An acquaintance of mine recently told me that she renewed her conceal carry permit. This bothered one of her friends. “You could shoot someone?” her friend asked.
When you are hit with that question, you’re being asked by someone who has simply not done their homework. Or, to put it another way, they have no idea what they are asking you. Their question is grounded in ignorance, and they have failed to think the matter through.
Before I fully address the question “to shoot or not to shoot,” permit me to clarify something. I have no desire to take a life. If you do have such a desire, your thinking is warped - and you should probably seek counseling. The desire to take a life is not normal.
But when addressing this issue of taking a life, there is something very important you must consider…
Another friend of mine recently told me that she was considering not renewing her conceal carry license. “I just don’t know if I could shoot someone,” she added.
I then called attention to her grandchildren. “Could you defend them?” I asked. That changed her tone.
And that is what it comes down to. If you lawfully carry a gun, for the purpose of self-defense, it is not just your life that you must consider. You must also give thought to the lives of those whom you love, as well as your friends and the members of your community.
I don’t carry a gun for the sole purpose of defending myself: I carry it for the sake of those whom I love and cherish. And this is what the anti-gun crowd fails to see. They have complained that we “cling to our guns” as if the weapon was our god. But we know better. We know that is a misconception: a misunderstanding on the part of gun opponents.
I am by no means a gun fanatic. I have no fancy gun collection. I do not LOVE guns. I LOVE PEOPLE! And that is one of, if not the most, important reasons I carry a gun.
So, if you ask me “How could you shoot someone?” The answer, at least to me, is quite simple: I cannot sit idly by and allow a madman to kill innocent people.
If I can help it - if it is within my power - and I should happen to find myself in a violent situation where innocent lives are being threatened or killed, I fully intend to interfere with the killer’s actions. That “interference” may be with the use of my gun, or some other means. But I cannot just stand there and watch the horror play out.
It is not merely about my Second Amendment rights. It is about OUR right to be safe. And should your safety be threatened by a killer, then I MUST at least make an attempt to stop him. As I stated earlier, I love people, and because I do, I cannot allow them to be murdered (if I can help it).
“But Jimmy,” you might ask, “what about the shooter. Don’t you love him as well?” Of course I do. However, if he is killing innocent people, he has then forfeited certain rights, one of which is his freedom. If you shed innocent men’s blood, it is possible that man will shed yours (Genesis 9:6). That law was given long before the Ten Commandments.
If you have trouble with my answer, then you are failing to recognize the value of human beings. If you cannot agree with me on this, then allow me to put this question before you: Am I supposed to just stand there and let this murderer kill innocent people? Am I to do nothing? Is that not an act of cowardice on my part?
The question is NOT “how could you shoot someone?” The question is “how can I stand there and let him shoot someone - and not do anything?”
You are not obligated to carry a gun. The Constitution does not force you to do so. It gives you that right. And that right is primarily based on the need to protect innocent lives. Our founding fathers understood this. Thomas Jefferson wrote:
"The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes.... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."
It all comes down to what is in one’s heart. Jesus made this clear in Matthew 15:19: “…from the heart come…murders…” And there will always be those among us whose heart is evil and is inclined toward violence.
And we must stop them.
Let me repeat myself. It is not a not a question of “how could I shoot someone?” That is not the bigger issue. The bigger issue is: “How could I permit someone to take innocent lives?” I have to stop him, if I am able to do so.
If you’re a pastor who does not allow firearms at your place of worship, you need to consider some things. You could be deceived if you think no one with evil and murderous intent could ever enter your house of worship. Yes, the chances of such an act are slim: I admit that. But, what if those “slim chances” fall apart someday and it does happen at your church (as it is all over America).
Let me give you a sample of violent incidents on faith-based property that have happened SINCE JANUARY 14 OF THIS YEAR (2019) -
· New York: A man was shot and killed outside of a church.
· Tennessee: A man was shot and killed in the driveway of a church.
· California: A fight broke out at a funeral in a church leaving one dead outside.
· Texas: A man killed his estranged wife and critically injured their grown daughter in the parking lot of a church.
· North Carolina: A man attacked a pastor in his church, cutting him several times as he yelled his intentions of killing him. The man was subsequently confronted by police and killed in that confrontation.
· Washington: A woman who was receiving benevolence stabbed a church worker with scissors at the church’s warming shelter.
And there are others.
What if you should find yourself in the predicament that a Washington pastor found himself in last summer (2017)? After Sunday morning services at his church, David George, along with family members, went to a Wal-Mart in Tumwater, Washington. It was Father’s Day. According to the report, he was at the customer service desk while the rest of his family was checking out when he heard a popping sound.
“I was sure that what I heard was gunshots and I’m familiar … with how I should respond considering mine, my family’s and the public’s safety,” Pastor David said. His first concern was the whereabouts of his family. Then, when he exited the store, he saw the gunman. A few minutes later, convinced that the gunman was a threat to his family and fellow citizens, Pastor George shot and killed the suspect. Knowing that someone else had also been shot by the culprit, Pastor George then retrieved his first aid kit from his vehicle and rushed to the aid of the gunshot victim.
Pastor David had no desire to kill anyone. He did not even shoot the killer to kill him, but to use his own words: “…I fired to stop the shooter.” Even as he gave this statement, he often broke down and cried. Pastor David understands the value of human life. He loves people. He is a man of God.
So, before you ask me “how could you shoot someone?” I am asking you to consider the alternative: I stand there while innocent lives are destroyed and killed.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the famous German Lutheran pastor, was executed during WW2 for his participation in an attempted assassination of Hitler. He struggled with this, being a Christian and pastor. In the end, his chose to be involved in the plot, probably due to a conviction he held:
“If I see a madman driving a car into a group of innocent bystanders, then I can’t, as a Christian, simply wait for the catastrophe and then comfort the wounded and bury the dead. I must try to wrestle the steering wheel out of the hands of the driver.”
You may not want to bear arms. You may despise guns. That is your right.
But for those of us who believe in the right to carry a gun, do not criticize our choice. We, too, value life. And we simply cannot bear to watch innocent lives destroyed. We have to “wrestle” the steering wheel away from the driver. And we will, if possible, use our gun to do so.
It is true that we are not wired for violence. However, it is equally true that we are wired for protection. So when confronted with the question about shooting someone, I quickly acknowledge the fact that it is a misdirected question. It is asked by those who have not thought it through.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I believe in the sanctity of life; from the baby inside the womb, to the senior lying in a hospice. Each and every life is precious. And I grieve for the one who resorted to murder. But I find no difference in the man who uses his gun to stop a killer, than I do from the soldier who, on foreign or home soil, shoots a terrorist in the act of war. They are both sheepdogs. They are both heroes.
UPCOMING SHEEPDOG SEMINARS
Circleville, Ohio (Columbus) February 7-8 this coming Thursday and Friday (click here)
Green Bay, Wisconsin February 12 (click here for info)
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho Sheepdog Seminar (35 miles east of Spokane, WA). March 8 - 9. (click here for info)
Manteca, California March 4 (click here for info)
Bangor, Maine - March 29-30 (click here for info)