Friday, March 1, 2013

Regarding Cardinal Dolan's Piece on Gun Control

Sorry, I didn't intend this to be "angry article day," but here's another one.              

              I love Cardinal Dolan. I confess he’s my personal front-runner for the next Pope. I always find him funny, insightful, and a great witness for the Church. Really, you just can’t say enough good things about the guy.
             But he doesn’t know a darn thing about guns.
 And I’m sorry, but I’m going to have be a little harsh here, because he’s a very influential figure in the Church (rightly so) and he’s so completely and dangerously wrong. His article is copied below, with a few comments in red.

It’s been an extremely full week in terms of news, with Monday’s surprising announcement from Pope Benedict, and Wednesday’s start of Lent.  But I wanted to be sure to take a moment to highlight the President’s call for sensible steps on gun control in his State of the Union address Tuesday night, as well as similar actions by Governor Cuomo here in New York State, and Mayor Bloomberg in New York City.

Gun control has been much on my mind since the Newtown killings, and, in particular, seeing the devastating effects that gun violence can bring when I celebrated the funeral Mass at Saint Mary of the Assumption parish in Katonah for Anne Marie Murphy, a brave teacher who died in that horrible tragedy, protecting her little student.

Can you name any gun-control measures currently being discussed that would have prevented this tragedy had they been in place at the time?

Advocating for gun control is not something new for the Church.  The Holy See has continuously been a strong voice in opposition to international arms trading, the world’s version of gun control; it’s even in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the official teaching of the Catholic faith (see numbers 2315-2316 in particular) .   Here in the United States, the bishops have for decades supported measures to get handguns off the streets, and to ban assault weapons.  To cite but one instance, in Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration, released in 2000, the bishops reiterated their support for legislative efforts that seek to protect society from the violence associated with easy access to deadly weapons. “As bishops, we support measures that control the sale and use of firearms and make them safer (especially efforts that prevent their unsupervised use by children and anyone other than the owner), and we reiterate our call for sensible regulation of handguns.”

Both of these ideas: handguns off the street and a ban on “assault weapons” (as compared to what? Comfort weapons?) are horrible ideas, for reasons I’ll discuss below.

That’s why I found myself nodding in agreement when the President said, “I know this is not the first time this country has debated how to reduce gun violence.  But this time is different.  Overwhelming majorities of Americans — Americans who believe in the Second Amendment — have come together around common-sense reform, like background checks that will make it harder for criminals to get their hands on a gun.  Senators of both parties are working together on tough new laws to prevent anyone from buying guns for resale to criminals.  Police chiefs are asking our help to get weapons of war and massive ammunition magazines off our streets, because these police chiefs, they’re tired of seeing their guys and gals being outgunned.”  It’s also why I was very much in favor a month ago when our own New York State legislature, heeding the call of Governor Cuomo, passed NY Safe, (New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act) the most comprehensive gun control bill in the country.

Most of what the President says is simply not true. Background checks don’t inconvenience criminals; the checks are extremely harsh as it is, and someone who thinks he’ll fail one will simply go to the black market. The ‘overwhelming majorities’ exist only in his addled brain (most of the country agrees more with the NRA than with the President, at a rate of, I believe, 46-43%). Police have the same weapons that civilians do; the days of cops with revolvers being outgunned by criminals with automatics is gone.
And I have to say, the President has a lot of gall to complain about “buying guns for resale to criminals,” since his own Justice Department forced (yes, forced) dozens of gun dealers to allow precisely these kinds of sales of weapons that ended up in the hands of some of the worst people on Earth, were used to murder hundreds of innocent people, and he, the President, then helped cover for them.

Whenever I mention my support for gun control, the calls and emails come in, telling me that I’m na├»ve, reminding me of the Second Amendment to our Constitution, and arguing that the only thing gun control measures will accomplish is to keep guns out of the hands of honest, law-abiding people.

And they’re completely right.

I don’t pretend to be an expert on what should be in each specific bill, and I will never be an authority on the number of bullets that should be in an ammo clip, or the proper way to conduct background checks before selling someone a firearm.  That’s the proper responsibility of our legislators, and, should constitutional questions arise, of our courts.  However, there can be no denying that, in the wake of Newtown, Aurora, Blacksburg, Tucson, Columbine, and almost countless other horrific and senseless deaths by guns, that something must be done.

Yes, there can be denying. I deny it. I deny that we have to put more useless, freedom-sapping laws on our already-overloaded books just because some nut-job went on a rampage. Clearly the over 20,000 gun-control laws we already have didn’t stop him, so what do you expect a few more to do?
            See, I hate it when people say “the government needs to do something,” because a lot of the time no it doesn’t. Most of the time when the government “does something” all it does is grow a little more bloated and sap a little more freedom and responsibility from the average person while having no impact on the situation it was supposed to help.
            The hard truth is that evil, disturbed people are going to do horrible things and there is nothing the government can do to stop them.

For me, regulating and controlling guns is part of building a Culture of Life, of doing what we can to protect and defend human life.  The easy access to guns, including assault weapons, that exists in our nation has contributed towards a Culture of Death, where human life and dignity are cheapened by the threat of violence.  No law, no piece of legislation, will ever be able to protect us from every act of aggression, or from the harm that can come from an individual bent on killing.  But, we must do what we can to minimize the opportunities for such acts, by limiting the easy access to guns – and, I would add, by increasing funding for programs to treat those who suffer from mental illness, especially those that might lead someone to commit mass murder.

Okay, now I have to work really hard to stay calm, because, again, I love Cardinal Dolan.
            Cardinal, guns are used to kill an average of 10,000 people each year in this country.
            They are used to save an estimated average of 2.5 million.
            Cardinal, I don’t see how taking defensive weapons out of the hands of law-abiding citizens counts as “protecting or defending life.”
            How, exactly, would you suggest that, say, an average young woman should protect her life and dignity against a 6’ rapist?
            How do you suggest that a father should protect his children from two men who want to assault them to steal their electronic toys?
            How do you suggest a mother should defend her home and her children from the person trying to break down her door?
            Would restricting their access and the access of millions like them to guns be protecting or promoting their lives?
            Guns are part of the culture of life, because they say that life is worth defending.

I have a long list of things to pray for this Lent.  Asking God’s help that our elected representatives in Washington and in state houses across the country have the courage and the wisdom to pass meaningful and effective gun control bills, will certainly have a prominent place in those prayers.

            Cardinal Dolan makes a number of very common and very dangerous mistakes in his thinking. One, he assumes that gun control keeps guns out of the hands of criminals. It doesn’t. Why we still think that laws can prevent criminals from, you know, committing crimes is something I simply cannot fathom. How much success did we have with prohibition? How much success are we having with our drug laws? I’m not saying crack should be legal, merely that no one who wants it actually has any difficulty getting hold of it. Why do we expect guns to be any different?
            Heck, the gun laws we have don’t do anything on that score. Machine guns, for instance, are almost totally illegal for civilian use. You have to pay a hefty fine, get a special permit, the works. It’s very nearly impossible in most states. Yet they still keep showing up at crime scenes. Why? It’s not because the handful of civilians who managed to run the gauntlet to acquire one immediately went out and shot up a crack house. It’s because there are something like ten times as many unregistered machine guns in the U.S. as there are registered. What law would stop that? The law has been passed; it was passed in 1934, and we still have criminals using machine guns.
            That’s the thing; they’re criminals. They’re breaking the law. Adding another one for them to break really doesn’t help things. We have a rich and flourishing black market in this country, because we have two massive, unsecured borders and thousands of miles of coastline. It’s not hard to sneak things in and out, if you know what you’re doing.
            No, gun control laws only affect people who obey the law. People who obey the law, who dutifully go through the kabuki theater of registering their handgun, submitting to the background check, getting a license, and so on aren’t the ones who shoot up schools.
            If you don’t believe me, take a look at the places with the strongest gun control in the U.S. Chicago? More people were shot in Chicago last year than soldiers were killed in Iraq. Washington D.C.? Not a whole lot better (of course, the politicians in charge of writing these laws don’t notice, because they have people with guns protecting them 24-7). Los Angeles? You’re kidding, right? Oh, how about Connecticut, which boasts some especially strict gun-control laws?
              Incidentally, I have to bring up gun-free zones. What is the thinking behind these? What causes anyone to think that someone who intends to bring a gun into a location for criminal purposes will be dissuaded in any way by a sign? No, a ‘gun free zone’ sign says one thing: it says “if you want to commit a crime here, no one will shoot back.” Or, as this excellent gun-control article put it, “a gun free zone is a hunting preserve for innocent people.”
            So, his first mistake is to assume that gun control will have any effect whatsoever on the criminals it’s supposed to protect against. His second mistake is to assume that guns are always and only used in crimes; to take lives rather than protect them. As I noted above, guns are used far more often to protect lives in this country than to destroy them. Even at the absolute worst estimate, by people who explicitly want to ban all guns, the use of guns by law abiding citizens to protect themselves and other people is ten times the rate of guns used in crime. We just don’t hear about it as much because a). a lot of such incidents don’t involve any shots fired and so don't make the news and b). the news media is mostly pro-gun control, so they don’t want to tell you about things that don’t fit their agenda. Cardinal Dolan ought to know this as well as anyone.
            Think about it; a murderous whack-job shoots up a bunch of unarmed people because of some deep-seated psychological problems. I agree that he shouldn’t have been able to get his hands on a gun in the first place, but no matter what you do, he’s going to be able to (and as a side note, try to imagine what will happen if he can’t. I’ll give you a hint; it caused the worst school massacre in American history). And somehow the solution is to make sure the unarmed people are even more unarmed?
            If Anne Marie Murphy, or one of her fellow teachers had had a gun and the will and training to use it, do you think Cardinal Dolan would have had to celebrate a funeral Mass for her? Isn’t it at least possible that most of the people murdered in Connecticut would still be alive now? No one can know what would have happened, but surely things would have turned out differently. Consider: do you think a man who walks into a school with a rifle and starts shooting children is looking for a fight? Does that sound like a brave man to you? A man who will stand a trade shots with armed opponents? Typically in shootings like this, the murderer will give up or kill himself at the first sign of armed resistance. But never mind that; we want to take away even more guns to make extra sure the next nutjob won’t have to deal with any armed resistance.
            The simple and horrible fact is that there are evil people in the world; people who would prey on ordinary, defenseless people. These people don’t need guns to commit harm; the same week as the Newton massacre, a man in China murdered 22 children with a knife. No law will stop them. Police will not protect you from them; they’ll just weep over your mangled body and swear to catch the crook before he does it again. You and you alone are responsible for your own safety and that of your family, and by far the best way to do that is with a gun. Look, I have a black belt; I’ve been studying martial arts for a decade and a half, I’m a fairly good-sized fellow, and even with all that I still wouldn’t count on hand-to-hand to save my life against a prison-hardened crook armed with a screwdriver unless I had no other choice. Guns are the great equalizer. A gun makes a 5’5” college student the equal to the 6’3” rapist. But laws of the kind that Cardinal Dolan is supporting would prefer to see her get raped so that people a hundred miles away can ‘feel safer.’
            Is that what he means by the ‘Culture of Life?’
            The big problem is that Cardinal Dolan (bless him) doesn't even bring up the topic of self-defense, or lawful gun-use, or any reasons why someone would want to have a gun, let alone present any counter arguments for them. Nor does he attempt to answer the objections he (briefly) says he has received. He seems simply to trust that the politicians know what they're doing and is ready to applaud anything that claims to achieve his desired end of less gun violence. Frankly, this indicates that his knowledge of the subject is limited entirely to his desire to see less violence. That's a laudable goal, but it means he probably shouldn't be speaking out on the subject at all.
            Cardinal Dolan specifically mentions handguns and ‘assault weapons’ (by which he means semi-automatic, civilian versions of military assault rifles). Those are two very different topics. Handguns are the guns you use for concealed carry. Assault weapons are the guns you wish you had when have to use the concealed carry weapon. Regarding handguns, these are precisely the weapons that protect innocent, law-abiding citizens. These are the guns that stop criminals. Can you really give me a good reason why we should “get them off the streets” and allow those (again, at rock-bottom, cooked-the-books, want-it-to-look-bad least) 100,000 citizens to get robbed, raped, and murdered each year?
            Regarding assault weapons. First of all, they’re not really ‘special’ guns (for a much more informed take, see the above linked-to article). They’re efficient and easy to use, but they’re not super-deadly killing machines. There are two points here: one, why citizens ought to have access to them, and two, why ‘banning’ them wouldn’t help anyway.
            Regarding the first point, assault weapons like the AR-15 are very popular because, again, they’re easy-to-use and fun to shoot. Moreover, they make an excellent home-defense weapon. And no, that’s not overkill. For one thing, assault weapons aren’t particularly ‘powerful’ guns: they’re actually relatively low caliber weapons. For another, in an intense situation like, yes, a home-invasion you’re probably going to miss, so you’ll want an accurate, high-capacity weapon. Finally, despite what we see in the movies, bullets don’t usually kill instantly (couple exceptions are the heart and the Medulla Oblongata in the brain). Rule of thumb is, if someone’s worth shooting once, he’s worth shooting a lot. Basically, if someone’s attacking you, you shoot until he stops. Whether that means he surrenders, runs, or dies doesn’t really matter. The important thing is to make him stop.
            Now, as to the second point, there already was an assault weapons ban, and that one was also supported by a public figure I admire. It did precisely nothing except make a lot of people angry. Why “Assault-Weapons-Ban II: The Wrath of Biden” would fare any better than episode one, I really can’t imagine.
            Then again, even if it did somehow work and scary-looking, efficient, easy-to-shoot rifles magically vanished, I’d like to remind you that the guy who shot up Virginia Tech used handguns. And if you magically made handguns vanish, there’s always that thing that good old Mr. Kehoe did in Bath, Michigan (see above link). What are you going to do then? Outlaw fertilizer?
            But all of that is, ultimately irrelevant. The Second Amendment of the Constitution says “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” It doesn’t say “the right of the people to keep and bear such arms as a bunch of politicians protected by armed security details are comfortable with shall not be infringed too much.” I believe there can be a legitimate need for civilians to own so-called assault weapons, but I also believe that ‘need’ doesn’t enter into it, any more than the Catholic Church’s ‘need’ to operate hospitals and orphanages doesn’t enter into the First Amendment. You don't have to justify exercising a right. 
            Guns that are exclusive to the lawless and to the government are part of the Culture of Death. Guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens are part of the Culture of Life. They say “you will not victimize me. You will not harm my family. You will not take away my rights.” They prevent the Culture of Death from carrying out its desires with impunity. The laws that Cardinal Dolan naively supports would help to destroy that, as we have seen time and time again wherever harsh gun-control is enacted. England is now the violent-crime capital of the European Union. Australia isn’t much better. South Africa has stopped even counting its crime rate. Then there’s above mentioned Chicago, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles. The Culture of Death thrives where the Culture of Life is disarmed.
            I’m sorry, but Cardinal Dolan, like most people advocating gun control, is speaking out of grief and confusion and so is making a fool of himself by talking about a subject he doesn’t understand. I’m going to pray that none of these new laws ever sees the light of day, and that the ones already on the books get revoked.

Molon Labe
E Vive Christus Rex!


Masha said...

Umm..where do I start?

I guess, first of all, if you do actually think that Cardinal Dolan is speaking "out of grief and confusion and so is making a fool of himself by talking about a subject he doesn’t understand." Then he is a careless man, a bad leader, and not qualified to be a Cardinal, much less a Pope. It's an injustice to the man to assume he would give direction to his flock without studying an issue and understanding the heart of the Church on that issue.
The Catechism does clearly state that governments do have the right to regulate weapons, and as Catholics, our first loyalty is to the Church, which may or may not encourage us to refuse rights given in the constitution, which is a lesser, changeable document, however important to our nation. Cardinal Dolan, though is speaking toward creating a culture in which human life is Valued, and a culture in which many go about armed and ready to put multiple bullets in 'bad guys' is not a culture of life. Self-defense and the defense of others is a good, but the taking of human life is always an evil (sometimes necessary, but never a Good itself) the attitude that anyone worth shooting is worth shooting a lot is not in any way compatible to a culture of life..
And it's that aspect of handgun ownership, or assault weapon ownership that makes the Church herself look askance at the culture surrounding it - an attitude that cheapens human life and teaches us to divide the world into 'us' and 'them'.
Finally, I'd encourage you to edit your language toward the horrific attack in CT..I know you don't mean to sound callous, but it does come off as sort of "oh, that's nothing, whatever, CT" which would be devastating for anyone involved to stumble across, and really does make it sound as though you're willing to allow many such atrocities so long as you can keep your gun.

I think in general, we a Catholics need to decide if we are going to allow the Church to build us up in her image or if we are going to give our first loyalty to another ideal, organization, or interest.

Much love, and many blessngs!

BTanaka said...

Thanks for the reply.

I hope I didn't sound callous towards the attack in CT. I meant to be blunt precisely because I thought it was such an important event and needed to be taken seriously and looked at objectively. I don't think I was being callous, I was simply pointing out that that the tragedy wasn't prevented by the gun-laws already in place and very likely could have been at least lessened had some people involved been armed.

No, I don't think the fact that Cardinal Dolan is mistaken on this issue disqualifies him to be Pope or even Cardinal. It's not an issue he would likely have much chance to gather knowledge on, and since, as you say, the Church's position seems to be closer to one side of the debate, it's not surprising that he would speak out without realizing how much he's misunderstood the issue. I don't think that indicates any especial foolishness or lack of foresight, just a particular blindspot.

Continued below

BTanaka said...

You say that a society where many are armed and ready to put multiple bullets into 'bad guys' is not a culture of life. I disagree. I think a society in which the common man can protect himself and his family is very much the culture of life. Please don't talk about gun-owners as if we were vigilantes or crazy Rambo wannabes who see things simply as 'good guys and bad guys' and really want to shoot someone.

Which society values human life more? The one that says "you can protect yourself from someone who wishes to harm you" or the one that says "sorry, the idea of guns disturbs me, so you can be defenseless for all I care?"

As for the idea that "anyone worth shooting is worth shooting multiple times" I thought I made it clear that that's because you want the person to STOP. If the person stops with no shots fired, that's the best case scenario. But the sad fact is, some people can keep fighting and keep trying to kill you with two, five, even ten bullets in them.

Remember, it's all about self-defense. It's not about trying to kill anyone, it's about making them stop trying to kill you and whoever you might be trying to protect.

The reason I don't like gun control is because it only ever disarms part of the population: namely the part of the population it's ostensibly supposed to be protecting. Government officials aren't affected. Neither are criminals. It's only the average citizen that gets disarmed and left at the mercy of the other two groups. That is not the culture of life, and I don't think that's what the Church intends.

Final thoughts below

BTanaka said...

One thing that you need to remember is that these kinds of atrocities almost always happen in gun-free zones (for precisely the reasons I outlined above: these people are looking for easy targets). Over the past forty years, there has only been one mass-shooting involving more than four casualties that didn't occur in a gun-free zone (the Gabby Giffords shooting). Whenever they start to happen in concealed-carry areas, some armed citizen pulls a gun and typically the murderer either surrenders or kills himself.

Remember, the kind of person who would do something like this is not a brave man, and most of the time he's not particularly skilled with his weapons. He's living in a fantasy bubble, and the moment someone fights back, it pops his bubble.

You see, that's why I came down so hard on him, and that's why I'm frankly appalled that you think the take away is that more of these atrocities can happen as long as I get to keep my gun. That's precisely the opposite of my point. My point is that less gun-control IS the solution to these attacks, as far as there can be any solution. If every crazy, self-pitying would-be-murderer saw that every time someone tries to shoot up a mall or church or school they get taken down by an armed citizen, it would kill the desire to emulate them. There wouldn't be anything to emulate. Then, even if they did try it, they would just be taken down in their turn.

More gun-control WILL lead to more of these shootings. Taking away the ability of people to defend themselves makes them more attractive targets. We all want to stop these shootings if possible, but what Cardinal Dolan is supporting will only encourage more of them.

The Church does allow for legitimate self-defense, up to and including deadly force if necessary. It even calls it a 'grave duty' for those responsible for others. Gun-control prevents people from fulfilling that duty. The principle of double-effect is almost exactly the same thing that I was taught in my CCW course. So I don't think I'm compromising my loyalty to the Church by disagreeing with Cardinal Dolan or by choosing to carry a gun. As a matter of fact, I think what I hear from the gun culture is a lot closer to the Catechism than what I hear from the anti-gun crowd.

Much love and blessings

Masha said...

You should totally get those little 'reply' tabs for each comment! But, since you don't have them, here I go: starting with first:

I'm sure you weren't being intentionally callous, but your statements on CT read as callous, which is why I didn't address the attitude there so much as just encouraged you to edit a bit.

And to clarify, your disagreements on gun control with Cardinal Dolan aren't what I was referring to when I said "if this, than that"..You wrote that he was speaking 'out of grief and confusion'. Any Cardinal, willing to speak out 'in grief and confusion' on a subject he doesn't understand is careless and indiscreet. The Church doesn't need careless, indiscreet and emotionally driven leaders. But I don't believe he's speaking out of a misunderstanding or from unexamined emotion. He's speaking as a man who has devoted his life, mind, and heart to the Church, who submits - at all times - his rights and tendencies as an individual and as an American to the guidance of the Church on all things, including the moral life. And gun-ownership, good or bad, falls under the direction of the moral law and the pursuit of a culture of life..something I think we can both agree is well understood by Cardinal Dolan.


When I wrote that the society where many go about armed is not a culture of life, I wasn't saying that self-defense is not a part of a culture of life, but that the culture of 'kill or be killed' (that you are describing) is not a culture of life. Killing, no matter how justified, is an evil. Maria Goretti wasn't canonized for gunning down her attacker, no saint has been, though many have been canonized for martyrdom. Self-defense is legitimate, and the defense of others is a good, but it is a greater good to defend others without shedding blood.

I'm glad you're appalled by some of my conclusions from your article, and I hope you'll take a new look at it in that light and clarify. One of the big problems with the gun debate is careless language, one side coming off as callous and violent, the other as idealistic and out of touch..

I appreciate the dialogue!

Remember, too, that the Cardinal is not talking about 'taking away the guns' in total. He's talking about restricting some access, which the Church teaches to be a legitimate role of the government. He is referring primarily to guns designed specifically to kill other men. It's perfectly easy to defend yourself or your family with a rifle, but a gun created to kill people is

Masha said...

The last paragraph is an unintentional hanger-on..I thought I'd edited it out of existence, I was wrong ;(

BTanaka said...

You're right that a culture of "kill or be killed" is not a culture of life. Guns and a lack of gun-control laws are not what causes that, and I don't think that's what I'm describing (I keep reiterating that the question is not one of killing but of stopping; those are two very different things. Stopping just means that the person ceases doing whatever it was that made you draw your gun in the first place. In most defensive hand-gun uses, that happens without any shots being fired or anyone getting hurt).

You mention martyrdom. I wouldn't dream of condemning anyone who chooses not to carry a weapon or to defend themselves when attacked, but that's a personal and highly elevated choice. Making the decision to not fight back is very different from being prevented from fighting back. I agree it's a greater good to defend people without shedding blood, but sometimes that simply isn't possible and the Church allows lethal force in such situations. Indeed, it calls defense a "grave duty" for those who are responsible for the lives of others.

Actually, I think your last paragraph raises some very illuminating points. Perhaps you'd like to expand it a bit more and I can respond to it?

Masha said...

You do keep reiterating the idea of making someone 'stop' but the "anyone worth shooting.." comment and others paint a picture of something darker -

The last paragraph: 'gun-control' is essentially a meaningless term. The Cardinal, and most others within the Church, seem to be concerned mainly about handguns and other guns designed for the killing of men by men, not on guns in general. A person can defend himself and his family with a hunting rifle, but the purpose and intent of the gun is non-problematic. A handgun is intended to shoot other people, and someone who arms himself with a gun designed to shoot other men is in some sense, preparing himself both mentally and physically to kill his fellow man (an evil). Intentions are important, and often when we prepare ourselves to defend ourselves and others with violence (the handgun) we miss out on opportunities to defend without violence.

As Christians, we are all called to 'be perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect' to strive for the 'elevated choice' and in that pursuit to be teachable by our bishops - especially those who have proven themselves to be passionately connected to the heart of the Church. When Cardinal Dolan calls us to re-examine our relationship to our weapons, we shouldn't reject his words, but reach out to them, study them, pray over them, and hopefully let them take root in our hearts. He isn't saying "never own or use guns, he's calling the faithful to see their handguns and assault weapons for what they are (tools for the killing of man by man) and take steps to reduce their presence in our society, because we are seeking to build a Christ-centered culture, in which such things have no place. In this sense, the Cardinal is really above all question of politics and merely seeking to form Christians, he doesn't need to know about the different types of gun and the nuances of different gun laws because he's trying to shape an attitude in which the desire to own weapons against one's fellow man is inconceivable..

BTanaka said...

The "anyone worth shooting" comment means that if someone is doing something that warrants shooting them, you probably will need to shoot them more than once to make them stop. Guns and in particular handguns will generally not stop a person with one shot. It's just a turn of phrase to make the principle easy to remember.

It's hard to know where to start here. Remember when you said that one side comes off as idealistic and naive? I hate to say it, but that's what you're coming across as.

You say the Cardinal and the Church are mainly concerned with 'hand guns and assault weapons.' Leaving aside the exact definition of 'assault weapon,' those are precisely the guns that are most important for people to have (incidentally, no, a hunting rifle is not just as effective at personal defense as an assault rifle). You say that they are designed for man killing man. I would say that they are designed to protect man from man. I see their intent and purpose as being more moral than a hunting rifle's, because they are designed to preserve human life.

You say that we miss out on opportunities to protect without violence. When you use a gun, it is because there ARE no more opportunities to protect without violence. A gun is always the last resort. There is no non-violent defense against a drugged-up maniac charging you with a knife, or a man trying to rape a teenage girl. The Church allows for legitimate defense, up to and including lethal force if necessary. Therefore, it allows for armed defense (since for most people unarmed defense is no defense at all), therefore it allows for handguns and assault rifles (since those are the effective weapons of defense).

A handgun, or an assault rifle, or a shotgun, or any other defensive weapon is precisely that; a means to protect ourselves and our families against violent aggressors. They are not the problem and they are not part of the Culture of Death, but the Culture of Life. They allow men and women to live without fear of violent attack.

Of course we should look for/try to build a culture where weapons are unnecessary, but we can't force it by taking weapons away. As long as there is evil in the world, people will need to be armed.

I'm rejecting his words because I know something of this particular subject and he's very wrong in his characterization of the problem. He's supporting things that are only going to make it worse. I think he absolutely ought to know what the laws say and what the consequences are likely to be before he comes out in support of specific laws (which is what he is doing). He's right to try to shape an attitude in which guns are unnecessary, but he's wrong to come out in support of laws that would make it even more difficult for law-abiding citizens to acquire them.

Unknown said...

time for Patriotic American catholics to dump this pedo racket masquerading as a church

John Collins said...

I dont love Cardinal Dolan. He wants to disarm us while pressing to abolish our borders in favor of illegal aliens. In fact, these leftist bishops and their Marxist so called pope drove me away from this left wing Marxist racket called the Catholic Church

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