Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Guns, Hitler, rattlesnakes and Ben Carson

An article, They Really Hate Ben Carson, ChurchandWorld linked to, started a long string of thoughts in my mind about guns, honesty and bravery.  This posting includes a lot of stories, some history. But it is also about me sorting out my thoughts on guns. The article was written by Dennis Prager and he was showing how the secular media distorted statements by presidential candidate Ben Carson.

One statement was his answer to a question, in reference to the shootings in Roseburg, Oregon, about what he would do if someone stuck a gun to his head and asked him what his religion was. Prager wrote that Carson had stated “… not only would I probably not cooperate with him, I would not just stand there and let him shoot me. I would say, ‘Hey, guys, everybody attack him. He may shoot me, but he can’t get us all.'”

Because of this statement Carson has been accused of blaming the Oregon students because they were victims of a mass shooting. He has also been criticized for suggesting that Hitler would not have totally succeeded with his genocide “if the people had been armed.”

So first of all my position. I am a democrat who generally votes Republican because there are few Democrats who stand against abortion or for the traditional definition of marriage. I’m not sure at all who I will vote for this time so this is not meant as an endorsement of Carson.

As far as guns go. I have a lot of stories to tell but first I do believe in regulating the selling of guns. There should be complete background checks. And as far as gun shows go I think they should be outlawed unless they are meant simply as shows and not to sell. They are not required to do gun checks and over twenty years ago when I did my research for an article, Christian Identity: A “Christian” Religion for White Racists, I was writing for Christian Research Journal, I discovered a lot of the racists hung out at the gun shows. But I am not for total gun removal.

Here are my stories and then I want to write about what Carson said.

My mother was about to complete high school when the great depression occurred. She had to quit. Her father, to make up for her loss gave her the family rifle and allowed her to go squirrel hunting as often as she pleased. My father had a gun and as my sisters and I left home he tried to get us to buy one for protection. I never wanted to, and I confess when he shot himself in the foot, (and he was generally good with guns and careful) we felt bad but sort of had that “see what can happen attitude!”

Later my husband bought two guns so that he could go out plinking with a friend. Now a granddaughter and her husband own one of the guns. After killing two rattlesnakes with a hoe she felt a gun might work better. The rattlesnakes, not on the same day, were under the children’s swing and headed toward the chicken coop.

So what about Carson’s remarks. Well part of me wishes he had said “I would have said I love Jesus, so go ahead and shoot.” But he’s not wrong or evil because of what he said. Remember plane 93 on 9.11 2001. Most of the passengers had an agreement to rush the radical Moslems who had taken over the plane. They knew that some or all of them would probably die, but they undoubtedly saved the lives of many in Washington D.C. And about Hitler, well that is much more complex but Carson has made a good point, as Prager wrote:

“…while “greatly diminished” [The Jew’s deaths] is debatable, the general view strikes me as simple common sense: Why wouldn’t it have been a good thing if many Jews in 1930s Europe had had weapons? Of course it would not have prevented the Holocaust, but it might have saved some lives; and just as important, it would have enabled armed Jews to die fighting rather than to die unarmed and with no ability to fight …”

We tend to forget that Dietrich Bonhoeffer, some of his family members and some officers in the German army tried twice to kill Hitler with a bomb. If they could have done it with a gun they probably would have. And there is this other story.

Several years ago PBS ran a documentary on the underground in Holland during World War II.  The name of the documentary is Hidden Heroes - Dutch Resistance, and one of the stories that has stayed with me was told by an elderly woman who had been part of the underground. She secretly carried a gun. The woman passed by a crowd of people at a train station just as a Nazi officer pulled a baby from a Jewish couples arms. He smashed the baby’s head against a wall. The woman said without thinking, and putting herself at great risk, she pulled out her gun and shot the officer. And then she found herself being pushed backwards through the crowd until she had escaped completely from view.   

As a Christian who loves Jesus I don’t think I could trust in a gun for defense but I cannot condemn Carson; his is a call for justice, there is no real reason to aim such hatred at him.

But we who belong to Christ have a defense that is good and sure.

I say to you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the one who after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you fear Him! Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear, you are more valuable than many sparrows.” (Luke 12 4-7)


Andy Vloedman said...

I like Carson but think his comment on Hitler was ill advised. Unfortunately, it also could be viewed as supporting views I think he would condemn. I had the privilege of knowing a woman who as a young girl was in the last group of people to leave the Warsaw ghetto. She and her sisters had survived for weeks in the sewers while fighting took place on the streets above. Her story motivated me to read a number of books telling the story of the final days of the Warsaw ghetto. It's a heroic story of Jewish resistance fighters armed with small arms who died fighting while holding off 2 battalions of Waffen SS supported by artillery and armored vehicles. As you point out it's a complex question and not one to be addressed by politicians in off the cuff comments on gun control.

Viola Larson said...

Thanks Andy. That is a subject I don't know a lot about, the fight by the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto, I mean. I should read about it too.