God Bless the Rod of Iron
A Pennsylvania church about half a mile from an elementary school will hold a special ceremony to bless couples who bring along their AR-15 assault rifles.
The World Peace and Unification Sanctuary in Newfoundland, Pennsylvania, will conduct the ceremony on Feb. 28 — two weeks to the day after Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz used the same rifle to gun down 17 people.
The blessings will be bestowed on each couple and their “rod of iron” for pledging to defend their families, communities and nation, said Sanctuary Church president Richard Panzer.
In answer to criticism for conducting such a service in the wake of the Broward County school massacre, Panzer said, “If the teachers had been allowed to carry a firearm, many lives could have been saved. Several states have passed legislation to allow exactly that.”
Elsewhere in America, third-graders at South Elementary School in Neosho, Missouri, plan to raffle off an A-15 rifle to raise money for their baseball team.
A LITTLE HISTORY
The AR-15 is a modern version of the M-16 rifle which was widely used in the Vietnam War. Earlier models date back to the mid-1950s when the U.S. Army asked a the gun-manufacturer Armalite to develop a smaller version of the AR-10 to replace the M-1 Garand, which had been widely used in World War II and the Korean War.
Thus the AR-15 was born. Armalite — that’s what the “A” stands for, not “assault” as many believe — sold the design to Colt, which in turn began selling the weapon to the Pentagon. In 1962, the U.S. Department of Defense changed the name of the AR-15 to the M-16, and Colt began marketing the AR-15 to the American public as a “superb hunting partner.”
The rifle was among several weapons banned by Congress in 1994, but when the ban expired in 2004, all models of AR-15s were again readily available.
Now, it is the weapon of choice for school shooters and mass murderers.