I dropped off my daughter at the mall to do some Christmas shopping. “Watch out for random gunmen” I said in all seriousness.
“I know,” she said and grabbed my hand.
When she didn’t answer her phone after five calls two hours later, I dropped my other plans and rushed to the mall. She was fine. The phone was in the bottom of her purse and she didn’t hear it.
When I went to the mall at her age, the fear was about being raped. So we went in groups—at least there was safety in numbers. Now, those same numbers just up the targets.
After I had dropped her off, my very own precious first-grader asked me why the flag at the Perkins Restaurant we passed wasn’t up all the way. So I explained to her about what happened in Newtown, Connecticut. (She knows what death is. One of her best friends was just tragically killed in a car accident. Accidents happen.)
I am a liberal. But I also support the right to bear arms and the Second Amendment. I grew up in gun clubs and around hunters. I am not afraid of the idea of guns and don’t believe they should be banned—although the best hunters I know prefer bow and arrow (and there is no need for assault rifles when hunting).
HOWEVER, that doesn’t mean guns shouldn’t be more strictly controlled. And I believe that certain guns, such as assault rifles, should be banned unless one is completely certified and vetted—including vetting family members, since most violence starts in a family and between family members.
I’ve read the thousands of arguments about mental illness being the problem, not guns. And I agree that when a crime is committed by a mentally ill person, trying to make sense of or seek justice for a situation becomes very complex. But cases in which the mentally ill have access to guns, often within their own homes, create a deeper level of confusion. And to me, the larger crime is that the same people who viciously oppose any gun controls also vehemently want to deny the people who need it most support of health care and government aid. Or worse, they may have health insurance and money but are too ashamed to admit that someone in their family, or they themselves, might need help.
Those are the type of people who confound me most. Let me put it this way: It often seems that the biggest, the strongest, and the most powerful men are the ones who believe they need guns. Lots of guns. To protect themselves? To protect others?
I know one man who is tall, strong, and fierce yet won’t go into Allentown unless he’s “packing.” Me? I’ll walk down those same streets with a smile and get hellos and how ya’ doins. But I don’t watch scary movies or believe in the gun culture that makes people watch shoot-’em-up movies and play violent video games for fun.
What this tells me is that there is something deeper going on. A deep fear, hate, hurt, and rage, combined with a lack of ability to communicate with words, that leads to lashing out. It could also be associated with the toxins in our environment that seem to be causing more disturbed boys and men. We DO need more research. Because it seems to be getting worse, not better. But research takes time. Lots of time. I have never read a study that doesn’t conclude with “we need to do more research.” And the truth is we all can find lots of studies that will support ANY view. Science is far from objective, as much as people like to believe that it is. Whatever the research says, we do NEED to reform our mental health care system, for sure!
In the meantime, little innocent children are being murdered.
THAT is not acceptable.
So NRA supporters and people who believe that any gun should be allowed anywhere (or believe that it’s time to arm teachers, for God’s sake! Which is like regressing back to some Wild West fantasy), it’s time to stop freaking out. It’s time to calm down. It’s time to do what is right and responsible for us to be a civilized, humane society, and that means getting better control of guns in our country. That, my friends, is what our forefathers fought for most of all! Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. You may not like the outcome all the time, but voting is still our most powerful weapon. That is the gift we have been given by our forefathers and foremothers and must protect through the law and by the law.
And ask yourselves this: What are you really afraid of? If you need help finding the answer to that question, please open up the conversation. Talk to friends, talk to family, do some research, find a therapist. Trust me, it helps. There is nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to asking questions and seeking help if you need it.
The most reasonable statement on guns I have read or heard, my sentiments exactly.
Sorry, that’s too simple. We need to work on a much more complex problem.
There has to be a better way of handling our mentally ill.
I’m a fiscal conservative, own guns and hunt. And I’m in favor of regulating semi-automatic and automatic weapons. The issues seem clear to me.
For hunting and recreation, these weapons are not necessary. For home security and protection, you are much better served by a shotgun. It is nearly impossible to miss with one. I do believe people have a right to protect their home and family.
Concealed weapons are already legal, but you must be registered and certified. Do we want them in our schools in the hands of teachers? I fear that teachers and administrators, in a moment of stress, would use these, instead of yelling. Are we, the citizens willing to pay for armed guards? I expect the answer to that will be no. Maybe we will.
The next argument for these ‘assault style weapons’ is to protect us from the government. I am not worried about a Marine brigade occupying Allentown or Bethlehem and if they did, the citizens would need a lot more than these weapons. And why stop with assault weapons, why not hand held surface to air rockets? Why not RPG’s?
I’m also not worried about a slippery slope where all guns will be banned and confiscated. I believe in the Constitution and the good sense of the majority of the American people.
I do not fear the government occupying us in a military sense. I do fear that a culture of violence has become acceptable as has public debt and the acceptance of toxins in our environment already occupy us. These are the issues that I want to address.
Regulating these weapons may not prevent other tragedies, but they might prevent one and the freedom we abridge is acceptable to me, and I hope to others.
You might want to ask the thousands of women who have been beaten and raped every year how they feel about your viewpoint. By the way, some of those innocent children are being murdered in Chicago schools where they have the most restrictive gun laws in the nation. How about if our government instead stops spending just SOME of the billions they give to countries that hate us and spend a little more for healthcare (including mental health) in this country? Maybe the liberal Judges could start enforcing the gun laws that are already on the books and stop letting repeat criminals out on the streets!
I don’t think it is that complicated…..doing it and getting it done
is complicated….for instance ….how do you get a multi mega money industry to stop promoting violence???…and thank you, for the best, most sensible attitude on gun control…
also thanks for making us think and keeping us aware….
You many not remember me, but I knew your father and spent time on the farm when I was real, real little. I agree with your statements regarding the mentally ill with access to guns, yet I do not agree with gun control due to elected legislature for there will be another victim, maybe not to this magnitude, and it will slowly creep into the Amendment. This is our Country and our right to bear arms, which needs to be protected and illegality needs to be fought. I see socialism slowly at work. What happened here is good people failed to act especially concerning the mentally ill. It is a field where I have worked, bled and have an mental illness as well of post traumatic stress disorder. Judges, doctors and people do not take these illnesses seriously due to social security and force people to work beyond their stress levels. Most mental illness are brought about my stress. The inherent is greed, money and improper ways of taxation plus welfare. Protect the Second Amendment and fight those inherent evils. Gun control is the lazy man’s saddle and easy way out!
Thanks, Marie, for addressing this issue. I, too, am a liberal who supports the right to keep and bear arms. I have various thoughts about this tragedy at Newton, CT. First, I find it extremely disrespectful to use a tragedy to push a political agenda. Instead, ought we not be giving our loving respect to those directly involved, and not just as lip-service? Second, in regards to the possibility of 2nd amendment rights being abridged because of this tragedy, if this happens it will be the law-abiding folks, not the criminals, who will bear the consequences. Will criminals follow such laws? Heck, no. Do the mentally ill heed these laws? Again, no. So why punish the law-abiding folks by abridging their rights to own and bear arms? Third, about schools: should teachers be allowed to conceal carry? If they so choose, yes, and ongoing weapons training ought to be included in their work benefits. Also, ALL schools need instantaneous lockdown procedures, in place and ready to go, so they’re prepared should the unthinkable happen… a practiced response plan that everyone in the school knows how to put into action without a second thought. In addition, each classroom (and library, etc.) needs to have solid doors, doors highly resistant to damage of any kind, doors that even when open are always in a locked state. These doors can be open all the time – but in event of any problem, close these doors and because they are already in a locked state, they become an instant barrier to gunmen, who only want quick and easy access to kill. Are these gunmen going to take time to batter down a secure solid door? No! They’re going to move on to the next door, and the next door, and the next door, looking for easier targets. Meanwhile, more time is being given for the police to arrive. And yes, all schools need to have trained, armed, guards stationed at every exterior door and at strategic points outdoors. Fourth, in regards to semi-automatics – I am a 60 yr old single woman who hunts and carries. Do I want my 2nd amendment rights abridged? No! And I’d like to politely disagree with Rob S. about there being no need for semi-automatic weapons for hunting – my 22 hunting rifle is a semi-automatic (which only means it will fire one bullet for each time I pull the trigger). Would I ever want to hunt with a single-shot weapon? No, because there are times I need to quickly and humanely complete the honorable taking of the game animal’s life – be it squirrel or rabbit. I’m not a perfect shot; no one is. But I despise prolonged suffering, and the extra time I would need to take to reload a single shot weapon would prolong suffering… Fifth, we live in a culture that has a cavalier attitude towards violence. This pervasiveness of violence within our culture numbs us, kids and adults alike, to graphic killing. TV, video games, movies – have all progressively become extremely, and realistically, violent. The role of violence in mass media definitely needs to be examined. And lastly, in regards to mental illness, our societal approach needs to evolve. How? More funds, more assessments, more awareness, less stigma, and perhaps more places for the mentally ill to be housed. Yes, more governmental control. So those are some of my thoughts. Again, thanks Marie for addressing this subject. Oh, hey, Richard F., wouldn’t “liberal” judges enforce gun laws since the majority of liberals are anti-guns??? Your statement about liberal judges not enforcing gun laws confused me.
Great article, Maria, and very insightful comments. I personally abhor guns, and would be happy to see them all banned except for police and military use. Hunters can hunt with bow and arrow and it would be a bit more fair for the hunted. We have had, I believe, 81 violent gun sprees since the early 1980s in the US, far more then anywhere else in the civilized world. If someone breaks into my house, they will be brained with my Le Creuset goose pan and then kicked to hell. I’ll leave the guns to the police who are better equipped to use them. But some laws are a start from the NRA prevailing ‘wild west’ attitude.
wait, Le Crueset makes a goose pan??!!! THAT is the best weapon of all! I’m going to put one on my xmas list since we are having goose for Christmas! It’s probably a good bullet proof shield as well!
Sadly, you won’t be able to whack anyone with your LeCrueset goose pan if he/she shoots you first……
Assault rifles and automatic weapons have no legitimate purpose in homes, but a rifle or pistol makes sense for personal security.
BTW, I agree with you that you are perfectly safe in Allentown, without packing, unless you are looking for a drug deal or a hooker…….
As an Australian who handed in a couple of small calibre rifles in 1996 when our Prime Minister drastically overhauled our gun laws after a very bad massacre down here, my feelings were quite mixed – revolted at what had happened but with a genuine mistrust of government and belief that the government would not get the new rules right. I was wrong – the gun laws in Australia do not infringe on our rights and are far stricter than anything proposed at the moment in the US. All (legal) guns are registered, they have to be locked away in approved gun lockers/safes which are inspected by the police, you need to show a genuine needto get a gun licence (needs are generally for hunting on pre-approved properties or as a member of a gun club), the list of gun types which are banned or require special licencing is extensive – pump action shotguns, all semi-automatic guns, all handguns… the list goes on. We had a gun buyback (for which we all had to pay an extra 1% tax for a year to pay for) which bought back 20% of all guns but took guns away from 50% of households which previously had them. Now with young children in the house for the last 10 years, any desire of mine to own guns is outweighed by a desire not to have guns in the same house as my children. When the laws were introduced in Australia, I felt as if I had so many rights stripped away from me. 16 years later, I’m proud when I see Australia being held up as an example of good working gun laws. If I could give any advice it would be – in the light of any gun reform, don’t just question the need for military assault rifles – question the need for any semi automatic rifles, question the need for .50 cal sniper rifles, question the need for pistols and handguns. If your right to bear arms is for sporting and shooting – that’s fine, if it extends to a need to bear arms capable of these massacres – question them. Oh – in the 16 years since these laws have been introduced – we haven’t had one single massacre and an estimated 200 lives have been saved each year.
Be careful. Don’t bring a LeCrueset goose pan to a gunfight!
(Sorry, I am weak and I just couldn’t resist)
Good advice, nevertheless.
Elizabeth is right- Maria probably couldn’t stop anyone with her LeCrueset goose pan if she was already down/shot. However, at that point she probably couldn’t stop them with her glock or her bushmaster either. Removing homicidal rage would be the ideal intervention.
So~ here is the good news . There is very well designed research re: violet media exposure and there are very clear patterns re: pharmaceuticals and bullying history. I’m sure that we would benefit from greater research efforts in all of these areas-particularly environmental toxins ( under-researched at this time), but in the meantime…
Maria, this is the most insightful opinion I have ever read on this issue. Thank you for stating it so well.
We live in a society that has institutionalized violence and killing. We start pre-emptive wars that kill hundreds of thousands of people, most of whom are innocent civilians (“collateral damage”); we’re using unmanned drones to continue the “war against terror” (more collateral damage); we’re holding people without trial and torturing prisoners. Now we’re getting ready to beat up on old people and the poor by decreasing Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, (to say nothing of how we’ve beaten up on young people by making education unaffordable unless they indenture themselves to the banks with huge student loans)–just so the uber-wealthy don’t have to worry about paying taxes at levels they seemed perfectly able to pay a few decades ago, when we still had a healthy middle class. Oh yeah, we continue to allow fossil fuel companies and big corporations to treat the earth and its atmosphere as an open sewer, poisoning the population and endangering the ability of the planet to sustain life as we know it, all because, of course, corporate profits and the Great God of the Dow are important beyond all else.
Gun control is simply treating the symptom, not the problem–a society that is rotting from the inside out and utilizes violence to deal with rage, helplessness and hopelessness. When everything has a price, nothing has value, even life–and no, obsessing about a collection of cells in a woman’s uterus does not cut it as valuing “life.”
Glad to interject a bit of humor about my Le Creuset goose pan to a totally sad subject. But it isn’t really a joke…that pan is REALLY heavy and I just can’t imagine anyone breaking into my house shooting like it’s the lawless wild west…my plan is WHILE someone is trying to climb through a window or at such time as a door is kicked in, he gets brained and bashed. I have ALL the Le Creuset pans and they are ALL weapons!….believe me, you have to have MUSCLES to wield that goose pan…yes Maria, it is the BEST pan….we picked 100 pounds of tomatoes recently and I used it to make a BIG batch of sauce. It is the BIGGEST pan Le Creuset makes. And I would be much more comfortable braining a bad guy with it then brandishing a gun.
Touche John, touche. Lacy, that’s just it, maybe we are not a part of the civilized world in this country. Not civilized enough! I have those pans too, for years, and yes, I agree. I’d brain a person too, coming through a window or sneaking in through a door, if I am in the vicinity.
Want to know why these NRA people and people like them can be so callous about gun ownership, because it hasn’t happened to them yet! It hasn’t touched them in any meaningful way for them to wake up! Not saying that all guns should be done away with, but those people who really need them, i.e., business owners, police, military, hunters with strict laws governing hunters and hunting (like in Germany and Switzerland), pharmacies, bankers and jewelers, to name a few, should be able to have them and carry them. The majority of us, don’t need them. Some idiot said that everybody in a school and movie theatre should have a gun. Can you imagine the carnage there will be if everyone started shooting willy-nilly in the dark, or teachers start shooting without being trained for situations that may arise? I sincerely hope that we get tougher than tough gun laws implemented soon, and that these military style rifles be totally banned. I saw some ridiculous person on tv once with an assault rifle hunting in Texas, on land that was stocked with wild African game, simply because he couldn’t get to Africa and wanted big game for his home & office. Now tell me if that isn’t stupidy exemplified? They’ll never learn, these people!
That’s right Brunnhilde, everything has a price. Little or nothing seems to be valued anymore, especially L.I.F.E! When a person can just kill you for glimpsing at them, and not even that, well…….
I am so glad that my ancestors got on the right ship and came to live in New Zealand and not in the USA ,
We have strict gun laws here like Australia .
We have to have a firearms license obtained through the police, which you must produce to buy ammunition or guns.
Assault rifles are banned and only serious collectors are able to purchase pistols ,All guns are kept in looked cabinets and ammunition is locked up separately.
Our police do not carry or wear weapons ,and I hope they never will ,
Our schools do not have looked doors that can only be opened from the inside .
We do not have or need guns to protect ourselves or our property .
I do not see how the USA can fix their gun problem unless they make a major stand against them and everyone backs it .
I agree with a lot of what Brunnhilde says, the problem is a lot deeper than gun control .
I wonder if the reason nothing has been done to try to fix the gun problem is that it is already too late and out of control .
ps we are a family of hunters and have guns ,all stored ,all safe, all registered and only licensed users have access to them, if we had someone in the family suffering from mental problems they would be gone .
Anyone who believes that we should register our guns with the powers that be, and lock them up in boxes approved by same, absolutely must read “Was God on Vacation?” by Jack van der Geest. He experienced what happens when the government is ablento track them and then take them, along with our liberty. I have mixed feelings on the subject, but the book is certainly an eye-opener. Re. Liberal judges: the point is that they love to pass new laws but not necessarily enforce them. They tend to be more lenient when it’s time for sentencing.
Ok, I know this is not really the subject…I googled the Goose Pot to see what it was…..I HAVE THAT PAN!! I’ve had it for almost 30 years. Never used it for goose, but for large stews, and big batch chili or soup. Now I have to get a goose!! It would surely crush a skull,but you need help to lift it high enough!
Hi, Maria, I think I get your emails for the recipes and never participate in blogs, etc., and read very few, but I must say, the Subject line definitely drew me in for more. I appreciate Where You Stand on Guns and it’s exactly how I feel and just for the record, I am a registered Conservative who votes Republican nearly all of the time and I am also one of those 🙂 born again Christians.. and I TOTALLY AGREE WITH and thank you for Your Stand on Guns and the little bit of your philosophy I just read..I may even add, You’re absolutely RIGHT …Thank you again and God Bless You! and may God forgive those who have taken this tragic opportunity to criticize in ANY way or forum the families and schools who have experienced such a great loss. thank you again
Normally, the idea of a liberal being for the “unalienable rights,” as codified in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, is somewhat of an oxymoron to most conservatives. It is virtually impossible for a conservative to relate the words freedom and liberal, since they are mutually exclusive to one another.
While the definition of the words conservative and liberal have changed over time, the context has remained constant and true throughout world history. In today’s vernacular, the meaning of the terms conservative and liberal are as far apart as freedom and tyranny, and it is within the framework of freedom and liberty of the people I define the terms.
I have discovered in my life that certain truths continue to perpetuate and strengthen themselves over time. What I have found is a true conservative wants to conserve the freedom and rights of the people, as articulated by the founders in our founding documents, and limit the government in its function of control over the people in order to prevent a government of tyranny. On the other hand, I have found that a true liberal wants to take away liberties from the people in order to bring about greater and greater government control of what the people can do, and thereby, limit the freedom and liberty of the people.
As with most liberals, Maria uses “loaded” or “negative” words in describing, and thereby defining, certain firearms, such as her use of the term “assault rifles.” The firearm she alludes to is not an “assault rifle.” It is an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. It is a firearm that has been said to be the civilian equivalent to what is used in military applications, except it is not an automatic.
In most cases, a liberal uses such words to elicit sympathy for their cause of “gun control,” and attach negative connotations to these types of firearms, or even firearms in general. Most liberals will never tell you the truth about their true intentions of wanting greater government control over the people. They will never couch their argument in calling for elimination and/or restriction of freedom and liberty of the people, but rather with emotional arguments calling for policies that benefit a civilized society.
History is replete with examples of “gun-control” by “civilized society” governments, and in every case it has resulted in tragic results. I make three important points in this regard.
First, if history has any lessons in cases of mass murder, it is the fact that in virtually every case there was no means for the victim(s) to defend themselves and/or prevent further mayhem by the assailant(s).
What most “gun-control” advocates never want to discuss, is the fact that most mass murder is done by governments. History shows that the first item on the agenda of Communist and other totalitarian regimes was to disarm the citizenry, in order to easily eliminate, i.e., murder/slaughter, those who would resist their agenda and ideology. These fascists knew a disarmed citizenry was virtually helpless and defenseless against what they wanted to do. The nature of people with such a mindset and worldview is to eliminate the freedom and liberty of citizens by making them defenseless and dependent, and thereby, vulnerable to atrocities such as this. This type of scenario has played itself out time and time again throughout history.
While the actual numbers are difficult to ascertain, history shows that by some estimations there have been approximately 50-250 million people murdered by their governments when citizens vainly attempted to resist the tyranny, even when they had been stripped of all means to do so. These numbers do not even take into account the millions who were imprisoned or enslaved during these times. If history has shown anything, it is that “gun-control” is first, and foremost, about controlling people. This is still the modus operandi used by tyrannical governments throughout the world today.
Second, while a gun was used in the Newtown, Connecticut atrocity, it was a deranged, sick, and immoral individual who carried out this heinous crime, in a state that has some of the most strict gun-control laws in the country.
While it does not excuse or mitigate what was done, the question that is never asked and never answered by “gun-control” proponents is why would someone do something so unfathomable and unspeakable? What is the root cause of such an incomprehensible atrocity?
Those calling for more “gun-control,” even though it did nothing to stop the unthinkable from happening in Newtown, attempt to answer a complex problem with more “gun-control.” The liberal solution to every problem is always to restrict and/or eliminate the freedom of the people!
Third, removing God, the Bible, and Christianity from the principles of governing and the public square has resulted in a society of immorality, death, and irreligious people.
Our founders understood that freedom is not without consequence, but were determined to face adversity and difficulty wrapped in the flag and light of liberty, rather than the chains and darkness of servitude. They also understood that such liberty could only withstand the ravages of time under the umbrella of protection from God the Creator and the principles of the Bible. John Adams recognized that the Bible contained “the great essential principle of morality, and consequently all civilization.” More importantly, he unequivocally declared that, “We have no government armed with the power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. . . . Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
What liberals will never do is address what has really brought about the society that would produce such inhumanity. In analyzing this situation it should be quite obvious, even to the casual observer, what the mind-set the shooter was prior to and at the time of carrying out his rampage.
The irreverence for human life. When a society believes human life can be disposed of at the first sign of inconvenience or difficulty, as in the case of abortion, euthanasia, or infanticide, is it any wonder people have come to this point. For decades now, generations have been told and convinced by the government, politicians, and special interest groups that these options are good for society. What they have refused to tell them is that these promote nothing but death, and has resulted in a society of moral decadence. It does not take a lot of thought to realize why so many people today no longer believe in the sanctity of human life.
The breakdown of the institution of marriage and the nuclear family. The foundation of any society is the family and when it begins to crumble, as is the case in America, the results are quite apparent. When there is such a wide-scale decrease of nuclear families, coupled with an explosion of out-of-wedlock births of children, the deterioration and destruction of society itself is not far behind.
The secularization of American society. While ours is a pluralistic society, with many different religious beliefs, languages, nationalities, and races, forces have been at work for many decades to force God, the Bible, and the moral principles of Christianity from the public square. If one has to surmise as to where the thoughts from which immorality originate, you need to look no farther than a society of peoples who refuse to place our Creator and Saviour in his rightful place.
What Maria, a self-confessed liberal, never states is the obvious that the real problem is a deficit of moral values permeating our society today. As the founders made clear time and again, freedom without morality will eventually end in tyranny, as the people call for more and more restrictions to the freedom of the people in order to address the consequences of the immoral choices and decisions of the people. Since tyranny always results in the slaughter and mass-murder of people the question to liberals is why they propose the very things that will eventually bring about tyranny?
Sebastian, you nailed it. Thanks for the mini refresher course.
The logic of allowing ASSAULT WEAPONS is strange.Doesnt the name of the weapon show what its primary purpose in life is.That is to ASSAULT. we are not in desert storm .Iraq, etc. . Who are you going to war against in the USA? Schoolchildren ,citizens,?Isnt there allready enough guns to deal with this problem.And yet no one has the cojones to say “YOU KILL< YOU DIE.The argument against the death penalty is WHAT?It may not be a deterrent to some, but it may be for others,and certainly the perpetrator of that crime WONT DO IT TO ANYONE ELSE
Sebastian – Surely you must realize that Christians aren’t the only ones with morals. No one, and no group, has a monopoly on morals. Religious wars are begun with beliefs like that – when some insist “My God is better than yours.” FACT: Plenty of non-Christians have morals, and good morals, too! In these good ol’ United States we have “religious freedom” – which means the government cannot decree any specific religion/s. There’s room for them all. Let’s “live and let live” and drop the proseltizing, please. In regards to gun-control – I’m a 60 yr young woman who hunts and carries. I believe consistent and regular training is extremely important! I’m not an NRA-er, but “They can have my gun when they pry it from my cold dead fingers!” And that’s probably sometime after I beaned ’em with that goose pan!!!
Mulein Frye – I agree.
Those who don’t want guns, don’t need to have them. It is supposed to be a free country and was designed so by our Constitution which has served us well for so many years.