Should We Outlaw Islam?

Disclaimer: the following post is hyperbolic in its intent to parallel the “straw man” arguments of those who propose gun control as a way to reduce the type of mass killings we’ve witnessed lately on American soil with the mass killings at the hands of Islamist groups in other parts of the world.  While I use Islam as comparison, I do not propose any sort of law against this religion nor do I propose excluding Muslims in America from their 1st Amendment right – the freedom of religious expression.

Let the finger pointing begin.

aptopix-kenya-mall-attackSame story, different day.  As I write this, Al-Shabaab gunmen have stormed a mall in Kenya, leaving 62 dead in the wake of what is now a hostage situation.  Al-Shabaab is a terrorist organization with ties to Al-Qaida “fighting for the creation of a fundamentalist Islamic state in Somalia.” Reports state that the attackers were targeting non-Muslims.

There’s more.  In Egypt, Coptic Christians are the target of the Muslim Brotherhood.  In Egypt, Christian businesses and churches are targeted for attack, but the worst part is that Christians are kidnapped by the radicals and held for ransom.  When the ransom is paid, the kidnappers kill the “infidels” in spite and hatred.

And, finally, recent attacks on Christians in Pakistan have left dozens dead.  As worshippers left services at the historic All Saints Church in Peshawar, two explosions ripped through the crowd, an attack that targeted Christians.  Sunni militant groups claimed responsibility for killing.

Because each attack was perpetrated by some faction of Islam, the only way to stop these needless hate-crimes is to make being a Muslim illegal.  After all, a majority of terrorist attacks in this world are fueled by Muslim groups who hate anyone non-Muslim.  Stop Islam, and we stop the killings.

Applying the hyperbole to gun control

In a recent post after the Navy Yard killings, a friend from the blogosphere concluded that the atmosphere of mass killings in America are the result of…

 …those indirectly responsible for the tears and the grief. The ones who say that pointing fingers in the wake of a mass murder is inappropriate and counterproductive. The ones who claim, “Now is not the time.”  Their self-preservation shtick is getting old.

So let the finger pointing commence.

There is a key demographic that continues to ensure that Americans will lead lives no less risky than our fellow humans in war-torn countries of the Middle East. He is the conservative NRA member who wants congress to repeal Obamacare.

bigstock-Bullets-46913128He and I respectfully disagree.  While I do have issues with readily-available assault-style rifles with 30-round clips, I know Liberal Politicians well enough to know that they won’t be content with the control of assault-style weapons.  It’s the ol’ frog-in-the-kettle parable where the frog doesn’t know he’s being boiled because the water is ever so slowly heated.  It’s a slippery slope…if those conservative NRA members give an inch, the Liberals will take them “lock, stock, and barrel” – literally.

Gun control – what President Obama calls it – is an attempt to stop the needless, senseless killings that take place in our society.  To follow his logic, controlling access to guns by private citizens will significantly reduce mass killings, and, maybe, homicide, period.

But, it won’t.

NPR reporter Cory Flintoff states that, in Russia, where there are significant gun control laws in place, there are far less guns, but more homicides.  He tells us,

Russia has tough gun laws on the books. It’s illegal for Russian citizens to own automatic and semi-automatic guns. It’s possible to apply for a handgun or shotgun license, though citizens are required to provide reasons such as hunting or target shooting.

Applicants face strict background checks, including criminal history, a full psychological evaluation and a medical exam. They must pass a test on firearm laws and safety.

Each weapon is then registered by the police during a home visit. Police take bullet patterns, test bullets and cartridges so bullets can be matched if the gun is used in a crime. A license lasts five years, after which applicants must go through the whole process again.

In spite of these laws, the country does have periodic mass shootings by people thought to be mentally ill.

Gun control is not the answer. Because someone “off their rocker” decides to walk into a crowded place and kill masses of people doesn’t mean that the whole of law-abiding citizens who enjoy and use guns correctly should be punished.

Nor should my friends who are Muslim.

3 Comments

Filed under Commentary

3 responses to “Should We Outlaw Islam?

  1. Good post, Mark. I like your analogy.
    My beef isn’t just with any NRA member. I am sure there are plenty that think reasonably about our country’s gun violence issues, as you do. My problem is with those who support gun rights and blame gun violence (specifically mass murders) on mental illness, yet at the same time they support the repeal of a health care reform with the potential to actually provide care for mentally ill people who, in the past, were not able to get that care.

    “About one-third of those who are now covered in the individual market have no coverage for substance-use disorders and nearly 20 percent have no coverage for mental-health cases….

    But starting next year, this will change for many workers.

    Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance plans offered in the new marketplaces will have to cover a core set of services called “essential health benefits.” Included on the list of 10 benefits are mental-health and substance-use disorder services, which include behavioral health treatment, counseling and psychotherapy…

    …The Kaiser Family Foundation noted in a report released this month that benefits will be extended in many cases to cover services typically now excluded, such as mental health. Starting next year, health plans won’t be able to deny coverage or charge you more because of a pre-existing health condition, including a mental illness.”

    http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-09-17/business/42146528_1_essential-health-benefits-preventive-services-mental-health-coverage

    So if gun control isn’t the answer and help for the mentally ill is, why would so many conservative NRA members support the repeal of Obamacare?

    • J.

      I appreciate your gracious reply and am thankful that we can discuss these issues with grace and wisdom (unlike “Randy” who commented on your recent post regarding gun control. Now there’s a guy in need of mental health care!! But, I digress…)

      I’m not even going to pretend I have a handle on the Affordable Health Care Act. I appreciate your posts regarding that. I would like to see some sort of healthcare reform, and I would like it coupled with “caps” on healthcare procedures. I’m afraid, though, that folks would come unglued at the seams if that kind of conversation was started. We need healthcare reform, and it’s good that the current reform care act includes care for the mentally ill.

      I think the reaction we’re seeing from conservatives regarding Obamacare is the fundamental principle that the government is requiring them to do something. I think that goes against the core of people who see themselves as a self-sufficient, hard-working, boot straps sort. These are the kind of people who want to be, in a sense, left alone to make their way within the framework of the Constitution and its laws. Throw in some powder-keg issues like abortion, and the tension multiplies exponentially. So, instead of having dialogue and working out a solution, conservative NRA types react negatively.

      Honestly, I’m tired of our federal (and state) politicians. They set a bad example of problem-solving and appear so often to be more concerned about political agendas than the good of the people. It permeates down to their supporters, who tend to imitate their leaders. Oh how I wish that leaders would get behind closed doors, find a solution, and present it to this nation as Americans helping Americans.

      All leaders are at fault on both sides of the aisle. While I disagree with Obama on many issues, he is still my president and I pray for him and others often. Yet, I feel his biggest weakness is the ability to “man up” and lead. Forget about what his followers think; forget about what his opponents think; just be honest with this nation and lead.

      I appreciate your dialogue and pushing me to think through all sides of the issues. “Iron sharpens iron…”

  2. Sam Spradling

    I have thought about and prayed about this post all day long, and in part I agree with the analogies that you gave about the frog and the boiling water. With the subject of gun control and the Affordable health care act. What I disagree with is the fact that with all the wiisdom modern man has, he cannot see the “Hand Writing on the wall”
    Romans chapter 13 says that our leaders are to be respected because they are ordained to be there by God himself. Which in reading you would think that their concern would be for the people in their care, but that could not be further from the truth. A good politation once elected proceeds to cause or support a problem, and then campaigns on that issue to solve it, so he can create another.
    Health care Affordable health care act, is very little about health care, but much to do about getting votes. Mental health care, have you noticed how many Homeless people are in our communitite.? The majority of which are mental health patients, drug users and abusers, Millions already being spent to rehabilate them. Insurance policies have long included mental health care, But how many of them who are in need use the facilities that are available to them now for FREE? As Mark stated they are the ones who want to be left alone.
    Gun control: As with morality you cannot pass enough laws to control a person bent on violance. The first killing was when Cain used a rock, stick, or what ever to kill his brother. Until the Hearts of men are changed they will continue to manifest violent behavior. More people are killed in this country every year by knives than by guns, If we inforced the laws already on the books to identify mentaly challanged individuals that would be a start.

    I think it is passed time that these issues are addressed in our Churches, and correct morals taught to our children at home, and yes get the government out of our homes and schools. People should be responsable to provide for themselves. There is nothing wrong with self reliance and hard work.

    Thank you Mark for your work and your writing, todays posting was very thought provocing. Excuse the spelling.

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