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If a violent man attacked your family, what would you do?
Probably every Christian pacifist has been confronted with this question.
The purpose of the question is to make the pacifist realize that violence is sometimes necessary: no matter how much you want to love your enemies, you may face situations in which refusal to use violence will lead to the harm or even death of people you love.
As John Howard Yoder points out in his book What Would You Do?, the questions is emotional. The attacker is always an anonymous man, and when the family members are specified, they are almost always a mother, daughter or wife.
The one posing the question wants as little emotional bonds to the attacker as possible, while the opposite is true for the one being attacked.
Reality, of course, is not as simplistic. (more…)
Another horrible school shooting has occurred in the US, this time in the Umpqua Community College in Oregon, and according to some reports the shooter targeted Christians or was at least interested in whether his victims were Christian or not. the Washinton Post writes:
In one classroom, he appeared to single out Christian students for killing, according to witness Anastasia Boylan.
“He said, ‘Good, because you’re a Christian, you’re going to see God in just about one second,’” Boylan’s father, Stacy, told CNN, relaying his daughter’s account while she underwent surgery to treat a gunshot to her spine.
“And then he shot and killed them.”
Another account came from Autumn Vicari, who described to NBC Newswhat her brother J.J. witnessed in the room where the shootings occurred. According to NBC: “Vicari said at one point the shooter told people to stand up before asking whether they were Christian or not. Vicari’s brother told her that anyone who responded ‘yes’ was shot in the head. If they said ‘other’ or didn’t answer, they were shot elsewhere in the body, usually the leg.”
Some Christians have argued that this shows that they are clearly persecuted in the US, which I would say is a big exaggeration when comparing with our brothers and sisters in Iraq, China and North Korea that are persecuted for real. But not only that, in an American fashion many Christians have argued that this shows that more guns are needed! More Christians need to arm themselves to be able to kill new shooters that inevitably will pop up on American soil. (more…)
Once again, the United States has experienced a terrible school shooting. Small children were slaughtered by 20-year old Adam Lanza, whose mother had taught him to love weapons. We need to pray for the victims’ families and that these awful events will stop once and for all, in the US and elsewhere.
In the American debate, there seem to be two contradictory suggestions how to do this. Either, basically all people carry guns so that they can kill a gun murderer wherever s/he shows up. Or, basically no one carries guns so that people don’t become gun murderers in the first place. Even if the former would decrease school shootings, we know that the latter does as well (my country, Sweden, has a very strong gun control and has during this time never experienced a school shooting or another type of massacre). This of course clearly speaks in favour for gun control, since we get the sought result without spending billions on handing out killer tools to everyone.
But what debunks the violent solution even more is the fact that increased gun prevalence increases gun violence. Of course, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. The US has most guns per person in the whole world (88 per 100), while having 5% of the world’s population it has 50% of the world’s guns, and they even got the “right to be armed” in their constitution! Yet they are not experiencing peace and security but rather the Wild West with numerous school shootings and massacres. Some are arguing that these would have happened even if guns were not available, but as mentioned gun prevalence increases gun violence, and it surely makes the attacks more deadly. Coincidentally, a Chinese madman attacked children at a school with a knife three days ago, the same day as the American school shooting. Although he stabbed 22 kids, none of them died. In the American case, 20 kids died.