Life, Politics

Lessons from Sutherland Springs

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In support of our liberty, our lands, our wives, and our children, and our peace, that we might live unto the Lord our God.
(Paraphrased from The Book of Mormon; Alma 42:10)

The Sutherland Springs, TX shooting is horrific. Being a father of six wonderful children and a step-father to six more, I can’t imagine the horror and loss that this community is suffering. These were good people. People who understood the commandment; “thou shalt not kill.” People who were conscientiously trying to better themselves and live good lives. Being human, I’m sure they were not perfect. But, their attendance in church on the sabbath day shows that they were trying. On Sunday, during worship, they were brutally attacked and slaughtered by a person who had chosen to follow Satan instead of God. Satan who teaches murder and chaos instead of love and peace.

Good guys (or gals) with guns prevent horrific crimes every day. In-fact, more crimes are prevented with a gun than are committed with a gun. Our media, and those who oppose liberty, would have you believe otherwise. The ratio is really staggering being somewhere between eight to one or twenty to one depending on the study you want to use.

I recently saw a meme stating that the “good guy with a gun is a myth.” Stephen Willeford and Johnny Langendorf have shown where the true myth lies. They bring to light the hundreds of individuals who have stood against evil and gone unnoticed. These two men don’t claim to be heroes but rather just common individuals who are willing to do what needs to be done. And, so they are. If there is anything good to come from this particular horror, it is to show that liberty can and will prevail.

So, while Sutherland Springs, Texas, and our nation mourn for those that we lost, we look to see if there is something we can do to prevent such tragedy from happening again. (As expected this process is beleaguered by those who would take our liberty from us.) Nevertheless, by looking at the facts, there may be some things to learn or remember.

The shooter was not allowed, by law to purchase or even own a gun. He was able to do so because he lied on ATF Form 4473 which asks on question 11c: “Have you ever been convicted in any court of a felony, or any other crime for which the judge could have imprisoned you for more than one year, even if you received a shorter sentence including probation?” The form further asks in question 11i: “Have you ever been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence? Our shooter would have had to lie on both questions.

Failing to answer these questions honestly, the FBI should have flagged and stopped the sale. The call to the FBI to perform the background check failed to deny him because the Air Force, who had convicted him, had not followed the law, and reported the conviction to the Federal database.

As a known violent person, existing gun laws should have prevented him from purchasing a weapon. It did not. Accordingly, the first thing we learn is this:

We don’t need more laws restricting the purchasing of weapons, we just need to be better at implementing the ones we have.

The weapon used was a semi-automatic, center fire, small caliber rifle. It is quite common and often referred to by those who don’t know what they are talking about as an assault weapon; which it is not. While it shoots a rather low powered round it does shoot them rapidly which allows a deranged individual the capability of doing a lot of harm in a short period of time.

Perhaps then, we need to look at restricting the type of weapons that are available.

When Stephen ran to assist, he took a rifle, an AR15, that was very similar to the one being used by the murderer. Because the shooter was wearing body armor and a Kevlar helmet, Stephen has speculated that had he taken a lesser weapon, the outcome might have been very different. His thoughts, not mine. Indeed, the rifle allowed him to confront the evil much more effectively than a lesser weapon, such as a pistol, would have. So, from this incident this we can also learn:

A semi-automatic center fire, small caliber, short barreled weapon was of great value to the “good guy” in stopping evil and should not be restricted.

Johnny is a “good guy” with a gun who was willing to put his own life in jeopardy when his neighbors were being slaughtered. He acted as a good citizen with concern and love for his neighbors. He acted in accordance with the law and in accordance with his own sense of right and wrong. Because he had proper tools, proper training, and he has said, “the spirit of the Lord was upon him,” he was able to prevail. Therefore, for those that are willing to look at the facts rather than specious arguments based on tribe and politics, we can learn that:

Good guys properly prepared, not being denied the liberty to defend themselves and others, can and will save lives.

Perhaps we need more of them.

There are those who say “we must do something. We can’t just sit around and wait for another incident like this one.” Their answers though are often counterintuitive to these lessons we have learned time and time again. There are two things this tragedy would suggest. We need to do a better job of enforcing current laws and we need to value and encourage properly prepared “good guys and gals with guns.” In the meantime, if we truly want to fix the problem we need to attack the root.

We worship violence, sex, and pornography in our entertainment, all the while mocking God. Therein lies our problem. The problem in America is not the second Amendment but our abuse of the first. As a result, our society, along with this and other shooters, is choosing to follow Satan rather than God. When we start listening to Satan, he will teach us to murder, blame, argue and find fault with others. God teaches us to love our neighbors, to forgive, and to be productive and good citizens. Satan tells us to do whatever we want and then blame the tools when someone commits an evil act. God teaches us to do good works and to take individual responsibility for our actions. Accordingly, if we want to truly change the landscape in America, we need to embrace God, no matter what you call him. We need to return to be a responsible society, valuing high moral standards, and setting up heroes and leaders who will encourage us to put God at the forefront of our society.

Only then will things change for the better. Only then can we set aside our guns. Only then will we find peace.

Samuel Waen Jensen

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