Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain

For the Love of Guns

80 Comments

It is true.  I’m an avid supporter of the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.  I have never understood the Second Amendment to mean that anyone who lives in America can or should have any gun they want for any purpose they want.

I come from a fairly rural area with a long hunting tradition.  I know that some don’t agree with hunting full stop, but it’s the tradition I’ve grown up around even though my father wasn’t a hunter.  And around here we do have a significant deer population which is what most people hunt for.  That and wild boar.   Both are overpopulated.

We have laws in our state which govern what can an cannot be hunted.  For example, it’s against the law here to kill a snake.  Any snake.  It’s also against the law to kill alligators.  If either of these become a nuisance Animal Control is to be called and they are to remove and relocate said snake or alligator.

This time of year I can hear gunfire going off around most any time of the day.  Not typically at night as that is against the law. No night hunting.  No shining.

I, myself, have a handgun.  I like to fire it at the range.  At targets.  Not people.

When I was a little girl my dad had a pistol.  He taught my mom how to fire it because he was gone.  A lot. She hated it.  She still slept with it under her pillow.

My older sister and I knew the gun was there.  It never crossed our minds to play with it.  It wasn’t a toy.  I don’t remember ever being told it wasn’t a toy.  I also don’t remember growing up playing games like, Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty – Black Ops, Manhunt, or Mortal Combat. Those seem to make a fun game out of killing as many “people” as possible.

We played Cops and Robbers, Cowboys and Indians, and War.  We used mud pies as bombs and mostly our fingers for guns. We used make-believe bows and arrows.  We got in trouble if we pointed our cap-guns at anyone. Ever. While those guns were toys they weren’t those kinds of toys.  They still had moving parts and could still hurt someone and we learned that.

I’m not blaming mass shootings video games, mind you.  But I do think it desensitizes humans who play them to a certain extent.  So if someone already has a bent toward the uncaring that might just help them see other people as game pieces instead of real and breathing.

It’s just that when I was a kid I learned about real guns before I had a toy one.  I heard the near-deafening boom as the bullet left the chamber.  I saw the damage it inflicted and/or could inflict on a living thing.

As I previously mentioned I grew up in rural South Georgia where rabid animals roam.  My first memory of a gun being used was when I was probably four years old.

My parents had bought this little country store and we were living in a room in the back of it.  Two double beds, one on each side of the rear exit.  That’s what we seemed to have.  Two double beds and a hot plate.

One morning we were awakened by the sounds of growling and barking at that rear exit.  My dad, wearing only a pair of blue and white striped boxers, opened the door a crack to see what was going on.  The growling and barking lunged at the door and my dad slammed it shut.

He reached under the pillow and grabbed the pistol.  He carefully cracked the door a smidge again.  The growling and barking lunged again.  He tried throwing a few things at the growling and barking but it was undeterred.  Finally he opened the door once more, just a crack, and when the growling and barking lunged he shot it.  With a yelp it went down.

My dad’s philosophy about guns was that they were a tool.  He didn’t hunt for sport.  He only used it when he felt it was necessary.  He used it another time, that I can recall, to put down our ailing Irish Setter.  With tears in his eyes.

My point is that anyone that can shoot people without batting an eye has something wrong with them.  How can the life of another mean so little?  How can the pain inflicted not at least make one pause?  Is there some empathy chip missing?

So maybe the gun lobby has a point – to a point.  Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.  And maybe if they couldn’t get their hands on a gun they’d concoct homemade bombs and improvised explosive devices.  Or use machetes or swords.

Why is the gun lobby in this country against more intensive background checks?  Or even making it impossible for someone on the no-fly list to buy a gun?  Why are our lawmakers more afraid of the NRA than they are the people who are able to obtain guns?

Is there any way to rid the world of senseless violence when there are apparently those walking among us who would just as soon snap our necks without a second thought?  Why are there so many people who haven’t any conscience or empathy?  What can we do about it?

To be continued…

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80 thoughts on “For the Love of Guns

  1. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy this argument. A full gun ban was enacted in Australia after the Port Arthur massacre and the result: “homicide rate fell by 59 percent, and the firearm suicide rate fell by 65 percent, in the decade after the law was introduced, without a parallel increase in non-firearm homicides and suicides.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/08/02/did-gun-control-work-in-australia/

    This is also interesting:

    “In 2006, the Israeli Defence Force witnessed a disturbing number of suicides in its ranks. In an effort to reduce this number, the IDF banned soldiers from taking rifles home on the weekends. Suicides fell by 40%. An army review later concluded: “Decreasing access to firearms significantly decreases rates of suicide among adolescents.””

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/18/gun-violence-waco-texas-shot

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m not really making an argument for guns. Not really.

      What I would like is some thoughtful dialogue about guns and gun ownership. I’m not familiar with Australia’s inception nor with it’s original Constitution nor it’s current one.

      I’m hearing arguments on both sides of the issue here. Take guns away and it fixes the problem. No, take guns away and it only takes them out of the hands of law abiding citizens. Criminals don’t follow the law. There are so many criminals with guns we’d never get them all. Terrorists don’t care about the law, yadda, yadda, yadda.

      To be honest, I don’t know what the answer is. I’m just so very sad about the gun violence that is being perpetrated here. I can’t help but believe that there is some measure we can take to curtail it. Of course, it is always pointed out that we’ll never stop them all. Just look at France, it supposedly has some of the strictest gun laws in the world, and yet gun violence erupted on them.

      I think that here, people are so afraid that the gub’ment’s gonna take away their guns that they don’t think about the big picture. While the atrocity in France was horrific, and a lot of people were killed and/or injured at one time, we have meccas of gun violence here where the number of people killed in France looks like a small number.

      I’m not sure I’d support a full gun ban(or that I wouldn’t for that matter), but we need to do something because what we are currently doing is obviously not working.
      that isn’t

      Liked by 3 people

      • I feel similarly. I don’t know what would work, and I often feel muddled by the arguments that say obviously contradictory things, but have points. I lean towards at least more gun control, and I definitely think we need to do more. Looking forward to your continuation!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Australia and the US are very different when it comes to gun culture. Australia never had the lust for or quantity of firearms and removing them was an easier task. Here in the US, there are so many fire arms in circulation, so many hi capacity magazines that are already in circulation, what law would fix that?

      Any law would only affect retail and new production. It may also lead to more violence or crime by creating a black market and a demand that would lead to criminal weapon sales, which would inevitably lead to more violence.

      After the shooting at Sandy Hook where 20 something children were killed, i thought that if any law could be made to stop something like that from happening again, that it should be done – I just don’t think any law could do that, at least none I’ve heard of so far.

      If the Gov went door to door, searching and rummaging through every house and underwear drawer to make sure every citizen gave up it’s fire arms, why then that very act may actually provide insight to the very reason the USA has a 2nd amendment. I tend to lean toward a little less government oversight in preference of self reliance, but admittedly, we cant have vigilantes running around taking upon themselves who to execute – we need laws.

      But, the CDC shows that more people die from automobile accidents every year than they do from fire arms. Some say that this isn’t relevant as Automobiles aren’t designed or built to kill, but that actually makes it more relevant to me; if an instrument that had no lethal design ends up being more lethal than a weapon, then perhaps we have a bias toward the term “weapon” and are willing to overlook high death rates by a tool the majority use, like automobiles.

      I pretty much agree with Ruth. There needs to be a very real and honest review of all the facts and factors so that we can reach a real solution and avoid ineffective legislation that’s a result of a knee jerk reaction.

      But the NRA gets on my nerves. Fire Arms are very dangerous tools. A Carpenter can build faster with power tools than he can with hand tools, and likewise, a maniac can kill more people with very little training with a gun than they can with a knife or bow and arrow. I also agree with Ruth in that wider spread background checks seem to make more sense.

      I grew up in the south, served in the Army, fired my rifle at people, been shot at, and saw the gruesome effects of all manner of weapons. Education on gun safety and the sanctity of life is a good place to start, in my opinion.

      Liked by 1 person

      • After the shooting at Sandy Hook where 20 something children were killed, i thought that if any law could be made to stop something like that from happening again, that it should be done – I just don’t think any law could do that, at least none I’ve heard of so far.

        I don’t think there’s any law that will stop 100% of gun crime. I do think our mental health system and working toward eliminating stigma associated with mental illness is a good place to start.

        Liked by 2 people

      • It’s true, if rational, reasonable action could not be enacted after Sandy Hook then i’m afraid to say there’s no hope at all for the US on this matter. That’s fine. That’s your choice, but no one should ever complain or ask <Why? when the next Sandy Hook happens. And it will happen.

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        • The pres can only do so much without congress approval – and they’re not very reasonable folks.

          In your opinion, what should be done?

          Liked by 1 person

          • Honestly, exactly what Australia did. Farmers (although not limited to farmer only) can still purchase and own guns, but there simply isn’t any reason why an ordinary person in a city or town should ever require a military assault weapon.

            But, that will never happen. Sadly, Sandy Hook proved that.

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          • John,

            I don’t disagree with you, my follow up question, though, would be – how would you erase/confiscate all the weapons already in circulation without invading and searching homes?

            I guess you could make the law, and just expect it to take a long time before they’re actually collected… Someone doesn’t turn in in, they get arrested or fined and the weapon confiscated when they bring it out in the open?

            And then whatever the solution would be, it needs to also address the empathy/hate/whatever it is problem that leads to the desire to slaughter people.

            maybe it cant be completely corrected and all we can hope to do is mitigate the craziness as much as possible…

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          • In Australia it was a (generous) buyback program funded by a one-off tax. Turning your weapons in was voluntary. No searches of people’s property was ever suggested. Of course, penalties were put in place for anyone found with a banned weapon after a certain date.

            As you say, violence can’t ever be eradicated, but we can mitigate it.

            Liked by 1 person

      • But, the CDC shows that more people die from automobile accidents every year than they do from fire arms. Some say that this isn’t relevant as Automobiles aren’t designed or built to kill, but that actually makes it more relevant to me; if an instrument that had no lethal design ends up being more lethal than a weapon, then perhaps we have a bias toward the term “weapon” and are willing to overlook high death rates by a tool the majority use, like automobiles.

        While I wouldn’t say that the number of people who die in automobile accidents every year is irrelevant I’m not sure it’s a valid comparison with fire-arms. We collect data, enact laws, perform crash safety tests, and put out data on the safety on every different make and model of car. We do all we can do to make them safer and year after year come up with new technology and safety guidelines. The same cannot be said for firearms. The CDC doesn’t do that kind of data collection for guns and gun manufacturers. Technology exists to make guns safer and the NRA fights it tooth and nail because they are lobbyists for the gun manufacturing industry, regardless how they present themselves to their membership.

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        • well that’s very true. It is very odd that a firearm can be purchased or nearly any type, without any training and with seems to be inadequate back ground checks.

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        • The statistics related to automobile accidents — they may well be higher than deaths from guns (I don’t know), but for me, this really isn’t the issue.

          Consider this — MANY automobile accidents and MANY killings (by gun) are directly related to alcohol in the system of the driver/perpetrator. I would daresay people in their “right minds” would not do some of the things they do if they were stone-cold sober.

          For example, how many sober drivers are going to push the accelerator to 80-90 mph when on a curvy country road or a busy freeway? How many sober individuals are going to whip out a gun and shoot someone they disagree with? How many sober men (not being discriminatory, just statistics) are going to shoot their wife or girlfriend (or entire family) during an argument or because an “ex” is dating someone else? How many sober individuals commit suicide by shooting themselves (or even run their car off a cliff)?

          Of course, the die is set. Alcohol is not going away. But sometimes I wonder if we aren’t focusing our attention on the wrong “culprit.”

          Please don’t misunderstand — I’m not promoting prohibition. I’m just sayin’ …

          Liked by 2 people

          • Of course, we’ve tried prohibition and that didn’t work out too well, either. In fact, the reason we did away with prohibition was because crime increased and it created, essentially, what we have now with the drug cartels.

            Along with that, there are many, many people who do drink responsibly. They don’t drink and drive or use firearms. I wonder if, since alcohol and other drugs cause people to lose inhibitions if what they do when they are under the influence isn’t, many times, something they would like to do while sober but don’t dare. To that end, I still think mental health is an issue and at play. I think that domestic violence and self-harm are linked to mental illness. Many times, because our mental health system is so broken, and because mental illness isn’t easily diagnosed or, more importantly, treated AND because of the stigma surrounding mental illness those who suffer use alcohol and other substances to self-medicate rather than seek out help.

            Not only that, the nature of much mental illness is a vicious cycle. Even if properly treated, and properly medicated, part of the illness is stopping meds because either the meds make the person feel worse than they did with the illness OR the belief that since they feel better they no longer need to take their meds.

            Liked by 1 person

          • I have no argument with your comments related to mental health issues. I too feel they are often at the core of the gun violence we are seeing today. And yes, I agree that prohibition doesn’t work in that it creates its own problems. (And personally, I’m not for it as I enjoy the occasional cocktail.) 🙂

            What I’m saying is I feel many people discount the role that alcohol plays in many gun deaths. Where I live (a rural town), there have been several deaths directly related to alcohol. Arguments that started in a bar … drunk driving that killed teenagers … property disputes that ended in a death because the gun owner had “liquid courage.”

            I don’t know the answer. I do hope the attention being given to mental health will yield some results, but in the end, I’m not sure whether we’ll see that many changes. There are just too many guns in the hands of too many people who haven’t a clue about safety or proper usage.

            Liked by 1 person

          • I totally agree about gun safety and proper usage. Staunch 2nd amendment supporters say that having a stipulation such as proof of safety training and proper usage inhibits the free access to guns that the 2nd amendment affords. I completely disagree. Proving you can use a gun properly does not impede ownership. That’s just a stupid argument. In the past I’ve argued that perhaps we should have to register guns for that sole reason. But there are other ways to accomplish that, like having to present firearms training and safety certificate in order to purchase a gun, whether it be a private sale or from a gun dealer. It puts the onus on the seller to cover their own ass.

            I, too, come from a rural town in a pretty rural state. In 2014 the state legislature here passed a law approving concealed carry handguns into bars. How stupid? Who doesn’t know that alcohol and guns don’t mix? The caveat to the bill is that it is up to each establishment whether or not they allow guns. To the credit of bar owners all over the state, they know that alcohol and guns don’t mix. I don’t know of any bars in the town where I live that permit guns.

            But, yes, your point is quite well taken. Alcohol does lower inhibitions and, as such, should never be mixed with guns. But then that would be part of responsible gun ownership. Unfortunately too many gun owners are not very responsible.

            Liked by 1 person

          • And many of the people who are against more background checks or training for firearms, are very much for stricter verification for voting – because with firearms it restricts those rights, with voting it protects them…

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          • with voting it protects them…

            I’ll have to think about that. How does stricter verification protect voter rights? Not that I’m not in favor of it, but I’ve never understood protecting voter rights to be the reason for these stricter verifications. I’ve always understood it to be to keep non-citizens from voting. I’ve even had people propose to me that non-property owners shouldn’t be allowed to vote because they shouldn’t have a say in how property tax dollars are spent. There are lots of people who are in favor of restriction the rights of others.

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          • “There are lots of people who are in favor of restriction the rights of others.”

            Boy ain’t that the truth!??! It’s OK for me and my family but to hell with yours.

            Liked by 1 person

          • yeah, I was being sarcastic. Trying to point out the contradiction in arguments that I usually hear come out of the same mouths.

            from my experience, the staunch 2nd amendment, no law/regulation gun rights supporters are usually the very ones who call for stricter management and background checks for voters.

            It seems silly to me.

            I’m sarcastic. sometimes it’s hard to tell. that’s my fault.

            Liked by 1 person

          • I did wonder since sarcasm is my second language, but sometimes it loses a little something in the translation in print.

            Kinda like Mr. NRA down there that did a drive-by on this post, basically giving me instructions on why my 1st Amendment right are secondary to his 2nd Amendment right? “I’ma keepin’ ma guns, so you jest shut yer trap!” Well, basically, anyway. As if there has never been any alteration to the Constitution at all. 😉

            Liked by 1 person

          • right, I never fully understood the arguments that seem to make the Constitution seem like Gospel, because usually when I hear it, it’s from people who hate Muslims (protected by the first amendment) but staunchly and irrationally support the second amendment, while they also seem ignorant of that fact the constitution gives ways to change the constitution – so if the second amendment was lawfully amended, in accordance with the constitution, would these supporters still strongly support the constitution?

            In any event, it’s been my experience that most people who cry over the Constitution and want it preserved at all costs, have never read it and don’t know what they’re talking about.

            But I think there’s two polar extremes on this issue that are the loudest positions, as well as most likely the two positions most rooted in ignorance and misinformation, and like most things, the real issue and most accurate resolution is somewhere in the middle – which means we’ll never reach it.

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      • This may be of interest to you if you weren’t aware of the CDC gun-violence data collection ban:

        http://abcnews.go.com/Health/cdc-ban-gun-research-caused-lasting-damage/story?id=18909347

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  2. We had a mass shooting in a primary school in 1996. Nothing since they tightened gun control. It’s quite simple, if people can’t access guns easily they’re less likely to be able to kill on a large scale.

    I don’t know how you could start to tackled the gun culture in the USA though, if people like you are seduced by them, there’s little hope for change in the near future. Maybe if I went down a firing range I’d change my mind, there must be something in it.

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    • I’d part with my gun today. I wouldn’t call myself seduced by it.

      I agree that if people can’t access guns easily they’re less likely to be able to kill on a large scale. I’m not sure how we’d go about confiscating all the guns that have been purchased off-market or obtained illegally here. The fear here seems to stem from the thought that the only guns that would be “banned” or “controlled” would be those of law-abiding citizens, leaving criminals fully loaded. People don’t consider the big picture when making this argument. If guns are controlled, then so would be ammunition. What good is a gun you can’t get ammunition for? Though there are those(my brother-in-law for instance) who make their own.

      I’m not by any stretch with this article disagreeing with gun control measures. In this country there are far too many ways to obtain a gun legally without going through any kind of background check or having to show any kind of proficiency with a gun.

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      • Ruth, when very reasonable persons like you argue in favour of the 2nd Amendment and gun ownership, what do you expect of the idiot who has a gun? I once read on a very popular blog, that those liberals who argue for stricter gun control are really not champions of freedom and should not defend things such as freedom of speech and so on. I don’t know, but I thought that was a very stupid comment.

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        • I do argue in favor of the 2nd Amendment, but I have a very different interpretation of it than my conservative counterparts. This article should not be in any way construed to mean that I am not in favor of gun control laws, nor that I think that the 2nd Amendment cannot be amended.

          Even in Violet’s country where the gun control laws are very strict there is still gun ownership. Responsible gun ownership and gun control are not mutually exclusive.

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          • Here’s what it looks like in Canada, Ruth –

            “There is no legal right to possess arms in Canada. It takes sixty days to buy a gun there, and there is mandatory licensing for gun owners. Gun owners pursuing a license must have third-party references, take a safety training course and pass a background check with a focus on mental, criminal and addiction histories.

            Licensing agents are required to advise an applicant’s spouse or next-of-kin prior to granting a license, and licenses are denied to applicants with any past history of domestic violence. Buyers in private sales of weapons must pass official background checks.

            Canadian civilians aren’t allowed to possess automatic weapons, handguns with a barrel shorter than 10.5 cm or any modified handgun, rifle or shotgun. Most semi-automatic assault weapons are also banned. As a result of exemptions, several kinds of assault weapons are still legal in Canada, although this has been the source of some controversy.”

            It’s hunting season now here, too and many of our friends will bag one. So there are many gun-owners. The thing is, you don’t usually see them. For instance, they must be locked in a cupboard in someone’s house, with the ammunition stored in a separate place. All guns must be registered. (that doesn’t mean they always are)

            For me, the bottom line is that gun control legislation saves lives.

            Liked by 2 people

          • Oh, I totally agree, Carmen. If this article in any way seemed to advocate for willy-nilly, everyone-who-wants-a-gun-should-get-one, no background checks, not registration, no legislation that was not the intent.

            I wholeheartedly agree that responsible gun ownership also requires sensible gun legislation and sensible gun control.

            Your gun laws in Canada seem similar to those of the U.K. I’m not opposed to any of that. But the moment sensible gun legislation is mentioned, or that the current gun legislation isn’t sufficient, the gun lobby – not necessarily gun owners – start their fear-mongering that the government is going to take away our guns full stop. That is simply not the truth. The NRA this week lobbied and persuaded legislators to strike down a measure to deny the sale of firearms to those on the known no-fly terror watch list within the U.S. Even though individual members of the NRA might agree with that measure. The NRA has a lot of buying power in this country. It’s scary.

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          • I don’t use the word ‘hate’, Ruth, but I have come to despise the NRA.

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          • I didn’t think you would argue against amendments to the law. What most of us are saying is the gun laws should be strengthened further. I don’t know the justification for hunting for sport. Imagine a case like Balaam’s talking donkey and the animals turn around to ask why kill us? I know I am being dramatic but I think it is just as inhumane as beating up your dog because you can

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      • Ruth: “” If guns are controlled,””. Can you list any other “”CONTROLLED”” substances or items? Vicadin, the most abused substance in this country, (so much so, that the DEA does “”Pain management”” contracts with long term USERS) is a “”CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE””. Or should we call it an “”OUTTA CONTROL SUBSTANCE””? Health care in America is now a “”controlled item””, that to seems to be “”outta control””.

        Did you ever read the part of the second amendment that states you lose that right after you go through the “”correctional”” system? If you have been bad, then been CORRECTED, why would you lose your RIGHTS??

        We the people have guns to stop our government from RULING over us, and we should have access to and the ability to own and possess any and all weapons that OUR EMPLOYEES have.

        If they got rid of cars, (just another “”TOOL”” that people use) the auto accident death and injury rates would go down as well!

        How much “”butterfly effect”” has the womans lib and no fault divorce caused , in relationship to DADS not being able to raise MEN out of little boys?

        If you want AMERICA to be a different country, get enough states on board, have a constitutional convention, rip the old one apart, write a new one and start over.

        Until then, LEAVE IT ALONE!!!

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        • Before I spend a whole lot of time refuting everything you’ve said here I’d like to ask you some questions:

          1) Is this just a drive-by? I mean, did you leave a comment here to have a discussion or did you leave a comment here to just to tell me I’m wrong and to basically shut up?

          2) Do you honestly think felons should have guns? What about if they’ve used a fire-arm in the commission of a crime? I have read that part of the Constitution. You don’t lose your rights unless you’re a convicted felon.

          3) Should I assume that you have an arsenal complete with armored Humvees, tanks, machine guns, and fighter jets?

          4) Should we, according to your logic, also not have any laws at all? I mean, there isn’t a law in this nation that some criminal hasn’t broken, right? If people are just going to break the laws maybe we shouldn’t have any. That is the logical extension of your argument.

          5) Can I assume that you’re not just some gun enthusiast, but a member of a well-trained militia that intends to overthrown any attempt at a government takeover?

          6) What is your stance on the mentally ill having access to any and all firearms that our EMPLOYEES have?

          7) Are you in favor of background checks? What about firearms safety training? What about permits to open carry or concealed-carry?

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        • And, just out of curiosity, do you think the U.S. Constitution is written in stone and cannot, under any circumstances, ever be amended?

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    • If they couldn’t act after 20 little kids were murdered, then they’re never going to act… and its impossible to feel any sympathy when the next massacre happens, and the next a week later, and the next a week after that.

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      • This is what I don’t understand. It has to be crystal clear by now that our laws are antiquated and that when our Founding Fathers penned the Constitution they were working with gunpowder and muskets, not AR’s, automatics, and semi-automatics.

        TheBrit says to me this morning, “I had a bloke come up to me at work as we were leaving yesterday and ask me if I’d heard about the shooting. I said, yeah man, it’s mad init?” The bloke looks at me and says, “Well, you know that was the government. They did that so they can take our guns away from us.” Deadpan from TheBrit. What do you even say to that? You can’t believe the number of people in this country who either say that Sandy Hook was perpetrated by the Obama Administration in an attempt to get gun bans passed OR who say it never happened at all. That the people we saw on the news were all actors paid by the Obama Administration to get gun ban legislation passed.

        WTF?

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      • If we cease to feel sympathy, then we negate the debate. I know what you mean, and I understand the frustration, but it’s too soon to say never. If we ever reach a point where sympathy is truly impossible, then we’re already dead men walking…

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      • Ruth, perhaps John can verify this, but I’m told that after the massacre in Tasmania and the ban was enacted, people just handed in their guns. My son-in-law says that he remembers, and it seemed like the public just acquiesced; people just turned in their guns with very little protest. Perhaps people just decided that, for the good of the population, it just had to be. I don’t think that’s going to happen any time soon with the American public, however. To outsiders, it just seems that most Americans have a love affair going with their firearms. . . sigh. ..

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        • I’m not sure what the gang-violence and other criminal related gun violence rates are elsewhere. Here gang-related gun violence is a big problem. I hardly see criminals just handing over their guns for the greater good. That’s the image(caricature) most American citizens have in their heads. They give up their guns and the criminals have a hay day. I’m not at all certain, though, what the statistics are of people actually fending off criminals is. I hear “stories” here and there but have no statistical data.

          And, of course, America does have a love affair going with their firearms. It is the Second Amendment to our Constitution, after all. Which harkens back to the revolutionary war. As if would could revolt against tanks, and bomber jets, and machine guns. Then again, ISIS is doing a pretty good job of it.

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          • Well, yes. It’s true that the criminal element always seems to get their hands on guns, even with legislation. But at least here it seems that they tend to shoot each other. . .

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          • Fair enough Ruth, do we have statistics of the number of incidents where private gun owners have repulsed gangsters? This would be a good argument in support of gun ownership say if in 100 burglary attempts, home owners repulsed 67% or something.

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          • Following Mak’s question, I see that defensive use of guns may be exaggerated: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/01/defensive-gun-ownership-myth-114262

            Liked by 1 person

          • I absolutely have no doubt that this is true. See jono’s comment below:

            The reason that I, myself, have a gun is that my law enforcement, gun-collector, brother-in-law insisted that I have one AND that he teach me how to use it when I got divorced. He thought that as a single woman I should have “protection”. I have never needed it for that purpose, by the way, but even if I had I think I’d have only gotten myself into more trouble trying to use it.

            He wanted me to obtain a concealed carry permit and carry it in my handbag. Urm…no. Usually when one is accosted in a place where having a gun in one’s handbag might even be remotely useful, they have been accosted by someone who already has a weapon drawn. Methinks trying to fumble my gun out of my handbag at such a moment might lead to certain death. Thankfully, I’ve never encountered such a thing!

            As I alluded to above, I have no statistical data. I think it is more of a mind-set or, rather, a caricature of reality. Of course, I have read of instances where a gun owner has fended off a would-be attacker. But the idea that having people armed to the teeth in situations where there are mass shootings would have prevented the mass shooting are pie in the sky. If a shooter already has his gun drawn he isn’t waiting for me to even up before he pulls the trigger.

            Yes, I think that defensive gun ownership is exaggerated. My comment above was merely explaining a mentality that will not be easily overcome. I don’t know how long it will take, if it hasn’t already happened, but someone will suggest that a person who was armed in San Bernardino yesterday likely would have thwarted that mass shooting. Sigh…

            Liked by 1 person

        • Hi Carmen

          Yeah, it was pretty much this:

          Howard: “That’s it! No more guns.”
          Australia: “Yeah, that sounds reasonable.”

          People on the land can still have guns because they need/use them.

          There’s a good Jim Jeffries video on this. I’ll try and find it

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          • John, don’t you think there was a completely different attitude to guns in the place though? I’m wondering if it’s apples and oranges. Also Australia, like the UK, is an island, and there wasn’t such a market for guns in the first place. Leaky borders, gunophilia, and market forces make it an immense challenge.

            For change in the USA both sides in the discussion need to take 20 steps back and find common ground (much like what I suspect Ruth is trying to do here) and move forward together from there. The first steps would need to be unilateral, and I don’t think they’ll come from the gun lobby. Maybe if the anti-gun people started on a ‘guns are great and we all need them’ premise and worked from there to get rid of the ones that no ordinary citizen could ever need?

            Liked by 1 person

          • Thought I’d lost this, but found it. It’s a great expose of the NRA’s (gun lobby) descent into madness of the years, bringing us (Americans) to this point in time:

            http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/03/national-rifle-association-ads-history

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          • Oh well, I needn’t have bothered writing any of that – you’re in tunnel vision! 🙂

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          • Not at all. That demonstrates that the current states of affairs is not normal. The frenzy is manufactured, and American’ have to wake up and face that truth. The “conversation” they are having is a pantomime.

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          • But they’re too lost in it. There can only be generational baby steps. Like you say, the fact that all these horrendous mass shootings aren’t the wake-up calls we’ve seen in other countries means no amount of screaming ‘it’s not normal!’ is going to have any effect.

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          • Saw a meme yesterday which said something like: “Let the Republicans win in 2016. Only after things get so bad will America finally wake up.”

            There might be some truth in that.

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          • “For change in the USA both sides in the discussion need to take 20 steps back and find common ground (much like what I suspect Ruth is trying to do here) and move forward together from there.”

            Bingo!!! The inflammatory rhetoric on both sides has to stop before any meaningful conversation can take place. Zande is right. At this moment it’s pantomime. We have GOT to find some common ground, a middle, and start from there.

            I haven’t had a chance to read your articles or watch your video yet, Zande. I’m getting there, though. In the meantime I found this, which I haven’t even thoroughly read yet but just skimming this post there are several things I agree with:

            http://girldujour.com/2015/10/06/avid-hunter-talks-guns-nra-and-massacre-prevention-legislation/

            Liked by 1 person

        • I think the Americans who take pride in their gun ownership, many view it as a source of independence and self reliance, with romantic thoughts back to our Revolutionary War where armed civilian militias did a lot of the fighting.

          Their afraid of the government taking this right away, without fully thinking it through, in many ways like those who are afraid of these gun owners without fully thinking it through.

          Something needs to be done though, even if these mass shootings are relatively rare by population and quantity of fire arms in circulation.

          Fully Automatic weapons aren’t allowed here and there are regulations on barrel length, etc. Anti-Air weapons, tanks, and bombs are heavily restricted.

          I don’t know the answer though.

          I just dont think the USA is comparable with Australia or Europe – maybe an easier comparison is with Canada – maybe.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Also note my …to be continued… at the close of the post. These are not my final thoughts on the matter.

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  3. “…To be continued…”

    Ruth, I will copy & paste my comment on this subject (i.e. San Bernardino, CA) I made over on Madalyn’s blog here, but first I will state what I didn’t get into on my comment over there, if you don’t mind. 🙂

    The other week I listened to a retired law-enforcement agent of 30+ years explain something very simple to this national cultural problem. He stated (and I think I must agree with him) that it is harder to obtain a Driver’s License in America than it is to purchase and own a firearm. He was utterly perplexed and angry at this stupidity. Why? Because a moving vehicle is ALSO a lethal weapon if not operated and driven safely, properly, and with basic driver and traffic-laws education. HAH! Imagine that!? :/

    Yet, as has been the case for centuries, when a “problem” can be easily rectified, there is often an economic benefactor at risk strongly opposing such change and legislation. HAH! Imagine that as well. 😦 But the fact is stricter modified gun-control laws are only ONE PART of the over all problem. Now for my comment on Madalyn’s blog. Ruth, you will recognize some of my previous thoughts/comments on earlier posts you’ve made…

    Madalyn,

    I share your viewpoint completely. Yet, I recognize it/mine from a fortunate (priviledged?) educated POV. :/

    Regarding the two San Bernardino shooters Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik (his fiance or wife), the facts of their motives are still under investigation. Syed was a U.S. citizen while Tashfeen’s background is yet unknown exactly last I looked.

    Nevertheless, whatever the couple’s exact motives, becoming violent aggressive killers without first exhausting ALL AVENUES of non-violent negotiation and compromise is by far the worst possible method of effecting change — violent aggressive killing, by global standards (Geneva Conventions), is an entirely different discussion all together and not applicable here. As a former psychiatric/A&D worker in the area of Crisis Management & Assessment, the pathologies that people in “critical-mental-emotional-conditions” are suffering in are widely and ignorantly misunderstood. The pathways these critical acute cases take on the way toward violent psychotic behaviour — typically endangering everyone nearby — have revealed in a plethora of ways over a great deal of time (weeks-months?), signs and symptoms that were either unseen, noticeably disguised, or blatently ignored by those around the simmering psychosis. The rare exception to this psychotic person’s affect would be cases like Charles Whitman of the University Texas Tower shooting in 1966 — Whitman’s autopsy revealed he was suffering from a glioblastoma, a type of brain tumor, pressing against regions of the brain thought to be responsible for the regulation of “strong emotions.” Therefore, there is no perfectly consistent patent-response to any psychotic’s overt violence; it’s too late by then.

    However, the signs and symptoms are manifested in many various ways PRIOR TO the psychotic snapping point. What further complicates identification of simmering powder-keg violence is the person’s or people’s/group’s culture and environment. Are the signs-n-symptoms extraordinary or are they socially acceptable, tolerated, even encouraged by peers? In many Western nations those sorts of manifesting signs-n-symptoms are tolerated/ignored, but the post-psychotic break is not at all tolerated and eventually dealt with firmly and/or reciprocated. Yet, even in the U.S. our social “freedoms” often disguise psychotic escalations. In some (many?) regions of America provoking and antagonism is encouraged, taught in homes and certain schools! American “schools” not unlike those found and popping-up in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and Syria that violence (sometimes termed “revolution” or “Apocolyptic”) is the ONLY form of transformation. And here Madalyn, is where I agree with you and Gandhi.

    For those people like Charles Whitman where they are suffering from psychological-biological malfunctions such as tumors, I’m afraid we won’t catch them all in time before snapping; there just aren’t enough trained educated licensed psychiatrists & psychologists in the world. However, the more common simmering violent aggressive killers/terrorists can most definitely be identified by two primary human conditions: 1) poverty, and 2) very poor (and narrow/strict/insufficient) education. These two conditions can be easily found right here in our own American backyards, not just abroad.

    Once those 2 primary conditions are rooted and well established, no matter the age group, this is what often follows:
    1. Dualism
    2. Paranoia & Rage
    3. Apocalyptic transformation
    4. Charismatic leadership
    5. Totalized conversion

    Apologies Madalyn for the length of my comment, but as I mentioned, I have background into forms of psychosis, their preliminary developments/pathologies, and eventual overt manifestations. What is encouraging for times like yesterday in San Bernardino, CA… is that these types of inhumane violence HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED and their root-causes accurately understood, and can therefore be addressed and treated properly. That is, “properly” from a medical, neurological, pathological, psychological, biological standpoint WITHOUT offending personal higly-subjective “belief systems.” Venture outside of these 5 standpoints and 4-5,000 years of horrific history and atrocities show you’re taking the high-risk WRONG approach! I am certain of this one fact: If you continue to treat immoral violence through a religious lens, once again, what has 4-5,000 years of history shown us? As you stated Madalyn, repeating the same behaviour always gets the same results with no tangible differences. Duh. 😦

    Anyway, that’s my humble two-cents opinion. LOL ❤

    Ruth, I will definitely be looking forward to the next part of this post! You raise some very good points for much-needed civil discussion!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I also have been around guns and have owned them since I was about 7. I used to shoot competitively as a teenager and have hunted as well as protected the farm when necessary. That said, I do not understand the constant violence we have in this culture and haven’t a clue how to stop it. How can there be such hatred? It does make me want to leave for safer places, though. I no longer have time to hunt, but I did have to kill a fox that I caught killing our chickens. If someone came to my house with a gun drawn and intended to kill me there would be nothing I could do short of wearing a gun all the time and be ready to use it at a moments notice. It would be unlikely that it would save my life even then. Anyone can obtain a gun in this country with little effort. Pandora’s box has been open too long to be able to close it back up. Maybe we can do a few things to curb the violence, but we all have to want it and work toward it. For the most part I think it’s too late to stop it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I couldn’t see a date on that opinion piece, Thumbup but a cursory ‘Google’ search tells me that the opinion is by Lorne Gunter, a fellow who denies climate change . I have no idea where he got those stats from, and I believe he’s been criticized before, for pulling stats out of his . . arse, perhaps?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m not familiar with the writer of that piece, but I did see that it was an opinion piece and haven’t had the time to look up the stats yet. The only thing I will say is that having one city (Chicago) have a gun ban without having the rest of the surrounding cities and towns also have the same policy seems fairly impotent because criminals can still so easily get their hands on firearms anywhere in the rest of the country.

        I’ll have to do some digging on those stats in the piece, though. That seems so odd when Zande can offer up stats to the exact opposite. Having said that, it is awfully easy to manipulate stats in favor of whatever argument you’re wishing to make.

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      • Yeah? Cool! Thanks for the information!
        I got to go look him up! So he went and faked it? Geez!

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        • I don’t know if he fudged THOSE stats, but he’s been criticized for doing that on other topics (like global warming). I have never seen those stats before, is all I’m saying. I’ve been under the impression that the crime rate was going down, at least here in Canada (?). So, I’d like to see a link to the stats he’s used in the article, is all. I get the impression he’s a bit of a controversial figure. . .

          Liked by 2 people

  5. We can all find stats to prove our point, so I won’t bother. Except to say deaths by guns gave gone down hugely in the UK since the ban. The counter view is that deaths ie murders from other weapons are still around, eg knives, blunt instruments etc.

    Those of us outside the US don’t understand the mentality. Simple as that. We think it is somewhat whacky to say the least. This is something that dates back hundreds of years referring to raising a militia to overthrow the government not shooting every innocent who knocks on your front door. Don’t answer the door!

    Speaking of which, why open the door if something was growling and barking? Just. Why? The whole animals are there for us to hunt thing is anathema to me. I admire the Brit. I couldn’t cope with your culture.

    Whether guns kill people or people kill people is nothing but semantics. Guns have one purpose. And one purpose only.

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    • “Those of us outside the US don’t understand the mentality. Simple as that. We think it is somewhat whacky to say the least. This is something that dates back hundreds of years referring to raising a militia to overthrow the government not shooting every innocent who knocks on your front door. Don’t answer the door!”

      It definitely has to do with raising a militia. The 2nd Amendment even says so. Again, I interpret the 2nd Amendment very differently than conservatives do. Isn’t that ironic. I, a liberal, have a more conservative reading of the 2nd Amendment than so-called conservatives. Ha! Conservatives are the new liberals. 😉

      Anyway I don’t know anyone who is a member of an organized militia. It is supposed to be illegal to kill an innocent person who knocks on your front door but in some states all you have to do is say that you thought your life was in jeopardy and suddenly it’s okay. Utterly ridiculous!

      Of course it’s all semantics. It’s also semantics whether knives, blunt instruments, or other weapons kill people or people kill people. The fact is people do kill people and we should make it as hard for them to do that as possible. You’ll get no argument from me there. My argument for more/better gun control is based on the knowledge that guns only have one purpose. It’s not like you can use it for something else.

      As for why open the door? *shrug* I was four. I don’t remember how long he waited it out. Could have been minutes, could have been hours. The dog had rabies and was rather large. If I was four that was 1976. No cell phones and likely no land line either. I’m not sure, to be honest, why open the door except that we had to leave sometime.

      I realize the hunting thing is an anathema to you. I understand that sentiment.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. The US has always always been portrayed as a country that was simply one huge place that had to be subdued; had to be brought under the White Man’s control, be it the frontier antics of people like, Hawkeye & Daniel Boone, or John Wayne, Doc Holliday and the The Sundance Kid.

    It all had to be brought to heel – wild animals, and lots of ”Injuns”.

    Later, we had images of gangsterism, including Al Capone etc and even the humorous stuff like the Keystone Cops.
    Then came the war and the Yanks with their Tanks.
    Later it was Vietnam and The Deer Hunter.
    Which soon faded into Starsky and Hutch. Magnum PI, Kojak, Dirty Harry, Popeye Doyle.
    Charles ”Death Wish” Bronson

    How about, Eddie ”Get the Fuck outta town?” Murphy.
    The list in endless.

    And guns featured in practically every single frame

    The USA as have much of the world) managed to sort out many of the major problems of the cigarette industry and it will eventually become defunct.

    Why do you really think the 2nd Amendment is still part of the constitution?

    And what do think would happen if it wasn’t part if the constitution?

    Do you think the USA would implode?

    Follow the money, Ruth. Follow the money.

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    • I certainly do not think the US would implode. While I think the 2nd Amendment will likely remain in the US Constitution, I do think it will eventually be subject to amendments of it’s own, not likely in my lifetime, though.

      I’m not sure if you’ve read all the comments on this thread, but you will see I have a particular dislike of the NRA. They have a lot of money and a lot of power. There are many good and sensible gun laws that have gone the way of the dodo bird simply because the NRA has good lobbyistspalmgreasers.

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  7. Steve Ruis wrote a post on this and offers some interesting thoughts … plus some statistics.
    https://stephenpruis.wordpress.com/2015/12/04/living-la-vida-loco/

    I too have a gun under my pillow … at the behest of my “other half.” I hope to NEVER have to use it because if the occasion arose that it seemed necessary, I would undoubtedly be shaking so bad, the other person would shoot me first.

    There is so much in this posting and the many comments that I agree with that I have nothing further to add. You folks have said it all.

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    • I have never touched a gun in my whole life. Does that make me unusual?

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      • Me neither, and I hope I never have to.

        Unfortunately, I have an older cousin who is a gun nut, and has several loaded guns in the house. His wife wants nothing to do with them, and I’m one of his executors. I fear that when he dies I’ll be asked to come get the guns and get rid of them. My spouse is an army vet, so I’ll probably delegate that job if I can.

        Like

  8. Here, I hope this works. Mass Shootings: US vs. Australia

    Liked by 1 person

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