16 December 2012

Week 23 from Afghanistan

While normally I'd provide an update about things going on here, it seems a bit inappropriate this week in the wake of the shooting at Newtown, CT. We've had a lot of gun violence this last year, but something about the innocent children being gunned down is much different to me than the other incidents. Many of these have been connected to mentally ill individuals; while they are all tragic, in my mind it has always been a sort of matter of fact that in a free society, there will be people that choose to do horrible things and folks were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. As adults we take that risk--that by walking onto a college campus or into a movie theater,, etc, that something crazy can happen--that the odds of something going wrong are minuscule, and that we are willing to allow all kinds of freedoms because we are almost always safe. Yet children haven't made any such assessment and choice; the tragedy here is more palpable.

One of the guys in the office is a big gun guy, and he kept wanting to talk about this incident and gun control issues. The whole conversation was making me sick and I had to put my headphones on.

As I've thought about this and the nature of our freedoms, I have come to a completely different conclusion than I ever have before. Governmental power is derived from that which the social compact is willing to abdicate to them, giving up some rights and powers, that they might be better protected as a whole. At the time of our nations founding, a well ordered militia and a right to bear arms was a fundamental right, of importance to securing our liberty. There are lots of debates that are valid on both sides of the gun control issue. Ultimately though it comes down to a basic constitutional right. Those debates surround limits on that right. After Newtown though, I find myself wondering how important that right is. I would be personally willing to give up the right to bear arms, that the availability of weapons like those that killed those children would be significantly diminished.

It is a tragedy. I pray that the Lord will bless the families that have lost loved ones to feel of his love and protection for the deceased and the living, soften the sting of memories of the survivors, and lift the hearts and hands of bereaved family.

Otherwise, all is well here.

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