BLOG 284 December 21, 2015
Chanukah’s come and gone leaving us the message to light a candle in a dark night. In a few days, Christmas will be proclaiming peace and good will to the world. Tragically, the Middle East cannot hear. The war cry is hostility and attack.
The impact has sent Americans reeling.
The most recent shootings in San Bernardino sent shock waves reverberating from California to New York. Extreme Muslim terrorists are impacting America. More and more people are being captured by fear. Look at the numbers.
For 20 years a majority of American’s opposed assault weapons. A recent poll by ABC News and the Washington Post illustrates the shift. Sixty-four percent now feel that carrying guns is the right approach to stopping terrorist and self-defense. Today only 26% of the public favor any ban or control on carrying handguns. Forty-seven percent of the public have guns in their homes. A recent national news story featured church members and pastors on a target range practicing their ability to shoot.
America is an armed camp.
Interestingly enough, a study in Connecticut demonstrated a 72% percent drop in gun deaths after a ban was legislated. However, to bring up such facts to an NRA dominated Congress won’t win any popularity contests. Often gun advocates view their weapons with religious fervor. Arguing with this mentality goes nowhere. However, it is interesting to make a few comparisons. Last year, 47,055 deaths resulted from drug overdose. Compare that against the number killed by terrorists and the risk is clear. You are more apt to be hit by lighting than shot by a terrorist.
However, the impact of the San Bernardino killings may be backfiring on ISIS. American support of military action against the Islamic state is rapidly growing. In January, 2015, the public was split down the middle with 50% opposed to more military action in the Middle East. As of December, 2015, 70% of the country favor intervention. Such a number is extremely high.
One of the reasons the polls demonstrate opposition for any ban on guns and increasing intervention in the Middle East is a lack of confidence in the government’s ability to stop terrorists. Only 22% think the government can stop a “lone wolf” assault. While 45% have no confidence in the government halting a larger attack. Sixty-eight percent of the public found President Obama’s explanation of fighting ISIS to be unsatisfactory. Fifty-three percent oppose Obama’s intention to allow 10,000 Syrian refugees into American.
Doubt persists everywhere.
And what behind all of these numbers? Fear.
Nothing helps the enemies of freedom and peace like fear. In this winter season of light, laughter, and love, let us remember that the coming of the Christ child was to bring goodwill and peace to the world. The answer to fear won’t be found at the end of a gun barrel. Hope can only be discovered in the love of God that transcends every moment in history and replaces fear with hope.