Shooting Back The Right and Duty of Self-Defense Review

Logo TCBOn July 25, 1993, terrorists stormed into a church in Kenilworth, Cape Town, South Africa.  Throwing grenades, upon which nails were fixed to increase the lethality, and shooting AK-47’s, they killed 11 worshipers and wounded 58 more.  They didn’t expect anyone to be armed.

Charl Van Wyck was carrying a .38 snub nose revolver.  As a former infantry officer, he responded by seeking cover, and opening fire.  The massacre was stopped and the terrorists fled the scene.  One thug was shot, and captured later as he sought medical treatment.  At the time of the shooting, Charl’s only cry to God was, “Why didn’t I have more ammunition?”  His revolver only had a 5-shot capability and he was carrying no reloads.shooting back

In this book, he details not only the shooting at the church, but his responses to it since that time.  Among them is the founding of Gun Owners of South Africa.  The forward is written by Larry Pratt, the executive director of Gun Owners of America.  Both men make a strong case in this book (one chapter is a reprint of an article by Larry Pratt) that you have a right and a DUTY to arm yourself with an eye to self-defense and defense of others.  (And I would add, especially in gun-free zones.)

They expand this duty and present it from a Biblical viewpoint.  As a Christian, they posit, you have a duty to be armed and trained to protect your family and yourself.  If you don’t who will?

The Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that the police have no duty to protect you.  Consider this from a ruling published in 1989 from a case where a boy was returned to an abusive father by the Dept of Children’s Services, and was subsequently severely beaten, causing brain damage:

DESHANEY v. WINNEBAGO CTY. SOC. SERVS. DEPT., 489 U.S. 189 (1989)

“But nothing in the language of the Due Process Clause itself requires the State to protect the life, liberty, and property of its citizens against invasion by private actors. The Clause is phrased as a limitation on the State’s power to act, not as a guarantee of certain minimal levels of safety and security.”

This precedent has been used in other cases, as in a June 27, 2005 ruling concerning the murder of the three children of Jessica Gonzales by her estranged husband, against whom she had a protective order.  When the police were notified that the father had taken the daughters, they did not respond.  The children were murdered.  SCOTUS says that the police had no affirmative duty to protect them.

Next Sunday morning at church, look around you.  Who will protect you if Islamic extremists attack?   Will you be armed?  Can your wife and kids depend on you to protect them from harm?

You say, “What if I’m caught carrying a gun?”  I say, “What if you’re not carrying it and you need it?”  What then?

If you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. – Jesus

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