Keith and I had worked the quail into a valley outside of North Fork and were walking down on opposite sides, keeping one eye on the quail, and one on each other. Keith and I had hunted together for years and knew quite often what the other was going to do, even if we could not see each other. We also knew the terrain, since his family had 60 acres outside of North Fork for many years. We both had walked countless miles in and around his property since we were boys. We also fenced large portions of his property and knew the area like it was our back yard.
We had already bagged one or two out of the covey and were hoping to get several more. The small valley they were running down ended in a bit of a rise and then suddenly went left from my prospective. I had lost sight of Keith once or twice, and had just spotted him again about 40 yards away. I waved and he waved back. Suddenly some quail broke between us and he did something I had never seen him do before. He abruptly raised his shotgun, then tracked the quail without shooting, right across me. Had his shotgun been beam of light he would have run the light right across my figure. I instinctively ducked and squatted, irritated he would have done something so stupid since he knew I was there. What I did not realize was, he did not wave at me a moment ago, but had backhandedly shooed away a fly.
I stood up a moment later, ready for some quail to break near me. Keith was motionless and I could see him clearly, I assumed he saw me too. Then some quail broke between us again, and again he raised his gun tracking them right across my path. I did not squat down this time, but he was going to hear about it in a moment. The very second the beam of light would have been on my person I saw, then heard the blast of the shotgun. I can still remember the fraction of a second delay from what I saw, to what I felt, then heard. It felt as if someone took their finger and flicked it hard on my right brow, which was accompanied by the sound of a very small pebble bouncing off a window pane. I was startled and raised my hand to my head. It came away with blood and I felt something on my face. I looked down and blood was streaming into my hand.
I dropped to my knees and called out to Keith that I had been shot. He hesitated for a moment and called back, “Where?” I hollered back, “In the head!” Moments later I heard crashing through the brush and he was there beside me forcing me to look up.
Head wounds bleed a lot. On top of that, we had been hiking for quite a while and our hearts were pounding so it looked much worse than it was. A small BB had entered my brow and gave me a small tear which was bleeding profusely. Keith took my hand, then one of my fingers, and pressed it into my head. He said, “Hold it there, I am going to get the truck.”
Our day of hunting was over, and after going to a local retired doctor, then the hospital in Fresno, no one was able to find the BB and remove it. My brow had swollen and it was like hunting for a pebble in a thick sirloin steak. I still have it today, and on occasion, I tell the story to my students who want to feel the BB which has settled in a place right below my right eyebrow. Had the shot been 1/2 inch lower the results would have been much more painful and traumatic as I undoubtedly would have lost my right eye.
This shooting was an accident, but the majority of the shootings that take place in the world are deliberate, often with fatal results.
It takes three things to kill someone with a gun. The gun, the shooter, and the ammunition. The problem is, too many focus on the gun and the shooter with little thought to the ammunition. Many of you may have noticed that ammunition has been hard to find in the last couple of years. Some people think that since the government can’t take our guns away, (2nd Amendment rights) that ammunition has become the target that is left. What good is a gun without ammunition? But that is not the type of ammunition I am talking about.
Have you ever considered the ammunition of media? The ammunition that removes the value of human beings. The ammunition that creates hero’s out of villainous, self serving characters. The ammunition that teaches morality is determined by the culture, and the culture says, if it feels good, do it. The ammunition that says sex outside of marriage is OK, but ignores the millions of unwed mothers and millions of aborted children. The ammunition that tells boys that to be a man, they have to get drunk and have sex. The ammunition that reduces women to targets of pornography, and victims of graphic, horror filled, sexually explicit movies.
Tony Stark and Katniss Everdeen could not offer the same return investment of the 2013 horror film, Insidious. It bagged 160 million with only a 5 million investment and took the top spot of profit for investment in 2013. The Conjuring, another horror film in 2013, made 316 million and it also offered an excellent return investment beating out the Avengers and Catching Fire dollar for dollar. Millions made just so people can be entertained by watching explicit, horrific, fear and suffering. And that is just the horror film industry, to say nothing about other questionable genres.
Malcolm Muggeridge said, “It is difficult to resist the conclusion that 20th century man has decided to abolish himself, tired of the struggle to be himself, he has created boredom out of his own affluence, impotence out of his own erotomania and vulnerability out of his own strength.” 1
Fridrich Neitzsche, one of the most famous philosophers in the 1800’s declared, God was dead. He also declared that when we realized God was dead in the 1900’s it would become the bloodiest century in history. It did, offering more bloodshed than the previous 19 centuries combined. 2 Neitzsche recognized the danger of a Godless society and knew what were were capable of.
Most would say a person is free if they are able to do what they want. But others, took it a little deeper and added that true freedom would be those that are free to do what they want, when they could have done otherwise. Philosophers call this the CDO condition, or Could have Done Otherwise condition. 3
Every day we make a choice when we could have done otherwise. The unkind thought or comment. The lazy attitude or behavior. The fantasy that becomes a flirt. Where you mind goes, your body will follow. If you think your thoughts, attitudes, and fantasy’s are harmless, you are purchasing the ammunition of our current culture. I am far from perfect, but I recognize what the culture sells us in the rack just before the checkout stand at the grocery store. If I am going quail hunting I don’t purchase a box of .45 caliber bullets.
J.P. Moreland shared in his book, Love Your God With All Your Mind a story of DARE (a program designed to help children say no to drugs) graduation. The sixth graders were to each read a short paper which stated why they would not do drugs. J.P. Moreland leaned over to a couple next to him and predicted that each student would give a ‘self-interest’ reason for not doing drugs. When the presentation was done, sure enough, each student gave reasons for not doing drugs. Each reason benefited them personally. In other words, each student said drugs would ruin their grades, their chances to excel in sports, their health, etc. Not a single student said they would avoid drugs because of a virtue, a duty, some moral compass, or to honor God. 4
Children who are raised to do good only because of the way it would benefit them, are missing out on a much greater good. The above reasons for not doing drugs are a good first step, but children, and some adults, need to take it to the next level. For all the good Jesus did, none of it can be ascribed for self-interest. We would do well to move beyond our own bubble and consider family, community, and God for reasons to do otherwise. Morality is not subjective. It is not founded on the whims of the individual, nor is it founded on the popular opinion of the current culture.
To kill someone with a gun you only need the shooter, the gun, and the ammunition. To kill morality, you only need to sell the ammunition, and the world is inundated with ammunition. Ammunition that will satisfy every conceivable vice within human nature.
James 1:19-22 says: “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
1. C, Manny. “Extinct Brontosaurus” Manny is Here. Mannyishere.blogspot.com 27, Jan. 2006 Web. Mar. 11 2014.
2. Zacharias, Ravi. “Responding to the times, Part 1 of 2.” Let My People Think Broadcast. December 6, 2013. MP3
3. Koukl, Greg. “The Final Days of Jesus.” Stand To Reason Broadcast. February 25, 2014. MP3
4. Moreland, J.P. Love Your God With All Your Mind. Colorado Springs: Navpress, 2012. Print.