Monday, August 30, 2010

Concealed Carry... In the House of the Lord?


This just in yesterday: LDS bishop shot and killed at a meetinghouse.  A local church leader was killed while at church!  http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=12203700 

My heart goes out to the family of this man, as well as the members of the ward who looked to him for leadership and guidance.  This is a tragedy that should not have occurred, but did.  This is the worst of my nightmares when talking about random acts of violence.  The killer seemed to not have known the bishop personally - he just asked for someone in leadership.  It could have been any church, any leader, and any Sunday. 

I won't say whether or not having a gun on his person would have saved the Bishop's life.  You cannot say with any certainty that a gun in your possession gives you any advantage; quite the contrary.  Needing to pull a concealed weapon means that you are already at a disadvantage.  No one [legally] walks around with a gun in their hand, waiting for the moment when they will need it.  What I will say is that having a legally concealed firearm is better than not having one at all. 

You might be curious to know that there are a lot of people who carry a legally concealed firearm into their church.  At first glance, it seems counter-intuitive.  A church is supposed to be the house of the Lord - a meeting place for like-minded people to gather and worship the Lord as they see fit to do so.  What kind of person would even think to bring a weapon capable of carrying out such violence into the Lord's house? 

I'll tell you who can.  Kenneth James Ward, a 47 year old man from Modesto, CA did.  Not only did he bring a gun into the house of the Lord, but he used it to exact murder in a place where the followers of Christ thought they were safest. 

I'll tell you who also can: legally armed civilians, who care about their safety, and the safety of others around them.  There are good people in this world who understand that you cannot count on the police to provide protection for you 100% of the time.  These people understand that protection is something that must be considered by the person seeking it.  The government cannot stop inherently violent people.  The police are a reactionary force, who in the case of the slaying of Bishop Sannar, responded with enough time to put up police tape and take a report.  Yes, they eventually found the suspect, but not before an innocent man died.  There are many people in this world who understand this facet of life, and take upon themselves the burden and responsibility of being armed, trained, and ever so aware that just because they choose to worship in a peaceful manner, others do not.

Are you one of these legally armed civilians?  Are you a sheepdog?  What is a sheepdog?

A sheepdog is an individual who, oftentimes through experience, knows better than to rely on government agencies, private security officers, and a government that promises the moon, but never delivers.  These people do not sit idly by, passively hoping that someone will protect them in an emergency.  These are people who, as stated above, take up their arms, seek training and knowledge, and take an active approach to safety.  They are mindful of potential situations that may cause trouble and they are aware of the laws.  They use their knowledge and tools in a defensive role.  Should an individual, or group of individuals begin to start trouble, threaten with violence, or use violence, the sheepdog - through ongoing training and education - uses that which levels the playing field and gives the criminal element something to think about: a firearm.  The sheepdog will use the firearm to stop lethal threats and save lives.  Whether a bullet is fired or not, it doesn't matter.  Firearms save countless lives every year without firing a shot.  The uses of defensive firearms are normally found in the hands of citizens who choose to live life to the fullest, without fear, with an ear for education, and an eye for awareness.

Those who intend to do harm or kill will always enjoy the freedom to do so as long as good people remain unarmed and unable to stop an attack.  As long as there are gun free zones, there will be free fire zones, as was seen this last weekend at a LDS church in California.  The criminal man, unstopped by an unarmed group of people, killed an innocent man in cold blood.

No one should be so blind as to think that they will never be the victim of a violent crime or murder.  It can happen to anyone anywhere at anytime, even on the Sabbath.  Anyone who still views the world in this myopic vision needs to open their eyes to the truth.  The truth is that your values are not shared by everyone.  You need to make the hard decision now, and get yourself into the mindset that if someone makes an attempt on your life, the lives of your loved ones, your friends, or even perfect strangers, you may have to act to save a fellow human being by ending the threat of a criminal.

I have addressed the need for proper training in a past entry, so no need to beat the dead horse... very much.  Suffice it to say that should you decide to become a sheepdog, or just consider yourself prepared to protect yourself and your loved ones, you must get trained on how to properly use a firearm and also train your mind to understand that there may be a time when you will be called upon to end a criminal life to save an innocent life.  Obviously, it is a personal choice, but I would rather be a sheepdog than a sheep.

-James

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