Shoot a Red Herring

But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord.  And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.

1Samuel 8:6-7

And so power passed. God, the ultimate authority and perfect good, was replaced in Israelite society by a flawed creature. A creature that could be bent to the will of the people, in preference to a God to Whom all wills ought to bend. Our wills ought to conform to his, not merely in justice for the sake of His identity as God, but in love that seeks what is best and triumphs over the self.

American individualism has ushered in an unspoken myth that each person is a closed system. Nothing done negatively affects another’s life, and no one is his brother’s keeper. That responsibility has been conveniently been shouldered by a faceless government. The individual in America may focus on his own life without a thought to his neighbor, since it is reasonable to assume they are paying for his brother’s needs through the tax system.

Here, too, is the rejection of God as King. Is it not written, “‘This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,’ declares the LORD. ‘I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.’” (Jeremiah 31:33) If there is need for the government to step in to spare neighbor, then neighbor has already rejected God as King. The Natural Law has not been kept, though it has been engraved upon the heart of every person. Why should man-made law be successful?

Now, then. Gun control.

I understand the gun control measure failed to pass, though rumors fly that the matter is not over. What is at stake this time is not a barrier between individuals. It is a monopoly of power in the hands of government. In an era where we study and fight bullying, we have the spectacle of a popular push for the deliberate imbalance of power involving high-power firearms.

I speak as a teacher when I say this next piece. I would rather be in a school attacked by a gunman with high-powered weapons than with a bomb. I still have faith in the Natural Law. The fact that suicide ends most shooting sprees makes complete sense to me. The reality of what a shooter is doing literally looks them in the face. This does not happen with a bomb. Bombs require a person to be out of range by the time it goes off, so the bomber will not see what they have done, save for news coverage that can never cover the reality of the impact. Bombs can also be (apparently) easy to make and have no serial numbers or barrel fingerprints. Should guns be impossible to obtain, what might a human will intent on killing large numbers of people turn to?

No human declaration can change human nature. Those who are bent on killing large numbers of people will find ways to do so. Legislating away a means that demands a killer face the victim ultimately shoots itself in the foot by helping the killer avoid consequences of Natural Law. This same Natural Law has ended mass slayings prematurely, with leftover ammunition an occurrence not uncommon.

If guns are used too often, it is because rosaries are used too little. Prayer empowers each individual to disarm shooters, acting beyond the limitations of space and time through God Who Is beyond the limitations of space and time. Prayer shapes us as we shape the world. It is impossible to harbor ill will toward neighbor if one is praying for the same neighbor. Prayer in a difficult person’s absence empowers one to love them and even rejoice in their presence. Should Americans pray for those in their daily lives, the need for gun control might evaporate as ill will does in true prayer.

Terry Cyr

Scripture quotations are from

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