Sunday, December 9, 2007

On the Colorado Church Shootings

I was shocked to hear about today's shootings so close to my new home, and I'm grieving for the families of those killed at the YWAM training center in Arvada and here in the Springs at New Life Church. One or more bad guys with guns ended the lives of four innocent people (including two teenage sisters at New Life) and put several others in the hospital (including the father of the slain girls). We have some new friends who left New Life only minutes before the shooting.

In the midst of this, I am left wondering how long it will be before the gun-control crowd start to make their foolish noises. One of the differences between gun law here in Colorado and where I lived in Texas is that it is legal for those with a Concealed Hangun Permit to carry in church. As I thought about the similarities and differences between the shootings, I realized that there is one major fact that stands out: at the YWAM center, none of the victims, to my knowledge, had a firearm. At New Life there were armed security personnel. The pastor credited the security gal (yes, a woman with a gun!) who shot the murderer with saving lives. The media was emphasizing the rapid response of the Colorado Springs police and El Paso County sheriff's department (only two minutes), but if you read the facts carefully, you will see that by the time they arrived, the shooting was over, and the bad guy was dead.

This only emphasizes all the more the great need for law-abiding citizens to be armed. Even when the police can respond in minutes, it only takes seconds for a bad guy to kill innocent people. Only armed citizens already on the scene, trained and ready, can stop the violence before it is too late. New Life Church wisely had contingency plans in place, the staff were trained, and they had people with guns ready to defend the congregation. Thankfully, the planning and preparation worked, and lives were saved. Before His death, Jesus told His disciples that if they weren't armed, they should sell a coat and get a sword (Luke 22:36). It wasn't his intentions that they be armed to the teeth (two were enough for the group), but simply that they be able to defend themselves.

As a Christian, I believe that human life is one of the most precious gifts God has given us and I hope that I will never have to defend myself, my family, or others. I would like to think that God will keep us from harm, send the bad guys somewhere else and let us live a peaceful life. Today's shootings remind me that the bad guys are never far away, and that we have to always be diligent, watchful and prepared. The Christians shot today were no different from me - I just happened to walk out of a different church this morning, an hour earlier and 8 1/2 miles away. I think that Scripture is pretty clear on my right to use lethal force in self-defense. (Note to gun control people: the Bill of Rights, including the Second Amendment, is an acknowledgment of rights that the people already possess - it does not grant rights. The people grant rights to the government, not the other way around!)

If it had been my church, would there have been someone armed and ready to defend the innocent from some homicidal punk? I know the answer to that question at my church. Do you?

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