Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Guns and Rifles 101

THIS VIDEO is a great example of what to do, and also HOW DUMB our media and many of our general public are when it comes to firearms.

My first response to watching this was YES!!

EXCEPT, this was NOT an assault rifle! Geez, why do people keep using this incorrect terminology?

Educate yourself please so you don't sound so ignorant. What she used was a Hi Point rifle. These are great home defense weapons because they are reliable, reasonably priced and easy to use- easier in fact than a handgun (and also more intimidating, which may mean you won't actually have to use it because a criminal might see you holding it and turn tail and run). They also use standard ammo like 9mm or .45ACP which is widely available. More info here:http://www.americanrifleman.org/…/hi-point-firearms-and-th…/

PS: also, don't ever call an AR-15 an assault rifle either. Just don't be that dumb. K? Quick Tutorial so you no longer have to be part of the misinformed masses:

The AR in AR-15 does not stand for Assault Rifle- nor does it stand for Automatic Rifle. AR actually stands for ArmaLite rifle, which is the company that first developed it in the 1950’s.

An assault rifle is often a term used to describe a battlefield military rifle which can fire automatically (one trigger pull will fire the gun until either the trigger is released or the magazine is empty). None of the above are that. The Hi Point described above and the AR-15 are semi-automatic. Even a regular handgun is semi-automatic.... all that means is that it fires just one round (bullet) each time the trigger is pulled no matter how long you hold that trigger down. You must pull the trigger each time in order to fire the weapon. The only thing “automatic” about it is that when you pull and release the trigger, another round (bullet) moves into the chamber so you can fire again without racking the slide. Mass media and the movie industry have done wonders to give these things a bad name, but now you know so you don't have to be one of the ignorant masses anymore.

Moral of this story- arm yourselves! Take a class, learn how to use handguns and rifles by learning and practicing. I pray everyday I will never need to use one, but, make no bones about it, I am not ever going to let fear dictate my own OR my family's safety and security against thugs and criminals like this.

Oh, and promise me that you will never ever call one of these rifles an assault rifle again. Thank you.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Last thoughts on helping refugees....maybe

Ok- I think I need to say this. I have posted a few things about the Syrian Refugee crisis here and on Facebook, and I think I may have been misunderstood (or have not written clearly). Please do not get me wrong, I am not in any way saying that we should not take any refugees or help people from other countries anymore. As a Christian if I were to make a blanket statement like that then you can and should call BS on me. I do think that anytime we can we should help others. I do have a problem with many of the METHODS that are being used to "help" not only refugees, but ALL public welfare as it exists today.

I have a problem with the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT running these programs because:

#1 I do not have faith in the federal government's ability to run programs like these (pretty poor track record)

#2 I do not believe it is in the SCOPE of the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S responsibility to manage social welfare programs (based on the Constitution)

Just because there are people out there that need help both locally and abroad does not give the federal government or anyone, for that matter, the right to tell ME how to help them. That is up to me and God will ultimately judge me for my actions on this earth. You may think that everyone should help everyone, and that I make more than you and so therefore I should give more than you, and that we should open up our borders to everyone because we are only here because of our immigrant ancestors and whatever else you want to think and that is fine. You can think all those things. That STILL doesn't give the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT the right to make those decisions for me (and you either). Most of the money they collect for these programs doesn't even make it to the people it is intended for anyway. We have increased our spending on welfare, social programs, etc. every year for DECADES and the problems keep getting worse. Why is that? Could it be that these programs are being mismanaged somehow? Could it be that asking a huge bureaucracy such as the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT to manage this is simply bad practice?

At the end of the day I want to help people who are suffering, but I want to choose. If I want to give my money away to people in my own city or my own state or another country, that should be MY CHOICE. Right now, I am not given any choice in the matter. I have less to give to help others in my community because our Federal Government has decided it knows better than me (note I have said FEDERAL government here.... there may be a place for some of this in state government, but that is a different topic).

Furthermore- I want the time, talent and resources I spend to go toward actually helping people. I do not believe it is very Christian to blindly WASTE all of those things on people who are not actually being helped, either because they refuse to actually be helped or because some bureaucracy mismanages these things. With Trillions in debt, thousands of homeless, civil unrest, etc. I question whether bringing more people who need help here is a very loving thing to do. So we will add more people to an already stressed system (not to mention the cultural implications)? Look at it this way- if you opened up your home to me because I was downtrodden and needed help, but then you told me that you could not feed me because you already had enough mouths to feed and actually, I needed to sleep outside because you didn't really have any room for me because you had taken in too many others already, I would question how charitable you really are and probably be a little upset. How did you actually help me? OR maybe you put all that assistance you gave me on credit cards and then filed for bankruptcy....placing your mismanagement of resources on the backs of others (trillions in debt anyone? )

This is what I meant in an earlier post when I said that we are reacting far too much on EMOTION and not enough on LOGIC. We all have finite resources. The government has NO RESOURCES without us. If we do not start to become discerning about what is happening with those resources (be it money, time, housing, jobs, or anything else), they will be gone and then no one will be helped.

Let's PAUSE and ASSESS people.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Selfish or Smart- Closing our borders as an act of love?

I've been struggling with the topic of immigration and more recently the Syrian Refugee crisis for a while now. I am a very emotional person and my first response to almost anything is emotional.  Logic and reason are things I have had to work very hard to develop.  Early on in my marriage one of the biggest challenges Chad and I faced was how differently we reacted to everything. He is all about logic and data, and I am all about emotion and how something makes me feel. We butted heads A LOT because of this!  I've learned over the years to find some balance; to consider the facts as well as how I feel, always considering how my walk with Christ directs me to respond in light of those things.

I'll be honest. Our government's response to immigration and refugees and their lack of attention to our national security OR our our own financial, homeless and racial crisis has me extremely worried.   The emotional part of me wants desperately to help everyone who is afraid and hurting.  Pictures of children and families who are desperately trying to escape war and violence tug at my heart.  Knowing that the United States began as a country of immigrants confuses the issue in my head as well.  When I stop to really think reasonably and logically, though, I believe there is something very, very wrong with the direction we are going in this country when we don't place a primary importance on taking care of our own citizens and our own problems.

I believe that there is a huge imbalance in this country between the emotional thinkers and the logical thinkers, with the emotional thinkers taking over virtually all decision/policy making in this country. Because of this I believe we are being taken advantage of and lied to when it comes to the Syrian Refugee situation. 

In the best case scenario, if these really are innocent women, children and families who are trying to escape war and violence, how in the world can we afford to keep doing this as a country?  We are already drowning in debt, and have so many people already on some type of government assistance that we are about to collapse under the weight of it all.  Sure we want to help the needy, but at what point have we used up our ability to do so?

In the worst case scenario these are not really innocent women, children and families but rather they are people bent on destroying others who don’t subscribe to their way of life (especially Americans and Christians).  As emotional people who want everyone to love one another I know we don’t want to believe that, but are you really willing to risk the safety of your family by completely ignoring some fairly compelling evidence that this describes at least some of them?

This is more than just a security issue, though, it is also an issue of available resources and a financial issue for this country.

What is wrong with taking a PAUSE in order to truly assess this situation?  In my job (Human Resources) that is often my response to a potentially risky situation.  Instead of pressing to make a hasty quick decision, sometimes we have to pause and figure out what is going on and what all our options are BEFORE we act. Sometimes the action we end up taking isn’t what we WISH we had to do, but it is what we MUST do based on the evidence.  I have been involved in many employee terminations over the years.  I’ll be honest, there have been some that were pretty easy for me.  There have been some, though, that were difficult and that wish I didn’t have to do, but based on the evidence it was the right thing to do.  That is the way the world works, sometimes we like what we have to do, and sometimes we don’t, but we have to find a balance between our heads and our hearts.

I want to challenge all Christians especially to stop for a second and think about how we are truly called to behave. When Hebrews 13:16 says "Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God”… you can’t ignore the words “what you have”…. God calls us to share what we have to share, not what we don’t have.  Bringing more people to America who need assistance when we don’t have it to give is wrong.  We are TRILLIONS in debt already, where are all these resources coming from?  Ecclesiastes 5:5 says “It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay” and Psalm 37:21 says: “The wicked borrows and does not pay back, but the righteous is generous and gives.”  Clearly God says that borrowing more than you can repay is wrong.  How are we going to pay what we owe already?  Promising more assistance to people who need it when we have to borrow that assistance is wrong- regardless of their situation.  Haven’t you ever heard the saying “robbing Peter to pay Paul”?  That is just ONE problem I have with all of this.

As a Christian I know we are called to help others.  For those Christians out there that are touting the love one another route over all else, I have a question for you.  When was the last time you brought a homeless person (or family) home with you to have a hot meal and a warm place to sleep?  How much of your personal time and resources do you give to the homeless, refugee, foster, elderly communities in your own city/state/country?  If you are one of the very few who spend a lot of time doing these things and HAVE brought people into your own home then you can talk about showing love and giving everything to others as much as you want.  The rest of us need to check out own behavior before calling out others (ME included).

Anyway- that is a long winded lead up to sharing the below article. It covers a lot of the questions and concerns I have, written in a thoughtful way.  Hopefully you’ll take a look and then raise your voice based on actual facts rather than simple emotion.
As We Allow Syrian Refugees in the U.S., There's Something Many Have Overlooked

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Christian gun owner- oxymoron or legit?

It's been a few years now since I shot my first firearm.  Thanks to my husband, I've gotten more and more proficient with this form of protection, and continue to hone my skill should I ever, God forbid, need to use one to protect myself or a member of my family.

Prior to taking my concealed carry class or purchasing my first gun, I had a good long talk with God and many sessions with my Bible.  Being new to true Christianity I am cautious of being tripped up when it comes to God's will for me as a believer.  I wanted to be sure if I went down this path that it would be with Biblical support and not against it.

As you can imagine, I was able to find lots of information and "facts" about what God says regarding the use of weapons for self-defense on both sides of the argument.  I'd like to take a minute to talk about what I found in my research and what led me to conclude that God calls us to protect ourselves and others.  This is not meant to be an expository about fighting gun control, laws restricting who should have guns and what type, what our founding fathers meant by the 2nd ammendment, or any arguments such as these. I'm sure I will get into that at some point as I do feel VERY VERY strongly about these things and think they are important to talk about.  For now, though, I'd like to discuss the very simple matter of whether or not the Bible supports Christians arming themselves with weapons and then using them in self-defense or the defense of others.

First Point: anti-gun anti/violence proponents often claim that the 6th commandment denounces all killing.
Those who believe guns are evil and go against Christian values often cite the 6th commandment as proof of this.  Depending on where you look this commandment can read either "you shall not kill" or "you shall not murder".  Whether the word is kill or murder is not simply a matter of semantics, but actually changes the meaning of this commandment and therefore is of primary importance.

So which one is correct?  It appears that this commandment is one of the most commonly mistranslated of them all.  The Hebrew version of this commandment is Lo tirtzach which, translated, means "Do not murder".  I found example after example that this is indeed the correct translation of the Hebrew and therefore will go with "Thou Shall Not Murder" as the correct translation of the 6th commandment.

Now- what exactly is the difference between murder and killing?  Don't these words mean the same thing? The Hebrew word for “murder” literally means “the intentional, premeditated killing of another person with malice.”  So, intentionality is really what we are looking at when determining whether someone has killed vs. murdered. Even under common law (law originating from custom and court decisions rather than statutes), murder was an intentional killing that was unlawful (in other words, not legally justified), and committed with "malice aforethought."

So, those who would argue that God prohibits killing in all circumstances would not be able to cite the 6th commandment as proof of that statement.  God says you may not MURDER... but there is a such thing as justified killing.

Second Point: God calls us to turn the other cheek
Anti-gun/Anti-Violence people have often quoted passages in the Bible that advocate turning the other cheek, suffering instead of causing suffering, and loving your enemies.  Once again, anytime the Bible is quoted and interpreted for meaning, CONTEXT is critical.

Turning the other cheek as quoted in Matthew 5:39 and Luke 6:29 is not referring to mortal harm, but rather insult.  The Bible is very clear that you are not to retaliate against insult or other personal offenses that do not put your physical life in danger.  Back in the day being slapped via a backhand was a common way to describe an insult.  The Sermon on the Mount, where many people go to cite examples that Jesus calls us to be pacifists, really had nothing whatsoever to do with that.  Jesus was actually clearing up confusion about personal conduct around revenge or taking the law into your own hands. God is very clear throughout the Bible that individual retaliation toward others is not OK, but rather, rests in the hands of the government or "the law".  Killing as a form of retaliation is very different than killing in self-defense, and the Bible makes that very clear in both the New and the Old Testament.  Killing in retaliation becomes murder because of the pre-meditation and malicious intent involved.

Third Point: God calls us to protect ourselves and others from mortal harm
There are very clear directives and examples given in both the New and the Old Testament about our freedom AND obligation to protect ourselves and loved ones from those who would seek to do us physical harm, both individually and as groups.  Exodus 22: 2-3 says that if someone breaks into a home at night when their intent can't be easily determined (it's dark, you have been awoken from sleep and are disoriented), the homeowner has a right to kill in self-defense with no repercussion.  It goes on to say if the same person were to break in during daylight where it was obvious they were there only to steal, then killing would not be justified.  Why? Because, again, killing another must be used as a last resort to protect yourself or another from being killed. Killing to protect your stuff; not on the same level.  Of course, you have to know FOR SURE that you are not in mortal harm, and I would argue that if someone breaks into your house while you are there, there isn't a lot of opportunity to discern intent and to err on the side of caution and protection is always wise.  God knows what you know, so if you are truly fearful for your life, God says you may take the bad guy out.

I'd like to take this a step further, though, and point out that there are many passages that show that not only does God condone using lethal force in self-defense, but that He actually commands us to protect ourselves and others.
"Rescue the weak and needy; Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked." Psalm 82:4
"... But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require from the watchman's hand." Ezekiel 33 
Another example from the Old Testament. When Lot and his people were captured, Abram had no problem rescuing them with force (Genesis 14:13-16). How about Nehemiah?
"Therefore I positioned men behind the lower parts of the wall, at the openings; and I set the people according to their families, with their swords, their spears, and their bows."  Nehemiah 4:13
God calls us to fight for His kingdom.  If Nehemiah did not have his men arm themselves while they worked to rebuild the walls, they would have been killed and failed.  The same thing happened when David fought the Philistines and when Moses and the Israelites fought the Amalekites and many other examples in the Bible where deadly weapons were used to defeat God's enemies who were bent on killing them. With God's direction and support men were led to arm themselves over and over again.  "A righteous man who falters before the wicked is like a murky spring and a polluted well" Proverbs 25:26.... we have no right to hand over our life, which is a gift from God, to the unrighteous. 

What about the New Testament?  Didn't Jesus scold Peter for using a sword to fight off the guards that were taking Him away (John 18:10-11)?  Doesn't that show that Jesus was against using a weapon in defense? Again, context is critical.  Jesus condemned Peter's action not because of his intent to defend Christ, but because Peter was getting in the way of God's plan for the guards to take Jesus.  Note that He didn't rebuke him for having the sword (a gun in today's world), but rather only for using it at that time.  Later on in Luke 22:36 Jesus advises his Apostles not only to arm themselves, but to sell their coats if necessary to do so. That's a pretty strong recommendation considering that the Apostles were going to be traveling and spending a lot of time sleeping outside where a coat would have been pretty important.

To sum up:
  • The 6th Commandment states that you should not murder, and the definition of murder is intentionality, along with premeditation or malice- Exodus 20:13...
  • Some 50 verses later God calls us to protect ourselves from physical harm using lethal force if necessary- 22:2-3 supporting the fact that killing is different from murder
  • Multiple examples of God commanding His people to arm themselves in both the Old and New Testament to protect from physical harm and to protect others from deadly intentions as well
  • Multiple examples of God commanding us NOT to retaliate with physical harm to insults and character attacks- further distinguishing how serious the situation must be to justify using deadly force against another
Killing becomes murder when (and only when) it is not properly justified.  Scripture is clear regarding the justification: you can use whatever force necessary to protect your own life from a hostile aggressor, or to save the life of an innocent from such imminent, life-threatening danger. Do not take the responsibility of arming yourself lightly.  We will all stand before God and answer for our actions in this life.  If you neglect your responsibility to yourself and others, there will be consequences just the same as if you neglect to follow God's commands and use the right to self-defense foolishly and without justification.

"Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight" Psalm 144:1