“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” so says Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the National Rifle Association in a speech carried live on radio and TV today. His response to the Sandy Hook, Newtown, Connecticut Massacre? “Put armed guards in every school in the United States,” he says.
LaPierre is dangerously ignorant of basic psychology. In his classic text on serial murderers and
violent behavior in general, Dr. Robert I. Simon, a forensic psychiatrist, says we all have the capacity for violent behavior of the most heinous kind. Our value systems kick in most of the time to reign us back from acting out some of our darkest impulses.
His book is called “Bad Men Do What Good Men Dream.” It’s a disturbing book because it shatters
the belief that there are good people and bad people. It turns out that there are just people. All of us have dark sides.
.In my Church we talk about how Original Sin, the tendency toward evil, even the attraction to evil is part of every grace-filled person’s struggle. Deep down we are twisted, not corrupted.
The vast majority of us learn not to act on destructive impulses but that doesn’t mean we don’t ever think of murdering the guy next door.
While we sleep and our conscience is resting, we can even plan and visualize what we might do to people or what we might take from them. These dreams of so-called good people can be incredibly violent.
So firstly: LaPierre , spokesman for the National Rifle Association, doesn’t know diddly-squat about human nature. Put people in school with guns and you may find someday that the protectors have done bad things. They were having a bad day.
Secondly: A person without a gun can talk down another person with a gun who is threatening to take a life. It happens every day when police departments send trained negotiators in to talk violent people out of the killing themselves or someone else. More often than not they are successful. How can LaPierre, CEO of the National Rifle Association be so obtuse?
I and thousands of other clergymen have been in unstable situations just like I’ve just described. The disturbed or angry person is there, with a loaded gun.
We listen a lot. Listening often diffuses violence. The disturbed (not bad) person is holding the gun
and ready to use it. We try to calm the situation.
I pray a lot. I know that someone could come into the confessional and blow my head off.
I’m no hero but I hope I won’t be a coward either, the next time I’m in that situation.. La Pierre should sit in a confessional for about an hour and then tell me if he can separate the sheep from the goats.