Thursday, December 10, 2015

One College's Reaction to Gun Violence

Our dinner table is a great place for some really interesting conversation.

I have a 16 year old, a 14 year old and a 10 year old - so we hit everything.  What is happening in school, what is happening in the world, horses (the 10 year old) - and then there's politics, economics, theology, philosophy - you name it, we talk about it.

So last week, I started off:

Did you hear what they did at Liberty University? *smirking*  They told the students to go get guns, isn't that ridiculous? 

*blank stares*

I love that my kids are so on top of the news.  One quickly retorted, "yeah - that is the soundbyte in the press, they are just allowing those with permits to carry in their dorms."

From another: And they have to turn them into the RA at night.

And another: And they have to have special classes to make sure they know how to handle it.

Finally, from my wife, "yeah, it actually sounds like a pretty good solution to all these shootings.  For those that already have a permit to carry - they should be trained in the event that some wacko wants to shoot up the campus.  I'd feel safer."

Well didn't I feel stupid.

The ensuing conversation helped me make some sense out of this.  For the record I am not okay with a world where college students have to have guns to make sure they 'feel safe.'  I don't think anyone is okay with that as a matter of principle.  

I mean, theologically, it seems incongruent to shoot someone out of fear of being shot when you are going to heaven anyway.  But something changes when theology bumps into the people you care about.  If it is me, that is one thing . . . when it is your kids, another form of theology kicks in.  When I think of someone messing with any of my kids and I wouldn't hesitate to put a stop to them.  Just being real.  Maybe I have to grow in this area, but I don't want anyone touching one of them with evil intent. 

This is what I wrestled with as I finished up my dinner.  It is the tension that we all have to live with.  I don't want to live in a violent world and be a part of a violent society - but I also wouldn't hesitate to protect my own from some radical nutjob.

So as I thought about it, I figured it was a sign of the times that we have to live in this tension.  The tension of wanting a world free of violence and the reality of trying to get your kids through this violent world untouched by it.  

But the real sign of the times is how we can't talk about it.  We don't appreciate the tension - the nuances - the complexities of the issue.  Somehow our society thrives on 'camp' mentality.  Either you are 'pro' or 'anti' - there is no middle ground.  No one who sees the difficulty in their own stance.  Very few people who even on social media who can say, "you know what, you're right."  The truth is that the people at Liberty are trying their best to answer a problem in our world today.  I fell right into the trap of smirking at their efforts.

Perhaps the best thing to do is to hear each other in this very strange and difficult time and acknowledge that we can learn even from the people we disagree with.

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