Monday, January 7, 2013

The Freedom Line

To borrow a line from Spider-Man:
With great freedom comes great responsibility.

But what do you do when some people show that they can not or will not be responsible with the freedom given to them?

That's a tough question and not one I see an easy answer for.

Where do you draw the line between freedom and security? Because, see, I'm all for freedom. Seriously. I believe in it. And I want my own freedom, although you might not be able to tell considering I have three kids. And that's kind of the point, kids bring a responsibility that contain an inherent restriction to Freedom. It's part of the package, and, if you're not ready to give up Freedom for Responsibility, you have no business having kids.

And some of you might be saying, "Yes, but I don't have kids, so why can't I have complete Freedom?" And that is a good question. Honestly, as long as your expression of Freedom doesn't interfere with someone else's expression of Freedom, theoretically, there should be no reason you shouldn't have complete Freedom.

But let's look at that for a moment...

Your expression of Freedom shouldn't and cannot interfere with the Freedom of others. That means your Freedom cannot harm other people. And you might be thinking, "Well, that's just not fair." But is it fair when your Freedom of driving as fast as you want to drive causes an accident that kills someone else? Is it fair when your Freedom to take whatever you want causes someone else not to be able to eat or not to be able to feed his kids? Is it fair when your Freedom to smoke cigarettes results in health issues for other people? Sorry, it's not fair, and these are examples of why we have laws that govern freedom. To help us know where the exercising of our Freedom can cause harm to other people.

And, so, some of you may be thinking "what does this have to do with my Freedom (and Right) to own guns?" And that, also, would be a good question.

I'm gonna sort of change the subject for just a moment but not really. It will only look like it. I just want to start at a different place and bring us back to the same spot. The same question, so to speak.

Jesus came to set us free. I know this because He said it. Most people think this means He came to set us free from sin, that he came so that we could more perfectly follow the Law, but that's not what He said. I'm not going to break down all of the scriptural passages at this point, because it would take too long, so to sum it up, Jesus replaced the Law with Grace. He gave us Freedom, the same kind of Freedom that existed in the Garden before Adam ate of the fruit and introduced the Law (by gaining the knowledge of Good and Evil). [Yeah, I know this is a bit deep and metaphysical, but hang with me for a few minutes.] Basically, what Jesus was saying was, "Look, you can't really do all of this stuff. It's crazy to think that you can, and the Pharisees are crazy for thinking they can. What you really need to do is love God and love people, and, if you do those things, you'll be okay." Basically, forget the Law.

Okay, so we're in a state of complete Freedom at that point. We can (kind of) do whatever we want. Some of the early Christians really went with this, too. There was a movement that Right and Wrong no longer existed and anyone could do whatever s/he wanted to do. The problem was, evidently, these people didn't care whom they hurt in the process. Freedom was their Right and by God they were going to exercise that Freedom.

Paul came along and clarified some things at that point and said, basically, "Sure, in theory, you guys are correct, you can do whatever you want to do, but you shouldn't. You still need to respect other people, because, if you don't respect other people, you aren't showing them love, and Jesus said to love them just like you love yourselves." Even Peter had a problem with all of this stuff, because he realized (with God's help) that he didn't have to follow all of the Jewish dietary restrictions; he could eat just like the gentiles. And, boy, did he go hog wild (pun intended) with it. The problem was that he started bragging about it, and some of the Jews that didn't believe the way he did started having issues with the whole thing.

Paul had to step in there, too, and slap some sense into Peter: "Look, Dude, you know it's okay to eat pig, and I know it's okay to eat pig, but all these other guys... they don't know that, yet. What you're doing is messing them up and making them do things they believe are wrong. You're hurting them." Essentially, what Paul was saying is that eating pig for these other guys was wrong because they believed it was wrong.

And this... this is a really sticky issue, the difference between what is right and what is wrong, and it's why there is such a huge divide in the USA, right now. Some people, a lot of people, still believe that eating the metaphoric pig is WRONG. But that's actually beside the point.

Because the real point is this, and this is where we go back to those other questions I was asking up above:
Paul said that the way to deal with this issue of how to behave when you believe that something is okay but someone else does not is not to do it. If what you want to do, even if you believe it's completely okay and right to do, is going to hurt someone else because they believe it's wrong, you should give up your Freedom to do that thing by taking up the Responsibility to act in a loving manner to that other person so that other person will not be tempted to do something s/he believes is wrong.

In the pig example, a lot of the Christian Jews started eating piggies because they saw Peter doing it, but they all believed it was wrong, that it was a sin, so they were wracked with guilt over it. The point is that, for them, it was wrong to do because they believed it was wrong to do (and I'm gonna stay away from anymore of the relativity of good and evil in this post). Peter needed to stop eating pork (at least when he was with other Hebrews) and quit bragging about it so that he wouldn't cause his fellow Jews to stumble over their own beliefs. We're not all at the same spot in the journey.

Do I think you should have the Freedom to own a gun? Sure. Do I think you should have the Freedom to own any kind of gun you want to own? Sure. I believe those things as long as you are going to be responsible in your Freedom to not hurt other people. To not take away their Freedom with your Freedom (because none of us have that Freedom, especially the freedom to end a life).

The problem here is that too many people in our society currently cannot use their freedom to own a gun responsibly. Too many people are being caused to stumble and do wrong because they have the freedom to own a gun. Too many people are taking away other people's freedom by doing them harm. Clearly, these people are just like the Jews that saw Peter eating pork and ate it too even though they believed it was wrong. To keep these people from doing the wrong thing, according to Paul, we should willingly lay aside our freedom so that they will not do what is wrong. We should choose Responsibility over Freedom.

And that's kind of where I come down on this whole gun thing at this point. I look at my kids and I wonder which is the higher Freedom: your freedom to own a gun or my kids' freedom to live. I look at all the kids and wonder that. What was the higher Freedom, the lives of 20 kids (and half a dozen adults) or the Right (Freedom) of one person to own some assault weapons? I ask that question all the time. What is my Freedom worth?

I have to tell you, I have laid aside an awful lot of Freedom for the sake of my children. I have laid aside an awful lot of Freedom for the sake of other people's children. I don't have a problem with this. I get that some of you do, but I have to wonder if you're looking at the issue from the correct standpoint. If my Freedom is going to cause someone else to screw up, I need to go to the higher place of Love and abandon my Freedom. Why? Love God and love people. If I'm willing to sacrifice other people so that I can get to do whatever it is I want to do that certainly isn't Love. If I'm willing to sacrifice your children or, even, my own children, so that I can live the way I want to live, that certainly isn't Love.

And, you know what, that extends to owning firearms. If other people cannot act responsibly within their Freedom to own a gun, then we all should be willing to lay aside that freedom so that those other people will not screw up. Just like we have to sacrifice the freedom of driving as fast as we want to drive to prevent accidents and just like we have to sacrifice the freedom of taking whatever we want because it harms someone else and just like... well, I could go on and on.

Is your freedom to own a gun worth the life of someone else? Just one life? Is it? Really? I see some of you out there right now saying, "Yes, it is." Well, whose life is it going to be? My kid's? Your kid's? Your brother's or your mother's? Is it worth it now? If you're out there and you're willing to sacrifice the life of someone dear to you just so that you can own a gun, let me know. Because it may not actually be someone dear to you, but it's going to be someone dear to someone else, and, tell me, is that fair? Is it?


  1. What purpose other than killing a bunch of people can there be to owning a machine gun? Just because a product exists doesn't mean it is right for people to own it.

    But, I'm with you on the fense Andrew; I'm not sure taking all the guns away from law abiding citizens is the answer, but it would sure make me smile.


  2. Totally with you on the story about Peter and not doing something that is a sin to others out of respect and responsibility. (Because that spills into many areas in our world today.)
    Don't own a gun and never want to own one. But as someone quoted on Arlee's post a few weeks ago, when only the government owns guns in a society, it's the first step towards bondage. And that is very scary.
    As for owning a machine gun, what on earth are you people shooting - elephants?

  3. Well, I think if you're going to discuss "freedom" then you have to consider 3 things first:

    1. Define your terms. "Freedom" is a word that is used for a wide range of things. If you look it up in Merriam Webster, you'll find 8 sub-definitions under #1 and as you go down the list they begin to become less and less similar. When you say freedom do you mean "the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action" or "boldness of conception or execution". They are both there under the primary definition of "freedom" but are totally different concepts to me.

    Unfortunately, a lot of people (especially here in the west) seem to think that all of those sub-definitions (from liberation from slavery to improper familiarity) are basically the same and are all owed to them as part of their "rights". This is the big mistake of our society, I believe. Not all "freedoms" are equal and they are certainly not all rights we are owed. I'm not accusing you of this view, but when discussing such a broad subject it's important to be clear on what type of freedoms you are talking about.

    2. Where does the freedom come from? Freedom doesn't exist in a vacuum. It has to come from some source or authority. You can't give yourself freedom and you can't take it either.

    Looking back at the M-W definitions, I think that A & B ("the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action" and "liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another : independence") are given to us by God and are a part of human nature. C, D, E, F, G and H ("the quality or state of being exempt or released usually from something onerous", "ease, facility", "the quality of being frank, open, or outspoken", "improper familiarity", "boldness of conception or execution" and "unrestricted use") are freedoms that can be given by a human authority such as governments, human organizations or individuals depending on the specifics of the freedom (as long as they are not in violation of A or B).

    What you have to remember is that the source or giver of the freedom also has the right to take that freedom away. Freedoms that come from God cannot be taken away from us by any human person or institution. But freedoms given to us, for instance, by government can indeed be taken away rightfully by that government.

    3. Freedom is not just a positive principle. It is also a negative one. For ever freedom that is given to one person, there is usually an equal and opposite freedom that has been taken away. If we agree that no man should be enslaved, that also means that no man has the right to enslave. That's an easy one, but it gets trickier soon enough. If we give people the right to drive safely on the highway, we have to take away the right of others to drive as fast as they want, etc. This is why freedoms given by governments and organizations need to be carefully weighed and balanced. It is not often very clear where the lines of freedom should be drawn.

    When it comes to guns, that's one of the trickiest ones. You may feel that the freedom to live safely with your family is being impinged by people owning guns. People owning guns may feel that their right to protect their family with arms is being threatened by people who want guns restricted. The right to bear arms is, of course, a right granted to us by human government and as such only that government can take it away again. Personally, I'm not sure what my opinion on it is. I would be interested, however, in seeing reliable statistics about how many people are harmed or killed by guns owned by regular citizens versus how many are saved or protected by guns owned by regular citizens. I think that information is really necessary to be able to weigh the issue.

  4. What a tricky post. :) First I am a gun owner. It has been shot a couple of times- on a target range to site it in and for hunting. The rest of the time it sets in a cabinet. There are already laws in place that felons and the mentally ill can't own one. That sure doesn't stop them though! The whole gun debate reminds me of something said in parenting. We've all said it, "I will punish all of you and I know I'll get the right one!" That is what the gun debate feels like to responsible gun owners who keep our guns safe, locked up and each have trigger locks on them.

  5. Wow. I can barely construct a sentence on my phone. So I can't really comment coherently, but I'd be okay with that. No guns for anyone.

  6. Are you a biblical scholar in addition to your many other talents? :P

  7. So much to think about. I was going to quick read your blog and get back to work.

    I am anti-gun. Let me get that out there.

    I agree with everything you said here, about the principle of freedom and how my freedom ends where another's freedom begins. One of your commenters said that "Freedom doesn't exist in a vacuum. It has to come from some source or authority," and she was half-right. Freedom does exist in a vacuum: in a state of nature, as Hobbes said existed at one point before government, everyone has perfect freedom including to hurt others. All that freedom is no freedom at all; if you can take my stuff anytime without punishment, I am not free to own stuff.

    So we impose rules and restrictions on freedom, agreeing by the consent of the governed to voluntarily give up some of our freedom to avoid a state of nature and a brutal nasty existence.

    The freedom we have to own guns is new; until about 1960, the courts interpreted the 2d amendment much more strictly:

    We now take for granted that gun ownership is a right. That right did not always exist and is obviously restrictable; anyone who says "You can't own a surface-to-air missile," as we all agree you CAN'T, is saying "Limiting guns is okay with me." They may disagree about the extent to which ownership is limited, but we all agree it SHOULD be limited.

    Sandy Hook and other high-profile mass shootings make gun control a hot topic, but the real problem is that guns exist, and are easily available. Outlawing gun ownership entirely would have likely meant that Adam Lanza would not have had a gun, as either he or his mom would have to have gotten one on the black market.

    If gun ownership is illegal, there are fewer guns around: fewer guns to be picked up by a madman to shoot kindergartners, fewer guns to be used in an argument between husband and wife, fewer guns to take to a spa in Brookfield, WI and shoot the staff.

    The argument that criminals will still have guns -- that people will break the law -- is a straw man. If the fact that someone will break the law means we should not have the law at all, there would be no speed limits or homicide rules, because those things still happen. I have NEVER heard that someone used a lawfully-obtained gun to PREVENT a crime, and in Gabby Giffords' case, several concealed carry guns failed to protect ANYONE.

    I know there are responsible gun owners, but the fact that SOME people could use something responsibly does not mean it should be available. Some people might use cocaine responsibly. Or dynamite. Or an F-16 aircraft. But once you let ME own dynamite, a jet fighter, and cocaine, those things are out in public and available for others to get. So we don't let people have them, and we shouldn't let people have guns.

    Bravo, Andrew. Excellent post.

  8. Donna: I don't actually know if a practical purpose for owning a weapon like that other than being able to say you own a weapon like that. Because I don't consider killing people a practical purpose.

    Alex: You know, I get that fear, but, the truth is, people owning guns is not any kind of impediment to our government if the government wanted to do, well, anything. A gun won't stop a tank or a helicopter or anything like that, so the only real purpose of us owning guns is to kill each other.

    Sarah: Actually, I don't think I need to define anything when I approach it from the commonly accepted definition as viewed by most people (the ability to do whatever I want to do), which is what I did. I don't think 99% of readers are going to fins any ambiguity in how I approached that word, and I just don't have the time or space (it's already a long post) to try to define a word that almost everyone already agrees on.
    Jumping to the last thing you said: those statics aren't readily available because they are almost non-existent. Regular people saving regular people with a gun pretty much only happens in movies. What we get in real life is old men shooting teenagers in Florida because they "feel threatened" or people shooting people in restaurants for yelling.

    G_G: I understand that feeling and the feeling of unfairness that goes with it. I especially understand from being the "punished" child when I was a kid, because I was the step child, so my dad never punished my brother for anything, even for things that happened when I wasn't home. So, yeah, there is some injustice involved. However, when weighing the injustices, all I can really see is the great injustice of the deaths caused by those acting irresponsibly.

    Rusty: yeah... Imagine a whole world without guns.

    Callie: Actually, yes, I have a degree in theology (along with my degrees in English and Psychology).

    Briane: Can you imagine if people owned SAMs? Flying would no longer in any way be safe, because people -would- use them to shoot down commercial jets.
    What all of this pissing and moaning feels like to me is society acting like a spoiled 16-year-old crying over having the car keys taken away because said 16-year-old was breaking the rules with the car. Society needs to grow up.

  9. I was kidding, but I am not surprised. You sound like my friend Sam -- he doesn't have a degree in theology, but he went to a catholic college and had to take all sorts of theology and religion courses, in addition to reading theology in his spare time! I couldn't do it.

  10. Callie: Well, I did think you were joking, but it's actually true, so...
    I also have some other almost degrees that I decided not to finish because I was just tired of school.

  11. Sounds like my almost-BS in Botany!

  12. Sarah has some interesting points...... Irish I could explain but I have got to get a en to the vets

  13. I think you're letting the cart pull the horse around a little here. By that, I mean you're allowing your conclusion to influence your reasoning.

    Guns are not the problem. People are the problem. People, many people, use guns very responsibly. There are also many, many people who use vehicles irresponsibly, but I'm not advocating getting rid of vehicles, even though it bothers me to no end to know how many, many people are so recklessly irresponsible with them.

    But that's what you're saying about guns. This comes up every time there's a tragedy, but it's the same argument Superman makes about flying in planes. I'm sure there's a statistic that backs me up here, points to something even more common and far less sensational that kills a lot more people that a lot of people use on a regular basis (here again, I personally would be thinking about cars, because in my life there have been far too many accidents that've claimed lives that should rightly continue to this day).

    What I'm saying is, guns get this kind of reaction every time there's a horrific shooting because it's all about sensationalism. It's like a massacre every time it happens, and every time it happens we get people who cry for greater gun control and point to that recent incident as the obvious of why we need it.

    If you want to go all biblical about this, I think the relevant example to follow for any Christian should always be Jesus. When did he ever say that we should go around telling people not to do things? Did I miss that? Many Christians seem to think he did a lot of that, but I really don't remember that in the Gospels. "Judge not lest ye be judged" comes to mind. My favorite Jesus episode actually completely contradicts that, when he's going nuts in the Temple, but that's got nothing to do with telling people they can't do something, but that it's wrong to do something and he's gotten tired of them doing it.

    The point of that is, Jesus set the standard that we should be following. It's behavior, it's the choices we make that are offensive that we should pay attention to. I'm not indicating typical Christian prudishness here, but rather the idea that we can pollute any environment we want, exploit anything we want, and believe we can get away with it.

    You're not talking about that at all. You're talking about telling Caesar that what's his isn't his. I'm pretty sure that's not what Jesus said. He was pretty clear about that. And about turning the other cheek. And about loving your neighbor. That sort of thing. I think, in fact, his whole point was to pay attention to other people rather than ignore them. I think that what he wanted was for people to behave themselves better, and for all of us to help each other with that. The only reason he let a bunch of really wicked people lead him to his death was that he needed to pay the ultimate price for our sins. Otherwise he would have had a lot more words like the ones he shared with Pilate.

    I'm just saying.

  14. John: Maybe you can come back later and do that... and explain that vet comment, too.

    Tony: I'm pretty sure there are no horses involved in this, and none of what I'm saying here is a reaction to the shooting. It's what I thought before the shooting. I'm only putting it down here, now, because I'm tired of seeing all the "guns don't kill people, people kill people" rhetoric. It's an excuse. And that's all it is.

    Mostly, everything you said just backed up my point. Sure, it's the people that are the cause, but, then, I said that. When people can't be responsible with their freedom, they don't get their freedom. That's just how it is. And it's why some people lose their licenses to drive.

    And, speaking of driving, there is one HUGE difference between automotive deaths and gun deaths. Automotive deaths are almost exclusively -accidents-. Non-intentional. Shooting deaths are very intentional, especially when someone plans a massacre.

    If people can't be responsible with their toys, they don't get to have those toys, just like in pre-school, and, right now, guns are a toy that need to be taken off of the table, by and large.

    Just to say it, Jesus told plenty of people not to do things. He told the Pharisees not to do things all the time. He told people "go and sin no more" all the time. He wasn't above telling people what not to do, and I'm pretty sure he'd tell people not to shoot other people. Maybe that's just me?

    Going back to what I said about Jesus in the post, though, that whole bit about loving people had nothing to do with shooting them.

    In the end, though, we can't solve the people problem in any easy, efficient way. While we're working on that, should we allow people to just continue to go on shooting sprees because guns are not the problem? No way! Guns are a problem we can solve easily and efficiently. As a society, we have shown that we can't play nicely with our gun toys, so we should have them taken away and locked up until such a point that we can show we are mature enough to handle them.

  15. Except accidents mostly happen because at least one of the drivers was being deliberately reckless. It's far worse to me when people behave as if they can get away with anything than if one isolated person behaves in an aberrant fashion. Maybe you want to argue that we're in a position with guns where God in the Old Testament would have intervened. Actually, that's pretty much what you're saying. Regardless of whether or not this has anything to do with the recent shooting, you can't go around saying nonsense like guns are the problem. No, it really is the person using the gun. Because if it weren't a gun, it would be something else. It could even be a potato. The point is, that person needs help. They certainly don't need a gun, but to say no one needs a gun (I don't personally have any guns, and have never shot one, by the way, so I'm not defending my own activities here) is like saying no one needs paper because paper can sometimes give paper cuts.

    It just doesn't make any sense. I'm sorry.

  16. Tony: Actually, that's not true. Statistically speaking. Most accidents happen because the person decision making ability was impaired.

    And that's nothing like what I'm saying. And you're intentionally not reading what I'm saying to make your erroneous point. In both my post and my previous response to you, I said PEOPLE ARE THE PROBLEM. But, when people are the problem, you take away the thing that they are having a problem with.

    I'm just going to assume you have never worked with young children, but, when there is a problem with a particular toy in a pre-school classroom, say a toy hammer, you don't deal with the problem by denying the one child access to that toy, because that toy continues to be the focal point of a problem while it is available to any of the children. You deal with that problem by taking the toy away. You take it away from all of them. Sure, there were some kids in the class that could handle that toy, but when a few are taking that toy and whacking other kids in the head with it, you take the toy away until -everyone- learns to play with it responsibly. That's how it works. And, yes, I'm saying that society needs to be treated like a pre-school classroom, because, honestly, that's how 80-90% of society acts.

    And, sure, if you take away the hammer, the kid may move to some other object to whack kids in the head with. You take that toy away, too. And you keep doing it until the kid learns to stop. Having worked with young kids, this tactic is the one that works. "Oh, if I hit someone in the head, my toy gets taken away." That gets through.

    So, if we take guns away and people move on to killing each other with potatoes, we take those away, too.

  17. That's a tactic that people use with children, sure. It's a standard. But that doesn't make it the best way. It's what a surrogate does, someone who doesn't feel they have any real authority, who is afraid of the consequences of actually trying to deal with the problem.

    I despise that kind of thinking, by the way, and that's as much as I've been saying. You don't punish everyone because one person has been acting out. I know this is common thinking in school. And I despised it every single day while I was in school.

    The best and only way is to address the actual problem, to know why the hell that hammer is being used to hit people in the first place. To address that child specifically. All you do by systematically removing everything the child can use to hit someone is to teach them innovation. To teach them to think of something else as a weapon.

    Instead you should address the problem. Look for the cause rather than the effect. It may take some actual effort. It may cause you to think of something other than your gut reaction, the spur of the moment thought that makes you think of the easiest quickest solution.

    It may actually make you think differently than the problem you're trying to address.

    That's what I'm saying. You can't solve one extreme with another extreme. That kind of thinking doesn't make any sense. Sure, as a culture and throughout history that's what we've all tended to do. But that doesn't mean we can't learn from our mistakes.

    Even with the heavy emphasis on psychology for the past hundred years or so, we seem to have slid backward in our ability to understand it. We throw drugs at everything, affecting chemical balances and perceptions of reality, but doing anything but actually dealing with what we talk about. Some people truly do benefit from this approach. Some people are truly born with the imbalances these drugs address. And yet when we think we can rely on these drugs and still neglect basic emotional needs, we still lose. We're still imbalanced.

    The hammer represents something. It represents power, maybe. And you take away the power of the hammer when you take the hammer away. And yet the need for power remains, which is why the child takes up another object, and you take that next object away, and why by your own admission another object is taken and then taken away again. You haven't addressed the problem, you've simply made the child look for another solution.

    The problem is that the hammer or whatever other object is not even the solution. It's the child imperfect response to a need it cannot otherwise express. To you, it's just a child acting out. To the child, it's a manifestation of a need that it cannot otherwise express.

    How is a gun like a toy hammer? In most hands a gun is a tool, like the toy hammer is for any other child. In some instances, guns are used for something other than a tool. They're used as an expression of rage against a system that has rejected someone. Like the child with the hammer, in this interpretation the gun is used to equalize a feeling of powerlessness. In some of these cases the problem may have been addressed by chemical rebalancing.

    But I'm still pretty sure that it's the person who needs to be addressed. And you don't address the person by removing the object that is only a manifestation of the problem.

    If I don't seem to be following your message, it's because your message was represented by a sensational conclusion that has no real bearing on the situation, that is not a solution but rather a gut reaction that looks at the effect but not on the cause. The cause is the person. Address the cause.

  18. Tony: This isn't really going anywhere. You continue to ignore the part where I say, yes, people are the problem, and that needs to be dealt with, BUT you can't deal with that while those people are busy shooting people.
    Just as an example, the same week as the shooting, there was a knife attack at a school in China by a person that needed help in a similar way to the shooter here in the states. There is one significant difference: in China no one died. 20 kids wounded by a knife but no deaths. The guy that did the attacking is also still alive and theoretically can receive some sort of help now. Here, though, where the attacker had access to weapons of mass murder, there are nearly 30 people dead including the attacker who can no longer receive any kind of help. Why? Because he's DEAD! Sure, we need to help these people, but the place to start is to take away their ability to inflict mass harm on others. Taking away the toy is a way to get the subject to pay attention to you. If you let that kid keep his hammer and just try to talk him out of it, he's not gonna listen. He's going to keep smacking other kids right up until you take the hammer away. That's when the kid knows you're serious.

  19. You make some excellent points, but much of what you say regarding guns and societal law is on an idealistic level. The guns are here and the science of the gun maker is still at work as they create bigger, stronger, and more deadly weapons. I don't think that means we just give up and say "okay, they win, I'm not going to fight with anybody no matter what".

    If you care about your family, your home, your community, and all the things you treasure is there not some point you will fight for them? If you need powerful guns to do that then isn't that a reasonable option?

    I am a pacifist at heart and I don't like to fight with anybody. I've never been in the military nor have I ever even been in a physical altercation with another person--ever. But if I knew my wife or children or someone I loved was going to be hurt or killed and the only way I could prevent it was to kill the person who was going to harm them, I'd do whatever was in my power to save them.

    It's a dangerous world and a lot a bad people have guns that they mean to do evil with. I just hope there are enough good people with the same or better equipment to stop that from happening. And if the bad guys have automatic weapons (which they often do) then the good guys should have the same.

    It's a sad state of affairs, but wishing and hoping ain't gonna make the bad go away. It IS a people problem and to prevent the episodes like Sandy Hook our nation needs to go into the hearts and minds of the people and not be so concerned about the inanimate equipment that is empowered by the more disturbed portions of our citizenry.

    Tossing It Out

  20. I'm a democrat and support gun control. However, as a caveat, it's never going to happen. If someone asks me my opinion, I would say "Yes, I think assault weapons should be controlled." But if that same person says, "I dare ya to come and take it," I'll say, "No thanks. You can keep it. Not worth a fight with you." And I'll just walk away.

    I honestly think this gun control debate is going to go nowhere just like it always does. Americans are too married to the concept of owning machine guns. I have a friend whose dad owns fifteen assault rifles and several uzis. I just shake my head. I can't do anything about it, so meh.

    I know that's not the answer or debate you were looking for but honestly, on this topic, my opinion means nothing and I'm not willing to fight the right wing gun wielding evangelicals about it either.

  21. Lee: Sure, it's idealistic, but if we don't reach for those ideals they will never be attained.

    I think this is the point, which you are saying from the wrong side:
    Your kids, your wife, your grand kids -are- being threatened, but they are not being threatened by the government. They are threatened on a daily basis by the unknowns in our society out there with weapons and the intent to use them in mass killings. Yet, you are willing to throw your kids, your wife, your grand kids on the bonfire to allow those same people to keep their weapons of mass killing.
    That, to me, is insane, that so many people are willing to offer up their loved ones as an offering so that people can keep their guns. And I'm not talking about hunting rifles and stuff, I'm talking about assault weapons and crap like that which no one has any good reason to own other than to kill other people.

    Michael: Maybe right now, no, nothing will change, but, maybe, with enough conversation, things will change.

  22. Andrew, apparently you hit a much deeper nerve with your post than I did with mine.

    It is about the people...not the method.

    No one is clamoring to ban swords, throwing stars, or any other manner of imposing death. I am firmly convinced that any type of ban will fail in its result and lead to more uprising the next time something happens involving guns.

    Look deep enough and those outraged at these horrific school shootings will only find todays society is truly at fault...then what do you ban?

  23. Chuck: No, no one is clamoring to ban any of those other things, because no one is going on a killing spree with those other things and killing 20 kids. And here's the thing, it doesn't really matter where the fault lies; it matters that we take away the tools that enable these kids of events.

  24. I can't believe that someone actually said that people could use potatoes to kill each other! To me that is so disrespectful of the 20 little children that were not just shot, but riddled with one is talking about paper cuts or car accidents...seriously, I don't understand why it is such a divisive issue in America! No citizen 'needs' an automatic weapon! I agree with you, American society is acting like a spoiled frigging teenager having a tantrum cause Daddy is threatening to take away the car. I agree with Rusty Webb too, no guns for anyone...although that is unlikely to happen. I'm so grateful to live in a country with pretty strict gun control laws...we do have gun murders here in Canada from time to time...I need to find the exact statistic, but I know for a fact we don't have anywhere close to the 11-12,000 gun murders that happen every year in America. I don't understand why that figure seems to be acceptable to Americans...holy crap! More than 11,000 murders by guns every year and people are okay with that?! Unbelieveable.
    Great post Andrew...and btw, impressive degrees!

  25. Eve: Yeah, I don't understand it, either. Except that I understand that people are that way, especially people in current American culture. It makes me sad and kind of sick. Unfortunately, part if it has to do with our current president, but that's a whole other topic...