Once again, there’s talk about more gun control in the United States. It happens every time some lunatic murders people. Murder is a crime, and yet people still murder. The vast majority of people in the United States who own guns have never unlawfully used their guns, and yet Democrats want to put further restrictions on them.
Cleotha Abston [Henderson], 38, kidnapped and killed Eliza “Liza” Fletcher, 34, in Memphis. A gun was not used. The alleged killer had been in prison for a previous kidnapping. He was released early. Then there’s this, also from Memphis:
A 19-year-old man was arrested and charged [September 7th] … after multiple shootings and carjackings across Memphis left four people dead and three injured in a violent rampage that lasted for hours, officials said.
The suspect, identified as Ezekiel Kelly, has been charged with first-degree murder. Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said Kelly had been released from jail on March 16 after serving 11 months of a three-year sentence for an aggravated assault plea. (Source)
These types of killings are happening on a regular basis in the United States. Kidnap and assault people and then released to do it again. For these people, there are no eternal consequences. The problem is not the weapon.
The city of Chicago has strict gun control laws, and yet hundreds of people are shot every year. Criminals do not pay attention to laws. In 2020, there had been more than 766 homicides, “the highest number since 778 murders in 2016…. Other numbers in Chicago also are markedly higher than a year ago: 4,115 people were shot. 11,280 illegal guns seized. 7,236 gun arrests.” Strict gun control laws do not affect people hell-bent on committing gun violence.
Over the Labor Day weekend, 46 people were shot, four fatally, in gun-controlled Chicago.
Great Britain has strict gun control laws. Advocates of gun control believe that these laws cut down on violence and crime. At least “10 people were killed, and 15 others were hospitalized in a mass stabbing attack in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan” on September 4, 2022. (Source)
Such laws only empower lawbreakers. Gun homicides were low in the United Kingdom even before gun control laws went into effect. This does not mean that there hasn’t been any gun violence since these laws went into effect in 1977. “Over the course of a few days in the summer of 2001, gun-toting men burst into an English court and freed two defendants; a shooting outside a London nightclub left five women and three men wounded; and two men were machine-gunned to death in a residential neighborhood of north London. And on New Year’s Day [in 2002] a 19-year-old girl walking on a main street in east London was shot in the head by a thief who wanted her mobile phone. London police are now looking to New York City police for advice.”
Gun control has had an impact elsewhere: a dramatic increase in other violent crimes. “For example, comparing London and New York, cities of very similar population and demographics, the rate of assaults and robberies is over six times as high, and 7 or 10 times nationwide (depending on statistic used).” Compared with the United States, “the United Kingdom has a slightly higher total crime rate per capita of approximately 85 per 1000 people, while in the USA it is approximately 80.”
Consider this 2002 article from Reason.com:
On a June evening two years ago, Dan Rather made many stiff British upper lips quiver by reporting that England had a crime problem and that, apart from murder, “theirs is worse than ours.” The response was swift and sharp. “Have a Nice Daydream,” The Mirror, a London daily, shot back, reporting: “Britain reacted with fury and disbelief last night to claims by American newsmen that crime and violence are worse here than in the US.” But sandwiched between the article’s battery of official denials — “totally misleading,” “a huge over-simplification,” “astounding and outrageous” — and a compilation of lurid crimes from “the wild west culture on the other side of the Atlantic where every other car is carrying a gun,” The Mirror conceded that the CBS anchorman was correct. Except for murder and rape, it admitted, “Britain has overtaken the US for all major crimes.”
Riots in London a few years ago indicate that lawless people will use any means at their disposal to force their will on others. Three men were killed by an automobile, people were openly beaten in the streets, and business establishments were looted while others were burned. Store owners had no way of protecting their property. The people doing the looting, and they weren’t just the poor and disenfranchised (a millionaire’s daughter, a ballet student, a musician, an organic chef, a university graduate student, and a law student are just some of the types of people arrested), knew that they would meet little resistance. “In reality, the English approach has not reduced violent crime. Instead, it has left law-abiding citizens at the mercy of criminals who are confident that their victims have neither the means nor the legal right to resist them. Imitating this model would be a public safety disaster for the United States.”
So what does the law-abiding citizen do? He shops on Amazon for baseball bats! He can’t buy guns, so he gets the next best thing, a metal version of the Louisville Slugger. In 24 hours, sales for baseball bats on Amazon UK rose by more than 6000 percent.
Nearly ten years ago, defenseless citizens were also buying police-style telescoping truncheons. (The spring-loaded ones are illegal.) The Guardian reported the following: “Amazon has removed several police-style telescopic truncheons from sale on its site as soaring sales of truncheons, baseball bats and other items that could be used as weapons sparked fears of vigilantism in the wake of widespread rioting.”
So law-abiding citizens became even more defenseless. They couldn’t even order a baseball bat online to protect themselves from roaming thugs. Maybe it’s time they whittle down their cricket bats. Paul Joseph Watson wrote: “Just like gun control, banning baseball bats only disarms the public and creates victims. Criminals will always be able to acquire weapons of any description because they do not obey laws. Leaving Brits defenseless will only embolden the rioting hordes.”
Weapons have been with us since the beginning of time. Cain could have used a rock or a club to kill Abel. Maybe it was a knife. He might have even strangled him with his bare hands. Envy does something to a person. It brings out the rage. We don’t know, and it doesn’t matter. It was Cain’s sin that we remember and despise. James describes the progression from thought to action:
But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death (James 1:14-15).
It’s not any more complicated than this. Something similar was told to Cain: “Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” (Gen. 4:7). The problem wasn’t a weapon that was at Cain’s disposal; the problem was Cain.
Liberals and secularists don’t believe in sin. People do what they do because of “things” and circumstances, a worldview that does not comport with biblical reality (Col. 2:20-23). There must have been an environmental problem: unresponsive parents, being picked on, a broken relationship, the rich, Donald Trump. No one dares call it the fruit of lust, a desire to overthrow good with evil with any means at one’s disposal.
But people have always been sinners, why are these mass tragedies happening now? The controlling elements of shame and guilt have been removed. Community revulsion and exclusion are no longer factors in restraining behavior. Enough Westerners have a mind-my-own-business method of dealing with bad behavior (if it’s even called bad). It’s been drummed into our heads that we cannot impose our morality (or anyone’s morality) on others; therefore, the neighborhood bully cannot be restrained. His parents might sue you. The Columbine killers exhibited anti-social behavior. They were just expressing themselves. What could the principal do? If the parents didn’t show up first, the ACLU would have been at the school to threaten a suit because the principal was imposing some arbitrary form of morality on the students. “Freedom of expression” rules the day.
Similarly, the ACLU would have responded with even quicker resolve if the principal or some caring teacher had counseled the boys by sharing the gospel with them. Consider what happened to the principal of a public (government) school in Jackson, Mississippi, when he allowed the reading of the Bible over the intercom. Yes, your friendly ACLU was there to see to it that he never did that again. Better to create an environment of total self-will that acknowledges that there is a God who holds us accountable and provides the means of overcoming our lust for what belongs to others.
Multiculturalism, the kind that claims that all value systems are equal, has failed, as those familiar with history predicted it would. Margaret Thatcher saw the future of England, and possibly the future of the United States. On May 21, 1988, she made the following comments to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland:
We are a nation whose ideals were founded on the Bible. Also, it is quite impossible to understand our literature without grasping this fact. That is the strong practical case for ensuring that children at school are given adequate instruction in the part which the Judaeo-Christian tradition has played in moulding our laws, manners and institutions. How can you make sense of Shakespeare and Sir Walter Scott, or of the constitutional conflicts of the seventeenth century in both Scotland and England, without such fundamental knowledge? But I would go further than this. The truths of the Judaeo-Christian tradition are infinitely precious, not only, as I believe, because they are true, but also because they provide the moral impulse which alone can lead to that peace, in the true meaning of the word, for which we all long. . . .
But there is little hope for democracy if the hearts of men and women in democratic societies cannot be touched by a call to something greater than themselves. Political structures, state institutions, collective ideals are not enough. We Parliamentarians can legislate for the rule of law…. [Democracy requires] the life of faith…. as much to the temporal as to the spiritual welfare of the nation.
Those determined to impose their will on others will not be deterred by anti-gun laws. If they can’t shoot to kill, they will explode to kill, knife to kill, poison to kill, bludgeon to kill, strangle to kill. They, like the antagonists in Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange, will use any means at their disposal to satisfy their disregard for a worldview that holds them accountable. “Who are you to tell me what to do?” To this question, the godless have no real answer.
The Law of the Covenant
If we take a man-centered approach to these laws, we might say that the purpose of this legislation is only to ensure human prosperity. Such an approach to the law of God misses the most basic point. These laws show us God’s own genuine personal care for His world, and as such these laws cannot be altered by human whim. Thus, as we examine the laws in Exodus 21-23, our first concern must be the glory of God, not whether these laws seem right to us sinful men. If we start with God, we will soon see how these laws also improve human life.
Thinking Straight in a Crooked World
The nursery rhyme ‘There Was a Crooked Man’ is an appropriate description of how sin affects us and our world. We live in a crooked world of ideas evaluated by crooked people. Left to our crooked nature, we can never fully understand what God has planned for us and His world. God has not left us without a corrective solution. He has given us a reliable reference point in the Bible so we can identify the crookedness and straighten it.
Quoted in Michael Alison and David L. Edwards, eds., Christianity and Conservatism (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1990), 337-338. Cited by Vishal Mangalwadi, The Book that Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2011), 161-162.