I’m gonna wait a little while before I post this. I’m actually not even sure I am going to. Because right now, the day this happened, I think it’s messed up to turn this tragedy into some fuel for your side of the gun argument. I don’t know, maybe it’s messed up that I’m thinking about posting this a week or so from now.
I’m not 100% settled on this issue. But I am bothered by some of the narrative that surrounds the West Freeway Church of Christ shooting today.
A lot of people have been “what if”-ing this shooting. What if the good guys with guns hadn’t acted? How many more people might have died?
If you can bear it, watch the video of the shooting again. And reconsider.
What if the good guys with guns hadn’t acted?
The shooter didn’t shoot until someone else drew on him. Maybe it would have been worse. Or maybe no one would have gotten hurt. Maybe if the good guys hadn’t acted, the unstable man could have been subdued peacefully. Maybe if the good guys hadn’t acted, no one would have died. There’s no way to know.
One thing I do know is what Jesus said to Peter when he drew his sword and fought to defend him.
“Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword.”
I can’t find anywhere that the early church responded to violent persecution this way. Maybe someone can show me a time when the first Christians and their families were assaulted and killed where they responded in kind, self-defense or otherwise.
There’s no case study or hypothetical that changes the reality of the nature of early Christian martyrdom.
I’m definitely not seeking to judge anyone involved in this horror. My only desire for each of them is comfort and healing. And again I’ll say, I’m not completely settled on issues concerning weapons and self-defense. But I am really having trouble reconciling much of the response I have seen from many (most?) Christians with Christ’s teaching.
This life isn’t what we’re living for after all.
Image: Tiepolo, Giovanni Domenico. The Stoning of Saint Stephen. 1727-1804. National Gallery of Art. images.nga.gov.