charleston-church

You’ll find several buildings of note in any American city. Among them, the courthouse and at least one major church. In the courthouse, lawyers and judges ply their trade. The rule of law is observed and, sometimes, realized. In the church, men, women and children of all races come together to worship God in faith and fellowship. The inhabitants of both buildings acknowledge the existence of evil, and its unceasing work among us. But they have very different ways of dealing with the potential for evil arriving on their doorstep . . .

At the courthouse, those in charge take steps to protect those within. There are metal detectors at the entrances. Armed security guards the doors. Armed guards may patrol the halls. At least one armed guard stands in the courtroom, protecting the judge and those under his supervision.

Lawyers and judges working in courthouses have a clear understanding of evil, and its ever-present danger. Truth be told, many of them take “extra” precautions against violent attack by carrying concealed weapons, in direct contravention of the law. They know that the changes are low that they will be arrested for violating a law that common citizens must obey on threat of imprisonment?

Now consider the situation at church . . .

There are no metal detectors. There are seldom, if ever, armed security. In part, that’s because few churches can afford the cost, even if they are inclined to recognize the need. In some states, such as South Carolina, churches are legally defined “gun-free zones.” No non-law enforcement civilian can carry a firearm into the church (or any other place of worship) without the express permission of the minister.

Last night a 21-year-old man entered a prayer service at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston, South Carolina. He shot and killed six women and three men, including the pastor and state Senator Clementa Pinckney. The killer, who would want his name mentioned here, has been apprehended.

According to reports, the murderer said he wanted to kill black people. Perhaps so. Or perhaps he sought some sort of twisted fame amongst the chronically intolerant. Or he might be little more than one of the sociopaths walking among us, clinging to bumper-sticker hatred as an excuse to enact his fantasies. But the horror is he may have done it simply because he wanted to. He wanted to see what it was like to kill people.

If so, that will be upsetting to many. People have an inherent desire to believe there are concrete reasons for violence. Reasons that allow us to anticipate apparent madness and stop it before anyone is hurt. Those who seek to impose gun control on the general populace will pander to that desire. In the absence of an obvious motive, they will shift blame to an inanimate object. The gun.

To do this they have to deny the existence of evil.

It doesn’t matter whether one believes Satan to be the author of evil, or consider evil the result of a moral choice made by flawed human beings, doesn’t matter. For if evil exists, we must defend ourselves against it, both within ourselves and our fellow man. Those pushing the disarmament of the law-abiding cannot acknowledge the existence of evil because they’d have to see it for what it is: ever-present and inherently unpredictable.

Evil actively works against those who strive for good. Evil is planned, considered, nurtured and festered. It waits and watches and looks for weakness. It learns from experience. It sees laws designed to protect the innocent as the simple and simplistic barriers that they are. It exploits those weaknesses to corrupt or destroy whatever it wants or needs to corrupt and destroy.

Would magazine capacity limits have stopped or even slowed the Charleston spree killer? Would mandatory background checks between father and son have prevented him from accessing a firearm to slaughter the devout? To believe so is to underestimate the enemy.

There is only one way to stop evil: confront it. It is always preferable to confront evil before it acts out. But it is not always possible. Evil is clever and patient seeks to preserve itself. To accomplish its mission. Just as life finds a way, so does death.

Sometimes evil can only be stopped at the sharp end, when it finally reveals itself. At that moment, innocent lives must defend themselves with all the intelligence and yes force they can muster. Otherwise they will be taken. And how better to defend oneself against an imminent threat of death or grievous bodily than with a firearm?

Why should innocents be denied the ability to protect their lives by force of arms in a church? Are their lives of greater value on the sidewalk in front of the building than inside it? But it’s God’s house! It’s holy ground! Instruments of violence have no place therein! Weapons will disturb the very atmosphere of the church! Not nearly as much as the blood of innocents.

In the coming weeks, there will be the usual calls from the usual suspects for draconian gun control measures – despite their manifest failure. People of faith must resist the urge to seek unrealistic solutions. They must realize that evil is more than parable, more than metaphor. It is among us and waiting for its chance to wound, maim and kill the innocent, anywhere and at any time.

Being ready for the appearance of evil, or allowing oneself to be rendered helpless against it, is the ultimate moral choice. One that must be made before it strikes. And strike again it will.

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72 Responses to Random Thoughts About Charleston And The Denial Of Evil

  1. It is CRIMINAL to have a large church with NO security-except a freakin’ camera. Southern black folks should know better but obviously NOT…

    • It’s something I don’t understand: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. succeeded in the civil rights movement because all the black deacons (and a lot more) at black churches and in black communities were armed, so the Klan and others couldn’t intimidate them. When did that community get neutered and abandon what gave them victory?

      • When they went hard left AND came to real power. The pastor was a state senator -HE should have known BETTER…

    • Unless you have in mind a full on security detail, with snipers posted, limited points of entry, a tightly guarded and expansive perimeter with roadblocks, then security is as epically ineffective a countermeasure as a no-guns sign would be.

      Really, even with all that, bad guys still get to Presidents, Popes and celebrities, and bumrush the White House. All it takes is someone willing to trade his life for his objective, and it’s done.

      This SC killer essentially did that. He was there for an hour+, on camera, and even reportedly spoke to a would-be victim to leave a lasting message. He didn’t go out in a hail of bullets (maybe he chickened out?), but his life is over nonetheless.

      • There are examples to refute your argument. A bad guy is at a disadvantage when he has no way to tell which of his intended victims will produce a firearm and shoot him down.

        • If you, specifically, are a bad guy’s intended victim and you have no idea of that fact, you’re DEAD the instant he makes his move.

          The spree shooter always has the element of surprise. If you’re the first target, that’s that. You’re gone. Now, subsequent targets? That’s different. Once he’s started shooting, he exposes himself to return fire, but even that’s iffy in those opening seconds. Defenders first have to realize what’s happening, then respond. In that time, more have been hit and possibly killed.

          The real defense of concealed carry against a spree shooter is deterrent value, not in actually engaging in a gunfight. He may nbe shot dead by someone concealed carrying. That’s your point, I understand, but you need to understand that that influences the shooter only insofar as his spree will be cut short and not surpass his predecessors’ body counts. That the spree will take out the first targets, however, regardless of security or concealed carriers, remains unrefuted.

  2. The one tie (personnel-wise) was the SC state senator Clementa Pinckney (D). He had been elected elected a couple of times. Maybe someone wanted his seat? Politics are dangerous.

  3. There are certainly many who deny evil. The entire “it can’t happen here, it can’t happen to me” mentality that makes people dismiss the idea of guns being needed. I have family like that and it’s frustrating.

    Unfortunately, evil at its most insidious and destructive form is not some random psychopath killing several people. It’s a self styled ruler standing at a podium, lying to and deceiving the “it can’t happen here” crowd, whispering poison into their ears. Those who deny evil will be the unwitting tools for that which they refuse to see.

    • The Donald says that you get his Wingnut o’ The Day award for your paranoia and saran wrap thin metaphorical equivalencies.

    • Wait, aren’t you the Newtown denier guy, too? Have there ever been any mass shootings, ever? And will your yarn-spinning stop the next ‘false flag’ or whatever you call it? What’s the point? Or is this just some extended denial-phase coping strategy for difficult emotional experiences?

  4. As usual media will over think and analyze the mind of a narrowly focused, evil man child.

    The answer is and always been, lawful self protection with arms. No law, blog, legislation, rule, zone, group think will EVER skirt around that fact. Anything less than constitutional carry and people employ natural liberty of our second admendment will severity any future carnage be reduced.

  5. Separation of church and state should apply here, too. Government has no right to tell anyone they cannot legally carry in any church or place of religious worship. That should be up to the property owner.
    I don’t like religion in my government and, as I try not to be a hypocrite, government should not be in religion.

    • No one has the right to tell anyone, anywhere, that they cannot be armed. Self-defense is an inherent right that trumps all others.

      • So then you believe that business owners do not have a right to refuse service to those that are armed?

        • I actually agree with that, with two caveats: unless it is a government controlled business/organization (like USPS) or a private monopoly operating under the expressed permission of the government (like phone companies back in the day, utilities in certain areas, etc.). Only in those cases must a business be required to sell a product or provide services to anyone.

          I also don’t agree with the notion that a business that opens up to the public automatically makes it a public service of sort. Just because a business has to acquire certain licensing and ordinance permission doesn’t make it automatically legally required to provide service to everyone that walks in.

      • If it’s private property, they absolutely do. You don’t have to set foot on the property. If you choose to then you better do as they say. If they say pink top hats required… Put it on. Gun rights aren’t more special than property rights if being on their property was a voluntary act.

  6. Lawyer, judges and clergymen sometimes deal with evil, but mostly they deal with the aftermath of evil. The people who really deal with evil are its victims, and the all-mighty state wants them disarmed.

    Murderers and politicians are both members of the same vulgar thieves’ guild.

  7. Very well written article, I couldn’t agree more. I also much appreciate the individual who perpetrated this atrocity not being named. This is precisely the action that needs to be taken by all media to not allow these monsters the fame they seek. It is truly unfortunate he wasn’t able to meet swift justice in the form of lead pills the moment he began his attack. These gun free hunting zones truly are effective for those who wish to harm the innocent.

    • As has been observed more than once, the only way to actually have a gun-free zone would be to require everyone to go nude. But even then, for the determined, a gun could be carried.

  8. Our church has a volunteer and paid security force – guys in uniform without guns and armed concealed carriers in civilian clothes. I’m one of them. The Orange County Regional SWAT team used our parking structure for vehicle hostage rescue training.

    The OC SWAT and Fullerton PD, who would respond to a shooting / hostage situation are aware of our team, personally know most of our members, and know that we have armed civilians in plain clothes. In the event of a shooting, we have quick-release yellow banners of a known type that we can pull out so that armed second responders can differentiate us from terrorists and psychos.

    We are also insured under the church’s insurance policy so long as we qualify 4x a year on a Fronsite / Secret Service style course with any pistol from 9mm through .45 ACP. The church picks up range, ammo and practice costs or we can defer and pay our way.

    We’d have made quick work of this a$$hole.

    • Your church has better security than most of my non-DOD companies I’ve worked for. I take it your church is fairly large.

    • My son’s church is the same way and he’s part of the security team. A church member is also a tactical instructor and keeps them sharp. I feel safe when I go with his family. Yes, I have a CCW, but am not part of the detail.

  9. The only evil that caused this was the terrorist organization called the NRA and the vile tyranny called the gun lobby.

    And I`ll do what I can do best is to resist evil which is about a good 99% of this propoganda inducing extremist website, It`s idiot commenters who sprout heavily debunked myths about gun rights and “self defense” which in reality is cold blooded murder. I’ll resist the evil which is the tyrannical NRA and the vile gun lobby and manufactures.

    You villianous meth-head ammosexuals caused this and no amount of your faulty fallacies called “Logic” will convince me or the ” liberal trolls” that you paranoid gun nuts like to call us who see through your bull otherwise.

    The sooner sensible laws will be passed, The safer we all be.

    • I grin thinking of some bored transplant from HuffPo reading this comment while grinning and nodding, and thinking it’s serious, not realizing it’s making fun of his stupidity.

        • I’m not sure what it is he’s writing, but I’m not sure I would call it satire. Satire, by my understanding, tends to include some level of wit or cleverness, and I see neither in Viv’s wordy, repetitive posts. Neither are they over-the-top enough to really be considered a lampoon or parody. Rather, he just makes cookie-cutter posts that parrot the same ideas again and again without even attempting to address the counterpoints raised, unless its simply to make an ad hominem attack insulting others for no reason.

          In short, it is impossible at this time to tell if he is truly attempting satire, or if he honestly believes what he is writing and his name just has some other meaning about which we are ignorant.

    • Let’s see if VivaLaSatire covered all the bases:
      NRA is a terrorist organization — check
      Firearms rights advocates are stupid — check
      Firearms rights advocates are crazy — check
      Firearms rights advocates are corrupt — check

      If only poor Viva had some actual facts to bring to the table.

    • It’s easy to distinguish between self defense and murder. The former is ruled justifiable homicide while the latter is prosecuted and the perpetrator convicted and sentenced. In the United States at least, no one is obliged to risk his own life in order to minimize injury to his assailant.

      I could go along, reluctantly, with civilian disarmament provided people like you agreed that violent crimes are to be punished by imprisonment for the rest of the perpetrators’ natural lives. That still wouldn’t stop the fanatics and the crazies who are past caring about the personal consequences of their actions.

  10. It’s a shame that the current civilian disarmament by stealth & supporting propaganda has effectively disarmed law abiding black people, just like the more direct Jim Crow gun control laws.

    When you can conclusively get rid of all the guns in the world, ever, maybe, just maybe, you’re not putting these people at risk by keeping guns from them. But when you make it hard to the point of impossible for churchgoing black people to protect themselves with firearms, they’re at the mercy any dedicated whack job who makes it his – relatively simple – mission to do get himself a gun. They’re vulnerable, and you made them so.

  11. Again with the “evil exists” and “must be confronted” thing. If you take guns away from good people, law-abiding people, they can’t turn into bad people with guns.

    The number of potential bad people with guns is monstrously greater than the already bad people with guns. We can’t do much about the criminal element acquiring guns, but we can reduce to near zero the number of good people with guns who could one day (who knows what will eventually drive us ’round the bend?) do violence and evil to innocents.

    How mentally challenged does one need to be to grasp and admit that if, in situations like Charleston, the shooter did not have a handgun, nine people would not have died of bullet wounds? Yes, some other killing tool could have been used, but we are not talking about sticks and stones. We are talking about how to stop all but the criminal element from having the ability to “go off” (pun intended) on innocent people.

    Those the criminals target are unfortunate, but quite often are not in places of good neighbors and safe homes (forget the statistically negligible). The “wrong time, wrong place” victims will always be with us, no matter what the circumstance. No one with room temperature intelligence can argue that if the number of handguns is reduced to only police and gangs, thugs, and other blackguards, likelihood any of us will die at the end of a gun held by a once good guy who now wants to kill us is almost non-existent.

    In every mass shooting, if the once good guy could not get a gun (the number of law-abiding citizens who know how to get illegal guns on the street is comically small), people they killed would not be victims of a gun crime.

    This is the situation where none of the POTG have an answer for that will persuade the survivors of a mass killing that, in general, civilian possession of guns is good even though the lives of the survivors will never be recovered. It is going to catch-up with us, one day.

      • I think he just said that his insane and impossible idea of taking guns away from EVERY ONE but the government and black market criminals would eliminate mass shootings. He justifies it by saying the people who are robbed, raped, and murdered the most (poor/bad neighborhoods) don’t matter and it’s their fault for being poor. Basically he’s an old time racist who wants to disarm the non-elite so that the guy who cuts his lawn doesn’t go “bad” and kill him.

      • What he is saying is: “Every law a bidding citizen with a gun is a ticking time bomb waiting to explode in a murderous fury. Therefore, we need to eliminate the 2A. As for the criminals, who cares, they are going to murder anyways, why even try to eliminate the black market for it.”

    • Sam I Am claimed,

      In every mass shooting, if the once good guy could not get a gun … people they killed would not be victims of a gun crime.

      And, if by some magic “good guys” could never acquire a firearm, how exactly does that stop a spree killer from:
      (1) driving a pickup truck into a crowd and killing dozens of people?
      (2) setting one gallon of gasoline on fire in a crowded building and killing dozens of people?
      (3) adding poison to a restaurant’s pickle bucket (either as an employee or breaking in after hours) and killing dozens of people?
      (4) flying a single engine airplane into a crowded sports stadium and killing thousands of people?

      More to the point, every reasonably fit male between the ages of 14 and 60 could be a serial rapist and rape dozens of females. Shall we require the removal of all males’ penises to insure they cannot rape anyone?

    • Well, Sam, that’s all well and good. But two days after Sandy Hook, there were 22 kids stabbed by a mad knifer in China and the largest school massacre in American history was the Bath School Massacre in 1927. A farmer planted explosives in the Bath Middle School after killing his wife and firebombing his farm. He killed 33 school aged children, six adults and wounded 55 others.

      Then there’s the Oklahoma City Bomber who used a rental truck, nitrate fertilizer and diesel fuel to kill 168 people.

      If you go looking, you will find that most of your European gun control utopias have had mass shootings in the past decade. They just get swept under the rug since they damn the effectiveness of gun control at curbing crime. Most third world countries with gun control are crime filled cesspits with a poor population ruled by a iron fist. You need to check your privilege, Sam.

      Evil will find a way, Sam. You can ban guns and explosives and pressure cookers and Ryder trucks, but in the end, evil deranged people will still find a way to kill.

  12. Those pushing the disarmament of the law-abiding cannot acknowledge the existence of evil because they’d have to see it for what it is: ever-present and inherently unpredictable.

    This is why the “useful idiots” of gun control are so fervent. The rest in the gun control movement are quite simply evil people who desire to elevate themselves above the masses and dictate our lives.

  13. And again back to the – where does the “property owner” who has opened his property to the public derive the power to control another individual’s God given Constitutional Rights?

    The is no such power. You don’t want others with guns (etc) on your personal property then you don’t open it up to the public.

    Bummer wants a “fix” – HR xxxx “No corporation or government body or agency in the United States may restrict the open or concealed carry of firearms except in such a location where violent felons are incarcerated.”

    • Agreed neiowa.

      So called “property rights” do not mean that a property owner can forbid life saving measures for good people on their property. Whether those life saving measures take the form of police, firefighters, or paramedics coming onto private property to save life and limb, or good people on private property being armed to save life and limb, it doesn’t matter.

      Owning property does not make you a tyrant. It means that you manage and use the property as you see fit — and retain ownership. It does NOT mean that you can foster the injury/death of good people on your property.

      • Well said!

        Property rights are secondary, derived rights, and as such cannot trump inherent rights. The only “property” that matters as far as bearing arms is one’s own person, which is one’s own property directly and inherently.

  14. People keep asking why? Over and over again on my Facebook feed. I keep thinking about the phrase from the Dark Knight. Some people just want to watch the world burn.

    There isn’t a logical reason that we would understand. Some people just want to inflict pain and death on others. They are broken humans.

  15. As an Australian who served in Vietnam beside Americans, can I ask you, more in sorrow than in anger, the following questions –
    1. Why do Americans routinely and regularly slaughter their fellow citizens using firearms?
    2. Why does your country, which in many ways is so similar to mine, have a firearm fatality rate 21 times ours?
    3. Is that statistic connected in any way to the fact that there are 88 firearms per 100 people in the USA, compared to 15 per 100 in mine?
    4. Why was the last mass shooting in Australia in 1996, when there have been literally scores of such incidents in the USA since then?
    5. Does the USA have anything to learn from the Australian experience when stringent controls introduced in 1996 appear to have resulted in the elimination of mass shootings in Australia?
    May the innocents massacred in your country, especially the children at Sandy Hook rest in peace. I am a teacher (ex-principal) and find your lawmakers apparent paralysis in the face of that event shameful and cowardly.
    May the Good Lord grant your country the maturity to put a stop to this mindless slaughter.

    • Because Australia is not the United States and vice versa.

      Your country is in no way culturally or racially the same as the United States. The homogeneity of the US is anything but…

    • You have to look at the before and after for your stricter gun laws. Your murder rate went up right after the bans went into place, and then graduaply down, just like almost every other western nation including ours has been for the past 30 years. For the amount of guns removed from private ownership in Australia, why didn’t your murder rate plummet drastically? It’s because gun availability isn’t driving crime. Criminals are driving it. In the US, gun ownership has increased and yet we are at a 30 yeat low for mirder rates. Mass killings are about flat. There is no decrease or increase. You can look up the info from your own government database. It’s on the net.

      There are many reasons why the US has certain issues. They are numerous and varied, but the problem will not dissapear with the stroke of some politicians pen. You have still had mass murders in your country, they were just done with different weapons.

    • Australia has twice the burglaries and more rapes, assaults, and property crimes per capita than the U.S. When will Australia grow out of it’s prison overseer mentality and allow its “inmates” to provide for their own defense.

    • Pardon me, but you’re full of crap. I have lived in Australia, still have many friends there, the crime rate is ridiculous, and getting worse.

      • Pardon me, but I live in Australia and have done so for 68 years. We Australians don’t abuse those who disagree with us, but I can assure you crime is not a daily problem. Your friends are (as we say here) ” having a lend”.

    • 1735099,

      First and foremost, violent criminal gangs are responsible for about 90% of all violent crime in the United States. That includes murders where the attacker used a firearm for their murder weapon. Government laws with respect to firearms will do absolutely, positively NOTHING to stop violent criminal gangs from acquiring and using firearms to attack their victims. Thus your proposed solution is useless.

      Furthermore, we have ironclad proof that “loose” firearms laws are NOT responsible for the violent crimes where attackers use firearms. Consider the state of Vermont. Anyone age 16 and older can legally carry a handgun, concealed or openly, anywhere they want (except into schools). They do NOT need any license, permit, screening, or criminal background check from the state or federal government. (Note: they would have to pass a background check to purchase a handgun from a firearm dealer. If they receive a handgun as a gift or purchase one from a person, they do NOT have to pass a background check.) According to your mindset, Vermont should have the highest violent crime rate in the nation — especially violent crimes where the attacker used a firearm for their weapon. Guess what? Vermont has either the lowest or second lowest violent crime rate in the United States … and their murder rate (where the attacker used a firearm for the murder weapon) is on par with or better than almost every country in the world. Do you know what Vermont does not have? They do not have large urban areas nor any significant number of minority residents.

      • ” First and foremost, violent criminal gangs are responsible for about 90% of all violent crime in the United States”
        If this statement is true, you will have no problem providing the statistics that back it up.
        “Do you know what Vermont does not have? They do not have large urban areas nor any significant number of minority residents.”
        The solution to your gun violence epidemic is therefore very simple.
        You must destroy all urban areas and deport all minority residents.
        Land of the free, home of the brave…………….what a joke.
        You have one of the highest incarceration rates in the world, and your populace is gripped by paranoia.

  16. As a military man I’ve seen where evil is a lot more prevalent in the world. I’ve been to where places where IED’s and beheadings are a normal daily occurrence.

    The problem is Americans have become too complacent, too dependent on others to be accountable for their safety. They feel they have the right to be protected and that extreme violence only happens to people they don’t give a shit about on the other side of the world.

    But the reality is when evil comes knocking at your door and wants to claim the lives of you and your loved ones the teet of big government will not be in your mouth to protect you.

    Only the individual is truly accountable for himself.

  17. There’s a book called “the death of satan” (http://www.amazon.com/The-Death-Satan-Americans-Sense/dp/0374524866 ) where an atheist/humanist makes the argument that we are losing our ability to discuss and think about evil as we have moved away from religion. He’s not advocating religion and religious thought- but he is concerned with our growing inability to conceive of what the religiously minded call evil.

    For any non-religious person looking at this- it’s a worth a read. At the least the first and last chapters. Most of it is history of how we’ve represented evil but he makes a good argument that what the religious call evil is something real and important for us to be able to think and talk about. And I’d add- confront.

  18. I heard that here in Ohio they were planning to change it so that instead of churches being prohibited unless explicitly permitted, churches would be permitted unless explicitly prohibited. That’s a much better policy, in my opinion.

  19. Guns are not the problem. And security in churches will definitely help, it’s just not enough. The real problem here, whether you acknowledge it or not, is RACISM.

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