Author Topic: Greetings from Flint  (Read 4105 times)

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Offline Furious Storm

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Greetings from Flint
« on: August 14, 2014, 12:03:22 PM »
It's a humbling honor to live in a country/state where it is understood that our very state of existence hinges upon our natural ability to defend oneself.
A little about me: I served for 8 years in the U.S. Army. Am a decorated combat veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan, and am a virulent supporter of our 2nd Amendment! Coming home from Baghdad, Iraq many people asked me "why in the hell would I move back to Flint, Mi.?" My response: have you seen Baghdad lately? Flint isn't so bad!
I have a young family, and I proudly teach my son to both respect and use all types of weapons...

During my time in federal service, I was able to live, work, and mingle with cultures and peoples in 29 different countries. From these experiences, I've grown to learn a few things:

First, it has always been clear that human life is precious — so precious, in fact, that throughout time God has mandated the ultimate penalty for unlawful killing. Among God’s first words to Noah after the Flood subsided was this declaration of the importance of human life and the price paid for spilling human blood: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.” (Genesis 9:6) This statement is not made to a nation-state or to a police force but instead to a small band of people who are rebuilding human society from the ground up. While obviously not specifically addressing self-defense, by establishing that fundamental principle the Biblical commands and examples that follow demonstrate how God expects us to protect life in the real world.

In Mosaic law, God obviously continued his mandate of the death penalty for murder (as well as for blasphemy and other crimes) — but not for all killing. He specifically carved out an exception for the defense of one’s home: “If a thief is found breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there shall be no bloodguilt for him . . .” (Exodus 22:2). There was bloodguilt if the thief was killed during the day, however. Note the grace that God gives the citizen in the midst of the fear and ambiguity of a nighttime invasion — even a “thief” (not a rapist, not a murderer) can be killed at night, but in the clarity of day, the “thief” (again, not a rapist, not a murderer) should not be killed.

Second, the morality of self-defense is not only presumed, the act of self-defense is permitted and even mandated by key Biblical figures. This principle flows of course from a moral law that reveres human life. It should be protected, not merely avenged. Nehemiah, when he was rebuilding Jerusalem in the face of hatred (not in wartime, but when tribal neighbors were seeking to carry out vigilante attacks on Jews) instructed his people: “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.” (Nehemiah 4:14).

It’s often-forgotten that the climax of the Book of Esther involves the Jews gathering together in an act of self-defense, where a despotic king was persuaded to allow them to fight against their attackers: “The king allowed the Jews who were in every city to gather and defend their lives, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate any armed force of any people or province that might attack them, children and women included, and to plunder their goods.” (Esther 8:11). The Jews then “struck all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying them, and did as they pleased to those that hated them.” (Esther 9:5). Before Esther’s intervention, the king would have denied the Jews their right of self-defense. After Esther’s intervention, the Jews didn’t merely look to law enforcement for salvation but took matters into their own hands.

While the New Testament certainly removes from the individual Christian any justification for vengeance (leaving vengeance to God’s agent, the state) – lex talionis (eye for an eye) was always a rule of proportionate justice, not self-defense. In fact, Jesus’s disciples carried swords, and Jesus even said in some contexts the unarmed should arm themselves. The sword’s use was only specifically forbidden when Peter used violence to block Christ’s specific purpose to lay down his life.

The idea that one is required to surrender his life — or the lives of his family, neighbors, or even strangers — in the face of armed attack is alien to scripture. There are many examples of martyrs surrendering their lives in the face of evil, but such an act is highly contextual and in response to the individual call of God on a man (or woman’s) life. I know of no precedent for the idea that we are called to surrender the lives of others (such as our spouse, children, or neighbors) in response to deadly attack.

Third, these understandings are so ingrained in Western moral tradition that John Locke, in his Second Treatise of Civil Government, described the right of self defense as a “fundamental law of nature”:

Sec. 16. THE state of war is a state of enmity and destruction: and therefore declaring by word or action, not a passionate and hasty, but a sedate settled design upon another man’s life, puts him in a state of war with him against whom he has declared such an intention, and so has exposed his life to the other’s power to be taken away by him, or any one that joins with him in his defence, and espouses his quarrel; it being reasonable and just, I should have a right to destroy that which threatens me with destruction: for, by the fundamental law of nature, man being to be preserved as much as possible, when all cannot be preserved, the safety of the innocent is to be preferred: and one may destroy a man who makes war upon him, or has discovered an enmity to his being, for the same reason that he may kill a wolf or a lion; because such men are not under the ties of the commonlaw of reason, have no other rule, but that of force and violence, and so may be treated as beasts of prey, those dangerous and noxious creatures, that will be sure to destroy him whenever he falls into their power [emphasis added].

Moreover, these fundamental laws of nature were inseparable from the will of God:

The rules that they make for other men’s actions, must, as well as their own and other men’s actions, be conformable to the law of nature, i.e. to the will of God, of which that is a declaration, and the fundamental law of nature being the preservation of mankind, no human sanction can be good, or valid against it. (emphasis added; thanks to Jim Lindgren for highlighting these excerpts in an excellent 2008 Volokh Conspiracy post)

What does all this mean? Essentially that gun control represents not merely a limitation on a constitutional right but a limitation on a God-given right of man that has existed throughout the history of civil society.

Offline gryphon

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Re: Greetings from Flint
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2014, 12:23:23 PM »
Welcome from Okemos. :)

Offline linux203

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Re: Greetings from Flint
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2014, 02:27:32 PM »
Greetings from Holt.  You're not alone in your philosophy. ;)

Why the thumbs down thread icon?
When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace. Luke 11:21

Then He said to them, “But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one."  Luke 22:36

Offline woodtic31

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Re: Greetings from Flint
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2014, 06:56:46 AM »
Welcome from Roscommon!
North East Michigan Coordinator