In late November, after the Paris terror attacks, French Ambassador to the United States, Gerard Araud had a bee in his bonnet based on a tweet by Donald Trump, who had said that the attacks were enabled by the gun control laws in France. Asked to respond on Fox News he said, “Imagine a theater hall and suddenly people enter with machine guns and are really killing people … It is only in the movies someone is using his gun to defend himself.”
As an American, who has never been to France, I am not qualified to speak for the French people. I assume that the ambassador knows his people and their character better than I do. Although I would like to remind the ambassador of something.
Back in mid-August three American young men traveling in France were on a train when another mass shooting started. These men acted, attacking and subduing the attacker, one can only guess how many lives they saved.
These individuals were not in a movie. But they took courageous action to save themselves and others. Yes, I know that they did it without firearms. I suspect the courage they applied in their situation was even greater than if they had firearms.
It’s time to set aside the hysteria over weapons. The only deterrent to the type of attacks we are seeing right now, is the understanding that people have the right and will use the right to defend themselves. I have never been in a gunfight. I can’t imagine what it is like. But I am sure it is more challenging for the attacker if they expect to someone to shoot back. What is our other option? To bring a knife to a gunfight?
Over the weekend reports began circulating that Lt. Cmdr. Timothy White was going to be charged with discharging a personal weapon at the US Navy Operations Center in Chattanooga. He fired the weapon at Muhammad Abdulazeez who was attacking the base and had already killed some military personnel. These reports began with Allen West, who received the information and began to sound a loud call to action to defend the Lt. Cmdr.
Since then there have been comments by the navy on social media stating that no charges have been filed, and that the investigation as to what happened is still ongoing. If they have formulated any official reply I could not find it in an internet search this morning.
While their assertion that no charges have been filed provides some degree of assurance, I believe that it also leaves some room that as the investigation progresses this action could still be taken. It’s hard to digest, that this is even a possibility. Think about it, the action of defending your fellow soldiers, running toward the gunfire instead of away from it, actions which would have resulted in commendations or at the very least the satisfaction of having done your duty – these same actions could result in charges because you are on US soil and are deemed illegal here.
It comes down to a decision years ago, which greatly restricts when military personnel would carry weapons. I believe soldiers can be trained, and in fact, are trained to handle their weapons responsibly. Undoubtedly some individuals would go against their training, but I do not believe that would be as big of a problem as that created by disarming our defenders.
Disarming our military men on US bases sends two unacceptable messages. First that our military is untrustworthy and second that they are now defenseless and easy targets.
I see in the news that President Obama will hold a summit for the purpose of fighting terrorism. Terrorism is referred to by a pseudonym, ‘violent extremism’.
Renaming it bugs me. Why do we redefine everything? We invent new words for old problems, in order to spin the issue in a new way. Most of the time we really aren’t doing anything different, other than changing the vocabulary to create a different impression.
In this case I can’t help but suspect the desired change is to take the focus off of Islam, to leave the faint suggestion that any belief is dangerous and can become violent when taken to extremes.
Breaking the connection between Islam and terror might not be that easy though. This morning ISIS has released an edited version of a previous warning, calling on Islamic people in in Western democracies to actions, similar to France. So apparently ISIS sees the connection, whether we do or not.
This past week, President Obama addressed the UN General Assembly. He spoke to several issues hoping make the world a better place. Notable among them was his plans for the world to come together and battle terrorism. Among his suggestions were guidelines to interrupt the flow of money to support terrorism. Specifically a plan to prevent citizens from one part of the world, funding subversive organizations in other parts.
On one front it looks like a great idea for our president to cooperate with the rest of the world. We like that he is showing leadership. But on the home front, I wonder why it is he has chosen to place blame on his opponents rather than to extend an olive branch of compromise? He has preferred to save his spirit of cooperation for the international scene.
The idea of laws being instituted over our country by the international community bothers me. Specifically as a Christian, who supports missionary work all around the world, I am concerned. You see the definition of terrorism is different from place to place, and miscommunication can be disastrous. On a side note, this is why a group like ISIS can think it is a good idea to publicly behead American citizens. They think they are saying to America, “Stay away from us.” They don’t know what we hear then saying is, “We need to be wiped off the face of the earth.” Miscommunication can be pretty extreme indeed.
In the future it seems very probable some locations will define the work of missionaries as terrorism. At that point, will every mission minded church in America be deemed guilty of supporting terrorist organizations or activities?
The world is coming together to deal with the threat presented by ISIS. This organization has the world’s attention in the same way the Taliban and Al Qaeda did before it.
Personally I wish the world would take up a different question. Why is it that another organization has risen up, after we had already dealt with the previous threats?
Too many policy makers have an unrealistic viewpoint of the culture of the Middle East and of the Islamic religion. These leaders are steeped in the politically correct rhetoric of the West, and they seek to understand the world through this lens. They are not seeing the problem realistically.
They need to learn a couple of lessons.
First, enemies will often lie to you. The form of this falsehood might be tucked behind a religious façade, but that does not make it any less of a lie. Islamic teaching does advocate conversion by the sword. It does encourage violence against infidels, and especially a hatred of Jews. The picture of moderate Muslims as practicing a peaceful religion is largely an invention of the West.
Second, empowering one Islamic group over another does not mean the group we assisted will see us as partners. They will largely accept the assistance and still see us as infidels who are inherently counted among their enemies.
Third, we are decreasing in both the will and resources necessary to oppose each successive wave of terrorism. This is why the emphasis has gone from doing whatever it takes, to making sure we don’t commit to boots on the ground. So as we become less willing and less able to oppose terrorists we need to either find a way to stop the rise of new groups, or learn to live with daily terrorism on a greater scale.