“Made damn sure that Pilate washed his hands and sealed his fate … (bin Laden would have used his signature Kalashnikov).”

Watching Bill O’Reilly’s interview with ABC religion commentator Father Edward L. Beck last Wednesday just days after the Navy Seals sealed the fate of Osama bin Laden, my parochial school experiences came roaring back at me…and not in a good way.

FatherBeck

Beck with his sanctimonious and holier-than-thou-art attitude reminded this product of 12 years of Catholic school of how obstinate the nuns and the priests were to any and all new game-changing information that flew in the face of their entrenched orthodoxy. Certainly, it is important to have core values that should stand the test of time…but there are circumstances that can alter the philosophical and political landscape and can alter it rapidly. The shooting of bin Laden is a perfect example.

Father Beck has a problem with Americans publicly celebrating the victory of good over evil in the form of the ultimate demise of bin Laden.

O’REILLY: “Was bin Laden evil?”

BECK: “That’s not for me to judge. His actions were certainly were evil –“

O’REILLY: “Not for you to judge?”

BECK: “His actions certainly were evil and they caused a lot of harm and disruption.”

O’REILLY:” So you can’t as a human being make a determination on good and evil? You cannot do that?”

BECK: “No, I think that’s up God to ultimately decide who’s evil.”

Sorry Father Beck, but you just reminded me why I am a fallen Catholic. I paid my dues and have the scars to prove it listening to people just like you, who are just better than me. If I didn’t believe that, I would just ask you…You would tell me, wouldn’t you? Sure you would.

In my humble opinion, a game changer is one of those few-and-far-between moments that you remember where you were, and what you were doing when you heard the news. I remember where I was when JFK was assassinated, when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, when the airplanes hit the World Trade Center and Pentagon and last week when the news flashed that the Navy Seals had taken out bin Laden. These were all game changers in my life.

Another game changer (at least a political game changer) involving a Kalashnikov occurred on a Stockton (CA) school ground back in 1987. A man by the name of Patrick Purdy had a fully loaded Chinese-made AK-47 in his hands. Within minutes he fired at least 106 bullets, killing five school children, and wounding one teacher and 29 other students. He then killed himself.

wsshoot5

A game changer for California, wouldn’t you agree? I was serving as California Governor George Deukmejian’s press secretary. The former attorney general-then governor asked the state Legislature to fast track him legislation banning assault weapons, such as a Kalashnikov, in California. The Republican governor told the media that “I see no reason why anyone needs an assault weapon.”

The reaction from the National Rifle Association was predictable as it was doctrinaire. A camel’s nose was sniffing around the edges of the Second Amendment tent. This Patrick Purdy case was being used as the backdrop to ban sacred assault weapons. For some reason, the NRA leadership and its disciples couldn’t see that Purdy and his deplorable actions were a game changer. Orthodoxy yesterday. Orthodoxy today. Orthodoxy forever.

Yes, yes there are more differences than similarities between the Catholic Church and the National Rifle Association. I get that. But what I don’t get is when a game changer occurs, some individuals and some groups will systematically refuse to consider that their world just changed. The death of bin Laden and the Purdy outrage are just two examples.

In politics many cower in the face of the label of being a flip-flopper, but there comes a time when reality simply changes. And are you thoughtful and flexible or close minded, stubborn and unyielding? Alas, I know where Father Beck and the NRA fit in this equation.

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,151105,00.html

http://thepassionists.org/whats_new/tag/bill-oreilly/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AK-47

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