Not All Swords Should Be Plowshares (Yet)

There is a lot that I get about guns, the love of guns, opposition to guns, and varying opinions on guns. I get that generally Transatlantic discussions about guns are plagued by situational differences that too often don't get highlighted. I get (while many of my European friends don't) that the gun situation in America is wildly different than it is in many places in Europe. Americans have an uninterrupted history of gun ownership and Constitutional protection of that ownership written in black and white. The American proliferation of firearms is so ubiquitous that you couldn't confiscate them even if A) you had the most powerful government ever known and B) you wanted to. Europe is neither cursed with (from their point of view) nor enjoys (from an American point of view) anything comparable to the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

I get it. People don't like the violence that too-often comes with firearms. They are tools designed to do violence, and they are very, very good at it. It seems intuitively obvious to many people that a society where nobody is armed is a safe society. Even though I find that sentiment naïve, unachievable, and contrary to reality, I can still appreciate the desire to keep guns out of the hands of ordinary citizens. 

What I cannot fathom, however, is the rationale and historical circumstances that led to European nations disarming their police forces. The job of police forces are to keep law and order. Simple common sense ought to indicate that people who need such policing (those the Bible and George W. Bush famously call "evildoers") disproportionately tend toward violence.

When Lee Rigby was murdered in broad daylight on the streets of London, the police officers who arrived were helpless to intervene. They "set up a cordon." I'm sure that was a relief to Mr. Rigby as he was having his head hacked off.

Today ten journalists and two police officers were murdered by terrorists wielding AK-47s in broad daylight in Paris. As of this writing, they have gotten away with it. The officers who arrived on the chaotic scene were forced to flee rather than intervene. They weren't just outgunned. They were unarmed.

Again: what is the rationale? 

And: who in the world would take that job?

You can make a respectable (if wrong) case for disarming citizens. I cannot conjure a respectable argument for why those tasked with dealing with potentially violent criminals and (in the 21st century) terrorists should be helpless when they are faced with actually... dealing with them.

Paul's letter to the Romans calls the civil magistrate God's servant who wields the sword (Ch.13). It seems many European governments have beat their swords into plowshares a tad prematurely. It is a grave disservice to law enforcement officers (not least the two who lay dead on a sidewalk just this morning, having been shot like dogs in a helpless cower), as well as for those they are tasked to protect. It is an abdication of the responsibility God has given civil rulers.

I'll stop trying to be nice. That makes it immoral. 

Brian Mattson