Can we truly be free from fear?

A friend of mine from my Church Youth Group from when I was in High School has put up a blog post. He is a dear friend, and an Episcopal Minister. He is a good man, and I admire his choice to do what he does being a “man of the cloth” as it were. It is something that I do not think I could do. I will not link to his blog post out of respect, since I do not want my readers to flood his blog with comments that are rude and inconsiderate. With that being said, some background on him. As I have stated, he is an Episcopal Minister. He lived in Newtown, Connecticut for a while before moving a short distance away from there. He has children that are elementary school age, apparently many of them adopted. He is a fantastic human being and one that more of us should strive to be like.

Unfortunately, there is one thing that I will respectfully disagree with him on. My understanding is that he is of the belief that all firearms should be limited to law enforcement personnel only.  He states that he is glad that there are officers present at the school his children currently attend. He states “The presence of (Redacted) Police Officers at our schools has given me freedom from fear. The police are there to serve and protect and their presence reassures me of the safety of my kids.”  This is a nice thought.  And I am glad that he is no longer afraid. Unfortunately he is mistaken. The police are not there to protect his children.  They are a deterrent, at best. According to the Supreme Court of the United States, the police have no duty to protect the citizens. The link to the case that determined this is here.

There are a few things that my friend advocates in the post that I do not agree with. He advocates a voluntary gun turn in program.  Unfortunately a gun turn in program only serves to disarm peaceful citizens, turning them into victims. A criminal, or someone that has an intent to do harm will not voluntarily give up their weapon, especially if we are asking a criminal to go to the police and do so. Now granted, I live in a different part of the country from him. I live in Texas, and he lives in Connecticut. However, that does not isolate either one of us from the potential of someone intending to do us harm, to take from us our property, our lives, or our liberty.

He concludes his post by starting a sentence “In a civil society…” If only that were the case. We are not in a civil society. We may act civil, but in all honesty, there are those among us who are anything but civil. Bullies in schools, rape, murder, drug abuse, theft, all seem to be all too common among us. There are only two places I know of that have a crime rate of zero; Antarctica, and the International Space Station, and that is just speculation. Crimes may have happened there, we just aren’t aware of that fact. Even our religious centers are not immune, as we frequently hear cases of clergy doing things that are at the very least unbecoming of someone that we look to as an example of how we should behave.

So what do we do? In the Declaration of Independence, there is a line that seems to be relevant to me in this discussion. “… that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”  I have a right to live. I have a right to determine my own destiny. I do not have a right to actually BE happy. I have a right to pursue what makes me happy.  I do not have a right to not be afraid, for myself and for my fellow human beings.

My freedom from fear comes from a different place than my friend. My freedom from fear comes from the fact that I know that if someone ever does come with intent to harm me, or my family, I will not be waiting for the police. I will defend myself and my family to the best of my ability. My wife will as well. We are both well trained, and well practiced in the art of handling a firearm, and we continually work to improve our skills. (Incidentally we are also well armed.) We are not afraid, and we do not depend on someone else for our safety.

Does that mean that I want my friend to go out and buy a firearm? No. I respect his choice, and his reasoning. I simply ask that he would also respect mine, and not attempt to take away my ability to secure the life of my family and myself.

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