Saturday, December 17, 2016

At Liberty University, you are free to shoot first...

Yesterday, I read an article from the Daily Press about how Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia is planning to build a state of the art shooting range.  I shared the article on Facebook with the comment "Good Lord."  I chose not to make any definitive statements when I posted because, truthfully, I kind of have mixed feelings about the idea.

Like, for instance, I don't have a problem with people learning about gun safety.  I don't have a problem with target practice or hunting.  I don't even have a problem with people carrying weapons for personal safety reasons, as long as they've been thoroughly trained and aren't crazy or criminals.  I do take some issue with Liberty University's pro-gun stance for several reasons.  On the other hand, it's a private university and what they do on their property is their business, I guess.  As long as it's legal.  I don't have to go to school there.  I'm sure many people like the idea and will even choose to attend Liberty so they can pack some heat in peace.

Anyway, a lively discussion began on my Facebook page with a couple of pro-gun enthusiasts chiming in against several pacifist types.  A couple of us wondered what guns have to do with Christianity, especially since Jesus Christ was the "Prince of Peace" and this idea doesn't seem to be very peaceful.  One of the gun supporters commented that the shooting range has nothing to do with religion.  He says it's about second amendment rights.

However, I remembered last year after the mass shootings in San Bernardino, California, Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. gave a speech that included these words...

“It just blows my mind that the president of the United States [says] that the answer to circumstances like that is more gun control,” he said to applause.

“If some of those people in that community center had what I have in my back pocket right now …,” he said while being interrupted by louder cheers and clapping. “Is it illegal to pull it out? I don’t know,” he said, chuckling.

“I’ve always thought that if more good people had concealed-carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in,” he says, the rest of his sentence drowned out by loud applause while he said, “and killed them.”

“I just wanted to take this opportunity to encourage all of you to get your permit. We offer a free course,” he said. “Let’s teach them a lesson if they ever show up here.”

In his speech, Mr. Falwell does not call out your garden variety psycho who shoots up a school.  He specifies Muslims.  While Muslims are responsible for terrorist events around the world, they aren't the only ones doing it.  Given that Liberty University was founded by a Christian televangelist and its president pointedly mentions "ending Muslims", I'm left with the idea that this new shooting range idea is not just about second amendment rights.  It's also about fighting against Islam and promoting religious intolerance against Islamic people.  Again... not very Christlike in my view.

Besides that, I don't think Americans really need more people carrying guns.  Even if your argument is that "good people" with guns might stop terrorists, there is still a huge risk that someone could be hurt accidentally.  A quick Google of the search terms "toddler shoots mom" brings up multiple news stories of children getting their hands on firearms with tragic results.  Moreover, not everyone who attends a religious university is a "good person".  In fact, in my experience, quite a lot of very religious people are crazy and/or completely rigid in their thinking.  Seems to me that mixing guns with zealotry could be a very bad idea.

On the other hand, at least students at Liberty University are unlikely to be using illegal drugs or alcohol.  So there is probably less of a chance that students at that school would be drunk or high and have access to weapons.  That is one bright side, I guess.

Anyway... the discussion was fairly interesting.  Bill and I continued it offline.  We both grew up in areas where guns were a very common sight.  When I was in high school, it was not unusual to see guys with loaded gun racks in their trucks.  No one said a word.  In fact, when I was in the fifth or sixth grade, everyone took a hunter safety class.  I don't think they still do that in my hometown, but they did when I was a kid.  It wasn't a bad thing to learn, given the rural nature of the place.  If Liberty University is bent on teaching gun safety, that's not a bad thing.  But I just don't think the United States needs more armed people.  That's just my opinion.


  1. The Liberty students are probably less likely to be substance-impaired (though it's not impossible) but they are every bit as likely to be bat-shit crazy. I just read "The Unlikely Disciple: a sinner's semester at America's Holiest University." A whole lot of the students the author describe were normal, but one guy in particular was ready to blow a head gasket any moment (his particular issue was a hatred of "faggots"), and the Powers That Be there seemed totally unaware of his issues. The only thing that allowed the author to sleep easily was the knowledge that the unhunged guy didn't have weapons. That was just on one floor of a single dorm. Say there are two or three like him in every dorn. That's a bit scary if guns are thrown into the mix.

    It was an interesting read.

    1. Yeah, I read that book a few years ago. I went to college about 45 miles from Liberty and you know I love reading about wingnuts, so it only made sense.

      As Christian colleges go, Liberty seems to be somewhat liberal. However, there are a lot of very conservative people at that school.

  2. I actually have a high school friend who went to Liberty, but you'd sure never guess it today.


Comments on older posts will be moderated until further notice.