Having said that, however, I am also quite outspoken and when my church, or any other activity which is important to me, takes a stand which I disagree with I speak up. In this case I am not talking about the particular congregation of my home church but the views of the Bishop responsible for overseeing the United Methodist Church in all of Florida, Kenneth Carter.
Bishop Carter went public recently stating in a letter that was penned to Governor Rick Scott that the current Stand Your Ground law in Florida should either be repealed or changed significantly. He cited the Trayvon Martin case as well as the Dunn case in Jacksonville where a man killed a teenager in a carload who had been harassing him. Now I certainly agree with the Bishop that both actions could perhaps have been avoided by better judgment but, humans being the frail beings that we are, no law or process will ever be able to eliminate actions like this. And in the case of Dunn, a jury has found him guilty of lesser charges carrying a likely prison sentence putting him behind bars until he is over one hundred years old. As we all know, the Martin case ended with a not guilty verdict which was carried out through the American legal process.
My opposition to the Bishop's argument is based upon my belief that he is using a very simplistic argument with only the minimal of support to justify his position. It's like reaching for the not so good low hanging fruit when the prized and luscious delectables are at the top of the tree. My opposition has as its foundation a very simple reason, one which is almost a cliche, as well as a more complex one.
The simple reason is this: guns aren't responsible for killing people, rather, people are responsible for killing people. Put another way, a car driven by a drunk driver is not responsible for killing someone in a car accident; the drunk person driving the car is responsible. Good intentioned liberals always cite the first example, the gun, but never the second, the car, as a reason. Why is that?
Well, that brings us to the more complex reason. Our society is falling apart in terms of social views, the importance of living under God's laws and the value of human life. As we cheapen life by many actions, such as abortion on demand, a diet of explicit violence in the movies, TV and video games, and the lack of proper teaching of our children through good parenting and a godly and moral lifestyle, evil gets a foothold. So I would suggest that if the good Bishop wants to tackle the problem that causes violence, he needs to go after the real cause and not the effect. With today's media and propaganda the way it is, it doesn't take moral courage to propose gun laws but it does take great courage to focus on the real cause of the problem.
Thousands of good law-abiding citizens in Florida not only own guns for self and family protection but also possess concealed carry permits. These people have been through a process requiring fingerprinting and background checks and only if the record is clean can they get the permit. And in a state with nearly nineteen million people, to point out only two examples, and in one of which the individual was ruled legally innocent, clearly shows that the Stand Your Ground law is not an issue. In fact, the level of violence using guns has dropped significantly since enactment since the criminals know that they might face their own demise when they commit their evil acts.
Compare this to the major increase in social disorder by young people in public places and the knock out game that is running rampant. The police are powerless in such instances due to the rapid increase in misbehavior and the size of the mobs. So Bishop Carter, how about putting your energy into fighting this degradation of the social order instead of going after an issue that is really a non-issue? You are, of course, entitled to your opinion and to voice it, but so am I. I do wish you well and trust that you will continue to pray on this matter as will I.
God bless you, Bishop, and the Church and the good people of America who only want to be secure and safe as they go about their lives.