Some Common Sense Thoughts on Guns and Gun Control

In memory of the slain and in recognition of the wounded, can we talk to each other rather than past each other? Is this such a radical idea?

Chris Grady, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, poses at a memorial outside the school, for Wednesday's mass shooting, in Parkland, Fla., Monday, Feb. 19, 2018.

By Michael Brown Published on February 21, 2018

In the aftermath of the latest school massacre in America, can we have a common-sense, non-partisan, practical discussion about guns, gun control, and gun violence? Can we move beyond our knee-jerk reactions and work as a team to save lives?

Although I’m a strong conservative, I’m not a gun owner. Guns have never played a major role in my life. I was born in New York City, my dad was a liberal Jewish lawyer (the senior law assistant in the New York Supreme Court), and I have fired guns twice in my life.

At the same time, many of my friends are gun owners (including one of my sons-in-law). Many are members of the NRA. Some of my local colleagues have concealed carry permits. And I have no interest in giving the government more power over our personal lives.

In short, I don’t have a dog in this fight, and my viewpoint doesn’t fit into a traditional conservative or liberal box. My only goal is to put some propositions on the table and see if we can all agree.

What We Can Agree On

Let’s start here. Can we agree that we have a problem with gun violence in America, especially with mass shootings?

Again, I’m not ascribing cause. I’m simply asking if we can agree that we have a problem, from school shootings in Columbine, Sandy Hook and Parkland, to church shootings in Charleston and Sutherland Springs, to the massacres at a theater in Colorado and a concert in Las Vegas.

Whatever the cause, something is terribly wrong. Can we agree?

Can we also agree that it is wrong to politicize these terrible tragedies? Can we agree that this almost guarantees that we make no real progress?

In my view, it was dead wrong for liberals to attack President Trump after the Parkland killings, as if he was the cause of the shooting. This is without justification let alone even rational. At the same time, it was very wrong for the president to tweet about Russia and the FBI in the aftermath of Parkland, thereby politicizing and personalizing the massacre for his purposes.

We already know what CNN will say and what Fox will say after the latest shooting, with both sides largely talking past each other.

My appeal is simple: In memory of the slain and in recognition of the wounded, can we talk to each other rather than past each other? Is this such a radical idea?

Making Points, Not Finding Solutions

Advocates of greater gun control laws point to a country like Japan, “which has strict laws for obtaining firearms” but “seldom has more than 10 shooting deaths a year in a population of 127 million people.”

Why is this? Well,

If Japanese people want to own a gun, they must attend an all-day class, pass a written test, and achieve at least 95% accuracy during a shooting-range test.

Then they have to pass a mental-health evaluation at a hospital, as well as a background check, in which the government digs into any criminal records or ties and interviews friends and family members.

Finally, they can buy only shotguns and air rifles — no handguns — and must retake the class and the initial exam every three years.

In response, others will say, “Look, we have a 10-day waiting period in California, and that hasn’t reduced gun violence. And in the cities with the strictest gun controls laws, like Chicago, we have the most shootings.”

The problem, again, is that both sides seem more intent on making their point than finding a way to address the problem. And all the while are hallways and classrooms are stained with blood.

Dealing With Reality

Someone on my Facebook page mentioned that when she was in school in the 1950’s, boys would bring rifles to school before going out hunting. She also said that there was a marksmanship class and the guns were locked up at the school. Yet there was never a problem with gun violence, reinforcing the fact that people, not guns, kill people.

Unfortunately, America today is not America of the 1950s, and we simply have to deal with that reality.

The bottom line is that people are dying and families are grieving. Our country needs us to put down our agendas, lay aside our pride, and sit down together to listen and talk.

Is the exponential increase in gun violence and mass shootings due to our larger culture of violence (from movies to video games to the celebration of criminality)? Is it due to mental health issues? Is it due to the breakdown in the home and the epidemic of fatherless youth? Is it simply the fault of a non-functioning bureaucracy, where our current laws are not enforced?

Whatever the causes might be, we do have a problem right now. And while we discuss all these other, critically important, life and death questions about causality, we need to find immediate solutions to the problem at hand.

Simple Suggestions

I posted a poll on Facebook and Twitter, asking, “As a non-gun-person myself, I’m interested to hear how all of you gun owners feel about this. Would you be willing to potentially wait a few more days to purchase a gun if more comprehensive background checks were required in order to keep guns out of the wrong people’s hands?”

On Facebook, where I could only give two choices, 81 percent responded “Of course” and 19 percent “No way.” On Twitter, it broke down to 80 percent “Of course,” 10 percent “No way,” and 10 percent “Not sure.”

For the life of me, I cannot understand why anyone would say “No way.”

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Remember: The premise of my question was if more comprehensive background checks could keep guns out of the wrong people’s hands, would you be willing to wait a few more days to accommodate this.

I didn’t ask whether more background checks are needed. I simply asked if someone would be willing to wait a few days if such checks could keep guns out of the wrong people’s hands. I see no justification for those who would refuse to be inconvenienced a little if it would potentially save lives.

On the flip side, I can’t understand why others refuse to entertain the idea of having trained teachers (or others) armed at every school.  

Since we know that the vast majority of these horrific shootings take place in gun-free zones, if we really care about saving lives, why not take immediate, concrete action — or at the least, consider it?

Put Agendas Aside and Listen

The bottom line is that people are dying and families are grieving. Our country needs us to put down our agendas, lay aside our pride, and sit down together to listen and talk.

Is there any hope for this? A few days ago, it was announced that “President Donald Trump has said he will meet with high school students who survived last week’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida, which killed 17 people.”

Yes, the president plans to host a ‘listening session’ with students and teachers from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday. The discussion is expected to be followed by a meeting with state and local officials to discuss school safety.

I hope and pray that this will be a good step in the right direction. Can we do the same in our life settings, learning to listen and understand and empathize before we can respond?

I surely hope so. After all, we all want the bloodshed to stop.

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  • Paul

    “I’m not a gun owner.” …”In short, I don’t have a dog in this fight, ….”

    Are you saying only gun owners have a dog in this fight?

    • Ian

      I think he’s saying that if he were a gun owner it might undermine his credibility of trying to bridge the gap as opposed to just trying to defend his possessions.

      • Paul

        I’m going to avoid debate about what someone else may have meant, especially considering Michael is able to clarify his own remarks.

        That being said, the phrase ‘I don’t have a dog in the fight’ is addressing the idea that one does not have a personal stake in the issue.

        If the issue he is discussing is gun control then a person who suffers absolutely no infringement from those controls has no credibility to me to be some self selected arbiter.

        If the issue is violence in our society then I call bull on the notion that a person has no personal stake.

        If the issue is undermining the Constitution then again everyone has a personal stake whether they want to admit it or not.

        In short, pretending he has no personal stake in all this isn’t going to fly with me.

        • Ian

          I was simply offering the interpretation that I thought best fit the spirit of his message, which I don’t think is undermined by your correct point that we all have a stake – direct or not, small or large – in the issue.

        • Bryan

          “If the issue he is discussing is gun control then a person who suffers absolutely no infringement from those controls has no credibility to me to be some self selected arbiter.”

          Based on this statement, it appears that, to you, the only persons who could credibly weigh in on a policy debate about guns, gun violence, and gun control are those who have exercised their right to own and operate a gun. Based on other comments at other times, I don’t think that’s truly what you believe.
          In fact, that’s the kind of illogical argument that the left tries to make the populace believe, either the “we know best because we’re the elite” or “conservatives think you’re not capable of thinking about this issue because they think they’re better than you”. Like Dr. Brown said, all sides need to discuss options and present solutions. Like you said, everyone has a dog in this fight.

          • Paul

            Multiple issues are being combined. Ian was discussing the defending of possessions, it is that which I was addressing in the portion you quoted.

            I certainly believe that everyone has a stake in the issue of violence in our society.

  • Ian

    This was great. Thanks, Mr. Brown. Along the lines of understanding the problem, I’d like hearing your thoughts on the Dickey amendment, which to my understanding is preventing the CDC from funding such research.

  • William Powell

    Dr. Michael Brown, in the 17th paragraph (I think it is), it should be ‘our’ not ‘are’. Thanks. God bless. 🙂

  • m-nj

    If tightening and improving of the background check system does not happen, it will be the ultimate proof that the lib/prog/dems really do not want this issue dealt with, given this has support from the NRA, and hence most Republicans will fall in line.

    I suspect it won’t be fixed b/c the lib/prog/dems want to keep this issue alive for supposed political gain (doomed to backfire), and because their ultimate goal is disarming the citizens and repeal of the 2nd Amendment.

    • Paul

      “…and because their ultimate goal is disarming the citizens and repeal of the 2nd Amendment.”

      Yes, but most will conceal that motive.

  • Carol Sosnoski

    First, we’re all grieving for the victims and families of this terrible tragedy. It’s not true that people who are in favor of the Second Amendment don’t have a heart of compassion for this situation – in fact, just the opposite is true. We care deeply about the safety of innocent people and that is why we are in favor of the right of self-defense. It’s sad that it could have been prevented by better security – as you mentioned, these tragedies keep occurring in gun-free zones, which should indicate that better security would help. Also, you rarely hear on the news about the multitudes of times that gun violence has been halted by good guys with guns. That being said, it’s despicable that the left is taking advantage of a horrible tragedy to push gun control. Like many of your readers, I used to be in favor of some gun control, especially for “assault” type weapons, but then I learned about the long and sordid history of gun control, the purpose of which is to disarm the populace in order for tyrants and dictators to gain power. The worst mass shootings have been perpetrated by governments on unarmed citizens – this is why we must hold the line on the 2nd Amendment.

  • Paul

    To address some of the other points in this article:

    “Can we agree that we have a problem with gun violence in America, especially with mass shootings?”

    No, we have a violence problem, especially that has escalated into mass murders. If it isn’t one means used it is another. Guns, bombs, vehicles, won’t be long until we see things like chems and biologics. Evil doesn’t limit itself to a specific device or method.

    “My appeal is simple: In memory of the slain and in recognition of the
    wounded, can we talk to each other rather than past each other? Is this
    such a radical idea?”

    Which slain and wounded are we talking about here? If you’re limiting this to just this news cycle then that is misguided, I’d like to include the approximate 6 million Jewish victims slain in the holocaust, and the tens of millions slain by their repressive governments in very recent times. People being murdered in school, in church, at work and entertainment venues here in America is horrible but they are not alone and not the only issue at hand.

    “The problem, again, is that both sides seem more intent on making their point than finding a way to address the problem.”

    Ignoring truth isn’t going to make anything better either. People are coming at this from fundamentally different perspectives. You have those who despise the second amendment and those who cherish it, and those who don’t seem to care about it one way or another, probably because they haven’t seriously considered what it is all about.

    “For the life of me, I cannot understand why anyone would say “No way.” (to a waiting period)”

    Since you are not a gun owner, how could you possibly understand? See how you end up being biased even though you want to insist you aren’t? Here’s some points for you to consider even though you don’t really want them I suspect.
    -What difference will it make regarding violence if a buyer already owns other guns?
    -What recourse is involved when there are false positives? Who pays to correct the govt when they get it wrong about you? When you deal with the cost and months or years of bureaucracy to prove you are innocent?
    -Where does this end? California is soon to enter background checks to purchase ammunition. Already gone is the convenience of online ammunition ordering, costs have shot up because it all must now be bought at a CA store, the variety is way down because you’re limited to the few items a retailer chooses to stock, and the added costs of background checks will be added next. All this and there was almost more recent school shootings in California, both averted not because of the foolish anti-gun laws but rather by law enforcement and school administrators doing a better job.

    “I didn’t ask whether more background checks are needed.”

    Well that simply can’t be ignored if we’re going to have a reasonable discussion, or else we end up with really stupid legislation.

    “Since we know that the vast majority of these horrific shootings take
    place in gun-free zones, if we really care about saving lives, why not
    take immediate, concrete action — or at the least, consider it?”

    Because that doesn’t fit the liberals agenda. Mass shootings don’t happen at the gun range, it isn’t any fun to try to shoot people when they can shoot back.

    “The bottom line is that people are dying and families are grieving.
    Our country needs us to put down our agendas, lay aside our pride, and
    sit down together to listen and talk.
    Is there any hope for this?”

    IMO only when we’re ready to also address the earlier points you made:

    “Unfortunately, America today is not America of the 1950s, and we simply have to deal with that reality. Is the exponential increase in gun violence and mass shootings due to
    our larger culture of violence (from movies to video games to the
    celebration of criminality)? Is it due to mental health issues? Is it
    due to the breakdown in the home and the epidemic of fatherless youth?”

    As John Adams is noted as writing: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

    The current violence illustrates this point and in light of Adams notion we either return to God or rewrite the Constitution such that freedoms are oppressed, be it gun rights, press, religion, speech… that is already happening in those countries that gun control advocates tend to uphold as great examples, and such places are ripe for the tyranny that kills millions and the cycle keeps going round and round.

  • Patmos

    Even if something is done about the ability to acquire guns, we’re still going to be sitting there with a person who has it in their mind that they want to kill a lot of people, and as we have seen with terror attacks a lack of guns hasn’t stopped someone from slaughtering large groups of people. Trump was 100% right to call this a mental health issue. If you’re having thoughts about killing a lot of people, there is something wrong with you. I don’t see why this obvious fact is so overlooked.

    • Paul

      Yes it is obvious, painfully so, and ignored because there are people who want to leverage this latest news cycle to further their anti gun agenda.

  • Moe

    Dr. Brown,
    In your theoretical poll question, you mentioned “more comprehensive” background checks being done. Since “more comprehensive” is not defined, then the 19% answering “no way” have a point. Until the “more comprehensive” government intrusion is defined, then you will have opposition.

  • Concerned Christian

    It’s interesting with the passing of Billy Graham that in someways he represents the last person that Americans can universally say was a good and decent person. Part of that is he never made, what he believed, a condition of not reaching out to those who disagreed with him.

    The reality is that we are a country that doesn’t trust the one thing that’s supposed to make us the envy of the world, our form of government. In a land where difference of opinion is suppose to be a good thing, we seem to despise it.

    So gun violence will continue and no one will give up their guns and I don’t think they should. However, if you look at other countries, Japan, England, Germany, even Australia, all trust their government enough to believe that their government will act a fair arbitrator and not turn on the citizens. We don’t believe that in America, liberal or conservative.

    Therefore, we will continue to have gun violence. It could get worse of course, especially in light of what kids are being exposed to today. From violence on TV to violence in real life, kids are learning that in order to protect yourself, you need a gun.

    Maybe this is a bleak assessment but the reality is that it seems that something really negative has to happen for us to remember that we are all Americans.

    • Andrew Mason

      Are you sure? Have you talked to people from Japan, England, Germany, or Australia? I think you’ll find that those nations are divided too, you just aren’t aware of it.

      • Concerned Christian

        All countries have division. However, for us, what divisions don’t we have:

        Gun Rights
        Abortion Rights
        LGBT Rights
        Race relations
        Health Care
        The general role of government
        The general role of religion
        The role of women
        Immigration
        Rebuilding Infrastructure
        Foreign interference in their elections

        We debate EVERYTHING.
        From my knowledge none of these countries consistently trash their governments. They certainly don’t agree with everything but they don’t try to undermine the very foundation of their government.

        17 kids were just gunned down. This is after 59 in Vegas and I believe 17 in Texas. Look at the response.

      • Concerned Christian

        All countries have division. However, for us, what divisions don’t we have:

        Gun Rights
        Abortion Rights
        LGBT Rights
        Race relations
        Health Care
        The general role of government
        The general role of religion
        The role of women
        Immigration
        Rebuilding Infrastructure
        Foreign interference in elections
        Debates on military use in the Middle East, North Korea, and China
        Threatening to lock up political opponents
        Entertainment
        The National Anthem

        We ANGRILY debate EVERYTHING.

        From my knowledge none of these countries consistently trash their governments. They certainly don’t agree with everything but they don’t try to undermine the very foundation of their government.

        17 kids were just gunned down. This is after 59 in Vegas and I believe 17 in Texas. Look at the response.

        This article explains it all:

        The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America
        https://www(dot)nationalreview(dot)com/2018/02/the-gun-control-debate-could-break-america/

        Yes, I’m sure that we are unique when it comes to these other countries. Some of it is understandable. But again what scale of tragedy has to occur for us to realize that we are all Americans?

        • Andrew Mason

          Are you? Or do elements in American society simply either not see an American identity as relevant, or something to be ashamed of? I think parts of society are so diametrically opposed that they will ally with enemies, before coming together as Americans. Not all parts will ally with the same enemy to be fair but there’s enough groups to preclude unity.

          No other country trashes their government? What do you call Canada’s clown show – pretty boy Trudeau playing dress up in India for instance, or Australia’s current mess – Deputy PM quit after caught having an affair with a staffer, and it’s a toss up whether he or the PM are more on the nose, or Germany where … Sure that’s individuals not the system, but individuals comprise systems and are the ones breaking said systems.

          Most of your debate points are pretty universal. Northern Ireland continues to outlaw abortion, and the pro-abortion side want to overturn that situation. Other countries have pro-life groups and periodic debates. LGBT rights continues to be a major debate point with various groups pushing conflicting agendas – whether LGBT values should be taught from pre-school and imposed on bakers or whether freedom of choice etc should prevail. Race relations are problematic in every country with the Left pushing the narrative that Whites need to apologise for every evil in history and prostitute themselves in making things rights. Political opponents have been locked up, though not officially for political crimes. And the anthem is debated – is it racist, old fashioned etc. Pick any country and you’ll find overlap. Won’t be a perfect match of course but definite parallels.

          • Concerned Christian

            Looks like you believe that a sizable number of people “are so diametrically opposed that they will ally with enemies”. I think very few western democracies see disagreement in such stark terms. Out of curiosity is this 50%, 25%, or 10% of the population?

            “but individuals comprise systems and are the ones breaking said systems.”

            The problem is that we don’t trust government, church, schools, or law enforcement. Trudeau may not be liked or other PMs may be caught in scandal. However, from the outside looking in, it does not appear to be undermining the trust in their other institutions.

            “Most of your debate points are pretty universal. ”

            Ireland is a great example. Yes abortion is outlawed but they have strict gun control laws and universal health care. Yes countries have debates but not everything is a life or death struggle.

            Not picking on you but here are your comments:

            “I think parts of society are so diametrically opposed that they will ally with enemies, before coming together as Americans.”

            I think these are consistent themes with conservatives. However, I don’t think those on left see conservatives as anti-america.

            “Left pushing the narrative that Whites need to apologise for every evil in history and prostitute themselves in making things rights”

            In terms of race, I was shocked that someone like Trump could get elected. At first it was surprising to hear the feelings that some have expressed. But it’s also been very liberating. It’s always good to know where you stand.

            “And the anthem is debated – is it racist, old fashioned etc.”

            In terms of the anthem, Francis Scott Key was a racist and the anthem does include a racist stanza. Yet, blacks have stood for it. When blacks didn’t stand it wasn’t because it was written by a racist. But because it was to protest a perceived injustice. It was only when the protest was considered to be un-American that the truth behind Francis Scott Key’s beliefs came out.

            Yet, blacks continue to stand.

          • Andrew Mason

            I haven’t though about percentages. Perhaps 10%? It could be more or less though. Think the likes of radical Muslims, LGBT groups, Antifa, your local socialist groups, pro-internationalists, and probably a few corporate oligarchs. The majority of citizens are somewhere in middle, haven’t really thought through the issues, just tend to reactavoid issues.

            Trudeau and the scandals applies solely to the issue of government, and I’d say they’re in keeping with failure of government. As for churches, the Left is obsessed with linking Christianity to domestic violence and paedophilia. Sure some Catholic priests, orphanage workers etc have done the wrong thing, and justice should be served, but such people have acted contrary to what Christianity teaches not because of it. The same people that are so quick to accuse Christianity are also quick to ignore or deny evidence poking holes in their claims, and to ignore the same wrongdoings by their own peers. I wasn’t thinking of Weinstein when I wrote this but he’s actually a pretty good example. As for schools why wouldn’t they be universally controversial? Historically they taught reading, writing, arithmetic and possible some sort of Bible study. Now children can’t read, can’t write, can’t do maths, and the push is for more teaching about technology, and the use of LGBT values in every subject, as well as a specific subject so kids age 4 and up will know all about the 101 genders you can choose to be, how to be a homosexual, what techniques to practice etc. And on the subject of law enforcement there’s the growing disconnect of law enforcement officers from the community, their retasking as revenue officers, corruption etc.

            North Ireland not Ireland was what I said. Not sure if you missed the difference or are focusing south of the border. Given the whole IRA thing Ireland is probably an unusual case study e.g. the ban on combat training with firearms.

            You’re right that the Left don’t, as far as I’m aware, depict conservatives as anti-American, but do they see any value in American? No point condemning conservatives for not being something they oppose.

            Shocking, why? He wasn’t my preference out of the candidates, and I even tossed up about whether Hillary might be better before deciding that Trump was my preferred candidate. He’s unquestionably a flawed character but he’s also made some decent calls and put on something of a show. He makes an interesting contrast to Obama – cod liver oil versus strawberry chocolate flavoured strychnine if you will. Probably better avoid any possible confusion about which one is which 🙂

            I wasn’t thinking specifically of the US anthem. The fourth verse for instance contains the line ‘O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand’ which could have interesting implications for those NFL players refusing to stand for the anthem. Should that be taken as a declaration that they’re slaves? If you’re thinking of the third verse as racist, that appears to be a Leftist take on things – Key never defined what he meant by hireling and slave. In Australia the anthem is Advance Australia Fair, a line which is repeated several times throughout and yet some claim that fair means fair skinned i.e. White and thus racist as opposed to just, equitable etc. Others have said that despite the country being barely 100 years old, the line ‘for we are young and free’ is offensive as it ignores that cultures existed before the founding of the country. If people want to protest they can find grounds.

          • Concerned Christian

            Here’s my rebuttal. Sometimes the issue is that the bad guys aren’t that bad and the good guys aren’t that good.

            ===================================================
            “10%? It could be more or less though. Think the likes of radical Muslims, LGBT groups, Antifa, your local socialist groups, pro-internationalists, and probably a few corporate oligarchs”
            ===================================================
            Contrast the percentage of hate crimes committed by those groups to hate crimes committed against those groups?

            Hate Crimes Rise in 9 Major US Cities in 2017, Preliminary Data Show
            https://www(dot)voanews(dot)com/a/hate-crimes-rise-in-nine-major-us-cities-2017-preliminary-police-data/4195018(dot)html

            ===================================================
            “Trudeau and the scandals applies solely to the issue of government, and I’d say they’re in keeping with failure of government.”
            ===================================================
            Tracing the Trump White House’s year of permanent scandal
            https://www(dot)nbcnews(dot)com/politics/first-read/tracing-trump-white-house-s-year-permanent-scandal-n846246

            Is Trudeau’s unacceptable behavior anywhere close to trump’s acceptable behavior?

            ===================================================
            “As for churches, the Left is obsessed with linking Christianity to domestic violence and paedophilia.”
            ===================================================
            The problem is not just the behavior of the priests but that the church covered it up for decades. Not only covered it up but moved the priest to different parishes to expose another crop of children to these people. This wasn’t a priest issue this was a religious organization trusted and still trusted by millions to take care of the spiritual needs of their children.

            On top of that we now have the church supporting Trump and Moore. When looking at how Clinton was treated, this is not an obsession, it’s shocking.

            There is no comparison to Weinstein’s behavior, although despicable, with GROWN women. To my knowledge, of all the sexual harassment claims against those on the left, only Weinstein’s behavior comes close. The difference is that no excuses are being made for his behavior.

            ===================================================
            “As for schools why wouldn’t they be universally controversial? ”
            ===================================================
            Your experience with schools has certainly been different than mine.

            ===================================================
            “North Ireland not Ireland was what I said. … e.g. the ban on combat training with firearms.”
            ===================================================

            Is there another, functioning, country on the face of the earth that allows it’s citizens to have “combat training with firearms” like the US? Even Israel does not allow this level of access to ordinary citizens.

            ===================================================
            “You’re right that the Left don’t, as far as I’m aware, depict conservatives as anti-American, but do they see any value in American? No point condemning conservatives for not being something they oppose.”
            ===================================================
            Is it really that easy to believe that people don’t love what you love because they may show their love differently? A conservative says that the flag can’t be abused because it represents all that is right with America. Liberals say that it’s ok to abuse the flag because it represents everything that is right with America.

            “Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully.” –Abraham Lincoln

            ===================================================
            “He’s unquestionably a flawed character but he’s also made some decent calls and put on something of a show”

            Flawed definitely! 🙂

            “Key never defined what he meant by hireling and slave.”

            Again, the song is not the problem. Francis Scott Key was a flat out RACIST. He aggressively fought against abolitionist by trying to limit their free speech in COURT!

            Is the benefit of the doubt that you’re giving him really that warranted?

  • tz1

    Would you accept any of the restrictions on 2nd amendment rights for the 1st on religion?
    That you had to have an X day waiting period to become baptized?
    That you had to pass some kind of test to insure you really wanted to join a Church?

    But you don’t even stop to ask if there IS a problem. How many die in car crashes? Of medical problems (preventable)? I think airplane crashes and school shootings are the same order of magnitude.

    You don’t see long discussions, outrage, or demands to make planes perfectly safe.

    You also don’t mention the UTTER FAILURE of the FBI and the rest. This person could have walked around the school for the week earlier with a flashing neon sign saying “I want to kill you” and he would not have been more obvious in his intent. But … nothing. So where is the problem? More useless paper laws, more bureaucracy, more tyranny… when the existing level wasn’t even enforced, so we can’t even evaluate if it was effective if it would have been.

    Let’s say you managed to keep guns out of the hands of this homicidal psychopath. wouldn’t he have used fire, acid, explosives or who knows what to do an equal amount if not greater killing?

    Bernard Goetz was threatened by sharpened screwdrivers. Would banning screwdrivers solve things or make criminals use awls or pliers?

    The worst thing “do we have a problem with gun violence in America”? You sound stupid, evil, or ignorant. How many dead babies courtesy of abortion clinics – and where is the nearest one to the school in question, and how many have they killed so far this year?

    We have a problem straining at gnats when it is on CNN but swallowing the whole Planned Parenthood train of Camels Caravan.

    • ImaginaryDomain

      Could not agree more. BUT, I must admit there is a part of me that takes Jesus’ admonition to Peter about violence to heart. These are weapons of violence after all. My wife would completely disagree with me – but then again she and my daughter are crack shots with their ARs…. Anyway, I do struggle with that teaching, regardless of all the additional violence in this world, as you point out.

      • Paul

        “BUT, I must admit there is a part of me that takes Jesus’ admonition to Peter about violence to heart. ”

        Are you referring to Matthew 26:51-54?

        • ImaginaryDomain

          Of course…

          • Paul

            Some food for thought on that, consider the full context of that passage. Was Jesus putting forth in verse 52 a doctrine for living or was He simply pointing out that he can’t die in that manner but rather must be arrested, brutalized and crucified? Verse 54 reads “How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?”

            I contend more has been made of verse 52 than is actually there when taken in context.

          • tether

            And there is Luke 22:36 where Jesus tells His disciples that if they don’t have a sword sell your cloak and buy one.

  • tz1

    My appeal is simple: In memory of the slain and in recognition of the wounded, can we talk to each other rather than past each other?

    In the memory of the 60 Million slain babies in the abortion clinics, can we talk to each other rather than past each other?

  • tz1

    Remember the church shooting in Texas? More were killed.
    But it was a Church and the dead were Christians.
    Shrug. (if not celebration). No calls for gun control.

    Are you so hateful of your fellow Christians you don’t care when they are shot that there is no long missive or seeking of “solutions”? Compare the reaction here on the Stream between both incidents!

    Churches, who cares. Schools, ATROCITY!
    Christians, expendable. Students, precious!

    • Paul

      Michael has waded into the gun control waters before in a previous news cycle. It was similarly awkward and unprincipled regarding the second amendment.

  • Kevin Quillen

    60 million babies murdered, violent video games and movies have desensitized people. Teaching children that they are just a higher form of animal, that there are no absolute right and wrongs, government replacing fathers, children raised without discipline. Big Pharma pushing drugs and lining the pockets of doctors and politicians. Side effects of psychotropic drugs largely responsible for mass killings. BUT…..to admit these obvious causes to societal problems means the progressives and big government believers will have to admit that they have been wrong in the shaping of America they have desired. No friends, they will never do so. They will continue to push for a governmental solution, meaning the inevitable loss of freedom. We will have to defend ourselves, from the bad guys and eventually from our own government. The tree of liberty will have to be watered with the blood of the martyrs, as Jefferson with such insight remarked. I hope not, but I am afraid that we have gone too far.

    • Paul

      The Jefferson remark goes like this:

      “& what country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? let them take arms. the remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon & pacify them. what signify a few lives lost in a century or two? the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. it is it’s natural manure.”

      • Kevin Quillen

        thank you for clarafication

        • Paul

          It is a great remark, especially shining light on the nature of the second amendment.

  • Amadio Viviani

    I don’t believe the statement that we have a problem with gun violence in America, especially with mass shootings. I too lost a young son tragically, so my empathy is well focused.
    The worse mass tragedies 9-11 and OK City never involved a gun, nor did Boston or NY bombings and the new wave of vehicular assaults. Proving, madness is just that and legislation of one menial aspect will change little if anything.
    Every 51 minutes someone dies in an accident involving someone “under the influence”. We have very strict illegal drug laws and incarceration, how’s that working out?
    Sounds like we have a “character” and a “moral” problem.
    A majority of tragic events like this, aren’t usually a personal revengeful act. It’s perceived, by the perpetrator, to alter the forward thinking. They want the recognition, they are angry and they usually have a real character issue and eliminating guns won’t change any of that or one’s evil intent.
    Our academia and our government have been pushing a Leftist ideology for decades. They’ve created victims where toughness and character were needed. They’ve propagated “blame” where personal responsibility should have been exercised. Add violent games, movies and we have desensitized human life. The result is, devastating.

  • phillytrue

    An forthright discussion on this issue would NOT include the terms ‘common sense gun control’ or ‘gun violence’. These are leftist talking points parroted by the media and democrat politicians that have little, if any, intellectual value.

    There are 60-80 million firearm owners in the US, collectively possessing over 200 million firearms. If the problem was gun ownership you’d think that there would be quite a few more school shootings.

    If we are to put aside agendas then calls for ‘common sense gun control’ should be the first to go.

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