Babies, Guns and Jesus

 

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I am having a bit of a dilemma with the subject of this post and I am writing about it because this site is about “everyday daddy stuff” and this constitutes that. Also, because I believe there are plenty of other men who have gone through this situation and I could benefit immensely from their suggestions, comments and wisdom.

The moment I was married my mind began to think differently about various subjects (it’s supposed to). Life insurance was one of those things. If I die I want my wife to be taken care of. I also realized that my bachelor pad habits were not great and needed to change, furniture included.

When Claire was born there was another change in me. This change picked right up from where I left off after getting married. I had a wife and now, a daughter. My wife could take care of herself, but my daughter is utterly helpless. I had to think about things I have control over: baby gates, electrical socket plugs, and kitchen cabinet locks. Also in the mix were things that I may not be able to control: school districts, public or private school, neighborhoods, and the people in the said neighborhood.

So Claire and I were at the playground a few days ago. My daughter was going down the slides and running through the various obstacles there. As Claire went down the slide I saw a car coming. In the car was a really huge Malamute (like a Husky, but bigger). Also in that car was a Great Dane. I immediately went on alert because those are huge dogs that I have no control over and I don’t know what they will think upon seeing my little girl. The dogs both got out of the car and proceeded to take their owners on a walk. The dogs were fine, but I had this thought on my mind. What if both, or just one of those dogs attacked my little girl? What could I do? I have a pocketknife, but I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t work out so well with dogs that big.

So I am thinking differently about lots of things. Guns are one of those things.

It would be one thing for me to get beat up and mugged, but it would be a whole other ball game if my wife or daughter were involved. So I am discerning whether or not I should get a concealed carry permit and carry a gun with me at all times.

I want to protect my family, which I have a right and duty to. However, I am also a Catholic Christian man who wants to help others come to see the awesome power of Jesus and what He can accomplish in us. Never in my life have I wanted a gun on my property. When I was single, if someone were to break into my house I would probably invite him or her to chat about Jesus over pizza before they took off. I know that’s weird, but that’s how I use to think. I only had myself to think of then.

But now I am married. I have a daughter. And I am a follower of Jesus who tells me to, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Even that neighbor who might be hostile, or so broken inside that he or she is unable to really reason properly. Those are all Jesus’ people. My people…

Maybe I am being paranoid. Am I being paranoid?

What are the odds of someone or something trying to attack my family? Are those odds better than one of my kids getting to my gun and shooting themselves or someone else accidentally?

There are also the practicality factors to consider. If I carry a gun I have to be aware of it at all times. I have to know where I can go with and without one. If I cross from VA to MD, or SC with a concealed weapon is it all the same thing? Is it cool in one state and you get fined in the other? What about comfort? The gun will be on my person, which I can’t imagine is super comfortable. Will others who know, or can recognize the outline of my gun under my shirt feel comfortable with me carrying? Will I become a threat to someone else if they recognize I’m carrying a gun?

This is what I am thinking about right now: babies, guns and Jesus.

So what is the answer here? I don’t want to become a crazy gun owner that is uber paranoid and thinks everyone is a threat to his or her family. Yet, I never want to be in a situation like the one I mentioned above and not be able to defend my family.

I realize very clearly that things happen and we are not able to control them. I really do get that. I also really trust that God has my family’s best interest in mind, but not all of His children necessarily see it that way. Some people make mistakes and chose to hurt others. Does the act of me carrying a gun deter someone from choosing to harm my family and I? If not, should I respond to that violence with more violence? I am called to protect and defend my family but are guns the answer?

This is what I am thinking about right now: babies, guns and Jesus.

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Categories: babies, Catholic, christianity, conceal carry, daughters, fatherhood, fighting, guns, Jesus, protecting family, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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7 thoughts on “Babies, Guns and Jesus

  1. Those are heavy things to ponder, big decisions. All I can address is this part, “Maybe I am being paranoid. Am I being paranoid?” Yes, yes you are, but that is precisely what we want to see in fathers, that’s your job, to try and anticipate problems and to mitigate harm, so congratulations on being a good dad. 😉

    • Thank you. It is a heavy thing to ponder. It stinks that it is something that needs to be pondered, but with someone shooting up every four months or so in the USA it is no longer a “somewhere out there” type of thing.

  2. Leo,

    I can understand your views and thoughts. I went through much the same process myself. I married late (i was 39) and gained an instant family — wife and 3 kids (16, 9, & 7). Like you i really re-evaluated what it meant to provide security for myself and my family.

    It would be one thing for me to get beat up and mugged,

    This is one that it really changed my world view because I realized that it wasn’t just the possibility of being beat up and mugged but worse that could happen.
    Even being ‘beaten up and mugged’ could and probably would put my family in a world of financial hurt; lost money from the mugging, lost wages from being off work to recover, to press charges. If any injuries were serious enough; hospitalization costs and doctor visits — possible for months or years.

    And worse — what happened if the criminals weren’t happy with the $40 (on average) in my wallet? The possibility of being killed during a robbery attempt meant I would not be there for my family.

    Given the Bible’s clear and continued distinction on the various types of deaths (murder, accidental and justifiable homicide) I believe that self defense is not only approved but can be appropriate. I don’t hate someone robbing me but I don’t have to allow it either.

    What are the odds of someone or something trying to attack my family? Are those odds better than one of my kids getting to my gun and shooting themselves or someone else accidentally?

    Let’s tackle the first question — the odds are bad. Even with crime going down there is still an estimated 75 to 80% chance in our life time of being the victim of a violent crime. Consider that 66% of all violent crime occurs in locations other than a person’s home or yard (Bureau of Justice Statistics).
    Second. we have to look at not only the odds, but the stakes as i mentioned earlier — what are the possible consequences to you being mugged, you being car jacked or forced to watch your wife being raped?

    And the odds of your kids getting into your firearms? That is why you gun safe your kids while making sure your firearms are properly secured. We don’t think anything is wrong with ‘drown proofing’ our kids by teaching them to swim, teaching kids how to properly handle knives, lawn mowers, hazardous chemicals (want to get nervous — look at the warning on the products under your sink).

    There are many products which make it harder for kids to access firearms that are low cost and easy to use. But the most important aspect is the responsibility of any parent to teach their kids gun safety.

    If I carry a gun I have to be aware of it at all times. I have to know where I can go with and without one.

    A couple of points, yes you absolutely do. And luckily most states are very easy to figure out and it is mostly common sense. I don’t know what state you are in but there are resources to help you learn like http://www.handgunlaw.us to help. Taking the appropriate responsibility to learn and get training is highly recommended. Just like I encourage you to a scripture study regarding self defense; read the bible and come to your own conclusions. I have on multiple occasions on my blog discussed such issues; come visit me there and if you have any questions I would be happy to talk more.

    The gun will be on my person, which I can’t imagine is super comfortable. Will others who know, or can recognize the outline of my gun under my shirt feel comfortable with me carrying?

    First technology has came a long way in making firearms lighter while still useful. Carry equipment has also benefited greatly in the last 10 years or so. I carry in a “Crossbreed Supertuck” that I can wear under business casual and be comfortable. Another option that I use is a smaller gun in a pocket holster that disappears in the slacks – yet still provides 7 rounds of .380acp. And rarely will you have to worry about people seeing the outline, if you are carrying correctly. First it is difficult to tell a cell phone bump from a firearm bump. Secondly most people just aren’t that observant. Some gun owners practice “Open Carry’ and report that many people never even notice the pistol being openly carried.

    Will I become a threat to someone else if they recognize I’m carrying a gun?

    Only to those who would already consider you a threat or a victim.

    Does the act of me carrying a gun deter someone from choosing to harm my family and I? If not, should I respond to that violence with more violence? I am called to protect and defend my family but are guns the answer?

    Great questions and all related — First when people start being considering their safety they practice something called ‘situational awareness’ – like you did with the car with the dogs; they start recognizing times where thing could go wrong, people who spike their attention. And that alone can deter a lot of crime; Thugs don’t want people who can be good witnesses. Second, Gary Kleck did a survey and found that up to 2,500,000 times a year people used a firearm or the threat of a firearm to stop or prevent a crime. These Defensive Gun Uses have been confirmed by 16 other surveys. So imagine the violence stopped, the crimes prevented. Carrying a firearm doesn’t mean you can’t use other methods to stop a crime — my first and foremost response to any possible situations is simple — I’m going to RUN AWAY. I’m going to try to avoid situations where possible, de-escalate where I can, and only use the firearm as a last resort. It is simply one more step the unarmed do not have avaiable to them.

    I would recommend that you also read a great book by Rory Miller called “Facing Violence; Preparing for the Unexpected” — it covers the various ways violence is used; both in social dominance settings (he calls it the Monkey Dance) and in asocial ways — more typical robberies, rapes, murders.

    Knowing why and how people use violence helps us be ready to avoid it or respond appropriately.

    Bob S.

    • Bob,

      THANK YOU. This is great stuff. It is good to hear from someone who has gone through this. I agree with all you have said. There is a lot of thoughts going through my mind about conceal carrying. I think in some ways I recent having to even think about this. To have to spend money on a firearm, carry it with me, etc. Its not like I don’t have a million other things going on. I realize that life isn’t always fair, but it stinks that this may need to be what I do to feel safe.

      I may reach out to you if I have more questions. Especially with type of gun, etc. I hear that the .380 you mentioned isnt as powerful a caliber in regards to stopping someone. There is lots of little things like that which I need to spend some serious time considering if this is what I discern is right.

      LEO

  3. Neil D

    Hi Leo:

    I think having a handgun for home protection (one that stays in the home or on your property) is a big decision. Deciding to carry a firearm in a concealed manner all the time – is a huge decision.

    If you have a gun in the home – you have to make sure it is available to you – but not to anyone else (perhaps a gunsafe, lockbox, or trigger lock). You have to carefully select your ammunition – you don’t want to shoot at a threat, miss and have the bullet rocket and ricochet through drywall like a pinball throughout your house. You also have to make sure you have pen / flash lights, perhaps lasers and time to train. Yes, you have to practice frequently – and you also have to train your wife. As your child gets older – you have to train them too. Start off by using NRA’s Eddie Eagle to learn about discovering a firearm left by an adult with “Stop, Don’t Touch, Leave the Area and Tell an Adult”. You also should teach them respect for firearms and gun safety at an appropriate age as father’s have been doing with their children for generations.

    If you decide to obtain a concealed carry permit – give it some serious thought. It is a huge responsibility and there are so many reasons that a normal person would want a break from that responsibility on a daily basis.

    For example – if you forget that you have a conceal weapon and enter a post office to buy stamps, open your bag to get your wallet and the clerk notices your pistol – he may push the silent alarm and have you arrested as you are committing a felony by entering federal property with a concealed weapon. You will be arrested, tried and possibly convicted. So instead you remember you have your gun on you – you decide to leave it in the car. But you have kids in the car / minivan. How do you leave your gun in a minivan? You have to unload it, and lock the pistol in the glove box and the ammunition somewhere else.

    It is not just federal property. Any private property that displays “No Firearms” on their window pre-empts your concealed carry license and you may arrested from criminal trespass for entering their premises with a firearm.
    perhaps church – no guns allowed in church in Virginia; Or perhaps when you drop your kid off at school – firearms ARE permitted as long as you don’t get out the car (meaning to drop junior off). But if the teacher wants you to come into the school for just a minute – you may not bring your firearm into the school – if you do and someone sees your weapon – you will end up on the evening news.

    I think carrying concealed is a good thing – but it is not something a new gun owner should do right away. Plan on taking lot’s of training, speaking to many gun owners on any questions you may have and with experience you will be able to carry concealed safely as often as you wish.

    Lastly, the Catholic religion is very pro gun-control. In your example, you mention the large dogs approaching your child on the swing. In reality – the official teachings of the church do not look favorably on the right of one to own and carry firearms for personal protection. Does that stop many super-good Catholics from exercising their rights as citizens – no. But the church has not recognized the place for the right in our society just yet. Just something to meditate on.

    I wish you good luck with your choices as a new Dad. I am sure you will find the path that makes the most sense for you and your family.

    Sincerely,

    Neil D

    • Thank you Neal for your words. The more I hear from friends and others I realize that this is a decision that is going to to take more than reading a few articles on. All those examples you mentioned are the things I need to learn about and also the reason why this becomes such an altering decision. Thanks again.

  4. Pingback: Train | Discovering Fatherhood

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