K is for Killing

My church, First Presbyterian Church in Albany, NY, is celebrating its 250th anniversary this year. The church donated some artifacts to the Albany Institute of History & Art, itself founded in 1791. The Institute has an exhibit, ongoing through April 17, showing some of the church history over the years.

Some of the church members included John Jay, eventually the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury; and Aaron Burr, third Vice-President of United States, and the first NOT to go on to become President.

After Burr killed Hamilton in a duel in 1804, the pastor Eliphalet Nott delivered a jeremiad against dueling. It being a particularly long and significant sermon, it was published by the Dutch Reformed Church in Albany. (I listened to the re-enacted speech few years ago.) Eliphalet Nott had the remarkable effect of, almost singlehandedly, effectively ending what had been considered an “honorable” way for gentlemen to settle their differences.

The current debate over gun violence likely will not be ended so easily. The solutions seem to be fewer guns on one side, more guns on the other. The latter group clings to the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” The notion of a militia, to me, seems to be a state-run National Guard.

In any case, here’s a list of murders with firearms (most recent) by country. And here are twelve facts about guns and mass shootings in the United States. Nothing here, I suspect, will change anyone’s mind about the next steps to take. No Eliphalet Nott sermon will save the day any more.

ABC Wednesday – Round 12

21 thoughts on “K is for Killing”

  1. Thank you for the word “jeremiad.” It has been missing from my life.

    “Diatribe” is simply wrong in many cases and “manifesto” often has the right definition but wrong connotation.


  2. I can see background checks to ensure no criminal or mental issues. Unfortunately, strict gun control has the ability to disarm citizens while the criminals continue to possess and use them. Case in point, Chicago alone, with some of the strictest gun laws ended 2012 with 500 murders. Not sure what the answer is, but it’s sure to be a heated debate for a long time.


  3. Like other Constitutional Rights, the 2nd Amendment, sacred as many of the firearm extremists consider it, is not and UNLIMITED right. Freedom of Speech does not alow slander; Freedom of Religion does not allow child sacrifice, or even psychedelic drug use except to a narrow group. Although the Supreme Court has found that the Second Amendment covers personal ownership of firearms (Heller decision 2008), it does NOT say ANYone can have ANYthing WHENEVER and WHEREVER they want it as the firearm anarchists argue.


  4. A very important post, Roger! I am opposed against arms, any arms! The more arms there are the more killings will occur. Owners of arms will use them sooner or later, by accident or on purpose. They will often fall into the wrong hands.


  5. Not an easy solution to find, though I do wish there were someone who could simply make some sort of impassioned speech about how we’re all going to hell in a hand-basket if we don’t figure things out and that would solve all our problems.

    Also, I wanted to let you know that I’ve nominated you for a Liebster award; details are on my blog today.


  6. Criminals will always find a way to get guns but the regular citizen should have no need for them. The idea of a “militia” and the right to bear arms referred to back in the 1700’s when the settlers needed to be able to protect themselves against marauders and violent natives. The mentality (thinking process) of the Americans must change in order for the process of gun “control” to move forward. In my mind, absolutely NO ONE should have access to those military type weapons that fire like machine guns! Except for the military, of course. I even know of some Christians who own guns and state that if someone burst into their home, they’d shoot them! Unbelieveable! Just my opinion of course…

    abcw team


  7. We have too much tragedy due to guns in this country, thank you for this post. Interestingly, Burr is buried here in Princeton. Too bad that infamous early act of violence didn’t pave a more peaceful way forward…but I remain hopeful that things may change, even if incrementally.


  8. It’s a terribly complicated issue, I’m in favor of being able to protect ourselves with armed weapons. Not the high powered however. Criminals will NEVER obey any kind of law–regardless.


  9. Very interesting. Thank you for an interesting post on a difficult issue. Gun control must come. The public cannot contiue to use guns willy-nilly.


  10. The problem of the heart that wants to kill existed before guns were invented. If guns are out the equation there is the knife, bow and arrow, or simply hands! How to defend one’s freedom would be complicated since so many weapons are around! The jeremiad made me smile -in Dutch we have the same word, and even a verb:)


  11. Oh what a fascinating post! And what a cultural treasure. The founding fathers were awesome, but there are still messes we have to live with that will unfortunately not be fully resolved for quite some time – sermons or no sermons.
    In the meantime, have a Happy Easter!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s