A unique element of having a web site called Christian Gun Owner is the comments I get that would be considered outside of “safe norms”.
Now I know it’s an offense to many people in America to use the word “normal” anymore, for fear of offending anybody who is intentionally abusive, offensive, stupid, criminal or otherwise bizarre in their behavior or speech.
When Is The Line Crossed?
I’m not talking about being edgy or outspoken or opinionated. I’m talking about people who step over a line that reasonable people can clearly and immediately recognize. And through my website I hear from quite a few of them. Thankfully, they are a small minority, but they make up for that by their sometimes ridiculous and possibly criminal comments.
A criminal comment? What about freedom of speech!? I’m, all for it. But there is a point at which speaking freely can become a criminal act. That is generally when that speech crosses the line between being critical to being logistically threatening.
When I was employed on the staff of the church I have attended for 30 years, a man sat in the parking lot with one of the children’s workers. This man talking to the worker was seriously mentally disturbed and made a comment about “having a gun” and going into [one of our buildings] and shooting people, including the kids. The children’s worker immediately contacted us and we contacted the police. The man doing the talking did not produce a gun, but when he talked about shooting people on our campus, his speech became terroristic.
At that point, it left the realm of pastoral confidence and care and became a matter of physically protecting people on the campus.
He was arrested, and two years after that happened his case was still ongoing.
DC Police Officer Threatening The First Lady
Now, all over the headlines we have the notice that a DC police officer said he would “shoot the first lady” of the U.S. In the day in which we live the results were predictable when he was overheard. It hit every news agency and web site that could possibly have interest in it. It is stated that he used his phone to retrieve a picture of the weapon he would use to do it. So now all over the world, this police officer’s case is plastered before he has been convicted of anything. But it’s too late.
At this point, the investigation is ongoing and the officer has been placed on “administrative duty”. This police officer was part of a police escort used for White House officials. He was probably just arrogantly speaking from his political position. He went too far.
If it turns out the reports are accurate, he is an idiot.
That comment will make haters of the president and first lady mad. But that is accurate. He stepped outside of free speech and into criminal threats.
That brings me to the subject of this post. Us.
I am for my and your rights as a citizen. I am for political criticism. I use this and other media to express my own, sometimes edgy opinion. But when I stop commenting and criticizing and start threatening, I shouldn’t be surprised if some law enforcement agency shows up on my front porch.
As Christians and gun owners there is double scrutiny focused on us. A large segment of the U.S. population, without logical reason, hates guns. Another large segment, many of them crossing over the two subjects, hates Christians. Put the two together, and you can be sure there are plenty just waiting for us to say the wrong thing. I get a lot of comments from people who assume if a Christian owns a gun he/she is a homicidal maniac just waiting to pull the trigger on somebody.
Here’s the clear solution. As a Christian, don’t cross over to the commando mindset with the attitude that everybody in the world is a threat to you. Tough guy language from Christians and especially Christian gun owners has no place. Bragging about what you would do to somebody who threatened you will not benefit you if you are actually ever involved in a shooting, justified or not.
As gun owners, representing the second amendment, our political language can be oppositional without a problem. But if that language goes to “who we would shoot if…….” we deserve whatever the consequences are.
SUMMARY: Nobody is impressed with your or my expression of how we would shoot, kill, cut, etc., anybody who “messes” with us. And when our language crosses over from legitimate and intelligent political and self defense discussion, we leave ourselves open to not only defeating our own cause, but in being accused and arrested.
Let’s keep our speech clearly within the realm of criticism, and out of the realm of threatening.