Protection or Paranoia: Reloading the Gun

Now, this is the part 2 that I promised in my post about a week ago. I won’t cover everything, since I believe this is going to be more of an ongoing “series” than anything else. For this one, I want to talk about the idea that guns provide “protection” or “self-defense”. People seem to increasingly feel it is within their rights to own ludicrous firearms that go above and beyond that dictum.


Self-defense is a simple enough concept. It is the action of defending oneself from an aggressor, or an individual who strikes out at your person first. The US has long been a proponent of it, courtesy of our 2nd Amendment. Over the more recent years, there has been an extension of this action by virtue of Stand Your Ground Laws and others.

For the Catholic what does this mean for us? The CCC dictates, “The act of self-defense can have a double effect: the preservation of one’s own life; and the killing of the aggressor. . . . The one is intended, the other is not.” (taken from In short, it boils down to intention. This is why I have to take issue with those persons that wish to defend their property with more lethal weapons and assault rifles that are much more likely to kill someone than a handgun.

In truth, the Church would rather there be no violence, but in dealing with humanity’s fallen nature that cannot be so. Instead, there have to be concessions, which by no means make killing acceptable. The quote that I offered before is in context about protecting yourself and/or loved ones. That is all. It is quite simply as that.

Therefore, this attitude of paranoia towards neighbors, strangers and the rest of the world is entirely unfounded, especially for Catholics. The Conservative Right has hijacked Christianity by consistently claiming that we align the most with their values, but in reality Christianity does not at all. The Catholics that do consider themselves part of the GOP(because they need to belong to some political party for some reason) agree with this need to be armed to the teeth or to pull the trigger first and ask questions later.

This is not only hypocritical of Catholics and Christians everywhere, but just incredibly wrong to believe such a thing. I am not saying that we have to be pacifist in a break in or threatening situation, only that we keep our intentions purely for defense rather than attack.

I will return to this topic yet again to talk about how the principle for self defense should not be extended beyond our individual persons, but until then stay safe and warm during this wintery months.


I doubt you have escaped the current cultural discussion surrounding guns. My ears and eyes have been filled with numerous stories and articles about pro and cons of guns and the “rights” that go with them.

Obviously, as an American living in the United States this debate has a huge impact on myself and those in my community. What has shocked/disappointed me the most is that people have becoming increasingly emotional and zealous about guns on both sides of the issue. What I want to do is approach the object of all this debate.

What is a gun?

  • : a weapon that shoots bullets or shells

(Definition taken from


This may be a oversimplification, but I want to understand the object in its most basic form. Now to look at what the gun consists of:


This is a basic revolver, but I think we can assume that most guns more or less conform to this format of: stock, hammer, trigger and barrel.

This object is purely for the purpose of pushing ammo out of the barrel into the air at a rapid velocity. While, it has been up for debate at where this bullet is supposed to go I am concerned with how this instrument is made specifically for this function.

We have made some incredibly innovations to guns with semi and fully automatic guns. The advent of the machine gun in 1884 fundamentally changed the usefulness of guns against infantry. I don’t want to delve too much into the history here, but simply put guns have always been meant to kill.

Americans love to dress up guns “patriotic rhetoric” and there has become an increasingly fanatical range of individuals, who defend the use of guns. The often quoted Second Amendment:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Now, the first part of that line is about keeping a “regulated militia”. From my knowledge we do not keep a militia anymore in any state. The closest thing to a militia I can think of is the National Guard. I don’t here any of these “pro-gun” folks throwing a fit about that, though. Funny, that we’re selective about, which part of the amendment should be kept around or not used.

Most gun control groups are not about taking guns away, though I’m sure there are some out there. Guns can be used as tools as they are with hunting. The idea that guns are for “protection” leads to leading terminology. Guns in the home, if improperly stored or taken care of, leads to accidents. In fact: “Nearly 800 children under 14 were killed in gun accidents from 1999 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

Doesn’t sound like they add that much protection. Is there any real reason to have such a fanatical, if not, blinding loyalty to a single object?

In conclusion, a gun in an object with a single purpose. One that is to eject bullets from it’s muzzle at a target. I have shot guns before in my life and I received a moment of awe and respect for the tool, but it is not one that I would wish around my home or defend until I am blue in the face.

I think it is the other issues that are linked to the guns, themselves that provide numerous questions as to why these “gun rights” need to be untouchable in the USA. I’ll return to this issue soon to look at the rise of smart gun technology and discuss what is wrong with putting “gun rights” over civil rights.


So, the other day I got wrapped up on a Facebook thread discussion/argument over this image. Now I understand that people have a problem with the various sides of these issues and what not, but that isn’t what I am here to write about.

What I do want to comment on is this counter movement that is #AllLivesMatter. I can’t comment on the broader strokes at work here, but from what I have read on the news and seen on my varied Facebook feed has been really revealing.

What I have seen is that most #AllLivesMatter supporters assume a defensive position in a debate, because they feel that their livelihoods has been encroached upon. They will be the first to point out that everyone should respect all life, but only to the point that it doesn’t make them uncomfortable. I am going to explain this positioning in a few moments.

I want to talk about what it means to stand by the statement that #AllLivesMatter. This entails that you respect life as it coincides with human persons. It in turn means that life should be defined as the well-being of those persons, which would entail that they have food, water, shelter. This is of course speaking very broadly, but I can safely assume that we can agree on that.

Now to go a step further I want to look at that third aspect, “shelter”, and analyze what this means. For this discussion, I believe “shelter” includes security. In our current soceity climate, the #BlackLivesMatter movement has grown out of the injustice that African Americans are not afforded the same security that is given to the majority of the populace. With the numerous injustices of Laquan McDonald and Tamir Rice, without getting into the nitty gritty of “police procedure” or “they got what was coming to them” sort of arguments, we have to recognize that these two individuals were children and they were not the only cases this year.

If #AllLivesMatter than why do we think it’s acceptable for police to arrive on a scene without proper assessment and open fire? If #AllLivesMatter than why do we believe it’s okay to subject refugees to the pain and suffering of war? If #AllLivesMatter than why do the homeless, poor and mentally incapable rest on the streets?

My own experience over these past few months with the #AllLivesMatter stereotype has been with white males, like myself, that feel somehow persecuted, because what they want isn’t good enough. Their voices are no longer singular in what they have to say. This may not be true for all, but if you can agree with my previous paragraph then this doesn’t apply to you.

What this hashtag is ultimately covering up is guilt and the conceit, because they cannot admit that they are wrong. They cannot dignify the other side with a real response, because that would make them gain validity in the common discussion.

The implicit fear that #AllLivesMatter have towards refugees, of possibly being terrorists even though those instances are very few and far between, isn’t good enough to deny them sanctuary. Sure, I understand the concept of protecting family and country, though I’m cynical of the latter. Yet, protecting and fostering life is a RISK. It always has been and will keep being a risk for as long as there are living creatures.

Parents know the risk entailed. They can only protect their kids for so long before they go out on their own. All the things that I myself got into when I was a tot was potentially dangerous. Living by its very virtue takes into account of risk and that is why our cars, buildings, and other contraptions all have warning labels or safety features on them. We use some of these objects daily, despite them being so much more dangerous than some stranger walking down the street.

People are like that too. We don’t have control over them. That’s the beauty of all of us having our own free will and person hood. We have to take the risk and welcome them into our communities and homes. Alienating them doesn’t help anyone and I would go as far as to say that it works in a counter productive manner. And this doesn’t even just apply to refugees obviously, but any group of people that is different from our own.

In short, if we are going to take up arms with certain movements and phrases we must be ready to stand by them. If one is going to claim that #AllLivesMatter then they must be ready to defend life in all it’s forms and phases. If you cannot then you shouldn’t be espousing the position or supporting its cause.


Silent For Too Long

It has been over a year since I last blogged. It was a crazy year and I also believe I needed a break from blogging. I have kept numerous blogs in the past five/six years and I think I was getting burned out on the exercise.

Well, it has come to my attention that I need to come back to it. It is an outlet that I haven’t used in a while and I’ve been told by a few individuals that I need to get back to it.

So, this leaves me with the thought of what blogging should be to me now. It has always been a mix of my thoughts, rants, writings and reviews of various books/film. I think I will continue with just that, but I am also going to speak about current events and issues in the media.

Social justice has always been super important to me and it has come clear to me that it needs to be discussed more. The only way to make this happen is to discuss and open more dialogue. I will try and do this in the vein of those American writers that came before, such as Thomas Merton, Dorothy Day, and Flannery O’Connor. It is a bit lofty of a goal, but I believe this coming year will be a transitional year for this blog and myself.



I Can Philosophy And So Can You!

Okay, so yeah the title to this is a bit off I know, but just keep reading and I promise that I will be able to explain what I mean.  This post is mostly a pondering that has been gestating in my mind for the past week and a half from my grad. classes.  It occurred in my texts of Plato class, when my professor asked us, “Can anyone philosophize? What is required for it?”  Plato gives some narrow parameters for individuals to fulfill in order to do philosophy of the caliber that the Greeks were able.  I wasn’t exactly happy with that sort of explanation though, in fact it bothered me more than anything else.  The result of this ‘being bothered’ is here below.

What are we talking about when it comes to philosophy? Are we speaking on the realities of the Forms or metaphysics in some sense?  I’m not.  And yes I realize that Plato is to some degree, but I think the idea that philosophy proper is restricted to a “small elite”, is an impoverished view of philosophy and a disservice to persons.  I’m going to take philosophy out of this definition for greater clarification of what I’m trying to achieve here.

Philosophy is something that anyone can achieve.  All it takes is a consideration of real issues that reside at the core of man.  This may sound close to the high-brow language of philosophers, but by ‘real issues’ I mean things such as life, love, death, the community, and our own beings. A person should consider these topics at points in their life.  There are plenty of persons walking about that care about issues that bear little consequence in the grand scheme of things.  These temporal problems surround acquiring money, fame, or  pop culture.  Put simply, philosophy is concerned with eternal things.

What if you don’t believe in that? Well, I can’t really help you, because I don’t think people really stand by that sort of perspective.  There is a natural pull of the transcending beyond.  If you do stand by that point than I can say that I don’t not understand you either though.  The material reality of the world is pretty persuasive and thinking that there could be something beyond or immaterial objects is a hard concept to grasp, but give me a little leeway here.

You don’t need super intelligence or some unique understanding of the world to do philosophy.  You don’t even need to be eccentric(that might help though).  Philosophy is honestly a lot simpler than it might first appear.  Truth and the Good may seem like foreboding phrases, but they are not.  It starts with knowing yourself, your skills, and your purpose as a person.  The rest of it comes naturally from there proceeding outward from your being. So, go philosophize now!