refrain from its use except for self defense or the defense of others, is a force for good when the unthinkable occurs.

Gun control laws that limit the 2nd Amendment rights of citizens do nothing but increase the numbers of gun free zones and prevent citizens from defending themselves. Gun free zones do not protect the innocent citizen because madmen do not respect the laws– they are, after all, out of their minds.

Criminals are also not known for their respect for laws.  In fact, gun free zones are a boon for criminals.  What makes a person inclined to choose crime go get a job instead? For some it may be the real risk of being shot to death by one of their victims.  An armed citizenry discourages crime and so by becoming armed the citizen is helping to protect everyone from crime.

The above video about the Campus killings at Virginia Tech gives another example of a gun free zone and how that gives a person who wants to kill people a free hand.  Stricter gun laws could not have prevented it. Preventing the law abiding students from having any weapon for self defense created a “shooting fish in a barrel” situation.

The major massacres by gun toting madmen have been made possible by gun free zones.

Public Schools are sitting ducks for crazed shooters as shown by Columbine.

It is the fourth-deadliest school massacre in United States history, after the 1927 Bath School disaster, 2007 Virginia Tech massacre and the 1966 University of Texas massacre, and remains the deadliest for an American high school. [from Wikipedia]

If teachers at Columbine had had concealed carry, the whole situation could have been different with far fewer students and teachers killed.  Human beings try very hard to recognize when a person is troubled and get them help, but it is also human to make mistakes.  Columbine taught us that even when teachers and administrators see the students every day, it is still possible to think what is being done is enough and to miss the warnings of an immanent breakdown leading to madman activities.  People err and others crack up.  No matter what the mistakes made, the biggest mistake was teachers who did not have the power to stop the murderous rampage.

Until concealed carry, any public place was a gun free zone in Texas.  Gun laws that prevent the citizen from carrying guarantee that the shooter is the only one with a gun Here is the testimony of a woman who lost both her parents in a massacre where a mad-man with a gun and the desire to kill lots of people rammed his truck into a Denny’s and opened fire.  He chose a gun free zone and killed many people.  There were citizens in that place who had guns in their cars because, at the time, it was a felony for a law abiding citizen to have a gun in a pocket or purse. So the only person with a gun was the madman.

In July of 2011, Norway experienced a bombing and shooting massacre on the same day by the same madman.  It is a terrible tragedy and because the madman never did anything to get on the police radar, this was not a person who was known to be dangerous!  It goes to remind us that this world is a dangerous place and that terrible things can happen anytime and anywhere. People need to be prepared to defend themselves and other innocent people. This madmen shot 85 people, mostly children, at an island campground in Norway. Criminals, especially crazy ones, usually don’t follow the laws, often cannot be predicted (Virginia Tech), and are impossible to stop if the madman is the only one with a gun.  So I want to discuss the lessons we can learn from this and other past situations with madmen and guns.

Norway’s tragedy also made me think of the crazy sniper in the tower at University of Texas many years ago now, and how, because at the time half the guys carried hunting rifles in their trucks even on campus.

Around 20 minutes later, once Whitman began facing return fire from the authorities and armed civilians who had brought out their personal firearms to assist police, he used the waterspouts on each side of the tower as gun ports, allowing him to continue shooting largely protected from the gunfire below but also greatly limiting his range of targets. Ramiro Martinez, an officer who participated in stopping Whitman’s rampage, later stated that the civilian shooters should be credited as they made it difficult for him to take careful aim. [Wikipedia]

The students ran to get their guns and kept the shooter pinned down.  Those gun toting citizens minimized how many people the sniper could shoot until the police got the guy. THIS is an example of why the 2nd Amendment works and should not be restricted.

The whole purpose of the 2nd amendment is to allow the average citizen to protect themselves and other people.  Why? Because freedom requires self responsibility.  You cannot know if you will ever need to defend yourself but you can know that these things CAN and DO happen and you are able, by taking advantage of your freedom under the 2nd Amendment, to prepare to defend yourself and others.

Limits to the 2nd Amendment do nothing but allow criminals and madmen to have a free hand and know that until the police show up, nobody can stop them.

Catholic teaching says we have the right to self defense and an obligation to defend the innocent. It is important that every Catholic think about what that means to them personally and to be prepared in whatever ways are right for them.  Under the US Constitution an armed citizen is one legitimate means to self defense and the defense of the innocent.

My vocation places the lives of my children in my care.  What I do to make myself better able to keep them safe while I have them at home matters.  It matters that I baby-proof my home. It matters that I lock up poisons and am careful about what products I allow to be used here.  It matters that I buy the safest car seats I can afford.  It matters that my husband replaces the batteries in the smoke and gas detectors.  It matters that we teach our children safety rules, practice how to exit the house in case of fire, and the proper way to cross the street or hold their scissors. It matters that we teach them how to avoid sin and embrace virtues. All these things matter as elements in my effort to fulfill my obligation to defend the innocent lives in my care.  Observing with diligence my 2nd Amendment rights is also part of my vocation to protect the innocent in my life.

Dear Lord, please protect the innocent and have mercy on those who go mad.  Please enable people to defend the innocent and minimize the numbers of murders on the soul of those who would kill. Please help persons in their lives to recognize a severe problem and get them help, but if missed, please enable others to defend the innocent. Please help those who would choose careers in crime to wake up and make better choices. Please have mercy on us and help us to make our world less violent, not by preventing self defense, but through prayer and love. Amen.


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