I woke up Sunday morning with a touch of melancholy caused by something many divorced fathers experience at one time of another, if not constantly: the fact that my child doesn’t live with me. It was my son’s fourteenth birthday, and I would only get to have breakfast with him. I got dressed, kissed my wife goodbye, and got into my car. My son lives about forty five minutes away, so I turned on the radio to listen to the news as I drove to pick him up. Orlando. Gay club. Shooting. This certainly was not what I wanted to hear.
As a staunch supporter of the second amendment, and the right for individuals to protect themselves, every time there is a shooting, in addition to the sadness I feel over the loss of innocent life, and the compassion I feel for those people who are involved, I have concern about what emotionally driven, anti-gun sentiment will arise, and the possible ramifications of that sentiment. The details about the incident were still coming in, and the news was rife with shock, outrage, and grief. All certainly understandable, but most of it misdirected. I thought to myself, “So many people just don’t get it.”
In today’s modern society, far too many people lose sight of a simple, significant fact: people ARE NOT basically good. In the Christian faith, it’s called “original sin”, and without delving into a religious discussion, let me simply explain it by saying human beings are flawed by default. One need only watch children to see this basic truth. If people were basically good, why do parents need to instruct children on how to behave? Ever watch a child attack another child simply because that child has something the other child wants? Humans, like animals, can be violent, vicious, and brutal over the simplest of provocation. What distinguishes humans from animals is we are capable of suppressing that instinctive impulse. Yet, in spite of these obvious truths, many people look to place the blame somewhere. Many times, it’s on guns.
I am so tired of defending my right to own a firearm, and I am equally as tired of pointing out that gun control doesn’t work. The police and/or your government can not protect as well as you can protect yourself. If I was in a club, and someone with a gun came in and starting shooting, I would have a better chance of survival by simply taking out my gun and shooting the aggressor than I would by running away, hiding, or waiting for the police to arrive. What part of that do people not comprehend? All of the statistics in the world, accurate or not, do not change that simple reality. If you don’t like guns, if you are afraid of guns, if you do not trust yourself with a gun, that’s fine. Don’t own a gun. Stop trying to take my gun away. Current gun laws more than suffice. Simply enforce them, and hold individuals responsible for their actions.
To compound the error of misdirecting the blame, political correctness dictates we sometimes intentionally overlook or downplay actual key significant factors. In this instance, radical Islam. Rather than put the blame squarely on the two most significant factors, the individual and radical Islam, many people are deflecting, or “spreading the blame around”. There is no question that the fact that this was a gay nightclub factored into this shooting, but emphasizing that detracts from the more significant contributing factor: radical Islam. Yes, the shooter targeted this night club and it’s patrons because they were gay, but radical Muslims also do the following:
- Execute people of other religious faiths
- Execute Muslims who want to leave the Islamic faith
- Execute women for “crimes against morality”
- Execute people for insulting or for criticizing Islam
So, this is not a “gun issue”. This is not an instance of “gay bashing”. This is an instance of an individual committing a brutal, heinous crime in the name of radical Islam. The blame lies solely on the the perpetrator, and looking beyond that person for contributing factors, one need go no further than radical Islam. Blaming anything else is really no more than hitching your agenda to a deplorable, grievous, and heartbreaking crime.
When I arrived at my son’s house, I found him riding his new bicycle. It was one of those increasingly fleeting moments in which I could enjoy watching my son simply be a boy. In the Internet age, children grow up far too quickly. I hoped the shooting wouldn’t be brought up, but in my heart, I knew it would be. My son can be very inquisitive at times. Sure enough, after I told my ex-wife what time I’d drop him off, and my son and I left to drive to breakfast, he brought it up. He asked me if I thought it was terrorism, and I told him that I believed it would most likely be. I struggled to find the balance between helping my young teenage son comprehend the evil in the world and providing a sense of security. I am not an advocate of completely sheltering children, but I am also cognizant of the fact that children need a sense of security.
“Son, there is evil in the world. There are people who do horrible things to other people. All we can do is try to stop them when they try, and then do our best to understand why they do these things so that we try and prevent them and others from doing something like it again in the future.”
“Is that why you always carry your gun Dad? To try and stop bad people?”, he asked me.
“Yes son, it is. I want to be able to protect you.”
“Do you think terrorists will attack again?”
“Unfortunately son, I know they will. But you can’t worry about it. Look, do people die in car accidents?”
“Are you afraid to drive in cars because you know people die in car accidents?”
“That’s right. You aren’t. You put on your seat belt, and when you drive, you do your best to pay attention while you are driving so that you don’t have an accident. That’s all you really can do son. It’s the same with terrorism, crime, and bad things that happen. You do your best to pay attention, you do your best to prepare, and when bad things happen, you do your best to work through them. In the end son, you live your life. You don’t live in fear. Because when you live in fear, the bad guys win.”
“What are you going to have for breakfast Dad?”
I laughed out loud. Children can be so incredibly fickle. Content that apparently my response satisfied my him, I replied, “What do you recommend?”
“The French toast!”
“Well, I’ll will have to try it!”
My son and I had a wonderful birthday breakfast together, and when I dropped him off, I left in much better spirits. My glum mood was vanquished by the time spent with my boy. Yes, there is much evil in the world, but there is also a lot of good. It is crucial we cherish the good in order to gain strength to face the bad. My thoughts and prayers are with all those who were affected by the Orlando shooting. However, it is important that we stay focused on the real causes behind it, and not put fault where it does not belong. The shooter was ultimately responsible, and radical Islam was the key additional contributing factor. Let’s not not forget that.by