In Theory: God, guns and country
The Rev. Amy Pringle
St. George’s Episcopal Church
La Cañada Flintridge
Samuel Colt said, “The good people in this world are very far from being satisfied with each other and my arms are the best peacemaker.” His now legendary revolver was then nicknamed “Peacemaker.” Colt's perspective was that bad guys are less likely to prevail if their intended victims are likewise armed, thus enforcing peace.
Rather than disarming, wringing our hands, instituting gun-show bans, and making it difficult for good citizens to protect themselves from mental cases with weaponry, it would be better if people were well armed and supported. I don't respect public servants who wrest freedoms and powers away from our people, especially for knee-jerk reactions to incidental cases of arms misuse.
The idea that without legal guns there'd be no gun massacres or mass destruction is absurd. As long as there are motor vehicles, gasoline, fire and sharp objects, there will always be blindsided moments of man's inhumanity. These all could facilitate lethal mayhem, but nobody legislates against such indispensables. Of course, lawless people will always have guns.
One of the greatest deterrents to foreign invasion isn't just our military, but our citizenry, which currently constitutes the largest impromptu armed force in the world. And ordinary people stop crime daily because they purchase gun-show firearms. They wait for background checks, so they can't attend shows and walk away blasting people, but you'll never hear of gun-show shooting sprees anyway. I wonder why?
Have you noticed, too, we always call for armed people to save us, hoping 911 alerts them quickly and they can finally arrive, hopefully before too late?
Christianity is a peaceful religion, but not one that promotes vulnerability to deadly sin. As Jesus said, “if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one” (Luke 22:36 NIV). Today's sword is charged with gunpowder, and we have to buy one somewhere.
The Rev. Bryan Griem
Montrose Community Church
For reasons that I don’t begin to understand, a large number of people in the United States seem to have a fascination with guns. And, according to a recent Huffington Post article, deaths of children from guns in 2011 were six times the number of children killed in the recent Newtown killing of 20 children. These were not killings by someone exercising his or her right to bear arms for personal protection, nor can they be justified by the profitability of gun sales for the local economy.
I believe that Glendale Councilman Rafi Manoukian is motivated by the right instincts, but I am not sure that banning a single gun show in Glendale is going to make the kind difference that we need. The problem of gun violence is endemic in our country, and we must find a way to stop it. Guns do kill people, including our innocent children.
As a Unitarian Universalist who believes that killing is wrong, I can only be amazed at the people who say that we should not restrict the sale of guns because the right to bear arms is guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment to our U.S. Constitution. According to several sources that I researched, gun-related death rates in the United States are eight times higher than they are in countries that are economically and politically similar to it.
I don’t know the best way to limit violence perpetrated by those with guns. But I believe that allowing easy access to these lethal weapons is not the way to go. And I am convinced that we must find a way to remove this terrible scourge from our country. If we do not, we may well find that we are the land of the free and the home of the dead.
The Rev. Dr. Betty Stapleford