The Audrey Hale Nashville shooting incident reminds me of the story of the tribe of Benjamin in the book of Judges.
At that time, the Benjaminites were nearly decimated, and they needed women to reproduce for the tribe to continue to exist. Meanwhile, God told them to go to the tribe of Jabesh Gilead and kill everyone there. Instead, they kept several hundred virgin women for the men of Benjamin. At the end of the chapter and the end of the book, it says, “…there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.” That is the phrase everyone remembers and applies like they put hot sauce on eggs, chili, and whatever else they don’t like.
It is the verse before, though, that contains the missing content. It says that each person returned to his home and family and thence to his inheritance. In modern culture, inheritance has the belief that there exists a moment in time when a transfer occurs from one generation to the next. In Israel, it was continuous and always happening. The Benjaminites had already inherited the most geographically significant part of Israel that included Jerusalem and Jericho, and would be there into the future, all events set aside. For the Benjaminites, taking the women home, raping them, and having children were all good because they were experiencing their inheritance today. God’s dictates were set aside because that didn’t work for them.
In the USA, we have supported the Benjaminites from our country’s beginnings. Indeed, the concept of private property is built on the belief that “my property, my rules; it isn’t anyone else’s business what I do in my house.” And, as European and Asian thinkers point out all the time, it also superimposes a belief that whatever you “practice” at your own house isn’t necessarily something you will do when you are not at your house.
Crazy thinking, right? We teach our kids to be polite at home, so when they go out in public, they will be polite for no other reason than iteration. They are polite in public because they have done it repeatedly at home. We have our children practice violin, throw fastballs, do algebra, and so on, so when they are not at home, they do what they have been taught. Every society builds on the idea that what happens at home carries over into life. The people who complain about the failed portions of our society are quick to point back to the breakdown of the traditional home where healthy iterations occur.
That said, I don’t get the reaction to the Nashville shooting. Audrey Hale was transgender. A part of the transgender identity is the belief that, for some, the act of seeking true identity can include self-dismemberment. It also includes support for the rights of children to be dismembered in the name of seeking their true identity. If we allow that to happen in our homes, how can we be upset to see someone dismember and kill others in a school or a mall? This kind of thinking is a case of the nut jobs. To state that Audrey Hale’s problem was related to gun access is one or two layers short of the real issue. The core of the issue was rooted in our fundamental private property assumptions.
As an American, I am too saturated in private property rights to understand the line between what should and shouldn’t be allowed in the home. Certainly, we have laws on our books that govern criminal behavior on private property. You can’t beat your wife. You must feed your children, and you must provide an education for them. Still, the idea that we should have an open conversation about what is best for society has to include the transgender conversation just like it needs to include other difficult and topics like assisted suicide, self-amputation, and transgender affirmation. And to think that what we allow people to do in the privacy of their own homes is not society’s business will continue to haunt us with headlines like this.