I had planned on writing the second piece to Cowardice: Infecting our Churches and Our Culture (Cowardice: Infecting Our Churches and Our Culture) in the light of the treatment of Native Americans and African Americans this week, but less than five days ago our nation suffered yet another tragedy that changed the direction of my piece. A man armed to the teeth open fired in a movie theater during the opening of the movie, Dark Knight Rises, killing twelve people and injuring dozens more. I personally have been praying for the peace of God in the midst of the trauma associated with such an event and my heart goes out to them in their loss.
The response to such a tragedy has been a travesty of another sort. One pastor I know said, “If your first response to this is the 2nd amendment, your priorities are misplaced.” I happen to agree with him. I think the first response should be heartfelt grief and compassion for the victims of such a senseless slaughter and a close second should be outrage at the injustice of such a thing. We have to remember the effects of sin in a fallen world that at every opportunity will attempt to steal our innocence.
Yesterday, I was at a briefing and LTC Pete Jensen, quoting a soldier in a real world life and death Hand to Hand Combat class said this, “You don’t rise to the occasion, you fall to your training (or experience.)”
As a society and culture as a whole we have fallen to cowardice, and not risen to our destinies as men, because we have not lived and modeled the concepts that should be taught to every man such as: selfless service on behalf of God and country, defending women and children, honor and sacrifice. These are essential in our battle against evil.
As I have read and watched the media frenzy concerning the killing spree, I have seen liberals demand stronger gun control laws and conservatives point out that gun control laws will only remove guns from law abiding citizens. I have seen countless fingers pointed at the fact that concealed carry weapons permits are not allowed in Aurora. However, I have yet to see anyone point out the underlying reasons that allowed a tragedy of this magnitude to take place: cowardice.
Yes I know you may have shock and an overwhelming desire to scream and shout at me, “How dare you,” but hang in there for a minute and let me explain my thoughts. It is quite simple actually. Where were the men? You might be thinking, “Who is this guy to judge the men in this place? What would he have done had he been there? Easy for him to say, he wasn’t there.”
All valid points; however, there was a time not too long ago when a plane was hijacked and passengers on that plane stood up to terrorism and took that plane down and saved countless lives. There was a time not long ago in our country when the defense of the weak, disadvantaged, women, and children was the duty of every male. Honor was not something just talked about but actually walked out. Where are those men today?
I don’t think the problem had anything to do with Aurora not allowing people to have concealed carry permits. I think the problem was that men ran away from gunfire instead of towards it. I work with men every day who have dedicated their lives to protecting our freedom. They are normal men, average men, men who are no different than you or I. However, they are men who have proven, engagement after engagement, they will run towards the gunfire not away from it. Men, stand up and be men again. Engage don’t retreat. Have courage!
Edmund Burke said, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.” With that quote, please let me repaint the picture of the Aurora tragedy. Imagine your and two of your friends’ sitting in your seats. You see a man walk a couple of rows up and open fire with an AR-15. You immediately hit the cold and clammy floor with pieces of popcorn sticking to your shirt and soda soaking through your clothes. The fear is so strong your stomach is churning and you feel like vomiting. As you lay on the floor you look to your left and your right and see the fear in your friends’ eyes, knowing they are experiencing the same thing as you.
Can you visualize this? Can you see it, hear it and smell it? Now see yourself emboldened with courage and selflessness as you nod at them signaling them to follow your lead! All three of you stand to your feet and rush the attacker saving three, four, or ten lives or maybe just saving one life…that of a child.
Is it worth it? Where is our courage? Where is the spirit of a man who will die protecting others against evil?
(Thank you to Ranger Up for being the inspiration for this piece.)