Public theologians are sort of expected to write reflections on terrible public events, such as the horrific one that occurred last week in Newtown, Connecticut.

I find that assignment much easier to say than to do.

Even a fool is thought wise when he keeps his mouth shut. Silence is sometimes better.

A few wise men whom I greatly respect have written pieces that I can hardly improve. I would recommend reading them: John Podhoretz, Russell Moore, Ross Douthat, and my friend David Bahnsen.

There will come a time when public policy implications need to be debated. Because there are people who live by the creed, "Never let a crisis go to waste," they never let a moment go by without exploiting this kind of tragedy for political aims. I find the spectacle of Nanny Michael Bloomberg rushing to the cameras to demand "immediate" action on banning guns utterly distasteful. As if his own city were a model of peace and tranquility, due to his draconian gun policies. It is not a surprise that a guy committed to banning table salt has no taste. This was one moment where President Barack Obama showed far more maturity.

By all means, at some point in the future, after the sting of grief begins to fade, lets have the gun control debate. Again. And those in favor will lose the argument. Again. For now, I'll simply endure again the condescending "shame, shames" from my myopic European friends, and rest comfortably in the fact that in the United States of America I am a citizen, not a subject. A citizen free to defend myself, my loved ones, and my littlest neighbors from those seeking evil and harm. Despite the sentimental rhetoric, the debate will never be between having a nation of guns or a nation of no guns. This is a fallen, sinful world full of evildoers. It will always be the choice between a nation of protection and security or a nation of helpless, defenseless victims.

You may not like that choice. I, too, would prefer an idyllic world with no hatred and violence. But the world this side of eternity is a war zone, not a playground. That is reality.

Brian Mattson