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September 30th, 2010
08:00 AM ET

My Take: Getting in the way of gun violence

Editor's Note: Shane Claiborne is an author and activist and an architect of Philadelphia's Simple Way community. His books include "Jesus for President" and the bestselling "Irresistible Revolution."

By Shane Claiborne, Special to CNN

Last week there were gunshots again. This time, four people were hit with bullets. One was 3 years old.

I don’t live in Afghanistan or Iraq, but in North Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a place where 5-year-olds know how to distinguish the sound of fireworks from the pops of a gunfire.

Nearly every night this week there have been gunshots. And it’s been only about six months since we heard gunshots on our street one cold February night and looked out the window to see a 19-year-old kid stumbling down the block with blood pouring out of his body. We held him, prayed with him and watched him die.

Martin Luther King, Jr. remembered the good Samaritan story in the Bible and said in effect (my paraphrase): We are all called to be the good Samaritan and lift our injured neighbor out of the ditch… but after you lift so many people out of the ditch, you start to say, maybe the whole road to Jericho needs to be re-imagined.

For over a decade in North Philly, my faith community has been actively teaching kids nonviolence rooted in the truth that it is more courageous to love our enemies than to kill them (a truth I have learned from Jesus).

And we have been trying to create jobs so that kids on corners have other options than the drug economy. But there comes a point where we start to ask deeper questions, like “where are they getting the guns?”

As we dug into that question, we began to discover that there are a handful of irresponsible gun shops that illegal guns get tracked back to.

I’ll admit, my first instinct was not to try and push for legislation and laws and regulation. That is why I was excited to learn about a “Code of Conduct” drafted by the Mayors Against Illegal Guns. These are 10 steps of ethical business that several hundred mayors agreed would cut down gun violence if gun shop owners would commit to them.

We began to approach gun shop owners with an opportunity to take this step of integrity. Eventually, hundreds of folks in Philadelphia and beyond joined a movement to ask gun shop owners to sign onto this code.

Some did. In fact, the largest gun dealer in the world, Wal-Mart, signed onto the code. But some did not.

Many religious leaders in Philadelphia felt they were left with no choice but to peacefully put our bodies in the way of the trafficking of guns onto the streets, and we began holding prayer vigils outside gun shops.

In one case we had a little revival outside one of the most notorious gun shops in Philadelphia, Colosimo’s on Spring Garden Street.

About a dozen Christian clergy and other people of conscience were arrested as they did a sit-in (or a “pray-in”). In a showcase trial, they were found not guilty, and in the ensuing days the gun shop owner pleaded guilty of trafficking guns, his license was revoked, and the shop was closed down.

So miracles can happen. But I’m a strong believer that so often we wait on God, and God is waiting on us. We throw our hands in the air and say, “God why don’t you do something”… and God is saying, “I did do something … I made you."

So we have begun that same conversation with the owner of the gun shop around the corner from my house in North Philadelphia, The Shooter Shop. It was listed in a 2004 survey by Americans for Gun Safety as one of worst gun shops in America because over 200 guns used in violent crimes were tracked back to it.

Meanwhile, as we wait for the owner to agree to the code or another miracle to shut this one down, 3-year-olds are getting hit with stray bullets.  Like I said, my first instinct is not legislation but to hope that gun shop owners like Mr. Haney at the Shooter Shop will let their conscience help clean up the Jericho road.

But I do wonder if there are laws that can help, sort of like guard rails on the highway.  To use a hunting analogy, maybe there is no silver bullet, but there may be a silver buckshot. We need responsible teenagers, and we also need responsible gun shop owners and responsible laws.

One of the pieces of legislation that seems like a no-brainer is sometimes called the “One Handgun a Month” law, which would not get in the way of the Second Amendment right to bear arms but simply says maybe 12 guns a year are enough.

It rests on the premise that if folks are buying more than a dozen guns a year, they are probably doing something other than giving them away as Christmas presents.

The sad thing is that powerful lobbyists are against some of these sensible laws, which is why folks can still buy 50 guns at a time - some of them undoubtedly landing on the streets and killing 19-year-old kids like Papito, the kid we held back in February as he died.

We can do better. We can re-imagine together the road to Jericho. Everyone has a role to play, whether it be a Christian pacifist like myself or a responsible hunter like the “Hunters Against Gun Violence” who have been working for an end to violence on the streets.

I saw a recent study that unveiled the terrible state of our Jericho road here in the U.S. when it comes to gun violence.

In 2006, guns killed:

• 27 in Australia
• 59 in England and Wales
• 60 in Spain
• 190 in Canada
• 194 in Germany
• and 10,177 in the United States

Firearms are the second leading cause of death (after motor accidents) for people under the age of 20. Eight American children under the age of 20 are killed by guns every day.

The kids of our world know we can do better and are dying for us to do better. A few days ago, a new family moved from California into our neighborhood with a 4-year-old.

As they passed by the gun shop here in my neighborhood, the child asked, “Why is there a gun shop here when there aren’t any animals to shoot?”

A beautiful question. May that question haunt us and inspire us to transform the Jericho road, or Allegheny Avenue in Philadelphia, so that our streets look a little more like the world we all want to live in.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Shane Claiborne.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Opinion • United States

soundoff (126 Responses)
  1. Frank

    Good on Shane, his ministry and all who are aiding in this effort. Our society is sick. I am sick and tired of going the street in a bad neighborhood and seeing a pawn shop with a huge sign on it (were the name of the shop should be) declaring "WE SELL GUNS". That's not what we need! Almost every day in the paper there's another article telling us how some kid was gunned down and bleed to death infront of their home. Our society is very very sick and the illness appears to be terminal. The question is: What are we going to do with the pieces once it all crumbles into dust? Will there be anything left?

    October 1, 2010 at 12:27 am |
    • Frank

      *bled

      October 1, 2010 at 12:28 am |
    • Muneef

      @Frank. I am from an Arabic country and most of those who die by pistols fire are the dear's ones, we would hear children steeping their fathers pistols and shoot some one or friends joking with each other get shot or some one cleaning his pistol and shot his wife and so on of such stories in which shooting by mistake accidents exceeds those of intended ones.they started with toy guns then air guns and now fire guns became toys to play with gangsters on the streets. My God guns became to be sold as sweets increasingly making more deaths and more prisoners in jails in return both sides it is a loss for society but gain for arm producers.

      October 1, 2010 at 1:04 am |
    • Frank

      I am so sorry to hear that the children in your country are being victimized so.

      You are correct when you speak about who is behind all of this: Greedy psychopathic gun runners who care nothing about human life, just about the money they can make. It's the same with drugs and everything else. People turned away from the Creator and began to worship material things. We'll see how far that gets them!

      October 1, 2010 at 1:14 am |
    • Muneef

      @Frank. So much right you are about People being turned away from Creator and began to worship material things.
      Add to it that some People became to Worship the Created than the Creator, Men became to worship Men than worshipping God. They say we are in the era of the Corrupted Messiah have you read about this?

      October 1, 2010 at 1:38 am |
    • Frank

      Corrupted Messiah? No, I haven't heard of that. What's that about?

      October 1, 2010 at 1:41 am |
    • Muneef

      Think this is the one that Jesus would chace and kill on his return.

      October 1, 2010 at 1:49 am |
  2. Muneef

    It is only Islam that would become to defend you one day from the Nazi's who are growing in your back yards calling them selves as neo nazi's. Time would tell.

    October 1, 2010 at 12:25 am |
  3. Dancing With Trolls

    From our 'friend' Muneef – –

    "Islam will not dominate the world with force of war guns! No, Islam is already international and every country in the whole world has it in heart of muslims living there and it is their right therefore to own a voice for voting and getting seats in parliaments to express their views which might with time avail it's benefits to the people and that how changes takes place for the better of things in any form religious or non religious people would go for the good for them... "

    Please, Muneef, tell us more...

    Something tells me David won't be bored for long...
    I pray that Muneef has a subterranean bridge address.. but maybe not.
    I need another A4.. and a couple more 50 rd. mags.... Hey, Shane.. would you make a stop at the gun shop for me??

    September 30, 2010 at 8:23 pm |
    • Keith

      Personally, I prefer a 12 ga. with Brenneke Black Magic Magnum 1 3/8(600 grain) rifled slugs. Muzzle energy of 3014 ft/lbs and 1219 @ 100 yards. These will blast thru 3/8 plate steel. Suitable for home defense or a firefight with Godzilla.

      September 30, 2010 at 8:48 pm |
    • Keith

      Muneef, I'll tell you what.... I'll keep my firearms and you can keep your crappy Sharia law and your 'religion of peace' to yourself. I'll just keep mine to make sure you don't 'share' yours with me.

      September 30, 2010 at 9:10 pm |
  4. David Johnson

    This is boring. I could care less about guns. Cheers!

    September 30, 2010 at 7:52 pm |
    • Keith

      Perhaps Shane hasn't gotten to Luke 22:36 & 38 Then He said to them, " But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one." So they said, "Lord, look, here are two swords." And He said to them, "It is enough."

      September 30, 2010 at 8:35 pm |
    • Keith

      David, it would appear that you and Shane are both guilty of idolatry-creating a Jesus in your mind that doesn't exist. I suppose Shane's pacifist Jesus was surprised to see Peter carrying a sword that night in Gethsemane? Give me a break. Why do people assume Jesus was some anemic wimp? You and Shane are in for a rude awakening some day.

      September 30, 2010 at 8:55 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Keith

      You forget, I don't believe in any god. When I say, anything about Jesus doing or wanting, I am goofing on Christians.

      Maybe I will be surprised, but I think not. Cheers!

      September 30, 2010 at 9:42 pm |
    • Frank

      Keith:
      "Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword shall perish by the sword."
      – Matthew 26:52

      Now I have no idea what your Bible says but that's what mine says. I don't recall Jesus ever saying "kill your enemies! And after they're dead, blow their bodies into bits and pieces to make sure the job's done!". Can you point that verse out to me? Maybe I'm missing something?

      October 1, 2010 at 12:34 am |
    • Frank

      By the way, Keith, in those verses you quoted, He's talking about in times of extreme self-defense. Obviously, the sword didn't work out well for the Apostles since they were all martyred! What's your gun going to do for you? Land you in jail? If so, then you better hope that there's a good Christian believer to visit you!

      October 1, 2010 at 12:39 am |
    • Keith

      Frank, See, you answered your own question about what Jesus was talking about. Does your Bible suggest that at the 2nd coming Jesus is going to sit around and have tea and cookies with all those who reject Him? Mine does not. But, good for you, you got the self defense part right. As for me, I've been shooting guns(not BB guns) since age 6. I've fired thousands of rounds through various firearms. I'm now 42 and free(well, semi-free at least) as a bird. Never been to jail and don't plan on going. Worry about your own self, Frank, I can take care of myself. I don't need you passing laws to 'protect me from myself'. As for me hurting you or others, so long as you don't come kicking in my door in the middle of the night meaning to do my family harm, you'll be just fine. And Jesus won't need me or my guns at that time. Just as He spoke all of Creation into being, the 'sharp two-edged sword' that proceeds from his mouth will destroy His enemies. It ain't going to pretty. I, with the rest of the saints, will be with Him to witness the event, but I don't think He's going to need my help.

      October 1, 2010 at 7:13 am |
    • Frank

      Revelation is allegorical. If you think that Christ is going to come back and physically slaughter people, you are mistaken. Christ is not some war god.

      As for the self defense part, I said that almost all the Apostles ended up dying by martyrdom, anyway. So we cannot depend on weapons. I do think that self defense is permissible but America has obviously gone overboard with its gun frenzy, as we've gone overboard with everything else. Guns cause way more problems than they solve.

      Where did I say anything about passing laws? Laws don't mean much these days. Many things are illegal that are widespread. It would just be a waste of time and create an even bigger black market for firearms than the one that currently exists.

      You are so sure that you will be with Christ and the Saints at the end of time? So presumptuous! We are to 'work out our salvation with fear and trembling", after all.

      October 1, 2010 at 7:30 am |
    • Keith

      I believe Revelation is literal with figurative language. The 2nd Coming is spoken of throughout the entire Bible. Gospels, epistles, Old Testament-not just the book of Revelation. Though we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, it is a free gift that cannot be earned.

      October 1, 2010 at 7:47 am |
    • Frank

      I didn't say that Christ is not coming back. I disagree with the idea that Christ is going to return as some sort of destroyer. Yes, figurative language and that includes that passages. It doesn't mean that Christ is literally going to be slaying people with a sword sticking out of His mouth. lol

      As for faith and works: "So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead." – James 2:17

      This probably isn't going to get us anywhere as I am Catholic and you obviously are not. The Church does not interpret Revelations in a literal nor chronological fashion. Of course, we believe in the Second Coming but no human knows when that's to happen, anyway.

      October 1, 2010 at 7:58 am |
    • Keith

      Frank, What I mean is just as Creation was spoken into existence, Jesus will speak and the battle will be over. The sheep will be separated from the goats and the goats will be put to death. I wish I had more time to discuss some of these topics. I would like to ask you about baptism being a requirement for salvation as it pertains to the theif on the cross and how the role of the Pope in relation to 1 Timothy 2:5. But now I've got to go. Have a good day, Brother. If Jesus is your Savior, then you're my Brother. Who knows, maybe someday we'll get to heaven and find out we were both mistaken on some of the details of how things will happen. God bless!

      October 1, 2010 at 8:23 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Frank & Keith

      Yep, Revelation is allegorical. Umm...allegorical means B.S., right?

      Revelation was written at a time when the early Christians were being heavily persecuted by Nero Caesar. Nero is the 666 referred to. It was not a prediction for 2000 + years into the future. LOL

      OR:

      Preterism holds that the contents of Revelation consti tute a prophecy of events that were fulfilled in the first century.

      Preterism sprang from the loins of Jesus's failed prediction of a 1st century return.

      The fundies engage in theological gymnastics to try to explain-away the seeming delay or postponement of His return.

      The Preterists take Jesus at his word, and use an interpretation of Christian eschatology which holds that most or all of the biblical prophecies concerning the End Times refer to events which have already happened in the first century after Christ's birth. The system also claims that Ancient Israel finds its continuation or fulfillment in the Christian church at the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

      It also gets the Pope off the hook for being the Anti-Christ. Win-Win for everybody!

      The Preterists don't want Jesus to be a liar and they don't see the point in trying to muddy the water as the fundies do. Jesus said, what Jesus said. It is what it is.

      I admire their effort!

      Jesus ain't coming back 'cause he is busy being dead. LOL!

      October 1, 2010 at 9:55 am |
    • peace2all

      @Keith & @Frank

      Why don't the 2 of you discuss the bible and it's mythologies a little more, and then come back and tell us

      ...what is the *REAL TRUTH* Since the both of you seem so sure of 'the' truth...

      Let us know when you have decided, as we are all waiting to hear this 'revelation'..!

      Peace...

      October 1, 2010 at 12:18 pm |
    • Keith

      Peace2all, Note I said "details". Jesus 2nd Coming is not a detail. It will happen. And folks like you who have rejected the Savior will cue up to recieve the mark of the beast. Are you ready for your chip in the hand or forehead? Or will it be a tatoo on the skin? Minor detail to me cause I won't be here for it. You on the other hand....Good luck. I'm going hunting now. Bow that is. Gun is Nov.15. See ya later-unless the rapture happens in the mean time, of course.

      October 1, 2010 at 3:49 pm |
    • peace2all

      @Keith

      Mark of the beast...seriously.....? And you won't be here....because..... you're a 'believer'....?

      But, I guess, according to you, I am going to the place of 'lot's of wailing and gnashing of teeth...? Because I may not carry the same belief's as you...? Really....?

      Also, you and @Frank still haven't answered the question.... What is *the truth*

      And... actually, more importantly...... HOW EXACTLY... do you know 'any' of this...?

      You mention that maybe you and Frank may.... both be wrong about the *details*.... but you say jesus is coming back as fact... And how do you know that you are not wrong.... about ALL of it...? Have you given it any thought... that hmmmm maybe you are WRONG....?

      If you have 'some' or all of the details wrong, what makes you think you have 'any' credibility about 'anything' you say, especially in reference to the bible.....etc....?

      Please don't quote more scripture at us, nor... use the I just know, because I have this feeling.

      And the need to say you are out hunting with a 'bow'....? And the gun thing.... What is that about....? I actually know an 'expert' with the bow....training for the olympics...

      Well, I hope that you had good hunting...... Looking forward to reading your responses..

      Peace...

      October 1, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
    • Frank

      David and peace2all:
      You would do well to stop going out of your way to put people's beliefs down. You don't believe. Fine. I don't care one bit. But you do realize that this blog is about the discussion of faith topics, right? It's like me going to an atheist's forum and constantly blasting them for their non-belief with 'witty' comments and 'lol-ing' at them. It just adds so much to the conversation, doesn't it?
      David:
      Don't bother replying to me as you're an obvious troll. Go back under your bridge and stay there until you return to your beloved carbon and oblivion.
      Keith:
      God bless you, as well. Remember: life is just a continuous search for Truth. Peace.

      October 2, 2010 at 6:23 am |
    • Frank

      What is Truth? To steal from David Icke: Infinite Love is the only Truth – EVERYTHING else is illusion.
      Have fun.

      October 2, 2010 at 6:29 am |
    • Frank

      Lest we forget the other great truth: "It is not the sp00n that bends, it is only yourself."
      Have fun x2. =P

      I could quote some TOOL lyrics and some Bill Hicks, as well, if you need further 'enlightenment', young grasshopper.

      October 2, 2010 at 6:37 am |
    • Frank

      Oh, and since some people apparently lack dictionaries:

      allegory

      → noun
      (pl. allegories) a story, poem, or picture which can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one: Pilgrim's Progress is an allegory of the spiritual journey.

      All 'myth' is simply a way to transmit deeper, arcane truths through the use of symbolism, metaphor, allegory, numerology and other ways. It's not meant to be taken literally. Myth, as with art, speaks to the right brain. The right brain communicates in symbols, images and other abstract means. It is the seat of the artist and the dreamer; the connection of the soul to the physical through symbolism and the imaginal. It is the part of the mind which does not differentiate between fact and fiction, fantasy or reality. It is the un/real. The dwelling of the archetype and the (collective) unconscious. When you view a film, this part of the brain is the one being tapped into and 'talked' with. Same as when you look at a painting, a sculpture, a drawing, listen to music, etc. Or when you create those things and, of course, when you dream.

      As for writing: Writing is mostly a left brain activity (logic, the physical world) but the two hemispheres can be joined with the use of abstract language.

      October 2, 2010 at 7:00 am |
    • Keith

      Frank, You know, as much as I dislike Peace2all and David Johnson insulting the very One who would save them, I feel sad for them. I have a heart for the lost as I'm sure you do, too. But at the same time I feel I must respond to some of their 'zingers' on the basis that they may drag others down with them. It's like we're in lifeboat trying to pull them aboard and they continually slap our hands away. I know I may seem arrogant and brash. It's the construction foreman in me. Yet I know God resists the proud. This is a weak area of my life. But I pray for wisdom and patience with this (part of that 'working out your salvation with fear and trembling'). Peace2all doesn't want us quoting scripture, but scripture is Sword of the Spirit. I must use it. It carries authority when used in context, an authority that I don't necessarily have. Well, I've got to go for now. Hopefully, those two will get tired of treading water and accept a hand pulling them into the boat. Have a good day, Frank.

      October 2, 2010 at 7:50 am |
    • Frank

      I definitely understand. I feel bad for those who are lost, too. But sometimes, talking to them doesn't work (I'm convinced that David is a troll and is just trying to get a rise out of people. If not, I pray that he stops being so cold, angry and bitter toward the Creator). Some people truly have hearts of stone. At that point, the only thing you can do is pray for them and let God work on their hearts. Only He can give us hearts of flesh and blood. So don't feel bad when people reject God after you share with them. They have made their choice, as we all must.
      Have a good day, Keith. God bless you.

      October 2, 2010 at 7:59 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Frank

      You said, "It's like me going to an atheist's forum and constantly blasting them for their non-belief with 'witty' comments and 'lol-ing' at them."

      Yeah, like you are capable of anything witty. LOL

      October 2, 2010 at 10:27 am |
    • Reality

      The "skinny" on the Book of Revelation:

      "Nineteenth-century agnostic Robert G. Ingersoll branded Revelation "the insanest of all books".[30] Thomas Jefferson omitted it along with most of the Biblical canon, from the Jefferson Bible, and wrote that at one time, he "considered it as merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams." [31]

      Martin Luther originally "found it an offensive piece of work" and John Calvin "had grave doubts about its value."[32]

      October 2, 2010 at 11:12 am |
    • peace2all

      @Frank

      As you can obviously tell from our other posts last night.... I am truly seeking, and sincerely curious. I asked @Keith some sincere, and focused questions.

      @Frank & @Keith

      As a seeker, I have yet to receive any answers from Keith regarding the *truth*... and also, any viewpoints from you.

      All i get, is some form of personal attacks. If you 'can't' logically and rationally debate me and David Johnson and others, that is fine... just say so.

      But, don't 'hide' behind somehow we are bashing your religion, therefore it means that somehow are questions, and assertions aren't absolutely spot on or relevant.

      And as for 'my' beliefs, you are assuming that somehow, I am some rotten atheist. BTW.... I know some wonderful, beautiful, loving and giving people that are atheist's.

      Again you act as if you know my beliefs, but you don't know me. If you ever bothered to ask me directly what I believe 'in general'. you might find yourself surprised to learn that we share a bit more common ground vs. not.

      I for one welcome spirited debate and questioning... as this *is* a belief blog as you said Frank, so assertions are open for scrutiny and questioning. My intent is to learn and grow, not to offend anyone....

      I wish you both Peace...

      October 2, 2010 at 12:03 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Frank

      You said, "What is Truth? To steal from David Icke: Infinite Love is the only Truth – EVERYTHING else is illusion."

      Funny you should quote from Icke:

      A popular figure on the lecture circuit, New Age David Icke will try to convince you that your problems aren't really your fault but rather that of a huge, world-wide conspiracy.

      One site explains: "Icke says this unelected Global Elite own or control the major global banks, the multinational companies, the drug companies, the global media, the armament companies, the world market in hard drugs, the security services and the insti tutions of government. Working through the global secret society network, such as the upper levels of the Freemasons and others, the Elite constantly manipulate wars and the world economic and political system for their own ends."

      In April 1991 he announced on the BBC's Terry Wogan show that he was the son of God, and predicted that the world would soon be devastated by tidal waves and earthquakes. The show changed his life, turning him practically overnight from a respected household name into an object of ridicule. Source – Wikipedia

      Is that why you preach your morality to everyone Frank? Because you kinda think you might be Jesus?

      Is this part of your looney conspiracy theory, Frank? LOL

      Icke has no evidence for his insane claims either. Just like you, Frank.

      Please keep posting! You make my sides ache! But in a good way!

      October 2, 2010 at 4:24 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Frank

      You said, I feel bad for those who are lost, too. But sometimes, talking to them doesn't work (I'm convinced that David is a troll and is just trying to get a rise out of people. If not, I pray that he stops being so cold, angry and bitter toward the Creator). Some people truly have hearts of stone"

      And some people have brains of silly putty. You post a lot of stuff, but you don't have any facts to back it up. You talk of conspiracies and you quote from insane people, but you don't offer anything concrete.

      October 2, 2010 at 4:35 pm |
    • Frank

      peace2all:
      I answered your question about Truth. Maybe you and David the troll should ingest some psilocybin, go sit on a hill and watch the sunset. You'll feel better. (Although Davey has probably done more than his fair share of drugs already. Lol.) Because seriously, you're not going to find any 'answers' to your meaningful questions on a fvcking Internet blog. If you think you will, you take words on a screen way too seriously. Go read a book.

      October 2, 2010 at 7:54 pm |
    • Keith

      Peace2all, If the question is 'what is truth?', then the answer is this; Jesus said, "I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by Me". This all roads lead to God is a lot of nonsense. They do all lead to God-in the Judgement. The Judgement Seat of Christ for believers and the Great White Throne for the lost. The first is for reward gained and lost for the believer. The latter is for degree of punishment for the unbeliever or lost person. I apologize ahead of time for not getting back to future questions in a timly fashion as I probably won't get back on the blog til later on in the week. In summary, all roads do lead to God, but only one-Jesus, leads to eternal life.

      October 3, 2010 at 8:42 pm |
  5. Muneef

    @Reality. For me and maybe many Muslims have nothing agains America which we owe her a lot for the civilization we are in today as to knowledge and inventions, we as well awe her a lot towards her sacrifices for ending brutal regimes that could have been worse to the nation if remained strong. We as well hold nothing against Americans who I find are suffering more than us by being victimized to believe every thing they are told, keeping them blindfolded from facts of life and the world.
    But think the aggression is directed in return of governing policies of external affairs issues handling and misuse of power in resolving these issues and increasing corruptions in.the world by destabilizing countries or for forcing down on them regimes that are corrupted suppressing them from rights of freedom and growth...

    September 30, 2010 at 6:57 pm |
    • Muneef

      @Reality. Islam will not dominate the world with force of war guns! No, Islam is already international and every country in the whole world has it in heart of muslims living there and it is their right therefore to own a voice for voting and getting seats in parliaments to express their views which might with time avail it's benefits to the people and that how changes takes place for the better of things in any form religious or non religious people would go for the good for them and will go against all only the extremes at both sides religious or non religious. In Islam the Quran tell us the the best of things are the middle ones which means being moderate the middle between both extremes.another saying says giving example of wooden sticks, Don't be hardstiff and be broken nor be tendersoft and be squeezed, being the best of all some thing
      In between.

      September 30, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Muneef

      When that preacher was going to burn the Qurans, the world of moderate Muslims threatened to go beserk. I think he middle road may be the road not taken.

      September 30, 2010 at 7:52 pm |
    • peace2all

      @Muneef

      In our country.... the U.S.... We have this notion of the separation of mosque and state.... So a lot of us are trying to keep religion and government (separate).... You see...?

      You have been starting to up your rhetoric a bit..... You might want to cool out on that.....

      Peace...

      September 30, 2010 at 8:32 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Muneef

      I did enjoy listening to "Call to Prayer" that I guess you posted. It was beautiful. It is said, that when the Quran is read in Arabic, men weep.

      When the King James is read, I chuckle.

      I have nothing against Muslims. Your god is no more worthless than the any other god.

      September 30, 2010 at 9:48 pm |
    • Muneef

      To all seems not many liked what I said but was not expecting any way so no need for me to explain any thing to people made their minds on howcto face things after all I am not in the USA so your threat of shooting.

      @peace2all. We as well have separation between religion and state and prefer it this way being in between.

      @DJ. It was not me who posted the prayers, about men weeping not all but only those who fear him most read it in sura35:28. True Guns are boring and terrifying subjects to discuss for your lives in the USA with such language of some one here who is happy with weapons and guns sale as much as the Caretaker is happy with deaths.
      Another thing is the rugh language of women against some one being polite with words. Any way what ever God wish maybe just hope for you the best of peace and prosper, and I am a non violent man and I like guns as in sport only but not to threat every one that passes or knocks my door?

      September 30, 2010 at 10:23 pm |
    • peace2all

      @Keith

      Just caught one of your lines in your argument with Frank about who's version of christianity is right or wrong...

      You said...." I with the rest of the (Saints) with be with Him.." Hopefully, in your humble open-mind you meant

      The New Orleans Saints.....? Wow...!

      October 1, 2010 at 5:56 pm |
    • Keith

      Peace2all, Yes, I'm a saint. Every born again believer is. Therefore, I can boldly approach the Throne of God. Not saying that I will or would even want to but God has given me that right as a child of His. How about you? Are you born again? Saved? Or seaching the pharmacy for some 30 million sunblock?

      October 1, 2010 at 10:01 pm |
  6. Reality

    Owning a gun for protection is very important these days considering the koranic-driven motives of Muslims to dominate the world by any means.

    September 30, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
    • Muneef

      @Reality. Agree with you a man has to have one at home,at office,at farm,at factory site, yes this is good for protection from any attacks by gangsters,drug addicts,maniacs. But to walk around with it every were is the went thing because if that is promoted then every body will do the same and it will become the wild west it used to be where the gun is the law? So if it is so like that the gun is the law why do you blaming it and calling it terror?
      So it is either the cloudy sky cleared by talks, compromises and settlements or otherwise it will always be the law of the Gun the law of the Jungle where the strongest takes off the weakest's??
      JOHN KEATS SAID.. 
      "IT IS VERY EASY TO DEFEAT SOMEONE, BUT IT IS VERY HARD TO WIN SOMEONE"

      September 30, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
    • David Johnson

      The Muslims have promised us they come in peace. What evidence you have of Muslim violence?

      September 30, 2010 at 9:38 pm |
  7. Muneef

    Example is if a medicine company wants to make money they would produce the virus and the anti virus of it, and then they would spread the virus here and there and use the media to advertise the dangers of the virus and when panic and commotion riches the right level they bring out the anti virus which is already warehouses are full with to sell it at high price being in monopoly in the market of supply! Such cases similar to threats you received about antrex or birds flu,pig flu, as well as those masks they sold you under the exuse of expecting of chemical attacks... And so own they are milking us under application of fears and every day they will market some thing new for you to fear endlessly....

    September 30, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  8. Muneef

    How are Guns producers supposed to produce and sell if they do not market their products? Marketing means they have to cause wars in order to sell their products to the masses from the smallest to the biggest piece. Don't know how you are supposed to bring peace when it is for many it is a making a living and a reason to bring them wealth? With the increase of crime rates they become wealthier so find out how they do that!

    September 30, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
    • David Johnson

      No, in the U.S. the gun nuts/religious nuts think they are packing heat for Jesus. LOL

      September 30, 2010 at 7:49 pm |
  9. RichP, easton, pa

    When was the last time you as a neighborhood just massed against the drug dealers and delivered them to the police or coroner battered and bloody. You know who they are, every kid over 8 knows who they are, clean up your own area and then talk. Lets also not forget to mention the 59,000 stabbings a year which result in death, infections and permanent missing parts.

    September 30, 2010 at 4:49 pm |
  10. TheZog

    I will help you with that Doc. Firstly, firearms, specifically handguns deal with two problems; one is size. You can not conceal an M16/AR15. You can conceal almost any model of Glock. Second is what is known as force multiplication, that being, a hundred pound woman simply does not have the force to deal with an attacker double her size, who is intent upon felonious things. Be that attacker armed or otherwise, she is physically not going to win against a 200 pound man in a fistfight. That same woman with the force multiplier of a handgun though, is likely to not need to even pull the trigger, the presence of a firearm, a use of force in itself, is usually enough.

    Another deals with the fact that us civilians, unlike the military, have nobody to 'watch our six.' Our Supreme Cort has ruled that police do not have a duty to protect an individual, even with a protection/restraining order, so it becomes necessary for individuals to have the means to protect themselves. There are few things as useful in that endeavor as a firearm (back to force multiplication again).

    Why do I need a gun?
    For real protection against anyone who would wish me or my loved ones harm, may such a day never come to pass. Because criminals do not care who you are, how you feel or what g-d you worship if you have something they want, walk into territory they have decided belongs to them, or simply look at the wrong person while walking home from work, and they lack enough respect for human life not to take yours for any of it. Because only people like me obey laws, while people like them believe in taking what they want using force. Because this city (and presumably all other cities) continue to worsen as criminals do not fear authority, judges, laws or respect anything but force.

    As Mr. Tolkien said: “I do not love the bright sword for it's sharpness, nor the arrow for it's swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.”

    No mythical warriors will ride to your rescue, Doc, nor mine, nor those of our loved ones. You should always be willing to defend what you love, or else what do you have?

    September 30, 2010 at 4:02 pm |
    • David Johnson

      You don't need a gun. No one needs a gun.

      September 30, 2010 at 7:48 pm |
  11. Doc Vestibule

    In my teens years, I was the only Canadian living at the Headquarters for The United States European Command. The crossing guards at my junior high were MP who carried M16s and 9mm side arms. The base was patrolled by HumVs 24/7. That base's security was second only to the Pentagon. Yet one of my neighbours was aghast that he was prohibited from keeping a personal firearm in his house (with young children, I might add). It was his right as an American to sleep with a .357 under his pillow, despite the nigh impossibility of anyone other than fellow soldiers being on the base. I've never understood the American fascination with guns – handguns in particular. I've had numerous circular discussions about the topic that went something like this:
    "Why do you need a gun?"
    "For protection."
    "Protection from whom?"
    "The people with guns!"

    September 30, 2010 at 3:26 pm |
    • Ykcyc

      It is useless to continue making new laws for people that don’t care to obey existing laws in the first place. It is already illegal to ……………………………..…. . So what? Is that a deterrent? Dumb people continue to make more laws, disarming law abiding citizens, only making it easier for those who could care less about any laws.

      September 30, 2010 at 3:41 pm |
    • David Johnson

      You are the first intelligent person I have read so far. No one needs a gun.

      This country is full of religious fanatics and they are armed to the teeth.

      So much for putting their trust in god. LOL

      Any rate, I agree with you my friend. We don't need guns.

      September 30, 2010 at 7:46 pm |
  12. TheZog

    Also. Even if every gun shop on earth subscribed to the questionably legal code of conduct. Who is going to enforce it? Even if every shop kept a database and somehow the criminals were dumb enough to try and purchase from the same shop multiple times (they usually aren't) and a shop employee caught it, who do they report it to? What penalties would be enforced? If actually being convicted of straw buying for a felon (which carries a 10 year price tag to begin with) gets probation, what will you do to deter the attempts?

    This is a stop down the road to banning firearms, pure and simple. And not only that, the very people who live in these areas where carjackings and home invasions have exploded recently are those who need firearms the most.

    The real question here is how many young men need to die before we do something about the violent criminals who perpetrate crime? You blame the artisan, not his tools, for success or failure.

    September 30, 2010 at 3:12 pm |
  13. TheZog

    Mr. Claiborne is, as he has been, missing the major point. It does not matter who came up with the code of conduct. It does not matter who has access to it or what it is used for. Keeping such a database is strictly against the law. See: 18 Pa.C.S. § 6111.4: Registration of firearms: Notwithstanding any section of this chapter to the contrary, nothing in this chapter shall be construed to allow any government or law enforcement agency or any agent thereof to create, maintain or operate any registry of firearm ownership within this Commonwealth. For the purposes of this section only, the term “firearm” shall include any weapon that is designed to or may readily be converted to expel any projectile by the action of an explosive or the frame or receiver of any such weapon. Every person who holds an FFL is an agent of the state for purposes for firearm sales. How does it become a private business person's job to enforce law? How could a shop owner know, without violating the above law, if someone has purchased a gun at another shop? Why not lobby for enforcement of laws that allow straw buyers to walk free instead of serving the mandatory 5-10 year sentence for their crime? Why not confront the judges in Philadelphia (where, unlike Mr. Claiborne, I have spent my entire life), who consistently allow violent offenders to go free on probation or get insanely reduced time for their crimes?

    Add to this information the knowledge that the Philadelphia gun task force has commended the shop he seems to be determined to harass for its efforts over the past years, and please explain to me how, other than with a flawed, out of date and falsely presented ATF report showing how many times they contacted the shop asking for paperwork (which is done any time a gun is transferred on a death certificate for example, or when a gun is recovered having been stolen, or when a legal gun owner is arrested for anything that would remove the right to own a firearm, the list of reasons for a trace go on and on and on and the vast majority of them have nothing to do with guns recovered from or having been used in a crime, most of that type of trace are not even done by the ATF, but rather the local police, who obviously get cooperation from the Shooter Shop), you can condone the continued harassment of a legitimate, lawful business, run by a Vietnam veteran, upstanding citizen, and someone who already cooperates in every way with all of the lawful authorities?

    Mr. Claiborne has demonstrated by his own admission to be proud to be 'subversive,' 'Un-American,' and, while he loves his freedom of speech dearly, chooses to use it for the wrong reasons. The man they love to tout, holding him and praying while he died, was 19 years old, and had at least a half dozen ADULT felony convictions for narcotics and violence. Perhaps what happened to that poor young man was a part of his own choices?

    September 30, 2010 at 3:01 pm |
    • David Johnson

      Or, the will of Allah!

      September 30, 2010 at 3:09 pm |
  14. Ykcyc

    I have comments that I left here over a month ago that are still “awaiting moderation”. What is going on here? Is this a censorship ploy, used by the CNN “Nazis” to prevent those opinions that don’t fit into their narrow point of view? What is this, Russia? What happened to “free speech”?

    September 30, 2010 at 2:51 pm |
    • David Johnson

      You don't have free speech on a CNN blog.

      I heard a rumor, that if the moderators read your blog and it sucks really bad, they just leave it in limbo.

      September 30, 2010 at 3:07 pm |
    • Ykcyc

      Thank you, David Johnson.
      Sounds like you would make a wonderful moderator for CNN.
      Sieg Heil, CNN!

      September 30, 2010 at 3:35 pm |
  15. Bryan

    Wonderful piece, Shane. And, as to Chris' statement about multiple gun purchases causing a report to ATF – True, but so what? It's just a report, it's not enforcement. The gun lobby has so denuded ATF that it can do virtually nothing with said reports. Also, it's not illegal in PA to buy any number of guns at a time. So, report or not, straw buyers and traffickers have an easy time loading up on guns – the very guns that cause death and destruction in Philly, Chester, Camden and all over the Northeast USA. That's why Philly PD last year colllected almost 6,000 illegal guns. Many thousands more 'leaked' from Philly gun shops and remain in illegal possessors' hands. Heeding God's Call (the faith-based campaign referred to above) seeks only to get gun dealers to act like good citizens and stop supplying the illegal market. We said Colosimo's was profitting from selling to straw buyers, the pro-gunners defended him, but the feds were finally embarrassed by Heeding God's Call that they pulled Colosimo's license to sell guns – because he was caught doing exactly what we said.

    September 30, 2010 at 12:13 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Bryan

      You said, "Wonderful piece, Shane."

      You also said, "We said Colosimo's was profitting from selling to straw buyers, the pro-gunners defended him, but the feds were finally embarrassed by Heeding God's Call that they pulled Colosimo's license to sell guns – because he was caught doing exactly what we said."

      Gee, makes me think you guys belong to the same faith-based campaign.

      September 30, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
  16. Joan

    Thank you for this beautiful essay. You are so right. I have a blog and I see a name or two that are resonding on my blog.as well. They don't want any gun laws getting in the way of their "rights". They also don't want faith communities involved in this issue. I blogged about that, too. I hope you can get a lot of faith communities to do what you are doing. I will be working on this as well. Your writing is beautiful and you are obviously a person of conviction who wants to do the right thing and wants others to do the same.

    September 30, 2010 at 11:56 am |
    • David Johnson

      You bet Joan! We need religious fanatics in everything we do. God bless you Joan!

      September 30, 2010 at 12:23 pm |
    • Chris

      I know of many faith communities involved in the preservation of firearms freedoms. What's your point?

      October 1, 2010 at 10:26 am |
  17. GSA

    @Blasto
    I agree with you and Chris as far as Shane only representing one point of view and doing it in a way as to portray his cause as noble. The fact that the Shooter Shop did get a commendation from the Philly police for keeping guns off the streets say a lot. The problem I have is, you yourself Blasto are doing the same thing. You are right that violent crime went up in those aformentioned countries but the fact is that in the US a lot of the problems with guns is that there will always be accidents. True you can not stop a criminal from getting a weapon of any kind, if no guns are available they will just find another means. The problem with the US is that ppl take the right to bear arms and forget the responsibility of owning a gun and many many ppl die in the US because of accidents (ie kids finding guns, hunters not knowing proper techniques and rules). So Blasto the problem is not with violent criminals because they will be violent regardless, it's with the uneducated and mishandling of guns by approved gun owners and until the proper steps are taking to stop this ppl will still rally for the legalization of guns. I'm all for weapons but they need much stricter rules, the kinds of rules that are so stringent that more than half the gun owners out there would not pass the tests. I am from Canada and per capita we have a huge amount of guns yet per capita we have very few accidents.

    September 30, 2010 at 11:32 am |
    • David Johnson

      Guns don't kill people! People kill people!

      September 30, 2010 at 12:21 pm |
    • KC

      I agree that gun safety should be promoted but gun restrictions don't do anything besides make getting weapons difficult for law abiding citizens. Most criminals don't care how they get their guns but would criminals be so aggressive if they knew that most citizens practiced carrying. An armed society can be a polite society. I think violent criminals need to have harsher punishments in general, but I get tired of people saying guns are the problem. I believe that if all these naysayers put their effort into providing information on properly handling weapons and also making teaching points about consequences when a firearm is misused maybe progress could be made. We need to make our nation more responsible which I realize is pretty much impossible based on the entries many have written about gun rights.

      September 30, 2010 at 1:18 pm |
    • Chris

      Simple solution. Bring back firearm education in schools. Freedom of firearm ownership is part of what the US was founded on. Bring back the high school rifle teams and hunting clubs. Teach kids a healthy knowledge and respect of firearms. Parents who hide guns away contribute to kids dying. Parents who have them out in the open, answer questions, teach and show their kids how they work and are to be used, funny, you don't normally read about these kids killing themselves or their friends on accident.

      By the way, cars kill many many many more children than guns. Ban cars.

      October 1, 2010 at 10:24 am |
  18. Blasto Hipstorio

    Shane,

    You state how few people guns kill in Australia and the UK. But why do you skirt the FACT that violent crime has actually increased in both of those countries by a substantial amount after guns were banned???

    Make guns illegal, and knives attack go up. The problem is not the inanimate objects, its a problem of violent criminals who know the consequences for the actions will be minimal.

    September 30, 2010 at 11:14 am |
    • David Johnson

      So, ban knives. It's what Jesus would do.

      September 30, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
    • Dancing With Trolls

      Exactly what they did in Great Britain... murder and assault still went up after banning both guns and knives. You can't take a walk in London carrying a 3" steak knife... So now they're trying to ban carrying bottle and can-openers. Fools. Absolute, complete and utter fools. Australia, same. Canada spent over a billion $$ on a gun registry that was only supposed to cost 3 million. Absolutely no effect on violent crime. None... nada. -0- Now they're going to repeal it. Simple fact is that there is no reliable, verifiable, empirical study ever done that supports the reduction of violent crime as a direct effect of gun control. There are, however, MANY studies that support the reverse...

      Go get a gun, Shane... I recommend a hammerless Smith & Wesson model 642, a .38 Special +p loaded with solid copper hollow-point Cor-Bon DPX ammunition. Then go to the range, kiddo.

      September 30, 2010 at 8:06 pm |
  19. Chris

    Shane, I was at The Shooter Shop for two of your protests. You don't want to hold a "conversation," you simply want to shut them down. Your code of conduct is illegal, and 12 guns a year is ridiculous. I've bought and sold, legally, 50 or more in the past few years. For your info, no one can walk into a gun shop and purchase 50 guns at once, without the authorities being notified. This notification happens if someone purchases more than three handguns within several days. Shane, you don't mention that The Shooter Shop received a letter of commendation from the Philly Police for helping keep illegal guns off the street? Why is that? Shane, why don't you address why repeat and violent offenders and consistently released early from prison, or charges dropped altogether? Your enemy is not legal gun owners who possess firearms for whatever means they wish, but with the politicians and judges who allow violent offenders to go free. Go take up your fight where it belongs.

    September 30, 2010 at 11:05 am |
    • David Johnson

      Shane! I am ashamed of you! Here I was on your side and I find out you lied! I know fundies do this, to defend and promote their god, but really!

      Chris has made a strong case here. I think you are a religious zealot.

      September 30, 2010 at 12:19 pm |
    • Ykcyc

      It is useless to continue making new laws for people that don’t care to obey existing laws in the first place. It is already illegal to ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,. . So what? Is that a deterrent? Dumb people continue to make more laws, disarming law abiding citizens, only making it easier for those who could care less about any laws.

      September 30, 2010 at 3:43 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Ykcyc

      So pass a law banning laws. It's what Jesus would do.

      September 30, 2010 at 7:40 pm |
    • Dancing With Trolls

      @ David
      2nd Amendment... we have the language.. now we just need the court rulings to continue to support it.

      @ Shane..
      The way YOU look? I mean, really... talk about an easy target.... buy a gun. Learn how to use it. Get a Carry Permit. Keep the gun somewhere safe and accessible. Good Grief...

      September 30, 2010 at 7:53 pm |
  20. David Johnson

    So, what's the problem? Outlaw guns. It's what Jesus would do.

    September 30, 2010 at 8:23 am |
    • peace2all

      @David Johnson

      After what happened to JC....? Not so fast..... He may have re-thought this whole 'turn the other cheek bit... 🙂

      Peace...

      September 30, 2010 at 12:24 pm |
    • Keith

      Again David, your ignorance preceeds you. Again, you are wrong.

      September 30, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
    • peace2all

      @Keith

      I am curious..... You don't believe that Jesus would want to outlaw guns...?

      Peace...

      October 1, 2010 at 12:09 pm |
    • Keith

      Peace2all, See Luke 22:36-38. I think Jesus would encourage me to have a CCW permit. For now, that is. When He comes back for the Millenium, the swords will be beaten into plowshares. But for now I think Jesus would want me to defend myself and my family against godless people who would do us harm. Hope that was helpful for you.

      October 1, 2010 at 9:52 pm |
    • Wayne

      Nice little tale. The part you left out was that guns was that the second amendment isn't there to protect our "hunting" rights, but our cival rights. Please don't be soo simple minded about the difference. Those who would forsake their liberty for security deserve neither.

      October 2, 2010 at 11:42 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.