I have been going on lately about guns and violence and hatred and anger. All of this has been in the back of my mind for quite some time now, with all the growing violence, not only in America but throughout the world. I was reminded of it most forcibly once again last week by the awful mass murder in Newtown Connecticut, a horrible and destructive event beyond the pale of human comprehension. And again today I was reminded of the insanity of our world with the remarks of Wayne LaPierre of the NRA who said “”The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” I believe that I am a relatively good guy and I know many good guys just like me, in fact, most of the world is made up of good guys who don’t want to have to defend themselves with a deadly weapon.
I have already spoken, in an earlier blog, to the statement that many in the gun lobby have made that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” I have said that while that statement is somewhat true the fact is that a person with a gun can kill many people in the time it would have taken them to kill a single person without a gun. I could go on but I have previously discussed this issue. We need to be thinking beyond the act of violence and looking toward a way to bring it to an end.
What is this force that makes us think this way? We, the people who tout “freedom” as a way of life shouldn’t have to fear for our lives, the lives of our loved ones and children. And, “freedom” was never intended to mean free to do whatever you please. Oliver Wendell Holmes said “Your right to swing your fist ends at my nose.” I say, “Your right to own a gun ends at the point where you become a danger to me and my family.” But, we shouldn’t have to argue these points.
There has to be a better way. And, there is. If we are all going to live together in freedom without fear that we and our families are in danger we are going to have to change the way we think about things. I don’t want to always be quoting the Bible as a source of what I have to say but this quotation is particularly poignant in this situation. The statement was made by the Apostle Paul but it can be appreciated by people of all faiths. He says “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”
I propose along with Paul that we as a people begin to look toward a nobler way of life. Let us cease our hostility toward one another. Let us look for the good in all situations rather than looking for the bad. In everything let truth pervade our speech and our dealings with one another. Let us all look to do the admirable thing in all situations. This is the only way to have true freedom. So, to all of us let this be our mantra: “To a Nobler Way of Life.” And, if that means we need to place some restrictions on some people in order to achieve this nobler way of life then I say so be it.