This has been a sad week of highly publicized murder. A man killed two people at a shopping mall near Portland, not many miles from where I live. Another man killed 26 teachers and children at an elementary school in Connecticut. Later that same day a man killed a woman at a casino on the Las Vegas strip. All three men then turned their weapons on themselves. Evil man killing man.
Though these criminals cannot be punished any further (they’re dead), they have reignited the debate over guns and who should have them. It’s a difficult debate because there is no common ground. Any attempt to blanket all of society under a single mandate cannot be accomplished without severe loss of individual liberty, but there is clearly too much violence. As we discuss our options as a collective nation, we should cautiously consider what Ben Franklin once said, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
Some yearn for a society where only the government and the criminals have guns, thereby relying on the government for protection from the criminals. Others demand that individuals have the right to protect themselves, both from the criminals and the government, and believe it is the individual’s responsibility to do so. An interesting analysis of shooting rampages shows that we’re safer with armed good guys nearby. But both sides claim various statistics support their position.
What we all really want is for people to stop killing each other. Even deeper than that, we want man to stop being so evil. But we tend to confront whatever is loudly making the most noise and ignore the silent roots of evil that lie beneath us. Maybe we’re basically good and the killers are made of something different, but I don’t think you and I are so far removed from some form of atrocity, and this is certainly not new.
According to the Bible we are all sinners, eternally separated from God; saved only by faith in the grace of Jesus Christ. That’s the Gospel. The first recorded human being to be born on earth was named Cain, the son of Adam and Eve. Unfortunately, Cain’s legacy is that he killed his brother Abel during a rage of jealousy. Murder was not a good start for humanity. Evil man killing man.
Man continued his evil ways and finally God had enough. “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Genesis 6:5 (ESV). What followed was the great flood – God wiped man from the face of the earth. A lot has happened since then, but even though we were given a second chance, Man has continued to walk away from God, away from what is good.
It is not just individuals who continue to kill. The United States government is both indirectly and actively killing people around the world every year, in places they shouldn’t be. Most of the victims are in foreign lands, but even now American citizens themselves are targeted. We go to other countries all the time and bomb their people because their government doesn’t see things our way. This has been going on before and after 9/11. It’s no wonder individuals in our country have a tendency to be violent – our leaders have us continuously at war! Evil man killing man.
Congressman Ron Paul had repeatedly warned Congress that something like 9/11 would happen. A few days after the World Trade Center attacks, he reminded his colleagues that while we certainly need to punish those responsible for that horrific event, we should use caution not to bring war down on an entire group of people for the atrocity committed by certain individuals. They did not listen, and we found ourselves entangled in prolonged wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and other military actions since. One highly publicized day of murder (the attack on the towers) led to the deaths of many people who had nothing to do with it. The loss of both life and liberty was globally amplified.
Though evil is constantly engaged, often just below the surface, we are faced again with a highly publicized incident. Whenever there is a domestic shooting, we will be reminded by the media that something needs to be done to stop the killing, and the focus is more on the weapons rather than the evil man. All this should be studied, but with caution. We’d do well to show more interest in what our government is doing as the policeman of the world before we put our lives solely in their hands here at home.
Our hypocritical government must stop taking our lives in one hand and our liberties in the other.