Today, a security guard at the Holocaust museum was killed on duty when a white supremacist shot him.
I find both murders appalling. They are different events, of course, but they seem related. According to Washington Post press coverage, a reporter also linked these two events, asking the White House if they are concerned about "political violence or domestic terrorism."
I was curious to see if anyone would pick up on the word terrorism to describe these murders. It's a loaded term, for sure, but I'm glad it isn't only reserved for Muslim foreigners or people of Middle-Eastern descent. Here's terrorism, as defined by that reliable source, wikipedia,
Terrorism is a policy or ideology of violence intended to intimidate or cause terror for the purpose of "exerting pressure on decision making by state bodies." The term "terror" is largely used to indicate clandestine, low-intensity violence that targets civilians and generates public fear.
Here's a different definition of a terrorist: a person willing to kill for a social or political ideal. This is decidedly anti-christian, because we are, by definition, people who claim a willingness to DIE for our beliefs, not kill for them. (If you're wondering when we do this, we do this when we pledge to follow Jesus, knowing that means we follow him to the cross.)
Of course, the waters muddy. One of our Lutheran heroes, Detrich Bonhoeffer, made a tortured decision to try to kill Hitler in order to stop him. He failed and he was killed in a concentration camp.
Ethics classes around the world analyze Bonhoeffer's decision and most (at least the ones I've been in) find him to be a saint and justify his actions as the best possible choice to stop the murders. Those communities also acknowledge that the holocaust was a real, evil, and horrendous chapter in history. I'm betting those folks in the world who deny the holocaust aren't making Bonhoeffer a hero.
I can't imagine the white supremacist can come up with any good way to convince any but the most hateful people that his murder was justified. But I can see the abortionist murderer using Bonhoeffer-esque logic to justify his actions. and if we all agreed that abortion was as horrendous as the Holocaust (and some people feel this way), would his action be justified? I don't think we can put abortion on par with the Holocaust, I'm just trying to point out that anytime you are called to kill for a cause, it gets thorny fast.
When my head starts to hurt about things like this, I look for simple answers. Do you think it would work to just get rid of all the guns????