Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Concealed Carry in Illinois Now!

If the recent tragedy at Virginia Tech has shown us nothing, it is that the police often can't or don't show up until after the shooting stops. How many more people have to die before the anti-gun crowd stops blocking our right to self-defense? Virginia Tech was supposedly a gun-free campus. Note that the shooter, a Va. Tech student from South Korea named Cho Seung-Hui, didn't take heed of that. If one or two people with concealed carry guns could have confronted him, the bloodshed would most likely have been curtailed quickly. The shooter could have seen the victim's point of view had he been looking at the business end of someone else's gun. Instead, he had free rein to shoot his first targets, then go to a classroom and kill even more people.

The State Legislature of Virginia recently killed a bill that would provide a positive defense of concealed-carry permit holders on university campus. They gave the shooter plenty of unarmed targets. It's better to have all those dead students rather than have armed students watching out for their friends and classmates according to the legislators.

I know, I know: Why have the guns in the first place? Why can't everyone just throw their guns away and live in peace? There are two main reasons, and they have a common thread. The first is that the strong will dominate the weak when given the chance. The second is that each person has a right to defend themselves from such domination without having to constantly run away. What's the common thread? Human nature is that thread. We are predators. Our base nature is to dominate all things around us. When one tries to dominate another, the aspect turns into physical and mental conflict. Despite our desires to live peacefully, our human nature often comes to the fore. We fight to maintain our life, to have peace on our own terms. As we have that nature to fight for our lives, we must exercise our right to defend ourselves and we must be able to determine for ourselves what is appropriate for our environment. A concealed handgun is appropriate for self-defense in our urbanized society. We cannot live in peace until others understand that we are not to be dominated.

The legislators in Illinois must be made to understand this desire to not be dominated, and must compromise with us on allowing citizens to be armed when they want to be armed. I have no qualms proving my competence to carry a concealed weapon, but I think my basic competence to own a gun in the first place should be all that is needed. A FOID card shows the basic competence to own a gun. It also shows that I accept personal responsibility for my future gun-related actions. I understand the consequences of using a gun in accepting that responsibility, and thus must act with caution. Why can't the legislators understand this about FOID cards? Cardholders show that they're willing to do what is necessary to act with prudence and caution, and understand the penalties for acting otherwise.

You also might ask, if we're children of God, how can we kill another child of god? We are children of God, yes, and have no right to take the life of another human being. I believe that our lives are gifts from God, and that we must not take that gift from another. There are times when our situation gives us no choice other than taking another life to save our own from imminent destruction. We have the right to defend our lives from being taken by another.

Don't make any mistake, every avenue of nonviolence must be taken or at least considered in resolving such conflicts. The problem is that the person trying to kill us has said that he or she is uninterested in nonviolent conflict resolution. We must then speak the language they understand. This person feels the need to dominate you to the point of having the power of life and death over you. You've done nothing to bring this on yourself, yet someone feels the need to take your life as a display of their strength. If you think that's okay, then by all means allow your life to go unfulfilled and cut short. If you understand the value of your life, your value to those who love you, you will defend yourself, killing when necessary. We have no right to take another's life, and yet there are times we must do just that in order to protect ourselves and those whom we love. This is a religious puzzle that cannot be easily solved without reducing it to the point of absurdity. It's very difficult to show love for God when you have to take the gift He gave another. Is it love for God to throw away your gift of life so another may selfishly take it? No. It is not love for God. We have wasted our gift.

So, what do we do to prevent future situations like this? We must understand that we have no right to take another's life. We must defend ourselves when another person forgets or disregards that understanding. We must accept that we may have to take a life to save the one given to us. We must be responsible for ourselves. I want my right to defend myself to be recognized. I want to be able to defend myself with a concealed handgun. Our legislators must recognize and accept it. We don't need any new laws beyond what is in the U.S. and Illinois Constitutions. Those are enough. When will our elected officials get the message that we're the best at deciding how to defend ourselves? The sooner the local and state governments understand this, we'll all be better off.

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