During his gun control press conference today President Obama referenced a few young children who were in the room who had written letters to him concerning violence with guns.
After reading excerpts from their letters and getting them to wave he said,
These are our kids. This is what they’re thinking about. And so what we should be thinking about is our responsibility to care for them, and shield them from harm, and give them the tools they need to grow up and do everything that they’re capable of doing — not just to pursue their own dreams, but to help build this country. This is our first task as a society, keeping our children safe. This is how we will be judged. And their voices should compel us to change.
Now, coming from most people and in most settings I would accept these remarks as meaning nothing than the conventional collective responsibility for each others’ safety, “I am my brother’s keeper,” sentiment.
But this President isn’t most people and this press conference was not most settings. This President has followed a vision of government that puts governmental power first and the people second. He has demonstrated a propensity for power grabs that serve a narrow ideology and a cadre of wealthy, elitist supporters rather than advance the good for society. A gun grab is entirely within the vision that this President espouses, and his Alinsky training screams, “never let a crisis go to waste.” Newtown provides the unassailable crisis. Guns are the target. Of course, like his desire for single-payer health care, he won’t go for the whole enchilada at once: that will require a few more crises. But he’s got four more years. This is a great time to start the gun grab, hence today’s executive orders.
Because of that, I say to the President, no, those are not “our kids,” they are their parents’ kids. Their safety is not among my primary concerns, it is among their parents’ primary concerns. Giving those kids the tools they need is not my responsibility, it is their parents’ responsibility. Our first task as society is not “keeping our children safe,” it is protecting everyone’s ability to flourish according to their own effort and industry, it is helping parents accomplish their responsibilities vis-a-vis their children in the ways those parents decide they need help.
We are not a collective where kids, after birth (should they make it that far in Barack Obama’s Planned Parenthood-saturated America), become property of the state on loan, as it were, to the parents to raise so long as the state allows. Most of us recoil at the notion of becoming “Julia.” When kids go to school their primary teachers remain their parents, regardless of what the National Education Association and the Department of Education say. Throughout the day the persons chiefly responsible for the safety of the children remains their mother and father. Should the parents entrust this charge to another they have not thereby relinquished it.
That said, if parents in a local area wish their school to be protected by armed security they should be allowed to have it. If they wish to allow teachers and administrators to be armed, they should have it. If they wish their school to remain unprotected, surrounded by an imaginary “gun-free zone” bubble, that is their prerogative too.
And in the house, if the parents, the husband and father in particular, feel the need to possess firepower they deem necessary, within reason, for the protection of themselves and their children against all intruders civilian—or governmental—that right ought to continue to be protected.
In our Catholic tradition this falls in the vein of Just War Theory. Aggression, including lethal force, is justified in certain circumstances, among them is defense of another, especially those for whom you are responsible.
We believe that the family is the basic unit of society, and all components of society that are composed of families drawn together—a local community, a neighborhood, a town or city, a county, a state, and eventually a nation—are established because of, and must be in support of, the preservation and advancement of that foundational unit.
The government has responsibilities because families have rights to protect and responsibilities to carry out; among them the right to self-defense. Families banded together in a local area will entrust an overarching responsibility for policing to a governmental organization, but they do not thereby relinquish their right and primary responsibility to protect and defend themselves with all proportionate force. Within the family this responsibility of protection falls chiefly on the husband and father.
Governmental action should support, never neuter, a father’s ability to protect his family against those who will not obey silly gun control laws, and who intend also to violate laws against assault, burglary, rape, and perhaps even murder.
Reliance on the police is no answer. A criminal bent on mayhem busting through your window will not pause and wait for you to place a call to 9-1-1 and then wait for the police to arrive before he attacks. A five-minute response time may be four minutes and fifty-nine seconds too long to save your life or your virtue. On the other hand, merely flashing an AR-15 in the assailant’s sight and showing the least ability to use it will adjust his attitude real quickly, and in ways that even a handgun likely would not.
When a government seeks to reduce a husband and father’s ability to protect his family that government is not acting in support of the family, but rather at odds with it. When this happens the government becomes an enemy of the family rather than a friend.
That some people cannot fathom a reason someone else might want or feel that they need such a weapon does not overrule this. Laws ought not be based on “I don’t think you need those, and, frankly, they scare me.” but rather on sound reasoning.
The crazed actions of a few sick young men who did horrible things in a spectacular fashion do not overrule this. Reasonable measures to prevent such people from getting their hands on such weapons can and should be taken (more on that in another post, because I think some of the President’s policy proposals are actually quite sound). But measures are not “reasonable” that would remove these weapons from the hands of the overwhelming majority of persons who are only a danger to those who would do unjust harm.