Darren Lippe helps facilitate Journey 101 “Loving God” classes, guides a 7th-grade Sunday school class, is a member of a small group & a men’s group, and serves on the Curriculum team.
A few springs ago, our family toured Boston, the Freedom Trail, & Minuteman National Park. I would submit that the Revolutionary War battle of Concord can help us understand both sides of the gun control debate. A quick refresher:
Tensions between Great Britain & Massachusetts’ colonists had been rising for years evidenced by the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, & King George sealing Boston Harbor.
Of course it didn’t help that the patriots were always making fun of the British with cracks like, “Why do the Redcoats’ brain cells die? Loneliness,” or “Why do ‘Lobsterbacks’ date smart women with beautiful smiles? Opposites attract.” “Why do the British hate to fall asleep on a night in June? They are afraid they will miss summer.” (These might need some verification – Editor.)
On April 18, 1775 Paul Revere & William Dawes were dispatched to warn the colonists that the British troops were going to march on Concord to arrest Sam Adams & John Hancock & to confiscate weapons/ammunition.
The British surrounded Militia Colonel James Barrett’s home, thinking he had a stash of weapons. Barrett, warned of the pending search, had already fled & had hidden the weapons in his freshly plowed field. The British, frustrated by their lack of success, searched elsewhere & started several fires that spread to houses in the community.
Barrett, seeing the smoke from fires, marches with 400 of his militiamen to the North Bridge near Concord with their guns loaded & ready to fire. The men were ordered to not to fire unless fired upon, since just the act of shooting would be tantamount to treason for all involved. There was a volley of shots at the North Bridge that left 2 colonists & 3 Redcoats dead. The British fled in retreat to Lexington.
So, how does this history lesson illuminate today’s discussion?
The framers of our Constitution knew the value an armed populace offered & considered it an important civil right. They recognized that guns were a great equalizer, allowing those most vulnerable to oppression to have at least an opportunity to defend themselves.
Years ago I was new on the job in Houston, Texas, editing a big proposal after-hours with our secretary. Wrapping up, I said if she would wait a minute, I would escort her to her car. She politely declined saying, “Being petite, my father bought me a gun when I graduated from high school. I’ve been trained to use it. He & I have a date at the gun range every 6 weeks to make sure it is working properly. Dark parking garages don’t scare me.” Blinking, I replied, “Um. If you would wait a minute, would you mind escorting me to my car?”
On the other hand, as suggested in our history lesson, guns also create great havoc. No one knows who fired the “shot heard round the world.” It could have been a Redcoat soldier panicked by the irate militiamen or it could have been a colonist who let his anger in the moment get the best of him. While a peaceful solution was unlikely, this fateful volley forced the issue & eventually led to an estimated 72,000 deaths & over $100 million dollars in costs (in today’s dollars). Every firing of a weapon has the potential for great & permanent consequences.
As with all rights there comes great responsibility. My Grandfather contended that gun violence in our culture is attributable to kids no longer growing up on the farm. If you ever had to put a beloved animal down or if you ever raced into the woods to make sure an errant shot didn’t accidentally hurt a fellow hunter or an adored hunting dog, you learned first-hand that all weapons need to be treated with grave respect.
As we wrestle with this challenging issue, we should recognize that not every law is the second coming of King George III & not every gun owner is eager to start some revolution. This is a topic of constitutional status that deserves far better discussion than lame straw-man arguments & far fetched caricatures. Well, unless they are about British Redcoats, then by all means:
- What is the difference between a Redcoat & a baby? The baby will eventually stop whining.
- Why do British soldiers look forward to summer? The rain is warmer.
- What do Redcoats call Thanksgiving? Thursday.
Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.