In the wake of the ongoing horrific gun violence in American schools, one of the GOP talking points is that the only defense against a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun, which has been repeatedly proven false, and that we need to “harden” schools. The gist is that schools must be full of armed guards with only one access point, that teachers should be armed and ready to kill any school shooters, even if the shooter is already a student there. Given that mass shootings occur all over the country, in hospitals, stores, movie theaters, on the quad of a campus, etc., limiting access to one entry point is impractical to prevent other mass shootings. Let’s talk about churches specifically, another frequent target of mass shooters.
Several years ago, after several high profile church shootings elsewhere in the country, a friend told me her young adult son was proud he was assigned to be the ward’s protector. His local bishop, knowing his experience with firearms, assigned him to be at Church each week with his concealed weapon, prepared to kill any shooter who intruded on the service. Was this a common experience in various wards, or was this a pro-gun bishop taking rogue actions?
After the deadly Sutherland Springs church shooting in Texas that led to 2 deaths, Texas codified into law a protection for parishioners to bring concealed weapons into churches.
The legislation — Senate Bill 535 by Republican state Sen. Donna Campbell of New Braunfels — strikes a provision in current law that says handguns aren’t allowed in “churches, synagogues, or other places of worship.”
To be clear, churches would still be able to prohibit licensed citizens from carrying firearms on their premises so long as they provide oral or written notice.
Campbell’s bill codifies a previous opinion from Attorney General Ken Paxton sought shortly after the shooting in Sutherland Springs. In the opinion, Paxton stated that “unless a church provides effective oral or written notice prohibiting the carrying of handguns on its property, a license holder may carry a handgun onto the premises of church property as the law allows.”https://www.texastribune.org/2019/05/20/texas-handgun-allowed-churches-sutherland-springs/
In response to this law as well as incidents of gun violence on Church property, the Church upgraded its policy against guns in Church from “inappropriate” to “prohibited”:
“Churches are dedicated for the worship of God and as havens from the cares and concerns of the world. With the exception of current law enforcement officers, the carrying of lethal weapons on Church property, concealed or otherwise, is prohibited.”https://wheattares.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=58060&action=edit, Quoting the revised Church handbook from Aug, 2019.
Way back in 1999, when we were all preparing for the potential imminent threat posed by Y2K, a nothingburger in retrospect, one of the counselors in our then bishopric advised all ward members to have a full food storage before the year end, including enough firearms and ammunition to protect their food from the hordes of hungry neighbors who would, no doubt, descend upon them in a violent feeding frenzy. The bishop gently pulled him aside and said that his views weren’t exactly mainstream, although in typical Mormon fashion, the correction was so gentle, many may not have even noticed the sidelining of his perspectives. I found his advice unsettling to say the least. Not only was I skeptical that we were about to experience a total apocalypse due to Y2K, but as a Christian I vehemently disagreed that it was ever appropriate to shoot others to protect our food from being shared. Shouldn’t we share with others? Wasn’t that our Christian duty? How could killing people who were frightened, just because they were less prepared, be the right course of action? I wondered if we actually belonged to the same Church.
I’m sure it will come as no shock to any who’ve read my comments before that I’m not a gun person. I am not as “anti-gun” as you might imagine, but I would not own a gun. My main objections to owning a gun are pragmatic:
- Suicide. When I was 14, a classmate committed suicide using one of the many guns in their home. His note to his father said, “Merry Christmas, Dad.” Knowing someone who died by gun suicide at such a young age has made me take the thought of death by suicide very seriously my whole life. We don’t know who in our houses might be suicidal at some point. Suicide attempts by gun are so much more successful than other methods that eliminating them feels like the best way to prevent the heartache and loss that my classmate’s family experienced. I’m sure had he survived there would have been some better resolution to what I assume was an abusive relationship with his dad. Suicide eliminates that possibility forever.
- Domestic violence. Women are disproportionately killed through domestic violence in households with guns. Why even allow for that possibility?
- It’s all about me. I’m personally unwilling to kill someone. I guess I would be willing to go Terminator 2 and shoot out their kneecaps. Maybe. If a gun only had a “stun” setting like in Star Trek, I might consider that. I just don’t want to be the person I would be if I killed someone. What if I thought one of my kids coming home was an intruder? Even if it is an intruder, that person also has loved ones. What if I killed someone who wasn’t really as dangerous as I thought? How would I live with that?
Coming back to the question of guns in Church, though, I have a few questions. It seems that the Church’s “no guns in Church” policy has taken a side, the right side in my view, but it’s a little late to the party. Perhaps the Texas law was the tipping point. It seems likely. I was travelling a lot in 2019, and I don’t recall this being read at Church, but I might have been away when it was read. What if a church policy like this is announced, and you just missed the announcement that week? What about visitors?
- Do you think we have non-police bringing guns to Church, against current policy?
- Are you personally aware of leader attempts to “harden” Churches like the case I mentioned above? Was it prior to the policy change?
- Were you aware of the policy change? Was it announced at Church? Did you ever hear any pushback about it?
I only learned of this prohibition in the last month, so for me, it wasn’t announced. That said, it seems like most changes aren’t announced. I am wholly confident that there are non-police members bringing guns to church against current policy. One of them might be a nephew of mine – or at least he’s considered it to protect his family. My thoughts regarding “hardening” fall back under leadership roulette combined with the norms of the area. I have no doubt that in some wards, there are many members carrying on a Sunday. The pandemic taught us many things, but one in particular is that all members no longer blindly obey. If you don’t agree with wearing a mask then you can disregard that “rule” – same with carrying.
My ward has held a mass shooter training on a fifth Sunday in the last two years with the typical “Run if you safely can, hide if you can’t, be prepared to fight back if you have no other option” curriculum, and the “no guns at church” policy was reiterated then. There have been no efforts to “harden” the building though as the two main entrances remain open and there is no one stationed there to monitor entry and exit. I also don’t think our ward or stake leadership would attempt any additional measures without guidance from the area presidency. Maybe they would designate one entry point, but without further action like locking doors at a certain point after services have started and/or utilizing armed guards or at least unarmed observers and metal detectors, it’s not hard for a mass murderer to simply walk through the designated entry shortly after sacrament meeting has started into a chapel full of people.
I honestly don’t think anyone currently in our ward is packing, but then again, maybe they are simply taking advantage of the myriad concealed carry products now on the market and I just can’t tell. I say currently because at least one former member of our ward confirmed he had for several years until just a few months before we spoke about it. I’m also sure that compliance with the policy will vary widely region by region and even ward by ward.
I only know about this policy because my spouse is a concealed carry instructor. He holds his classes by ones and twos in our home and I have overhead him talking about state regulations and how a property owner has the right to restrict people from carrying there. He usually talks about where people are allowed and not allowed to conceal carry generally. I haven’t heard this policy read from the pulpit though.
In the ward I grew up in one of the regular attendees always took a little black briefcase to church. He used to sit close to the front, on the left. It was an open secret that the little black briefcase held a gun.
He was also, not to put too fine a point on it, crazy as a loon in a lot of ways. I wonder if he’s still packing heat to church?
The church made the right call. It is simply unnerving to see armed citizens attending church. It is one thing if they are a police officer, but your neighbor? No. It only feeds into asinine US gun culture.
Mass shootings happen about everyday in the US. There are so many mass shootings that you could devote your entire life and every working hour of your day to covering them as a journalist. That there aren’t enough guns or good guys with guns is preposterous. There are more guns than people in the US. Still, the odds that you individually might be harmed in a mass shooting are incredibly low. But statistics is hard to understand for the common person. And phobias more often than not dominate the common human mind than not.
So let me get this straight. The GOP distrusts teachers so much that they have to submit their lesson plans online up to a year in advance. But simultaneously the GOP trusts teachers so much that they should be packing heat. The GOP in this regard reminds me of Church apologists. Specific responses for specific questions that cannot be critically applied across the board. Got it.
I actually would not be at all opposed to church doors being locked. Most members have the daytime use passcode (I’ve had it for years for various callings) which would at least keep out an armed stranger. Especially in light of the Laguna Woods church shooting last month that is in my vicinity.
I was not aware of this policy until recently. I would not be surprised in the least if people feel completely justified that carrying a weapon is a personal choice that overrides the handbook.
Another reason to continue Zoom church!
I know about the church policy only because I read the Deseret News. I don’t recall ever hearing it mentioned at church.
At one time we had several state highway patrol officers living in our ward. Never were they in uniform. I never saw them openly with a gun.
(Most of them have moved away, so now we’re down to just one)..
Most of us are probably uncomfortable with the idea that the EQ President (or whoever) is carrying around a gun during the 2-hour bloc. On the other hand, we’d all be grateful if said EQ President shot and stopped an attacker.
Yes, two members are packing heat to church in my ward. Yes, they are nuts. Yes, they refused to mask up during the pinnacle of the pandemic. No, I don’t feel safer at church. I’ve been shooting with a few of these guys and they are lousy shots. Seriously bad. In a crisis, the safest person in the building will be the armed intruder.
When I was growing up (outside of the Mountain Time Zone), my parents had very pragmatic anti-gun views, similar to the OP. Guns were absolutely forbidden in our house, even toy guns. Hunting wasn’t a big thing where I lived, so I didn’t know anyone who owned guns (that I was aware of). I just assumed that all Mormons were anti-gun by default, being peace-loving Christians and all. The Columbine massacre happened during my senior year of high school, and I remember the event renewed calls for stricter gun control in my community (rather than prompting the masses to arm themselves). After I visited Utah for the first time as a young adult (and later, when I eventually married a Utahn and got to know her extended family) I was thoroughly disabused of the illusion of Mormons being anti-gun. So many stereotypes confirmed! Gun shops everywhere, even one I saw that was right across the street from a high school, ironically. Hunting rifles on display in the back windows of pickup trucks on specially-made gun racks (my wife’s uncle confirmed that he keeps the rifle in his truck “always loaded, with the safety off to save time”). There is even a state-wide teacher work day every year in the fall that coincides with the opening day of elk season. I once (reluctantly) went on one of these hunting trips with my in-laws and their kin, and found the hyper-macho atmosphere associated with gun collecting and trophy hunting to be distasteful; this is also after serving in the military and learning to appreciate firearms as tools of a trade to be used with skill and discretion and under the authority of a government, rather than as privately-owned symbols of masculinity and dominance. The doomsday preppers/hoarders, once relegated to the fringes of society, have a lot more mainstream legitimacy in Utah now since they aligned with the state’s already thriving food storage industry, and hijacked the Mormon preparedness culture.
Today, while I don’t hear much pro-gun rhetoric at church, nor do I see deliberate efforts to “harden” the chapel, I also don’t hear much anti-gun speech either, which is disappointing since the Church could really lead out on this issue if they chose to. The Church’s prohibition on carrying on Church property was not advertised at all in my area. I’ll wager there might be a few in my ward who concealed-carry at church, or at least keep a weapon in their car (which is also technically prohibited if the car is parked on Church property). Meanwhile, my brother-in-law is serving in a stake presidency in the Phoenix area, and he fought hard against a push by other stake leaders who insisted on having a large rifle shooting activity as part of their youth pioneer trek and wanted adult leaders to carry handguns “for security reasons”.
I have carried at church before. I had received specific threats against me from my abusive ex-wife, and carried pretty much all of the time in response to those threats. When I carried, it was concealed, and the only person who knew about it other than my wife was my home teacher (who was in federal law enforcement, and also carried all the time). At the time, average police response time for a priority 1 call was ~6 minutes (measured from when the dispatcher calls for a response). It’s easy to argue that guns have no place at church, until you are the subject of specific threats. If you haven’t experienced that, it’s hard to understand the change in perspective that it gives you.
One thing I will point out relates to the idea of “enough firearms and ammunition to protect their food from the hordes of hungry neighbors who would, no doubt, descend upon them in a violent feeding frenzy”. I own firearms, both for self-defense, for hunting, and also as part of a collection of working historical replicas. (My children have ancestors who have served in every major conflict in US history, and I collect examples of what they would have carried to help connect my children with the past.) I have a supply of ammo that I keep on hand (as a hedge against regular supply chain issues). In the event of an emergency, I am willing to share our food storage with others who are in need, but at the same time I will also defend it against those who would try to take it from my family by force. The two attitudes are not hypocritical or contradictory.
” I just don’t want to be the person I would be if I killed someone.”
What about the person you’d be if an intruder got to your kids before you got to them? It’s not about me. It’s about protecting those I love. But at the same time, as much as I’d like to show my kids how to be Christlike, if it comes between me or the violent addict looking for money for his next fix, I think making efforts to be around for my kids would be the right decision in their eyes.
From what I understand, Utah congregations have had guns prohibited since before I got my concealed carry permit around 16 years ago. According to my instructor, this was largely due to one idiot who was brandishing it at Church. I’m curious as to why it took so long to reach congregations outside of Utah. I respect any organization’s right not to have guns, regardless of whether I agree with it.
It would not surprise me if we have a few still bring them. I haven’t heard any “hardening” in my congregation. We already have two or three police officers in the ward and at least one of them is always there. I did not hear the policy announced, but as mentioned, Utah has had this in place for some time.
John W wrote “It is simply unnerving to see armed citizens attending church.”
Hence the point of concealed carry. Most gun owners realize that and make efforts to conceal. It’s a courtesy. Curious as to how many you’ve seen try to open carry, or if you’re observant enough to see concealed carry regularly. I’d personally be a little creeped out by someone looking to be able to pick that out. I guess ankle wearers are fairly obvious.
It’s interesting, but I get more and more nervous entering establishments with a no gun policy. I feel like they’ve just announced to the world that we’re fish in a barrel. I actually feel quite comfortable at places that encourage concealed carry.
I have complicated feelings about guns, so this might be a little bit rambling.
I grew up in a hunting family. To be totally honest, my folks did not properly store the guns and ammo. Nothing bad happened, so we were lucky. I was probably 10 years old when I figured out quite by accident where it was all kept, and it really should have been locked up. The biggest danger that guns presented to my family was the potential for suicide, as I think several family members probably had untreated depression.
Perhaps because they were always around me, I have always felt safe around guns. Not that guns make me feel safe, but rather they are largely irrelevant to how safe I feel. I’m just used to them being around. One thing that makes me feel less safe is people who think they need a gun to be safe. I heard someone say they don’t feel safe going to downtown Ogden without packing; that is just so weird to me. That particular person is probably not dangerous at all, but out of a large number of people like that someone is going to either have a bad temper or jittery trigger finger.
Churches are soft targets. I don’t think you can “harden” the church experience without dramatically changing the experience. Nor do I think the danger warrants such hardening. Mass shooting events are way too common, but the bigger risks are actually suicides, accidents, and crimes of passion.
I think the church’s prohibition of weapons is a good thing, mainly because I don’t think that weapons make people safer except in very limited circumstances. If people don’t feel safe going to church without packing then as far as I’m concerned they can stay home, maybe do online church. Alternatively, maybe they should try to convince the church to let them attend a special congregation where packing is permitted. You can have your family wards, YSA wards, your student wards, and your heat-packing wards. But I hate to think what gospel doctrine would be like in that ward.
While I don’t think people should conceal-carry to church in violation of the rules, I don’t think that it would present a significant danger. It’s just not something I worry about.
Living in Arizona, the home of Tombstone and the OK Corral, I’ve wondered about concealed carry here. My understanding is that with a few exceptions, if a private organization wants to disallow concealed weapons they have to post a sign saying so. Therefore, in AZ, unless there is a sign on a temple door or a church door saying no guns, you can conceal carry in Sacrament Meeting or during your endowment session.
We also allow concealed carry in bars in case you’re wondering. No permit necessary.
“What about the person you’d be if an intruder got to your kids before you got to them?”
Hmm. What are the odds that such a tragedy would happen? You’d have to be incredibly unlucky for your kids to be a victim of such a tragedy. Even slimmer are the odds that you as a gun owner and concealed carrier would be at the right place at the right time to stop an intruder before that intruder did damage. I guess we could arm every last person, make them extremely paranoid, and have TSA-like security checks to enter a church or school. Wouldn’t that hurt lots of freedoms? Kinda defeats the purpose to sacrifice a whole bunch of other freedoms for the freedom to for every last person to own guns. Or we could more heavily regulate gun ownership. I’ll go with the latter.
Handguns and automatic weapons are not used for hunting. If they are to protect you from the government or your neighbors, what kind of a world are you protecting yourself from?
In Utah County, there are gun shops, shooting ranges, and pawnshops everywhere. One indoor shooting range even advertises itself as a venue for Christmas parties. Nothing says “Merry Christmas” like shooting an AR-15 during the holidays. Another advertises it is open on Sunday. That way, after SM, you can teach the kids to shoot a pistol and/or your family can shoot at human targets. Yet another advertises that it will assist with upgrading your semi-automatic weapon to fully automatic.
Is having an excess of guns more important than public safety? I would hope not.
“On the other hand, we’d all be grateful if said EQ President shot and stopped an attacker.”
When is the last time that happened.
Unfortunately the statistics are that it is more likely the EQ president’s gun will be used in a suicide within his home, or in some other tragic manner. From everytown dot org: “Every year, hundreds of children age 17 and under gain access to a gun and unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else—sometimes fatally.”
A couple of comments above included questions like “When is the last time that happened?” and “What are the odds that such a tragedy would happen?”
22 fatal church shootings in the USA since 1999, trending upward with 3 already in 2022.
The article also mentions that Protestant pastors were asked what security measures they had taken for their church.
62% Intentional plan for an active shooter
45% Armed church members
23% Armed private security personnel
6% Uniformed police officers
There were other measures listed, but these are the ones that included guns. There was no indication what was meant exactly by “Intentional plan for an active shooter”, so perhaps some of those plans included guns on site and others did not.
@Eli, “violent addict looking for money for his next fix” — honestly are there statistics that the people shooting others are violent addicts looking for money for their next fix? I really bristle at that description.
Most addicts I know are mentally ill, and not violent. Sure, they might break into a home to steal money or prescription drugs, but they’re pretty likely to be unarmed and would just flee if caught. I know of very few cases of who are shot in their own homes by random intruders. How often does that happen and what are the circumstances?
Addiction is a sickness and I think we should treat people suffering from it with compassion.
@josh H, no, I wouldn’t be like “yay for the EQ president!” I’d be like “why did he have a gun???”
Also this, which was in my stake: https://gephardtdaily.com/local/gun-accidentally-fired-inside-lds-church-house/
Anyone who has watched enough Star Wars knows that good guys and bad guys are easy to identify by their clothes and that the bad guys have horrible aim.
In reality, there are a number of possible outcomes to the “good guy with a gun” scenario.
– good guy (possibly female) shoots the bad guy and everyone celebrates over his (definitely male) body. Good guy is awarded key to the city.
– good guy sees another guy with a gun and shoots him, not knowing he is also a good guy.
– police show up and have some kind of trouble figuring out good vs bad guys
– good guy’s gun goes off by accident. There is no bad guy.
In practice I really have no idea how common it is for good guys or police to have trouble figuring out who the bad guy is. By if I was trying to intervene it would definitely be a concern.
“From [article about how frequently it do church shootings occcur].
22 fatal church shootings in the USA since 1999, trending upward with 3 already in 2022
The article also mentions that Protestant pastors were asked what security measures they had taken for their church.
62% Intentional plan for an active shooter
45% Armed church members
23% Armed private security personnel
6% Uniformed police officers”
Are churches in New Zealand, Australia, Japan, or other countries with reasonable gun control measures finding it necessary to take these steps?
This is a problem of our own making that could reasonably be solved without taking everyone’s guns away. We could require liability insurance. We could eliminate gun maker liability protections. We could have background checks and waiting periods. We could have guns stored in appropriate locker facilities, or any other of hundreds of measures that are taken in other countries that have found high levels of gun violence to be intolerable.
There are solutions that don’t require children to go to school in lockdown facilities, that don’t require church members to fear an accidental gun discharge, or that lead to children dying or doing active shooter and lockdown drills at school.
There is another way. There are hundreds of better ways. All we have to do is look around and find the countries that are doing it well. Out children don’t have to die.
This is a choice.
@JustTrying “All we have to do is look around and find the countries that are doing it well.”
Can we include in the list of countries doing it well the United States of the 1950’s, or even the 1850’s? We’ve had guns for hundreds of years without regular shootings in schools and churches (or anywhere really). So if we’ve *always* had guns, something else must have changed. Now I we haven’t always had auto and semi-auto guns, but the point I’m trying to make is guns have been around a long time and they have always been lethal.
Something, or somethings, else has changed. Fix what changed, then you’ll get better results. Otherwise it’s just more and more regulation until I can’t even go to the toilet without prior approval, which by the way my grandpa did as a POW in WWII.
@bwbarnett, you are definitely ‘leading’ to a conclusion in your comment. But if I entertain your comment at face value, maybe something has changed. But perhaps it’s not’ regulation’ or anything from the ‘left’ that you are leading to.. Maybe it’s the maddening and more aggressive practices of the NRA, say, or the rise of alt-right movements or Christian nationalism? Maybe it’s straight white men with zero sum thinking who think that their precious ‘right’ to be absolute jerks to everyone and trample on them and are realizing that can’t do that stuff anymore? Maybe it’s the eventual end of capitalistic practices that argue that selfishness (basically) is a moral virtue above all else? Or maybe the right’s emphasis on the individual at the sake of the community? I don’t know, maybe we could work on fixing those things?
John W wrote “Hmm. What are the odds that such a tragedy would happen?“
Small. The odds that you and I will be struck by lightning, even in a thunderstorm that catches us outdoors unawares, is also small, but I imagine we’d both still avoid the largest tree in the area. I don’t call that paranoia. I call it common sense.
“Even slimmer are the odds that you as a gun owner and concealed carrier would be at the right place at the right time to stop an intruder before that intruder did damage.”
It happens far more often than you realize; monthly, if not weekly. Most major networks really do ignore such stories. Local news channels might give it thirty seconds or so and may not even mention a gun was part of the story. Unfortunately, I have to go to rifle magazines to read most of those accounts. Additionally, I’d imagine far more crimes have been stopped by the presence of a gun, not the use of one. For many criminals, just the fact that it could be used against them is aversion enough. That’s how I’d prefer most handguns be “used.”
“I guess we could arm every last person”
I’m not advocating that. There really are people that shouldn’t have a gun (like those few people who tell me “If I had a gun, what’s to stop me from picking off anyone I wanted at any time.” As they continue talking, I very quickly find myself thinking “Man alive, if you think that way then I’d agree, you and those like you probably shouldn’t have a gun.”). I would love, however, to see the majority of law-abiding citizens take the time to be trained and educated in the proper use of firearms.
“make them extremely paranoid”
Who or what would be making them paranoid at this point if they’re now all armed? Preparation does not equal paranoia.
“and have TSA-like security checks to enter a church or school”
Assuming the majority of law abiding citizen are now properly trained and educated in the proper use of firearms, what makes you think TSA-like security checks would still be needed in these places? They ARE security at that point. That statement exposes YOUR paranoia John, not that of gun owners. A society in which the citizens provide the majority of their own security is, rather, a hallmark of a free society.
Elisa wrote “Addiction is a sickness and I think we should treat people suffering from it with compassion.”
I wholeheartedly agree, but it’s completely beside the point in this case. If there is any reasonable possibility I could talk someone out of something I’d take it. However, the average criminal, from what I understand, can pull a knife and close a twenty foot gap in less than two seconds, on average. Depending on what substance might be coursing through his veins, as well as the type of gun and discerning aim used by the defender, the attacker might take three or four bullets before they even begin to notice there’s anything wrong with them. Compassion, in this instance, is downright impractical, if not stupid.
@Brian, yeah whatever has changed, I’d rather spend time doing studies and research, etc., figuring that out than figuring out how to further restrict and regulate the American people. Perhaps some of the things you listed have changed and can be linked to producing the type of people who are likely to shoot up a school or church. Maybe it’s the disintegration of the family. Maybe it’s that all our younger generation are blowing each other away in video games 12 hours a day. And maybe it’s the things you listed. I’m suggesting that we find out what is causing it rather than regulate it.
I’m of the opinion that there must have been good reasons that the Founders added the right to bear arms into the Bill of Rights. I’m also of the opinion that whatever those reasons were, they are still valid today.
@bwbarnett Yes, if only our ‘younger genrration” were more like those who live in all those other developed and God-fearing countries where this kind of thing doesn’t happens. You know what countries I mean. Those other countries with similar libertine laws in regards to guns and where the children don’t play such video games and don’t have such ‘disintegrating families.’
I know at least two women in my ward who have a gun in their purse at all times. I think this is very common in wards throughout America but they don’t go around telling everyone they are armed.
@eli to be clear, I was not suggesting we need to exercise compassion for a home intruder. I was just objecting to the way you characterized an intruder in your comment.
40+ years ago, I was a church girl in the UK who married a Mormon missionary. He was American, from the Wild West. We lived there for a year or so before deciding to move back to the UK – joint decision that we were both happy with. Everyone, on both sides of the Atlantic, was flabbergasted that we’d choose the UK over the USA. The standard of living was so much higher in the US, the weather was so much better, the opportunities were so much greater, and so on. Yes, those things were all true, but as time passes and I read/hear about US gun culture and the general division that seems to abound, then I’m more convinced we made the right move. p.s. things aren’t perfect here either : )
Gotcha. I did specifically use the word “violent” originally. It would be an entirely different situation if they were not violent. And yes, both are rare to begin with. In all honesty though, I still don’t think characterization still has anything to do with it. A responsible and able gun owner defending against an intruder will simply have to make the best assessment of the situation in the short time they have to do it. That was my point, regardless of the fact we largely agree with each other when it comes to addicts.
Please excuse me for spelling your name with a Z in the last comment.
“From [article about how frequently it do church shootings occcur].
22 fatal church shootings in the USA since 1999, trending upward with 3 already in 2022”
How many suicides have been attempted with guns in the home since 1999?
How many have died by gun suicide since 1999?
How many family members have been killed in their own homes by their own guns since 1999?
God points. During my workplace’s active shooter training, we learned that if we disarmed a shooter and seized the gun, we would be quick targets for the police, who would assume we were the shooters. You don’t want to be a “good guy with a gun” because they won’t know which side you are on and will shoot anyone with a gun not in uniform. We were told that even calling in your description in to a dispatcher would guarantee your safety. We were taught to cover the shooter’s gun with a trash can until police arrived.
Mez, yes, I know two women who packed little handguns in their purses to church. Concealed permits? Nope. We’re they crazy? Untrained? Horrible shots? Yes, yes, yes.
I suspect the answers to your three questions are on the rise over the past 20+ years. I also suspect that there are deteriorating conditions in homes, families, relationships, governments, that are also on the rise. To single out guns as the *reason* for suicide seems a little naive. Maybe *reason* is the wrong word, but your comment seems to suggest that removal of guns would remove suicide. I would agree that removal of guns would remove accidental killings in our homes of family members, but not suicide. It might lower the suicide rate slightly, but there are plenty of other options to kill oneself.
@bwbarnett, from Wikipedia (sorry not sorry for citing Wikipedia): “In the United States suicide by firearm is the most lethal method of suicide resulting in 90% of suicide fatalities, and is thus the leading cause of death by suicide as of 2017.”
Stricter gun control would not be successful in reducing suicide in the United States by 90%, but it still has potential to reduce it a heckuva lot. My sweet and gentle cousin got into his dad’s gun closet while his dad was away on business, left a very nice note, then deliberately set up his dad’s rifle and blew his own brains out when he was just 18 years old. That would not have happened if he hadn’t had easy access to his dad’s guns.
Yes, there are plenty of ways to kill oneself. Two other family members have died by different means of suicide. Suicide, like poverty and homelessness and gun violence itself, is a problem that can never be completely solved, but for God’s sake that doesn’t mean we can’t try. Tighten gun laws so that dumb 18 year old boys don’t blow their own brains out. Tighten gun laws so that dumb 18 year old boys don’t blow out the brains of other people.
“If It Were Up To Me,” by Cheryl Wheeler (1998, after the Jonesboro school shooting):
Maybe it’s the movies, maybe it’s the books
Maybe it’s the bullets, maybe it’s the real crooks
Maybe it’s the drugs, maybe it’s the parents
Maybe it’s the colors everybody’s wearin
Maybe it’s the President, maybe it’s the last one
Maybe it’s the one before that, what he done
Maybe it’s the high schools, maybe it’s the teachers
Maybe it’s the tattooed children in the bleachers
Maybe it’s the Bible, maybe it’s the lack
Maybe it’s the music, maybe it’s the crack
Maybe it’s the hairdos, maybe it’s the TV
Maybe it’s the cigarettes, maybe it’s the family
Maybe it’s the fast food, maybe it’s the news
Maybe it’s divorce, maybe it’s abuse
Maybe it’s the lawyers, maybe it’s the prisons
Maybe it’s the Senators, maybe it’s the system
Maybe it’s the fathers, maybe it’s the sons
Maybe it’s the sisters, maybe it’s the moms
Maybe it’s the radio, maybe it’s road rage
Maybe El Nino, or UV rays
Maybe it’s the army, maybe it’s the liquor
Maybe it’s the papers, maybe the militia
Maybe it’s the athletes, maybe it’s the ads
Maybe it’s the sports fans, maybe it’s a fad
Maybe it’s the magazines, maybe it’s the internet
Maybe it’s the lottery, maybe it’s the immigrants
Maybe it’s taxes, big business
Maybe it’s the KKK and the skinheads
Maybe it’s the communists, maybe it’s the Catholics
Maybe it’s the hippies, maybe it’s the addicts
Maybe it’s the art, maybe it’s the sex
Maybe it’s the homeless, maybe it’s the banks
Maybe it’s the clearcut, maybe it’s the ozone
Maybe it’s the chemicals, maybe it’s the car phones
Maybe it’s the fertilizer, maybe it’s the nose rings
Maybe it’s the end, but I know one thing.
If it were up to me, I’d take away the guns.
To single out guns as the *reason* for suicide seems a little naive. Maybe *reason* is the wrong word, but your comment seems to suggest that removal of guns would remove suicide.
I believe this is a well studied topic. Removing easy means of suicide reduces suicide. Case studies include removing or changing gas ovens, reducing carbon monoxide output from cars, and controlling prescription medications, all of which have successfully reduced suicide in spite of the availability of other means. Research for references is left as an exercise for the reader.
@PontiusPython – What happened to your cousin is a tragedy, as well as all the other suicide victims out there. No argument there at all – absolute tragedy. I also agree that the potential for continued tragedy exists as long as guns remain in American homes. The problem I have is that there is an even greater potential tragedy if guns are removed from American homes. So while removal of guns would lower suicide rates, not only would we lose our right to bear arms, but the real and probable potential to lose many other guaranteed rights would also be at risk. Granted removal of guns does not equate to complete loss of freedom, but I see it as a step toward that, and one that would be difficult or impossible to reverse, should we determine afterwards that it was a bad idea. The principle I’m basing my stance on ultimately comes down to “compulsion vs. freedom”. Ideas that move toward compulsion and away from freedom are ideas that I tend to object to. Ideas that pave the way for removal of freedoms, ideas that pave the way toward more compulsion are ideas I object to. For me, the idea to remove guns fits into this category, and carries with it far more severe and damaging consequences than the suicide rates. (I don’t believe removal of guns would have much of a positive impact on mass shootings. Similar to the outlawing of harmful drugs — the people that want them still get them.)
@Rockwell – “I believe this is a well studied topic. Removing easy means of suicide reduces suicide.”
But what most likely was not included in all those studies is what other impacts the removal of guns would have as suggested in my response to PontiusPython.
For what it’s worth, South Korea has far stricter gun laws than the U.S. and still has higher suicide rates. I realize guns are only one factor of so many others.
That said, some responsibility should be put on gun owners. There are gun safes out there that are nearly impossible to open, even after hours with a crowbar. When it comes to a determined home invader, a good dog and security system would probably give a person just enough time to access it, if a gun is still even needed at this point and the safe is close.
Just getting rid of guns, however, seems to ignore a larger problem and lacks the forethought for future problems.
Purely anecdotal on my part, but I look at the people I know who are the most pro gun and most pro 2nd Amendment (two different things for sure). Although I do know a few redneck gun owners that might qualify as uneducated (except when it comes to gun safety), most of them are voracious readers. They understand political arguments on both sides. They attend city council meetings regularly and write their government representatives. They volunteer in the community. In short, they’re outstanding citizens.
When I look at the people I know who are the most anti-gun I find, with few exception, that these are people whose main concern is what their next Netflix show is, or where they plan on going for the weekend.
But maybe I just hang out with different crowds. My sister is very anti-gun and also a voracious reader. She seems to be the exception. Some of the bloggers and commenters here have also shown me otherwise from time to time.
But I look at comments on this thread and others in the past that say “We should mandate this” or “We should get rid of this” and realize that having people like that in power, no matter initially benevolent, is what I fear more than any home invader. You can call that paranoia. I call it ten minutes with a standard history book.
One other thought. If you think we should get rid of guns, but find yourself cheering for the Ukrainian people, I do find that just a bit hypocritical.
@Rockwell – “I believe this is a well studied topic. Removing easy means of suicide reduces suicide.”
But what most likely was not included in all those studies is what other impacts the removal of guns would have as suggested in my response to PontiusPython.
Yes, I think you are right. I am not aware of any studies that address the concerns you refer to there. I don’t think that those concerns lend themselves to study. I would be curious About how such a study could be constructed. My comment there, and the studies I referred to, dealt only with changing suicide rates.
I don’t think it’s possible to construct a scientific study that measures the effect of gun control on other rights, as you seem to be concerned about. My personal opinion is that gun rights have very little bearing on the existence of other rights.
BWBarnett and company. Part of Americas gun culture are these ideas you repeat as if they are meaningful, that you have freedom because you have guns. That you are safer because you have guns etc.
The countries that are safest and where people have most freedom, are where they have greatest financial equality, and are united. They agree on whats important and they do not need guns to achieve it. They are not being forced to do anything, they are contributing to a peacefull society. If you need a gun to defend your freedom, what happened to your society?
Two scales/ratings of countries; happiness index, and murder rates by country.
Homocides/100,000 people USA 5.3 Canada 1.8 UK 1.2 Australia 0.8 Norway 0.5. The difference is not some percentage points but factors of 4,5,6 times.
Happiness index is combination of survey (how people feel) and figures, and takes into account
GDP/ capita and how evenly distributed
Social support in their society
Healthy life expectancy
Freedom to make life choices
Generosity in their society
Perception of corruption
The top 7 countries are all in northern europe, then New Zealand, a couple more europeans, then Canada 11, Australia 12, UK 13, and I am surprised USA is as high as 18.
BWB seems to think that if he didn’t have his guns his freedom would be in danger, and he would be compelled to do unnamed things. The only thing he might be compelled to do is give up semi automatic weapons, which have no purpose other than killing people.
I feel much safer, and freer living where I do compared to America. We have just had a federal election. A lot of the subjects that cause stress in America were not mentioned during the election. This reduces the level of stress greatly and makes life so much more pleasant, and more free and productive. Things that were at issue were the economy, funding support for disabled, equality for women, child care, increasing the minimum wage by 5% to $21.38/hour, recognising and funding aboriginal rights, cost of living pressures, housing, and the climate crisis.
Things not questioned during the campaign were
Teaching of history in schools
Whether the election could be trusted.
Without these contentious US issues, not only is life less stressfull, but there is freedom from fear, and the opportunity to address issues like helping disabled people be able to contribute financially to society, address poverty and inequality, how to reduce domestic abuse, and climate change can be addressed.
An American is 6.5 times as likely to be killed by homicide as I am.
You will die 5 years younger than I will.
You will spend your life believing you are under attack. Freedom, Safety?
Are these what your guns are achieving/defending?
I am not trying to attack America, but the right wing culture that defends the semi automatic weapons that have no use except to kill others.
American guns not only preserve American freedom, but they preserve worldwide freedom. Other free countries are able to enjoy free lifestyles, governments, laws, etc., because of the guns in America.
Ukraine would have lost their freedoms already without American guns. No doubt other countries bordering Russia would be under Russian rule right now without American guns. Taiwan would have been annexed to China years ago and probably other bordering countries. Who knows what the status of Europe would be after Hitler’s aggression without American guns. South Korea would be under the rule of North Korea without American guns. I don’t necessarily agree with all the wars the US has been involved in, but there is no doubt that freedom lives in the world today because of American guns. I hope this doesn’t come off as boastful. That’s not the spirit it is intended.
It’s easy to speak about the greatness of your own country, how right you are doing everything, how everyone is united, how there isn’t much division or controversial issues…. when your basking in the freedoms preserved by another country’s guns.
“If you think we should get rid of guns, but find yourself cheering for the Ukrainian people, I do find that just a bit hypocritical.”
It is perfectly reconcilable. You could favor getting rid of personal ownership of guns and accepting gun possession only for members of the military. We are providing weapons for the Ukrainian military, after all, not weapons for personal ownership.
On gun ownership deterring gun violence, again Eli is missing the forest for the trees. There are more guns than people in the US. And gun violence far exceeds that in other wealthy nations (https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2022-us-gun-violence-world-comparison/). The good guys with guns aren’t stopping anything. That being the case, if you’re against regulating guns, you’d think that more security would be needed. But right-wing politicians are just scared of the small minority of gun nuts and afraid that the NRA won’t give them an A+ rating. Cowards.
@bwbarnett, the freedoms of other countries do not come from personal American civilian gun ownership but from the export of American arms and the cooperation of the American military and government, if you insist on looking at it that way. American military aid to other countries is not fundamentally tied to the existence of a vigorous Second Amendment at home. There are several missing links in that chain of logic.
On the other hand, the easy availability of civilian guns in the United States is a problem for other countries and exacerbated crime in Canada and cartel violence in Mexico. Drugs flow north across the border, guns flow south. That’s very well documented by reliable sources, look it up.
Please try again to find another justification for “guns := freedom”.
@PontiusPython – I’ve said my peace, and I stand by what I’ve said. I’m not going to “try again”. I appreciate that we each have our own viewpoints.
bwbarnett, you should add to your argument that American tanks, missiles, grenade launchers, machine guns, and other weapons that are illegal for personal use and ownership in the US have aided the militaries of current allies such as Ukraine, South Korea, and other countries.
Your argument, not entirely incorrect, is beyond the point of this discussion, which is the legitimacy of personal gun ownership with extremely few restrictions.
Look, the majority of NRA members are in favor of some more restrictions than we already have. It is an extreme minority than cowardly Republican politicians are kowtowing to. Purely disgraceful.
Second, I don’t know of any Democratic politician who favors taking away all guns. Republicans and right-wing media figures have created a boogeyman.
Increased restrictions and regulations on gun ownership are common sense, favored by the majority of Americans and even the majority of Republican voters, and the moral direction to move towards. You and Eli are creating smokescreens to avoid admitting what the overwhelming majority of Americans want. And it is just as disgraceful.
Just for fun, one might google restrictions on gun carry rules on U.S. military bases. Some may be surprised at the restrictions active duty members of the military, trained in gun use and safety, face in daily personal gun use or carry.
“Military Bases — All military bases are Federal property. Each base may have slightly different policies, however visitors who arrive at a military base with firearm(s) must leave them with the guards at the gate. If the base does not have storage capabilities at the gate or armory, you could be turned away. The only people who can carry guns around a base—concealed or otherwise—are on-duty military police, who handle routine security. They then have to return their guns to the armory when their shifts are over. There are exceptions for on-duty local or state police officers who come to the base on official business. The base commander can make other exceptions. Check at each military post for specific rules. Exception-Active duty military police, criminal investigators, and Marine Corps law enforcement program police officers may conceal carry personally owned weapons while on base while off-duty as long as they comply with the 2016 Department of Defense Directive, title “Arming and the Use of Force”.”
So there’s that.
BWB, I am going to assume you would not vote democrat, so are a republican, voted for trump.
Trump undermined alliances such as NATO, and was impressed with dictators like Putin (who appointed himself president for life like trump wants). There is much doubt as to whether the west would be united in defending Ukraine against Russia if Trump was in power, and whether trump would be supporting Ukraine. Australia is an ally of USA and have joined America in every war since ww2 where you joined us, but Australia had discussed whether we would follow America lead by trump into war.
Your domestic gun laws have nothing to do with your military capability. Our military are not affected by our gun laws.
You’ve said your peace (piece) and you stand by it. Your piece is a series of republican big lies, like the stolen election. Will you be out with your gun insisting trump won in 24 whether he wins or looses? Will you continue if he takes power in 24 and there is no election in 28, or a putin style election, with no opposition?
We do not have our freedom because of your domestic gun laws, and neither does anyone else including America. I despair for youall.
Really getting to know someone is difficult even when you are around them in-person regularly. So naturally understanding who someone is from an online perspective is even more difficult. Then choosing one thing, like political affiliation, it’s just impossible. So while correct in assuming I’m a registered Republican, and then glomming me in with all other Republicans, tossing out little attacks here and there is really poor style in my opinion. I align more as a libertarian when it comes to political views. I consider my “Trump votes” more as “anti-Hillary” and “anti-Joe” votes. I really can’t remember a true “pro-anyone” vote I’ve cast in a long time. I consider myself more a “pro-freedom” guy rather than a “pro-gun” guy. I own a few guns, but I couldn’t tell you much about any of them.
I’m a computer programmer, small business owner/entrepreneur, and enjoy playing racquetball, volleyball, and basketball. I’m a faithful husband who is madly in love with my gorgeous wife of 33 years who waited patiently for 2 years for me to come home from an Argentine mission. I’m a father of 8, grandfather of 12. I’m a disciple of Jesus Christ and like most here have done my best with the knowledge I have to follow Him. I’m a rather patient, slow-to-anger and thoughtful kinda guy.
I’m hoping that can shed a little more light on who I am, at least from my perspective, rather than just some psycho Republican who voted for Trump.
PS. Thanks for the peace vs piece correction 😉
Rockwell wrote “My personal opinion is that gun rights have very little bearing on the existence of other rights.”
I’m genuinely curious as to your view of the Revolutionary War in light of that statement.
Geoff-Aus, if my concept of America came purely from our media, I don’t think it would be a good place to live either. I do think we have different concepts of what constitutes “security” and what constitutes “freedom,” and I do think having a broader definition of the latter might lower what you’d call security while in many ways increasing what I’d call security. I do believe I understand where you are coming from, however.
With the best of intentions, I would caution you against assuming the majority of conservatives are selfish, ignorant, die-hard Trump supporters along the same lines of cautioning someone against assuming all your ancestors came from a penal colony.
John W wrote “You could favor getting rid of personal ownership of guns and accepting gun possession only for members of the military. We are providing weapons for the Ukrainian military, after all, not weapons for personal ownership.”
Yeah, because that worked out great for Native Americans and Jews (I realize Jews were only 1% or so of the German population and that guns probably would have only bought them a little time). Are they not arming regular Ukrainian citizens as we type? That’s what I’ve read. From what I understand, Ukraine had some of the loosest gun laws (relatively speaking) of any eastern European country, and they still need guns. Makes you wonder where they’d be if they had similar ratios to the U.S. Didn’t Japan’s consideration of a WWII mainland invasion end rather quickly because they knew there’d likely be at least one armed citizen on every street?
“The good guys with guns aren’t stopping anything.” Clearly you’re not getting the same information I am. These people are just as real as the victims are.
“ again Eli is missing the forest for the trees” No John. We just think differently (thank goodness). I have a lot of things I’d like to see the American people do but I’d like to avoid forcing it down their throats with legislation. You clearly would. I’d like to resist that. We ultimately want most of the same things. I’d like to go about it in other ways.
“Look, the majority of NRA members are in favor of some more restrictions than we already have.”
I clearly missed that poll.
“Second, I don’t know of any Democratic politician who favors taking away all guns.”
Al Sharpton instantly came to mind. He’s even spoken of knives. I realize he holds next to no influence in the party.
“ . . . favored by the majority of Americans and even the majority of Republican voters, and the moral direction to move towards.”
Even if all that were true, we’re talking about a government that exists to protect the rights of the individual, regardless of what the majority thinks. I do think the reasons for that are of far greater benefit to society than the majority of restrictions imposed. And as far as “smokescreens” go, did you not read my admission above that there are some people who probably shouldn’t have a gun? I can’t remember the newspaper (east coast), but there was a liberal reporter who went to apply for a gun to show how easy it was to get one. He was rejected based on his history of domestic violence with partners. The system worked, but he chalked it up to a right-wing conspiracy to sabotage his article. LOL.
JustTrying, I’m well aware of the military policy, and it’s downright scary. The vast majority of soldiers and former vets I know would give their life in a heartbeat to save a fellow soldier, even if one of their own turned on them. These are people who are well-trained. I would know of no safer place to be in a mass shooting if they were all armed. One misconception I’ve seen (admittedly often from liberals) is that a good soldier follows orders (I think even Hawkgrrrl once made that point while pointing out how Captain America appeared out of character—at least initially– in Civil War). It’s simply not true. A good soldier serves the people of the United States and the Constitution. My brother-in-law is a vet who spent time in both Kosovo and Iraq and had a pretty good military career. He once told me something along the lines of “If my commanding officer asked me to take an American’s guns or anything else that conflicted with the Constitution, I’d first ask them for clarification. If they repeated what I thought they said, and no one else was around, I’d punch them in face, return home, take off my uniform, and immediately retrieve my guns.” Years later, he repeated a similar sentiment to those under his command. Shortly thereafter, he was asked to retire. Admittedly, he was up for disability retirement, but the request did not seem entirely coincidental.
One could easily chalk the military gun policy up to the mental health of soldiers, or rogue muslim soldiers, or any other number of things and they’d probably be at least partially right. I don’t think it’s that simple given the nature of most soldiers. I think the military is simply growing more distrustful of its own soldiers seeking to protect the American people and Constitution and instead are looking for soldiers who will simply do anything they’re asked. It’s shifting in its priorities. That, John, is another reason I’d prefer everyone be armed, not just the military. Would I last long? Probably not, but it might beat some of the other horrors waiting.
bwbarnett, that is good to hear that you aren’t a Trump cultist. But in your comments you come off as an aggressive contrarian who has a myopic view on freedom, as if right-wing libertarians have monopolized all legitimate discourse on freedom. This is just bizarre. I identify myself as hugely pro-freedom, and yet I vote Democrat, am a huge fan of Joe Biden, and subscribe to a mixture of ideas coming from American progressivism and center-left. I became a Democrat 14 years ago because of the idea of freedom. I found that they were the more pro-freedom party. Republicans seemed like warmongers who wanted to dismantle important social programs overwhelmingly favored by the majority of Americans all in the name of cutting taxes on the rich and in the name of the false doctrine of trickle-down economics, promoted by Reagan and his ilk in the ’80s. Even George H. W. Bush had the gumption to denounce this nonsense economic theory as ‘voodoo economics’ during his primary campaign against Reagan in 1980. Obama converted me to the Democratic Party and I’m still a huge fan.
The way I see it, libertarians are at first glance somewhat admirable in that they are willing to reject many elements of the Republican platform. They tend to be anti-war, pro-legalization of pot and other drugs, in favor of reducing prison sentences for smaller crimes, heavily in favor of police reform, and a host of other things that coincide with Democratic/progressive interests. But the leading self-identifying libertarian personalities in the media are dangerous loons, including Tucker Carlson, Glenn Beck, Alex Jones, and many others, who often have ties to white nationalists, promote crypto-racist ideas, and spin webs and webs of conspiracy theories. The self-identifying libertarians in Congress, including Ted Cruz (aka Cancun Cruz), Rand Paul, Ron Paul, and Thomas Massie, are similarly dangerous loons who push nonsense ideas and have stoked hate and death threats against important figures in public health such as Dr. Fauci. I have regularly been unimpressed at best and terrified at worst by thoughts and ideas emanating from self-identifying libertarians. I see the libertarian label as highly problematic. If someone self-identifies as libertarian, I usually sigh inside and figure that we’re not going to get along. The problem is that the phobia of government among libertarians tends to be so intense that they are rendered feckless and hapless in the face of major problems that society needs to urgently solve. They refuse to see the government as a possible vehicle of freedom maximization and believe in market magic as a sort of cure-all snake oil-like elixir to fix all of society’s problems. But highly functioning markets have only existed because of a good balance of rules and regulations imposed by governments. Furthermore, history reveals that governments have long maximized individual freedoms and are indispensable to its continued future expansion. An increase of freedom from gun violence can and will only come from increased government regulation and intervention. It is the only way.
I’m a little late chiming in, but I thought I’d add my two cents.
– Guns and suicides – stricter gun control would not eliminate suicide by firearms, but it would reduce it. Yes, there are other means, but these other means are less effective. In general, guns are a permanent, immediate solution to a temporary problem.
– Guns and personal freedom – the second amendment was not conceived as an individual right, despite what the NRA and others argue today. It was a collective protection against the federal government. And personally, I find the rationale for the protection quite troubling. Historians have researched the origins of second amendment and have concluded that a “militia that was controlled solely by the federal government would not be there to protect the slave owners from an enslaved uprising. And … James Madison crafted that language in order to mollify the concerns coming out of Virginia and the anti-Federalists, that they would still have full control over their state militias — and those militias were used in order to quell slave revolts.” The quote is from this interview from one historian: https://www.npr.org/2021/06/02/1002107670/historian-uncovers-the-racist-roots-of-the-2nd-amendment
@John W – Yeah there are some loons in all political parties I think. And then you sometimes get a popular talking head with the ability to talk to the masses who may focus on one or two planks of a political party platform, giving people a skewed view of what that party really stands for. From libertarianism.com “Libertarians believe that, in politics, liberty is the most important value.” I also value limited government and natural rights for all (not hereditary rights or aristocracy). You and I both claim that we value freedom. As others have said, I think we have differing opinions on how to achieve/maintain that freedom. We may have slightly differing opinions on the definition of freedom too, but probably not too different.
For those of us who care to align with a political party, I think most find the one that most closely aligns with them. Hard to find one that completely does. For example, I know several Democrats who say things like, I’m a Democrat, but I’m pro-life.
Regarding the topic at-hand (guns – to regulate or not to regulate), if there were a way to get rid of guns completely, world-wide I would be in favor of that. You know kind of like an Anti-Nephi-Lehi act of burying all our weapons of war. But some people would no doubt secretly keep their guns and then my freedoms would be at risk, because the guy who kept his guns can compel me, even if I have a really nice sword. Over the past 20 years or so, my trust in governments, specifically the US government, has dwindled. I don’t think they value the individual’s liberty. I wish I had a better understanding of history. Are there examples in the last 1000 years or so of free civilizations that remained free and didn’t have to worry about weapons to defend their freedom? Are there examples of free civilizations where the government didn’t take more and more power away from the people? What other free civilizations in world history would you, or other anti-gun people, point to as a success story? I would be interested to read about such a civilization.
“What other free civilizations in world history would you, or other anti-gun people, point to as a success story?”
Sigh. The argument isn’t to do away with guns and it never has been. The argument is to regulate them better. If we could turn the US into Switzerland, where people love guns, own them, but track ownership, require proper training, and have strict laws keeping guns out of the hands of those who don’t deserve them, I would be a happy person.
John W – For you the argument isn’t to do away with guns, for others it is. And for the PTB, I believe it is their ultimate goal. Sure maybe I’m just paranoid. Also, why the “sigh” to begin your comment? The sigh comes across to me kinda like a parent sighing because his immature, uneducated and no-life-experience teenager just isn’t understanding something. Kind of a condescending tone of sorts. You and I are both grown men with plenty of life experience and education. If you want to engage in conversation that’s great, but the sighs aren’t necessary.
bwbarnett, “for you the argument isn’t to do away with guns, for others it is.” Who? As far as I can tell, you’ve been attacking a strawman the entire time. No one is arguing against not having a armed national military or police force. No one is even arguing in favor of taking away personal ownership of guns. The argument is to have more restrictions and regulations. Period. Can we not agree that there needs to be more restrictions and regulations of gun ownership in the US? Sigh, indeed. You are acting immature and have repeatedly dodged the main arguments at hand in the comments section and have repeatedly propped up a boogeyman.
PS, bwbarnett, I’ll let you have the last word. I am clearly arguing with someone who refuses to have a good faith discussion and deliberately misconstrues the arguments of his opponents to score cheap points. Not worth my time. Sayonara.
With over 300,000,000.00 (million) guns – and growing – in the United States now, does anyone really think that these weapons are going to somehow be confiscated; or that people are going to willingly give them up? (That’s kinda/sorta fairy tale land.) We’d probably best focus our efforts on safety, security and policing at schools – and maybe raising the minium age for purchasing a rifle to 21…..The “horse is already out of the barn….and it’s not coming back”.
Just noticed the Eli comment (was it throttled or did I just not see it before?). In a previous comment I mentioned how Eli was “missing the forest for the trees.” He then passive-aggressively writes, “no, John we just disagree.” Wow. Taking offense at a very tame comment.
On NRA members favoring more restrictions than we currently have: https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2018/feb/27/tim-ryan/after-parkland-shooting-ohio-congressman-said-70-8/
“I’d like to avoid forcing it down their throats with legislation”
Wow, you must see it as an injustice that Americans can’t own machine guns, rocket launchers, and tanks.
It is like a mass shooting happens and the only victims you see are yourself and other gun owners. You are truly a lowlife, disgusting, pathetic human being. And a dangerous, unstable, lunatic clown. The mass shootings happen in large part because of despicable people like you. Shame on you! Your fake freedom is no freedom at all. It is delusion and oppression. Weak pathetic fake victim. Total phony.
John W, your comments are must-reads for me as I’m scrolling down through wheat and tares comments. You bring a lot of good information and insight to the discussions. Your command of historical topics is amazing and the thoughts you draw from them insightful. I’m gonna say, though, that you undermine yourself when you devolve into personal attacks. It’s just not necessary. Your insights are strong–some of the best I’ve found–please let them stand on their own. Skip the personal attacks. You’re above that. And keep sharing your insights. That’s what we are here for and your comments are part of what is so enlightening in these discussions.
(Maybe find a different way to vent that doesn’t forget that real people, not bots, are behind comments here…)
BWB As the problem is self loading weapons, and as they are less than 100 years old, you can look at most of the first world as examples of countries where law and order are maintained, where governments operate in the best interests of society, and where murder, and gun deaths are less than America by factors of at least 5.
I notice in your writings you emphasize individual rights over society. And small government and libertarianism.
I do not understand what you think the benifits of this philosophy is in practice?
My wife and I have been to America on a number of occasions. We always enjoy your national parks, particularly Yellowstone, which I understand is closed due to unprecidented flooding.
If libertarians were in charge I assume there would be no national parks?
How do libertarians address climate change, which is most likely responsible for Yellowstones floods?
Are you sure libertarianism is not just code for protecting priviledge?
I live 35 minutes from the Gold Coast in Australia. 50miles of public beaches. When you come off a gold coast beach there are facilities to wash the sand off your feet, the are toilets, and picnic tables. Big government, so I assume you would not approve? All beaches in Australia are public, there are no private beaches.
Last time I was in America we spent time in California, where some beaches were accessable to the public, then drove across the south to Florida, where we drove 30 miles to find a public beach which was perhaps 200 yards long with a fence going into the water at each end, where the private beaches began. I assume this would be preferable to you over the Australian version?
Can you explain what you see the benifits of small government are for society?
I assume you oppose universal healthcare? Do you also oppose government efforts to deal with the pandemic, what about pointing out the dangers of smoking, or reducing domestic abuse?
I assume you are happy to support tax benifits to the wealthy, but would oppose redistributing wealth to the poor? Or even a living minimum wage?
Is your libertarianism responsible for your attitude to guns, and fear of society?
How does libertarianism fit with loving your poorer neighbour?
LHL, Why not just join in, or give up? Other countries have solved this problem, are they better than America? Can you not rise to the challenge?
I THINK we all agree that we want zero-tolerance for school shooting, correct? Is there someone in this conversation that doesn’t want zero school shootings?
So then how do we get there? It’s a real challenge. From what I see in the comments, there are people putting forth ideas, which aren’t perfect. Then there are people shooting down those ideas cuz freedom without offering anything else.
For me personally, I’m not going to let perfection get in the way of something good. Let’s try something, anything. It’s insanity to do nothing and somehow expect a different outcome.
A well-balanced breakfast, being necessary for your long-term health, the right of the people to keep and drink orange juice, shall not be infringed.
I kind of felt I should respond to this first.
“PS, bwbarnett, I’ll let you have the last word. I am clearly arguing with someone who refuses to have a good faith discussion and deliberately misconstrues the arguments of his opponents to score cheap points. Not worth my time. Sayonara.”
What an asinine statement, coming even from you John. I need to come clean. I largely lost all respect for you a year or two ago (not that you’d care what I think). Your comments have a clear pattern that I’ve gotten used to looking for over time.
1.I see you state your point.
2. Someone disagrees, most of the time quite cordially and out of sincerity.
3. You insult them or name call (You always have some substance both in original point and response, but as mentioned above, it gets undermined).
4. Moderators occasionally give you a slap on the wrist.
5. You justify your behavior to them based on your ratio of up votes vs. down votes. Who really does that? You’re the only person I’ve encountered, in person or online, who does. It really is kind of disturbing behavior. Apparently, in your mind, morality has a popularity factor involved. Hey, if it’s popular enough, how can it be wrong? It’s for the greater good. That’s one of the scariest aspects about you. You clearly think people who think differently than you are beneath you. Thoughts lead to words, and words lead to actions. Over time, if you had enough political power, along with popular support, and a corruption of law, I really wouldn’t put popping off or jailing a political opponent past you if you felt enough good would come from it. The fact that you don’t seem to recognize it is also scary. I know you’re far from that road (at least I hope so). But if there was a “most likely to . . .” category for this in a yearbook, I’d pick you. You’re the type of person I fear in power.
(Equally disturbing is the fact that some of your insults do garner more up votes than down. I’d say that says far more about the poor quality of liberal die-hard W&T readers than it does about you, but if I’m honest, it probably says more about a small group of people obsessed with the vote function.)
I try really hard to ignore points 1-5 and see your comments for what they are, but it’s so extremely hard not to let your pattern taint them. One of about 12 reason I still allow myself to come to W&T is to try to overcome liberal stereotypes I see in others, one of which is that if a liberal doesn’t feel they have the facts behind them or feel their political opponent is stupid or evil enough, they’ll resort purely to personal attacks. I know you put plenty of substance behind your points (even if I feel they’re out of context at times or are points beside the point), so I can only conclude it’s how you view other people. You basically reinforce that stereotype like no one else here.
But what also made this statement so asinine is that one of the first things that have come to mind every time I have read BWB’s comments over this past year is “Hey, this is a pretty polite and thoughtful guy.” The fact that you accused him of cheap shot felt very ironic.
But I will say this. A liberal friend of mine quoted someone famous (forgive me for not remembering the source, it wasn’t immediately obvious on Google), saying “If you’re thinking, you’re winning.” Thanks to you John, I do a fair amount of winning here. I sincerely hope I return the favor from time to time, but I won’t hold my breath.
As for your later response me:
“was it throttled or did I just not see it before?” You didn’t see it. We posted our comments at virtually the same time.
“He then passive-aggressively writes, ‘no, John we just disagree.’ Wow. Taking offense at a very tame comment.” Sorry, really did not mean to come across passive-aggressive, nor was I offended.
As far a NRA link concerning universal background checks, I thought that was very old news and not something I’m opposed to, so there’s that.
“It is like a mass shooting happens and the only victims you see are yourself and other gun owners. You are truly a lowlife, disgusting, pathetic human being. And a dangerous, unstable, lunatic clown. The mass shootings happen in large part because of despicable people like you. Shame on you! Your fake freedom is no freedom at all. It is delusion and oppression. Weak pathetic fake victim. Total phony.”
I was hoping not to witness you prove some of my points above again on this thread. If you really think that, you’re far more disturbed than I realized and not capable of real discussion no matter how smart. Your behavior is more of what I’d expect from a four year old, not a 41ish man with a PhD in History.
Trying end on a note relating somewhat back to the original discussion, I did just want to point out that I also think comparing us to other advanced nations on this issue has its own set of problems. I think cultural, logistical, and other differences would lower the probability we’d get the same results.
Purely a short-term answer, at least for now. I know plenty of vets who would gladly volunteer their time patrolling a school. You’d probably be able to get two or three. I don’t think it would disturb children to the degree many claim it would, and as an added bonus, it might serve as a form of therapy for the vets—let them be around what matters most in life and watch in real time the formation of lives they ultimately fought for when they signed up.
Given the rate of PTSD among vets, we’d definitely have to be selective, of which I’d think they’d be the first to point out and agree.
Eli, that was a very strange image there for a moment… until I twigged you meant military veterans and not veterinary surgeons. On this side of the Atlantic vet is used almost exclusively for the latter.
Lol. I think the general population over here probably actually distinguishes between the two the same way more often than not, but among veterans themselves, many who work where I do, I hear them often shorten it the same way.
@Eli In regards to your assessment of pro gun and 2nd amendment supporters being more well read than anti gun supporters (not that I think that is completely accurate, many just want regulations) it must be those you hang out with. I live in a red rural area that is very pro-gun, 2nd amendment and most take little time to study and read issues, beyond Fox News talking points. Those with more nuanced views (where I think more of your anti gun group fall) have more education and spend more time looking at issues and solutions to problems.
@Geoff – I really don’t know a whole lot about Libertarianism. Over the years I’ve heard or read some of their values and I liked them – Liberty/Freedom & small government being two of the big ones. I’ve never attended any libertarian meetings or contributed to any libertarian campaign, I just agree with some of their core values, so I would not be qualified to speak to the issues you raised from a libertarian perspective.
Small government doesn’t mean no government. When I think “small government”, I’m thinking primarily at the federal/national level. I think many of the issues you listed are much better solved at state and local levels. State and local governments are much better suited to deal with most issues facing their citizens. They are more financially efficient as well and the people they represent are much more involved/empowered when the guy passing laws lives next door.
My understanding of the US Constitution is that it was originally setup to work this way, with very limited and enumerated powers granted to the federal government, all other powers remaining with the states. In my opinion, this was a wise move by the Founders, but it has been ruined as the federal government has grown out of control over the last several decades.
Regarding your comments about the poor (redistribution of wealth, loving my neighbor), for me those things are more the responsibility of individuals, families and churches rather than the government. This division of responsibility worked much better in the days of the Founders because families and churches worked better back then. Granted it is what it is now, so if government has to get involved, I would favor state and local governments taking on more of this responsibility as opposed to the federal government.
@Chadwick – “Let’s try something, anything”
Legislation is always about compromise nowadays. So if the folks against stricter gun laws were willing to pass such laws on conditions, would those in favor of such laws be okay with adding clauses to those laws that might try to address underlying reasons for school/church shootings and suicide?
We write up a law which includes several of the stricter gun law ideas, but within that law there are also clauses that outlaw: Violence in TV shows, movies, video games, etc. Any purveyor of such material goes to prison. More TV shows and movies that champion the idea of the nuclear family. (One of my favorite Disney movies is The Incredibles because it has a Dad, Mom and more than one kid.) Tougher laws for absent fathers, perhaps some Christian/moral values classes taught in public schools as part of our regular curriculum and throughout the whole K12 experience, stricter penalties for “bullies” and along with the penalties, some emotional/psychological help for the bullies. I’m not sure how big of a factor pornography is in mass shooters and suicide victims, but hire our best white hat hackers, track down all the pornographers, and shut them down and incarcerate them. I’m sure there are plenty of other ideas. I understand some of these things may not be practical, but I hope you get the gist of what I’m saying.
You know all this in the same spirit of “doing anything”?
@John W – Sayonara
The term “Universal Background Checks” is a term that many well meaning people throw around as a major part of “the solution”. However, for the most part it is simply a façade . For the most part, Universal Background Checks are ALREADY in place for all who are legally purchasing firearms; yes, even at gun shows. I’ve purchased 3 weapons in the last two years and in each case – paid for a full FBI background check. For those purchasing black market arms….of course, there is no background check law that will affect this at all.
Eli June 20, 2022 at 12:13 am
Rockwell wrote “My personal opinion is that gun rights have very little bearing on the existence of other rights.” I’m genuinely curious as to your view of the Revolutionary War in light of that statement.
Future me if I’m wearing, but I think that rather than being actually curious about my view, you might be merely making a rhetorical point that the colonial armies relied on personal gun ownership. Not being a historian, I’m not going to really comment on that specific point. More generally My view is that if you have to reach back to the revolutionary war for an example then you have proven my point. Since that time we have had a civil war, as well as many protests and uprisings, both peaceful and otherwise, and also quite a few advances in military technology. I think inthe recent past, present, and foreseeable future our rights are best protected by the power of persuasion.
I’m not opposed to gun ownership. I think a lot of people make choices about gun ownership that make them and their loved ones less safe, but to some degree that is their right. I am in favor of some level of regulation. And I think generally that the NRA and Faux News both have bonkers talking points on the matter. And as a result of a vast political divide, most Republican politicians cannot afford to take a moderate position on gun rights, a position that most Americans would support, for fear they’ll be ousted in primaries.
“ Future me if I’m wearing” was supposed to be “forgive me if I’m wrong.”
Crazy word prediction / Autocorrect
Rockwell wrote “but I think that rather than being actually curious about my view, you might be merely making a rhetorical point”
I would hope, given the times we have both frequented this blog over the years, you would have known by now that when I say genuine, I mean it, but given my conversation with John, I can totally understand that perception. No forgiveness needed, and I appreciate you being willing to respond.
“if you have to reach back to the revolutionary war for an example then you have proven my point.”
I have to disagree. To me, that’s almost like saying “We’ve acquired plenty of golden eggs up to now, why should we keep this goose around?”
I get that taking all guns away is not the goal of everyone. I get that other forms of persuasion can be very effective. I realize using guns to preserve rights would be a final and last resort. I’d rather keep a last resort as fully intact as possible, rather than take for granted the idea we’d never have to get to that point. I just see it as common sense.
“supposed to be ‘forgive me if I’m wrong.’ “
Thank you for your clarification. I fall just outside of millennial status (a Xennial, according to some sociologists) but try to stay somewhat afloat of the lingo. I was struggling this time, LOL.
Bob&Anna wrote “it must be those you hang out with. I live in a red rural area that is very pro-gun, 2nd amendment and most take little time to study and read issues, beyond Fox News talking points.”
Fair enough. I’m not exactly sure of your political persuasions, but I will let you in on a conservative secret that may or may not be obvious: We easily get annoyed with fellow conservatives that don’t take the time to read and study the issues on their own. That includes myself more often than I’d care to admit. Having said that, the majority of conservatives I know, even the “redneck” ones, do often take the time to align themselves with those who do take the time to read and study, and have earned their respect and trust. This goes well beyond “Fox News talking points.” For example “I should be able to call Mr. Johnson on this issue,” Or “What yard signs does she have up right now?” are questions I hear often, but I’d like to hear it a lot less. And when it comes to just reading a person, politician or not, I’ve learned not to underestimate a redneck. We can do so much better though.
If I may, I feel the act of stereotyping conservatives (I realize you were specifically referring to the red in your rural area and this is just more of a point in general) as going purely off “Fox News talking points,” or “Faux News” as Rockwell mentions, has itself become somewhat of a liberal stereotype. None of the conservatives I know of watch it with regularity. I don’t. I do occasionally watch FB snippets. Many read articles, study the candidates, and read essays, among other things (like the conservative they trust). I think if the last election taught us anything, it’s that moderates and/or undecideds decide where the cable news ratings stand. During much of Trumps time, Maddow and other time slots consistently beat Fox. That doesn’t make the problem of relying solely on cable news talking points any less of an issue, I just think that certain conservatives deserve a lesser portion of that blame.
Wow, this discussion is still going. And Eli keeps weighing in with lies, delusions, and half truths. Probably time to close discussion, especially with all the insults that Eli has lobbied at other people.
One Question: When did “Wheat and Tares” become so decidedly Leftist/Marxist? I joined a few years ago…and I don’t recall the writings here being so political and so anti-conservative as it is today?
LHL: Probably about the time so many people in the church starting revealing that they were rooting for the overthrow of democracy? Also, the term “leftist/marxist” is ridiculous. The entire US, left included, is to the right of basically ALL of Europe. I think the other question your comment raises is whether the readers are further to the left now than they were, or whether the authors are. As to the authors, we are mostly further left than the John Birch society, but definitely not all “leftist/Marxist” whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean.
But this was supposed to be a discussion about how to solve gun violence, and I would have hoped that both sides would be able to agree that gun violence is a problem in this country. I’m not entirely convinced we agreed on that.
@Angela – As one who may have appeared to not agree that gun violence is a problem, let me say that I do think it is a problem. I just differ in what I think would be a good solution.
Angela: sincere question – Is there anything in the conservative (movement, thought process, doctrine – whatever we want to call it) that is not an anathema to your way of thinking? FWIW: I’m certainly not advocating for anything close to the “Birchers”, or fundamentalism of any kind. I simply still love our country – with horrendous warts and all – and have s degree of gratitude and respect for what has been granted to citizens in The Constitution and Bill of Rights.
LHL: Yes, not that it’s relevant to this post or any of your business. I have voted for both Bush and Obama. I have never belonged to either party. In general, I think Democrats often create unintended consequences with policies that sound good but aren’t well planned or executed. I have also personally benefited from conservative economic policies, although I also recognize that some of these policies have been bad for others while being good for me. On economics, I feel a slight pull to the right because the policies on the left sound right ideologically but often don’t work super well.
I am also divided on gun rights. I do think we need a middle ground solution, even though I would not own one. I know responsible people who do, some for protection (which I don’t generally like), and most for fun, which I think is a reality we have to deal with. I’m more interested in pragmatic solutions that ideological purity.
I am however no social conservative and never have been. All citizens should be freed through the law, not privileged, not oppressed.
Thank you, Angela. I do appreciate your sharing this with me. I’m honored that would do so.
Geoff-Auss: Personally, I think this is great wisdom coming out of New Zealand. No, I’m not giving up – or giving in. https://youtu.be/Qg2EoBPrEsY
John W wrote “Wow, this discussion is still going. And Eli keeps weighing in with lies, delusions, and half truths. Probably time to close discussion, especially with all the insults that Eli has lobbied at other people.”
You know, after reading that, I wasn’t sure whether to laugh out loud or cover my eyes in embarrassment on your behalf John. Please reread the comments. I’m pretty sure the only one I insulted was you (at least directly), and I thought it was relatively tame by your standards (or the lack thereof). In retrospect—having a bit of self-imposed time away to reflect—essentially comparing you to a vindictive dictator was over the top, and I apologize for that. I stand by everything else. Baseless personal attacks are wrong, and so is justifying them based on popularity. If no one else told you that before now, please consider it a service and move on. You have an amazing intellect. Please don’t let it go to your head and nullify its effects with emotional outbursts.
As far as the general discussion goes, if I did not make it clear that I find school shootings horrifying, I’m sorry. They’re terrible. But I really am trying to do the best for my neighbors and posterity. I get that there are so many lies spread by people on the right. There are also many lies from people on the left. I didn’t base my decision solely on NRA talking points or the Republican platform. I’m not trying to be for something simply because liberals are against it. I’ve read history books, I’ve looked at a variety of statistics. I think comparisons between advanced nations break down on a number of levels, and even Denmark, my mission country and one with some of the strictest gun laws in Europe, proved it wasn’t immune. I look at information spread by a very free press and also try to look for meaning and analysis coming from nations in which we may not immediately be able to get the full picture coming from a limited press. We’re all emotional beings, but I did put a lot of thought into my stance, despite some rhetorical talking points earlier that may have given another impression.
I’ve seen John and others, both on this thread and others, use the phrase “freedom from” to describe their position and desire. I don’t know if that’s an appeal to conservative thinking or an actual feeling, but most conservatives just see that as code for “more security and regulation.” I don’t think you can have it both ways (well, unless you’re not aware of it). You either have an abundance of freedom, with all the risks inherent to it, or you give in and trade some of it for security. I’ll admit a desire for more freedom. I realize most of us have been living with a lot of security and less freedom our entire lives and think nothing of it. Somewhat Ironically, I think having more freedom on my terms, essentially allowing me to take risks on my terms, gives me my own sense of security, but I can understand the thoughts and feelings of others. Although some of us romanticize about turning the federal government back 200 years, most of know that isn’t a realistic option. I think it could be argued that the fact some of us just want to stand our ground and keep things from getting worse is itself a very reasonable compromise.
But if I’m not willing to budge much more on guns, what do we do? I stand by the idea of using vets as an immediate way to significantly lower or have near elimination of deaths in the short term future. Beyond that, I think we need to take a closer look at families and the failure of public schools.
My wife and I homeschool. I’ve brought it up once or twice before. I get a little sensitive about coming across as overly preachy, and rarely bring it up in everyday conversation unless asked, but do point out its benefits from time to time. I do not regret my own public school experience, but I do think my children are getting a better start in life overall. My kids can generally learn the same amount of schooling in three to four hours as public school kids do in six. They have no homework. They’re not overworked. They’re largely competing against themselves. Aside from the three Rs, we teach them life skills as well. My kids are equally comfortable conversing with adults as they are children. They get plenty of socialization with other homeschooled families. They have time to start working odd jobs in their tweens and learn how to manage money. My oldest isn’t yet fifteen but has already purchased a modest vehicle with his own money and is learning the skills to fix it up. We hold our kids to a high standard, and even though it’s important to overcome weaknesses—even those defined by public schools—we’re free to concentrate on each child’s own unique strengths as well, which is something they’d likely not get in the system. My children don’t ever feel singled out, and only get some abstract concepts of bullying from movies they’ve been allowed to see. They are allowed to play video games, but have a great amount of restrictions placed on them. Perhaps most surprising to me is that our kids have been able to maintain a large amount of innocence into their teenage years while still developing a great amount of wisdom and even a certain level of street smarts. They will be people not easily taken advantage of, despite instilling in them a generous heart. Although I’ve read there is not real way to profile a school shooter, some commonalities I’ve read over the years were kids who were overworked, kids who were bullied, or kids who just wanted attention. Homeschooling or private schooling all but eliminates most of that.
I used to feel out of mainstream with this, but others are quickly realizing it’s an issue. It was a silver lining of Covid. The fact that atheists and secularists are one of the fastest growing demographics of homeschoolers should also make people pause. Traditional school is simply not the best place to be anymore. I realize homeschooling isn’t an option for everyone. Let’s have lawmakers look at policies that might discourage that, and remove them. Let the private sector have a crack at things as well. Let your child go to a school that caters to your wants, not the needs of the system. I also think that would add accountability to certain schools and also add choice. Maybe you don’t want your kids to go to schools with guards. Let them go somewhere else that doesn’t have them. Get rid of a few policies that discourage the family from thriving and I think you’ll start to see positive change in a few years. We can add more accountability when we give more power to local politicians. I get that all of that is easier said than done. I do think backing off has its benefits. School shootings have been around since the country was formed, but were most certainly fewer and farther between with arguably greater access to guns. Shootings are a symptom, but I sincerely believe removing or highly regulating guns will bring other symptoms and ignore the real problems, even if it feels good in the short-term.