After the horrific violence in Las Vegas, it’s unfortunate that many of our friends and neighbors are acting as though there is only one moral way to respond: By curtailing the Second Amendment.
I was in D.C. this summer when Catholic congressman Steve Scalise was gunned down while playing baseball, which hit quite close to home for this conservative Catholic.
Only recently did he finally become well enough to return to Congress. He remains a supporter of the Second Amendment.
Second Amendment opponents aren’t above shaming Scalise—who survived an attack by a Leftist—for not adopting the Leftist view on guns. So God knows the rest of us Catholics who support the right to bear arms will have to endure some post-shooting guilt trips as well.
With that perspective in mind, I won’t tell readers what to think, but I will outline some points to consider as a guilt trip survival guide:
Church teaching upholds self-defense.
The Catechism states:
2264 Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore it is legitimate to insist on respect for one’s own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow…
2265 Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm. For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility. [emphasis mine]
“But the Bishops said…”
Yes, the U.S. Bishops are largely supportive of increased gun control policies. They themselves readily admit that “The judgments and recommendations that we make as bishops on specific issues do not carry the same moral authority as statements of universal moral teachings.”
Having said that, we should still listen to what they say even if we ultimately disagree – disrespectful mouthing off to the successors of the Apostles is out of line. Believe me, I know it’s hard when this seems to be a one-way street. Go tell the crucified Lord Jesus how hard it is.
Yes, there is such a thing as an armed Good Samaritan
Like this Texas man who stopped a sexual assault in progress last month, or this man who saved the life of an Arizona trooper who was brutally attacked and beaten.
What, actually, is the efficacy of gun laws?
If you haven’t already, please do yourself a favor and go read this piece by Leah Libresco in The Washington Post. It might be the most reasonable thing you’ve read all week.
Readers of Patheos know Libresco because she started blogging as an atheist and wound up converting to Catholicism. Many people say they follow the facts where they lead, only to force new information into the shape of their bias.
Libresco actually allows new information to shape her worldview—not the other way around. And you can tell from this piece that she really, really wanted gun control to work.
Guns and abortion are not comparable.
It’s no surprise that people distrust politicians who say things about guns that are so mind-bogglingly ignorant that even non-enthusiasts notice. It becomes obvious that pro-abortion politicians’ zeal all too conveniently coincides with their own naked self-interest.
This goes triple when said politicians have never met an abortion they couldn’t justify.
There is a quotation meme going around that argues it’s harder to get an abortion than a gun. In some circles this passes for cleverness. It’s not. (In a testament to the thorough phoniness of the analogy, the quote is attributed to Gloria Steinem, but was actually written by two men.)
To be fair, the language we use does not help. We describe someone as “getting an abortion,” as though it were a product one looks for on a store shelf, as opposed to the act of taking an unborn baby’s life.
Acts are moral or immoral, objects are not. There is no comparison to the United States’ current legal regime under which millions of innocent human beings are intentionally destroyed for virtually any reason.
You and I are well within our rights to be disgusted and outraged when politicians who spent the morning bloviating about saving lives double down on late-term abortion in the afternoon.
“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”
Frederick Douglass was definitely on to something. Social scientists have noted that a number of mass killers came from homes with absent fathers. And yet, politicians still spend their time finding creative ways to stick it to people who marry. What’s wrong with this picture?
What responsibility do media have?
After Las Vegas, a lot of ledes sounded something like, “The shooter unleashed a shower of bullets on the unsuspecting crowd…” Now, if you aspired toward homicidal glory, wouldn’t that just make your sociopathic chest swell?
What possible purpose could all these colorful details serve? There are guidelines for reporting on suicides to decrease the likelihood of copycats and clusters, though of course they are only as good as the outlets that abide by them.
If there aren’t similar guidelines for covering large-scale violence, there should be. The heck with guns – this is one thing that certainly never seems to change, no matter how many times this happens.
Yes, it’s okay to pray!
File this under “No good deed goes unpunished”: Since at least 2015, having the audacity to speak publicly of one’s prayers for victims of a shooting officially brings all the finger-wagging scolds running like cats to the sound of a can-opener.
Watch this inspiring response to prayer-shaming from students at East Catholic High School in Manchester, Connecticut.
Forget the haters, and pray on.