Armed And Dangerous?: Falwell Suggests That LU Students Get Guns To Fend Off `Those Muslims'
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Dec 07, 2015 at 10:36:38 AM EST

I sometimes help out with logistics when Americans United Executive Director Barry W. Lynn is traveling for a speech or a debate. I'm used to people asking me what hotel chains Barry prefers or what he likes to eat, but in September when Barry was debating Religious Right attorney Mat Staver at Liberty University, I got a question I hadn't heard before: The folks at Liberty wanted to know if Barry or anyone traveling with him would be armed. The school had no objection to Barry or anyone in his party carrying a concealed weapon, they just wanted to know beforehand.

I'll admit I was a little taken aback. I guess I shouldn't have been. Nor am I surprised by recent comments by Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr., who has recommended that students at the school carry concealed weapons so "we could end those Muslims before they walk in and kill."

It's always disturbing to hear someone who holds himself out to be a Christian leader speak so casually of killing others, and Falwell has admitted that he could have used less inflammatory language. As President Barack Obama reminded the nation last night, it's terrorists we're fighting, not all Muslims.

Falwell's comments came in the wake of the recent mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., where a married couple murdered 14 people and wounded many more. It has since been revealed that the couple, who were Muslims, were likely radicalized and had become enamored of the terrorist group ISIS.

Gun control is not a church-state issue, and Americans United takes no stand on it. I'm sure that some of our members own guns for sport and self-defense. I also know that responsible gun owners (like my late father, who was an avid hunter) recognize the importance of proper firearms training.

In Virginia, people seeking concealed-carry permits aren't required to demonstrate any proficiency with a weapon or even show that they know how to use one. They can go to a shooting range and learn to use a weapon if they like, but there is another option: They can take a gun safety course online and pass a short test. This can be done in as little as 10 minutes without ever touching a gun. A number of companies offer these classes for a small fee, and they pretty much guarantee that anyone can pass.

Think about this for a minute: Falwell is essentially urging young people who may have had no training in firearms to buy guns and wear them around campus in case Muslim terrorists attack.

Now think about this: In San Bernardino, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik wore body armor and were armed with high-power, semi-automatic assault rifles. What chance would a 21-year-old student with a handgun that he or she may have rarely if ever used stand against them?

In cop shows and movies, clever heroes often overcome impossible odds, outwit terrorists and save the day. In real life, you're much more likely to end up getting mowed down. Only a very foolish person would confuse big-screen fantasy with real-world outcomes.

My son is a high-school senior and is applying to colleges for the fall. Of course Liberty University was never on his list, but as we've gone through the process, I've talked with a lot of parents who are diligently helping their kids find just the right school.

I don't know if any of them are looking at Liberty for their sons and daughters, but if they are, they might want to reconsider. I hear the president there is a bit of a bigot - and rather ill-informed to boot.

A number of politicians are calling for more guns as the solution to the problem of mass shootings. When I read about how many people are shot by guns that "accidently" discharge while people are shopping, getting a wallet out of their pocket, showing them off, or falling from the toilet paper dispenser, I have to wonder what those politicians are smoking. One person present at the Gabby Giffords shooting was armed, but later said he was afraid of hitting innocent bystanders if he had shot at the gunman.

by Tristram on Mon Dec 07, 2015 at 12:25:49 PM EST

This is the sort of reaction that ISIL is trying to create, and they're winning.  The sad thing is that the very people who are going to respond are the ones who are scary to the rest of us - The rest of us being "ordinary" gun owners and those who don't own guns.  I find it quite ironic that a school which parades it's religion and ideology is the one taking up weapons - when the person they claim to worship spoke against violence.

I can argue that fundamentalism is a step towards militancy and terrorism.  That doesn't mean that all fundamentalists become militants and terrorists, but they CAN.  The mindset is created where anyone who doesn't think like them or accept their ideology becomes the enemy... and depending on the deeply they've fallen, they could even argue that innocent Others are legitimate targets.  They forget that in most religions, there is only one justification for violence - pure self-defense.  In some religions, even that is frowned on.  The sad fact is, the Other they so fear and hate could have been their friend!

I'm also quite worried by the responses I read.  On one side, hate for Muslims in general and deeper and deeper xenophobia and calls for ethnic cleansing and so on (and I'm reminded of Martin Niemoller's warning).  On the "other side" - I've read for all sorts of gun bans and gun control measures and even repression of freedoms that are ours by right.  The thing is, with the violence and outright terrorism we've experienced (violence with the intent to silence freedom of speech - which has largely succeeded), the calls for gun control terrify me as much as the hate spewing from the conservatives.  At least in this hellhole, we're far FAR more likely to "have problems" with some Bible-Pounding (extreme conservative) Christian than any Muslim.  I don't want to be defenseless if some nutjob decides that I WILL "come back to the fold" and if I don't - well, some extreme fundamentalist preachers have called for the death penalty for apostates!

The answer to this whole problem is education, cultural change, and eliminating the core forces that lead to the escalation from religion to fundamentalism to militant fundamentalism to terrorism.   Those core forces are economics (lack of resources and income), lack of education, and a lack of hope.  Indeed, I would argue that military action is generally counterproductive in dealing with terrorism - because every time a terrorist is killed, it can lead to a "tit for tat" response, and could even cause family members or friends to go militant.

Putting out a forest fire with bombs and bullets doesn't work too well.  You have to starve the fire, remove heat, and deny it oxygen.  That is a good analogy for what needs to happen.

by ArchaeoBob on Tue Dec 08, 2015 at 01:07:27 AM EST

Restriction of assault weapon ownership and sales
Restriction of "cop killer" ammunition sales
Tightening of qualifications for concealed-carry permits (genuine safety classes, requirement for some amount of practice)
Tightening of situations allowing open-carry : really, do we need guns in libraries, schools, county courthouses? Should it be legal for a guy waving a gun to stand in front of a business, presumably to drive away customers and thereby to either get legal revenge or extortion money?
Sales delay for "instant" background check - in all cases. Lord knows, I can waste some time in a hunting/fishing outfitter's store. ;)
No sales or licenses for felons or those convicted of domestic violence offenses. It might be a misdemeanor to kill a pet animal, but the same people are quite likely to graduate to killing the owner of the pet.
The "no sales to no-fly-list" would be a good idea if the no-fly-list worked better and could be challenged by individuals. As it is, the no-fly-list is a mess - pacifist nuns and contacts with known Daesh operatives are both on the list. So, fix the list first.

That leaves a lot of leeway for the legitimate ownership and use of guns. I am an ally of hunters because hunters are allies to conservationists (and to drivers of country roads who would rather not be dodging twice the usual number of deer in rut).

by NancyP on Tue Dec 08, 2015 at 11:31:14 AM EST

My 22 would be considered an "assault rifle" - it is semi-automatic, it takes clips, and looks like a WWII M-1 Carbine.  That's foolish, but that's what a lot of people think.  I won't get into the situation very much, but having such a weapon (and not something "lesser" like single shot/bolt action/etc.) probably saved my life, or at least prevented serious injury a few years ago.   I NEEDED the ability to shoot rapidly and accurately (and multiple shots) - the very thing people fuss about.  (In a nutshell - a dog pack of mainly Pit Bull types in attack mode in our yard.)

People want semi-automatics and clip-fed guns banned and defined them as "assault weapons" (usually thinking they're talking about fully automatic weapons).  The term itself is a lie, and a great many people think that automatic weapons (where you pull the trigger and a stream of bullets flies out - a machine gun) are what they're talking about when they say "assault rifles" - but automatic weapons are already against the law and have been so for decades, unless you have a special license (and possibly even demonstrated reason for owning such).  They seem to be inured to the fact that what they think about isn't what they're calling to ban.

I also didn't mention it before, but for political reasons my tribe was declared a "potential terrorist risk" and I've seen bills floated across the table (even came to a vote) that would have given the states/fed the right to disarm us (which was exactly what the KKK wanted).  Add to that the nature of this Good Christian hellhole (think Liberty University on steroids) in which we're trapped, and we have greater reason to be concerned than most.  We HAVE, after all, experienced Christian Terrorism while living here (due to my publicly resisting the Dominionists) - multiple times.

At the same time it's rather unusual to encounter people with some common-sense rule suggestions.  The situation is almost binary - either no regulation/rules whatsoever, or total bans and confiscation - or totally inflexible regulations that would make life miserable (I should add that a lot of people don't know the connection between hunters and conservation).

I don't have a problem with a "sales delay" (as long as it's not days or weeks), and I believe that gun owners in general support instant background checks (maybe even the NRA - I haven't kept up on that).  That's not unreasonable.  I also know a lot of people who could use safety classes - but I'd be more than pissed if I was forced to go into one, because I probably would know more about the subject than the teacher!  (Some of the so-called "safety" rules are actually counterproductive, I might add.)

That's not what people are complaining about - it's the confiscation and ban crowd that scares us (even of the misnamed "assault rifles" - which is a significant portion of modern hunting rifles).  I can think of a number of situations where some of the present rules and laws are more of a burden than not, and they exist because of the confiscation and ban crowd (generally urban folks who have little knowledge or experience of firearms besides reading about shootings in the news).

I'll reiterate my point - that many of the things considered "reasonable" really are not, and that the wrong people will be harmed.  At the same time, I'll also add this - if I ever go to that area, I will avoid "Liberty University" like the plague, because in our experience the people who would attend there are far more likely to be a real danger than the general populace.

by ArchaeoBob on Thu Dec 10, 2015 at 03:40:13 PM EST

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by tadobre on Thu Jan 02, 2020 at 06:00:02 AM EST

Yeah, these LU students are using guns to fend off Muslims, and it's not good. I hope the people working at best uk cv writing service will do something about this. I think they should try a movement against this.

by LayneMarvin on Tue Jul 14, 2020 at 10:42:52 AM EST

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