Readers in Council,
The Japan Times,
5-4, Shibaura 4-chome,
Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0023
Cecilia Bustos’ description of the American man, whom she knows personally to be a good man, who was arrested at Narita Airport for smuggling a loaded weapon into the country (“Security checkers accountable?”, October 18th) as “a God-loving Christian who would not cause harm to anyone” seems out of synch with the episode reported in the October 8th story, “U.S. man carrying loaded gun arrested at Narita airport.” This apparent non-sequitur begs consideration because he really could be a good and harmless man, and others could be wrong to think ill of him for the accusation of smuggling a loaded weapon.
Christian history is overflowing with armed God-loving people perpetrating the worst atrocities imaginable oblivious to the heinous evil of their own best intentions. If the arrested man is a religious Christian then what is he doing with a loaded weapon in the first place - at home, on a plane, abroad, anywhere? I know that many Americans love their guns citing their presumed protective value (a dubious point), crime statistics, and the 2nd Amendment right to own them. And, I know that many of them are zealous about their religion, too. In America, with its social history and laws, we have seen how the two get a little mixed up, resulting in the unique American phenomenon of Gun-loving God-owners, or Gun-worshipping God-lovers. Maybe the writer’s exposition reflects this, blinding her eyes to the moral nonsense of good people carrying guns.
Her point about the failings of airport security in America missing the weapon is right on the money. More than one security person failed big time in San Antonio and Dallas, but that does not mean that the passenger himself should not be held responsible for carrying a loaded weapon into Japan even if it was an unintentional oversight.
Printed on Sunday, November 1, 2009 as “God-loving Christians with guns.”
I think my words “This apparent non-sequitur begs consideration because he really could be a good and harmless man, and others could be wrong to think ill of him for the accusation of smuggling a loaded weapon” might make it sound as if I am about to come out in defense of the arrested man, to devote consideration to the notion of his harmlessness and goodness. But instead I launch the next sentence with a critique of the history of militant Christian behavior, which was my main purpose. Although, I still wanted to make the point that the man could have accidentally thrown a pistol into his luggage without malicious intent. I don’t believe it, but one must admit that it is possible. Of course, it is more possible among some Americans who are high on their brew of evangelical religion, sanctified individualism, and the notion of American exceptionalism, than among most other people in the world. So I objected to the description of him as a God fearing Christian who wouldn’t hurt anyone by the letter writer Cecilia Bustos.
When I say about the apparent non-sequitur of Bustos’ statement of her knowledge of the man’s religious faith against the story of him bringing a weapon - a loaded weapon at that! - into the country in his luggage that “he really could be a good and harmless man, and others could be wrong to think ill of him ... ” it sounds as if I am preparing to engage in his defense and the right of good people to bear arms. And then I don’t. The next paragraph opens with the sentence that shows my real intention of speaking about the atrocities committed in the name of God by people who believed in their own good faith, good intentions and virtue. My intention is to write about the dumb and dumber things we do.