17 June 2016


Probably every blogger, essayist, columnist, politician and every preacher has been thinking about the right words to offer after the Orlando murders this week. Of course, there are always exceptions, this week Mr. Trump who uniquely among Americans should be thinking about the right things to say, seems unwilling to think at all.

I have read or heard quite a sampling of the commentaries, and as Sunday approaches it is depressingly likely we will hear, or read more. So, joining the chorus, herewith some reflections.

2016 is an election year. So, we inevitably have to deal with the fallout. But first, I think we need to deal with some theological items. The politics, like STD's, war, and poverty will be there when we are ready

Christians fall into several broad categories. One, which is where I live and pray, is Christianity that sees itself called to live into the kingdom of God. That is, Jesus began the kingdom, and we are called to make it real and present in the life of all. This means that it is not, “charity” it is our calling to bring the abundance of God's creation to all. Our mission then is living the reconciling love of God. We do not seek conversions, or fund missionaries to increase our Average Sunday Attendance, but rather to bring the world a bit closer to its reconciled vision.

In that context, what do we say about Orlando?

First and foremost we say that God loves each and every person the murderer shot. Their sexual identity does not moderate or reduce God's love. For those recovering from the shootings, that means offering whatever assistance we can. To those families dealing with religious bigotry towards their loved ones, it may mean offering funeral liturgies. What it does not mean is judging the victims, living or dead.

Second, it means naming the evil. These killings and woundings are the logical end of homophobia. This was terrible, but not terrorism. The killer may have attempted to wrap his evil in some sort of Islamic fanaticism, but his homophobia drove him, and that evil needs to be named.

Third, it means defending Christianity from guilt by association. When a faux Christian like Pat Robertson discovers that “Islamic terrorism” and American liberals share a “pro-gay” agenda, and that somehow that means we should not object if they kill each other, that is NOT Christianity. Actually, I have never heard or read something he said that is Christianity. We need to make that distinction clear.

After the religious thoughts, I think we must rationally consider the state of our laws. Most guns used in crimes begin their journey legally. The guns are legally purchased, and either stolen or unlawfully trafficked. It turns out relatively few are stolen.

Living in Illinois as I do, I cannot go to a retail store and pick up an assault weapon. I have to have a Firearms Owners Identity Card (I do have one) and the retailer and I have to observe a waiting period after I pay for the gun.

Or I can go to a gun show in Indiana, a 45 minute drive, buy a gun because I have a driver's license, and bring it home. I would never do that, but someone does. Chicago police estimate 40% of the guns they recover from crime begin in Indiana gun shows. Someone is not only driving to Indiana to evade our laws, they are selling the guns.

We think our laws save lives several ways:
  1. The classic crime of passion is sometimes avoided as passions and anger diffuse over time. This is especially important in potential suicides, a large part of the gun deaths in America.
  2. Background checks can be extended if the seller has concerns.
  3. We effectively close the, “gun show loophole.”
It is my view that a national version of the "FOID" makes sense. I also agree with the idea that if a person is on the, “no fly”list, they should automatically fail a background check. Of course, due process means that they have a right to challenge the listing, but that is not about guns, it is about fairness. Congress is not doing much, and has not for 7 1/2 years. They could create a process to notify citizens of their no-fly status and an appeal process. While they might actually have to do their jobs, they could probably get it done quickly. They would then have at least one accomplishment for the term.

So those are my political ideas. I am interested in yours.


Anonymous said...

Logical end of Homophobia?
please do a logical proof show your work?
I am betting you need to use few logical fallacies to make this claim. Non sequitur or ad hominin?
Come to think of it the historical record shows that burning down the Reichstag was the logical end of Marxism!
its almost as if the people with the power to write history have a huge incentive to Lie about their bias.
what is your compelling interest to keep guns away from people on the no fly list? the second amendment means you need to have a court order to deny someone their Legal rights. The fbi is not a court and lacks the authority to decide peoples civil rights . DEMAND A COURT ORDER! No prior restraint!

Anonymous said...

huh? what about the terrorists we give TOW missiles to in Syria?
Would these new gun control measures slow down our proxy war? what if CIA trained militias lose in Syria now that Russia has heroically stepped up to slay our friends?
Will our friends need a safe place to stay and train in their exile? Will they be willing to comply with our laws. They could not fallow the laws in their own countries, or they would not be in this situation! maybe we should stop giving them weapons!
Btw special thanks to the Russian military for ruthlessly killing the people the CIA has armed and trained. THREE cheers W00t W00t W00t ( LOVE YOU MEDVEDEV!) hey Vlad best of luck fighting Isis.

Anonymous said...

it is well established that we are arming al nursa in Syria.(ie they posted videos showing themselves training with TOW missile) If these people came to America they would be on the no-fly list. Al-nursa is aLL-CIA-DUH in Syria.
So if it is American policy to hand out military grade hardware to jihadi militants, what is the legal reason to deny people second amendment rights at home?

I heard rumors Syria counterfeits federal reserve notes. Any chance they are infringing on copyright and making TOWs. otherwise the TOWs come from here! perhaps the people who get paid to work for the federal government should reflect on the nature of atrocity instead of proposing more power-grabbing solutions to the problems they themselves have created.

JimB said...

I am not sure where you are going with these posts. The individuals who are on the no fly list have an established right to appeal the listing. So, if a person on the list were denied access to a weapon, they could appeal the listing and if successful, after being removed, all other things being equal, purchase a gun.

I reread my post, and simply cannot make the connection to Syria? In any case, the listings are individual.


Lionel Deimel said...

Thank you for this post. I didn’t know about the gun laws in Illinois. The state can’t handle a budget, but perhaps it is sensible about guns.

JimB said...

The initial FOID law has been on the books for quite a while, before the Republicans afflicted us with RAHNER. I actually think we may benefit from the Trump fiasco. Only a few seats have to change to get to a veto proof legislature. I am hoping the impact of Trump up ballot will swing a few seats.


The Art Barista said...

Well said Jim. Keep posting and keep thinking out loud. People who seek to silence you, need the message most.

The Art Barista said...

Well said Jim. Keep posting and keep thinking out loud. People who seek to silence you, need the message most.

Leonardo Ricardo said...

Thank you, Jim. YOUR Sharing, on you own blog, has always been expecially stimulating for me...again you offer wonder and serious thought. I find the cowardly "annonymous" written-crap shooter really tiresome...especially, when the know-it-all-ness is simply irresponsible potshots at picking apart reality like buzzards online, bogus bunglement...then, to demand verification of YOUR OWN point of view (on,again, your own blog, by faceless yet flapping mouthed critics) is plain ABSURD! Onward humanity, onward is our quest. A challenge is for cowards to come out of their rotting nests wherever they scrunch up and type, pecking away their sagas of nothingness.

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