Assassination of William McKinley in 1901; McKinley died eight days later from his wounds. (from here)

Why do some people want to “control” guns? What do they think gun control is? What some want to do is prevent gun violence. To prevent violence by guns, they want to ban the manufacture of firearms, the selling of firearms to the public, and the private ownership of firearms. What is gun control carried to its logical extreme? To prevent violence by guns, we would exterminate all those evil guns.

What is the thought process? Let’s start with the Second Amendment.

Amendment II

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

When the Second Amendment first went into effect, the Second Amendment was solely a prohibition upon the Federal Government. If there was to be any gun control, the states were responsible, not the Federal Government.

What confused matters? The context changed over time. After the Civil War, we amended our Constitution. Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibited states from depriving citizens of their rights.


All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Whereas before the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment it was clear that the Federal Government had no business infringing upon the right of the people to keep and bear arms, that only states had the authority to regulate such matters, because the context had changed, the intent of the Second Amendment was no longer clear. All our rights require some limits, some regulation, but the Second Amendment was designed to thwart any regulation by the Federal Government, to leave the matter to State control. Yet all rights have some limits, must be regulated to some extent.

So now we have to more carefully define what is meant by the right to bear arms. Usually gun control activists want to focus the debate on this part of the Second Amendment: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State”. What the gun control advocates wish to ignore is the second part: “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”. At the time the Constitution was written, the Federal Government did not exist. Citizens gave their first loyalty to their respective States, and those citizens understood that their State’s ability to defend itself from an out-of-control Federal Government depended upon their right to bear arms. Has that actually changed?

As citizens, do we still have a right and the responsibility to defend ourselves? If you believe guns cause violence — that they exist only to kill people — then the apparent lack of clarity in the Second Amendment provides an opening. These days militia members no longer bring their own guns when their militias gather for drill and practice. The government provides all their arms and keeps those arms when they go home. So gun control activists say the Second Amendment does not give citizens the right to bear arms. Then they precede to argue that our safety from those violent guns demands their prohibition.

If what gun control activists say is true, then we ought to ban government. Government exists to make people do what they don’t want to do. In fact, that is the ONLY REASON government exists, and governments use more guns — more weapons designed for no other purpose except killing people — than any other institution. So if we are going to ban gun violence, we may as well ban government violence.

Of course, if we banned government violence, we would have a problem. Without a government to enforce the ban on government violence, who would enforce the ban on government? Similarly, if we banned all the weapons that our government uses to make law breakers behave themselves, how would government protect our rights? The only people with weapons would be those who were willing to break the law and bully people with guns.

Sometimes we need to set aside our emotions, define the problem, and just work on practical solutions instead of childish ones. Here is a bereaved father who suggests just that.

Here is the longer version with statements from others.

Are guns evil? Or is the person who controls the gun good or evil? Is government evil? Or are the people who control the government good or evil? Are we trying to control evil people who bear tools of destruction or eradicate all tools that can be misused to kill the innocent?


Add yours

  1. The camps on both sides seem to be becoming so disparate on this issue it’s impossible to come to any agreement. The gun control crowd scare me more with their wackiness, but there’s some wackiness on the other end as well. This is another subject that I could go on a long, long while about.
    I’m a lifetime NRA member (as is my spouse).
    But I don’t think all teachers should HAVE to be armed. I think it should be like air marshalls, and those who are trained and want to be armed should be able to carry a concealed and secured weapon. People in these discussions also seem to lose sight of the fact kids steal…as a person who taught in a very bad school where there were actual shootings (not mass shootings, gang related) I can assure you some kids steal a great deal. And what’s the point of bump stocks? Good grief.
    On the flip side we have very vocal adamant people who sincerely believe I should go to prison if I am the victim of a crime. Should someone rob my home and steal a weapon…then use it, to jail I should go. Nor should I have any real means to defend myself. So, again, those folks scare me more.

    What was once parody seems to be the norm on each side now.
    Guess we can thank the internet (and perhaps the corresponding popular delusions and madness of crowds…”Yeah! getting rid of bump stocks is appeasement! Appeasement never works! Yar” “Hey! It doesn’t matter if you are murdered and can’t defend yourself with all the criminals packing heat and you can’t…eventually after about five or more decades we’ll have less gun violence1 Yar!”).

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I enjoyed your explanation of the 2nd Amendment and how the 14th Amendment made it difficult to interpret it. I don’t think people really understand this very well.

    Very recently, SCOTUS has found a fundamental, if limited, right for individuals to have guns, so that question is decided. And as you have pointed out, all rights, even those that are “fundamental”, are subject to limitations. For example, the state can infringe on your free speech to keep you from yelling “fire” in a crowded theatre.

    Once SCOTUS determines that an individual right, like the right to own a gun, is fundamental, they subject any governmental regulation of that right to “strict scrutiny”. The government must show that, through the regulation, the state has a “substantial” public interest (for example public safety) that greatly outweighs the individual’s right to own a gun for its effective use.

    Government therefore constitutionally cannot ban guns outright or put “arbitrary and capricious” limits on their ownership and use, but considering the substantial danger that guns present to the public, that leaves plenty of room for sensible regulation. The issue then becomes what are sensible regulations that balance the substantial government interest in protecting public safety against the constitutionally protected right of individuals to effectively have the use of guns.

    I’m not smart enough to provide solutions to that issue. My guess is that their are many things that can be done. Like me, most of the grieving parents of these school shootings don’t know all the solutions either. They see mass murder. They see military style killing machines involved. They know that other countries do not have these problems. And they expect their elected representatives to confer with experts on both sides of the issue in order to develop effective policies that, even if the problem cannot be completely solved, at least incrementally lesson the death and destruction that killed their kids. The wonder why, if this has happened so many time before, their elected officials did not already implement solutions that might have prevented or drastically lessened the odds that their child would be dead now. Granted, these victims are blind with grieve and anger, but that expectation doesn’t seem unreasonable, does it?

    Now enter the NRA which is essentially a lobby for gun manufacturers that make money off of said death and destruction, an organization that gives millions from those bloody profits to politicians. Each mass murder causes fear which causes responsible citizens to want to buy more guns to protect themselves, and the increasing availability of more and more guns that are more and more lethal leads to more mass murders which in turn sparks the public’s wish for more guns that are more lethal to protect themselves. The only people who are ultimately benefiting of this cycle of violence are the gun manufacturers and the politicians who take their blood money.

    That seems to me to be the core problem. The solutions are more complicated and like many of these issues, it will probably require many small incremental solutions that will need to be weighed for effectiveness and balanced against scarce resources. However, for politicians to wash their hands and claim nothing can be done is to spit in the faces of the victims before them and the many, many more victims to come.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Except the NRA is older than most people think and it is more than just a PAC.

      National Rifle Association was officially incorporated on November 16, 1871 in New York to promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis. They created a committee to lobby for legislation in the interest of the organization in February 1872.

      Today, the NRA is one of the leaders in teaching firearms safety as well as a major sponsor of sport shooting events and the home of a main training site for Olympic shooting sports.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Well, the NRA is made up of members.
      So, thank you.
      It gives me great validation when people recognize my innate love of murder and mayhem. Goes back a long while….I have profited from numerous maladies of all varieties as a nurse (to include traumatic injuries when I worked in the ER…so I guess that would be a twofer). Also have a great love of plagues I cultivated in the hospital medical lab.
      …all of course preceded by my first love. Mass ignorance (I was a school teacher).


  3. What people really want is sin control,Tom. We want sin control absent of Jesus Christ. That is what our lamentations are all about, trying to control and prevent sin in every possible way, BUT the Lord. We want to cure mental illness,pass more laws, put everyone on medication, remove all the sharp objects from society,whatever we can think of to try to create a world in which we are safe from sin. That really isn’t possible. The only genuine safe place for us is in Jesus Christ.

    There are many things we can do to make society healthier, more civilized, but we simply cannot eradicate evil. Guns don’t cause evil, mental illness doesn’t cause evil, bad childhoods don’t cause evil. What the culture is doing is seeking salvation outside of Jesus Christ and such a thing just doesn’t exist.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I should mention that I learned to hunt when I was a teenager, and I have owned guns and hunted my whole life. Because I was born and mostly grew up in the South, most of my best friends here (the liberals included) own guns and have concealed weapons permits. I just assume at any given time that most of us are packing. In the military, I qualified twice as an expert marksman with the pistol. After 9/11, as a national spokesperson for my airline pilots’ union, I advocated for the program that trained and allowed pilots to carry guns for the sole protection of the cockpit, the program that we still have today.

    Hunters are the best friends of the environment and the main reason that so much wildlife protection and wetland protection exists today. I have belonged to and contributed to such hunters organizations and to other environmental protection organizations.

    The NRA may have started as a lobby for responsible gun ownership, but today it is mostly a tool for gun and gun related manufacturing and sales that are worth billions. As such it’s policies and promotion are more extreme than that of its members. Just follow the money to learn why.

    I agree that many of the problems in the world today are the result of a moral break down that comes from a turning away from God. However, even if God returned to the conscience of every human heart, we would still be sinners and we would still have the need to regulate sin. We would also still need traffic signs, stop lights, traffic laws, auto safety standards and police keep the road from being even more of a death trap both to the good drivers and the bad. We may never completely get rid of traffic deaths but but we have saved millions of lives, tremendous suffering and loss of productivity, and untold millions of dollars through reasonable auto regulation. Notwithstanding the fact that guns are a constitutional individual right, there is no other reason that the reasonable regulation of the gun death problem should be any different.


    1. I think the rub of reasonable regulation lies mostly in the word “reasonable”. I’m sure (just based on your NRA comments…and I know quite a few gun store owners, who are all former law enforcement officers, which is generally the case) my reasonable would be defined differently from yours. I too agree in reasonable regulations.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “I’m sure (just based on your NRA comments…and I know quite a few gun store owners, who are all former law enforcement officers, which is generally the case) my reasonable would be defined differently from yours”

        Given that you seem to be a reasonable person, I doubt it. Anyway, I’m not claiming to know the most effective solutions, reasonable or not.

        One of the mothers of the Connecticut school shooting victims thinks that solutions should start at the city and state level first. She thinks that we need programs that train teachers to identify troubled children and provide them with help early on. She’s unfortunately had the motivation for years since her boy’s death to become expert in the problem and the solutions. Her incremental solution sounds reasonable to me, but the reason we elect representatives is to figure these things out, listen to experts like her and implement reasonable solutions. She admits that this won’t prevent all gun deaths but it will prevent enough to be worth the cost. I don’t want to have that poor mother’s motivation to become such an expert. As she said, “You don’t want to be me.” God help me, no I don’t. And neither do you.

        Instead of us electing politicians who will listen and implement reasonable solutions from policy experts, we are letting the NRA elect our politicians so as to be profitable for gun sales and manufacturers – being as reasonable as its members has little to do with what the NRA promotes.

        I’m paraphrasing but someone once said that it is hard to convince someone of something reasonable when his job depends upon believing otherwise.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m definitely in favor of early mental evaluation and screening (and a juvenile with a history of violence should not be able to purchase a firearm on his/her 18th birthday). I’m not a fan of open carry either. My main contention with open carry is, it makes people complacent, and the weapon is relatively easy to steal. I think concealed carry is a good thing but only for people who are very proficient at shooting. I am very much against limits (for example, only 50 rounds a year, and so forth) on buying ammunition for that reason. True proficiency takes a lot of practice. I’m not that good…ergo, I don’t carry, and I never plan to. But my spouse is exactly the sort of person one would want armed (he shoots competitively…he was first at our installation in both pistol and skeet).

          Liked by 1 person

  5. @anon

    That all sounds reasonable to me. I’d vote for you in a flash to represent me. However, I could be wrong, but I doubt that if you kept those opinions, the NRA would endorse you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. There are too many possible reasons for what happened last week, people are reacting because of their grief. We all want someone to blame and are forgetting about the guy who pulled the trigger. Now.we are witnessing more than a few bomb threats, shooting threats and really terrorist tactics. What’s happening to our world?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Take heart. This too will pass, as it always has in the past. We’ve been in VERY far worse times before. That does not mean it isn’t frustrating, and in the case of victims killed and wounded also very tragic… especially when they are children in schools. We may be the most powerful country in the world and we feel we have some collective moral and political superiority that we are “good”… we are certainly not insulated from cultural, social, and rapidly advancing technological change, including a growing population which tends to accelerate human problems all the more.
      I realize that many readers of Tom’s blog here put their faith in the Almighty.. and if that provides solace then that’s a good thing and definitely has a place. But politically I find also to keep faith in our Constitution. That is working just fine. The old pendulum may make its swings from one side to the other, but so far it hasn’t fallen off its track.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Given enough time the Constitution will eventually fail. When we put our faith in man, it is like building a house upon a foundation of sand. In some places, the only place we can build is on sand. That’s definitely problematic.

        We put our faith in the Almighty because He does not fail. He is our Rock.


      2. Having gone through many years of living, I thought I’d seen everything. It bothers me that we’re now seeing so many copy cats coming out since the Florida school shooting. What has happened to our youth?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. If you are of an age that can remember… that is exactly what our parents and the adults of the day were saying about us during the 60’s. But… we were the vanguard of cultural change and social expression, although there was a definite violence streak with those who wanted change quickly and thought government was the entire problem. We were the Boomers and had a huge representation.
          The difference to now… there is very obviously some metal health epidemic, not just with adults but more importantly with our kids. We need to find that trigger (um.. no pun intended at all there); my personal feeling is that technology and the barrage of information and social media avenues is having a huge effect.. but I am unsure in what way specifically. Again, we need to get the government focused on solving the greater problem, which is not tossing more guns into the problem.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I definitely agree, Doug. I would be the last one to want to be like the typical grandma that cannot understand youth. I still remember those days more than I care to. I do think that more than focusing on increased armed guards and teachers, we do need to get to the bottom of the problem. Much of it has to do with the way mental illness is dealt with today. In hopes of being more humane in treatment, society has opted to medicate those with mental issues. The medications often aren’t monitored and patients don’t always take them because of how they make them feel. I’m not condoning mental institutions that we had in the past, but I believe we’ve dropped the ball by thinking a pill is going to take care of the problem. I am also concerned about how some kids have lost sight of the basic rules of respect towards those in authority and their peers. With social media, bullying is running rampant. Children are being insulted big time and made to feel less than human by the things others are saying about them. When you hear that messages are floating around telling someone to kill themselves, because they are of no value to the world, it is more than cause for worry. Teens are especially vulnerable to this kind of hate. I don’t have the answer. I think the government has gotten itself too much involved in the lives of people. I believe the family unit has fallen apart in the past years and there are very few strong father figures anymore. Being a Christian I trust that God is still in control and I haven’t given up on my country, the constitution or my fellow man. Being a teacher, I will never stop believing in the potential of our kids, but I sure wouldn’t want to be required to carry a gun into the classroom. Being a grandparent, I am concerned for what my grandkids have to face on a daily basis. More and more horrific things are happening in the lives of children. I pray that God will intercede.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. When someone is raised as a Christian, they are taught that everyone, even that person in the mirror, is precious in God’s sight. What the world might tell us does not matter. The world will pass away, but God is eternal, and He will keep those who love Him with him.

          When I was a boy, I was raised as a Christian. I hated school. There was always a new school and new bullies, but I studied, and I got through each day, knowing that people were flawed, some more so than others. The love of God and my family got me through each day.

          As I grew older, I could not grasp the truth of the Bible. What I had accepted in innocence, I now had to reason out. I could not do it. I was raised in Christian morality, but not required to read and study the Bible. So my roots in the faith were shallow.

          Why would anyone die on a cross for our sins? How would that solve anything? I did not know, and the Bible seemed boring. In school, I learned that the Bible was not worth reading. Christianity was for religious bigots who just start wars.

          So I set aside Christianity, never bothered to read the Bible, never studied what it means to be a Christian. Instead, I became something of a Christian Deist.

          Many of today’s children know far less of Christianity than I did. These learn to take the judgement of the world more seriously. When the world shows them a picture of success, they crave it. When their classmates laugh at them for not fitting it, that laughter and shaming builds an inferno of anger and hatred. The souls of some, at least, become consumed with rage.

          Anyway, I don’t think all teachers will be required to carry a gun. My guess is that some will be asked to volunteer. In return for carrying a gun and the time required for instruction on how to use it, the volunteers will receive extra pay.

          Liked by 1 person

        4. I’m so sorry to hear of the bullying you experienced in your youth, Tom. Perhaps one of my latent regrets of my own early elementary years was the fact that I did in fact participate in some bullying.. but from the point where I was enabling others by going along with the crowd and laughing and taunting. By time I got to eighth grade I did a 180 and rather defended the class underdogs out on the playground. It haunts me to this day frankly. I was very sensitive about my own kids somehow being different to attract the social ostracizing. I got lucky… they ended up popular for the good reasons. You have my respect for what you went through.

          Liked by 1 person

        5. I did it once. Did not beat the guy up, but I tormented him with words. Fortunately, I stopped fairly quickly because I had been on the receiving end, and my conscience bothered me. I knew exactly what I was doing.

          There is a sick pleasure we derive from being dominant and mean. We cannot actually resist it. What we can do is make an active effort to care about others, replace the temptation with the desire to do what is right.


  7. And don’t forget founding Father George Mason’s definition of a militia:
    “It is the whole people, except for a few public officials.”

    Everyone agrees that sensible regulation of guns is constitutional, the problem is we disagree on what’s sensible. My experience with the pro more gun regulation crowd is that probably 2/3 of them have no idea what laws are currently in place and how badly the proper authorities have failed at enforcing them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No. That’s a new one.

      Not too terribly surprised. Looks like the deputy may have “froze”. If you only have a handgun, it would take considerable courage to run into a building where someone is firing a rifle. If you are all by yourself, that would increase the temptation to sit still. It seems he did not consider the fact he was under surveillance by a video camera.

      Sort of feel sorry for the guy. He will never live this down. I suspect he will be punished in some ways more severely than the killer. There will be many who will think themselves righteous when they hate him.


        1. There are techniques people practice to conquer the “freeze”. A guy named David Grossman (he wrote book entitled ‘On Killing’) describes the physiological response and how to overcome it.
          But it takes practice. And every law enforcement officer should have that practice and training. And any teacher who would carry should have it as well.

        2. No amount of books or classroom scenarios can predict a given response. It has to come from your gut. You give a teacher a gun you pretty much expect them to kill or be killed. “I didn’t sign up for this crap.” takes over.


        3. There is nothing news about this. Armies have been dealing with this issue sense hunting parties from different villages started fighting each other.

          In the military I learned that we fight the way we train. Not certain what David Grossman has to say about the matter, but part of the object of training is to get people to react a certain way because that response becomes the more comfortable and automatic than freezing or running.

          Does the training take with everyone? Nope. Never has. Does everyone need the training. Yes. Some people won’t run or freeze, but we still need to learn how to coordinate our actions in combat with the other people on our side.


        4. It’s thou shalt not murder. Plenty of killing in the Bible, Doug. Obviously the teacher would be armed with a defensive weapon for the purpose of saving lives. I don’t advocate teachers packing heat if they aren’t trained. I think you underestimate them though. There’s no innate reason a teacher would fail to defend at the moment of truth simply by the fact he or she is a teacher.

          Liked by 1 person

        5. That’s your conservatism “don’t tread on my Second Amendment” kicking in, I’m afraid. As I said in my post.. give all the teachers pepper spray. It’s not as sexy or “gratifying” as blowing away a shooter, but it’s effective.


        6. Thank you for that response, BTW Doug. It so succinctly summarizes the problem. You fail to recognize the difference between having a weapon for defensive reasons and willful killing.

          Liked by 1 person

        7. @Doug

          Air Marshals use concealed weapons too, but there is a deterrent. Potential school shooters just have to know someone else in that “gun free” zone will be armed and prepared to kill them.

          You said this in an earlier comment.

          No amount of books or classroom scenarios can predict a given response. It has to come from your gut. You give a teacher a gun you pretty much expect them to kill or be killed. “I didn’t sign up for this crap.” takes over.

          If a teacher cares about his own life and the life of his students, what’s the gut problem?

          Also, who said anything about giving every teacher a gun. Are you familiar with the word volunteer?

          Why is this problem such a mess? Nobody should even want to be a mass murderer. When someone starts trying to kill children — with weapons of any kind — that’s represents a massive failure of society and government. Society and government (parents and schools) have failed to properly educate this character in moral wisdom, have failed to detect the culprit’s capacity for violence (how many clues have been ignored) and done nothing to restrain him (for sometime obvious mental problems). So at that point there is no tidy solution. Once someone sets out to be a mass murderer, baring some very good luck, someone is going to die.

          When we are talking about protecting airports, stadiums, museums, schools, and other public facilities, what we are trying to do is minimize the casualties. When someone wants to kill, and that is all they want to do, odds are they will try to create the most horror by going after children where they least protected. That is one reason schools are targets. For the sake of senseless ideological consistency, gun control fanatics just keep throwing their hands and demanding that we ban guns. Holding children hostage to gun control is just plain wrong. There is no excuse for it.

          Is banning guns the solution? With respect to machine guns, grenade launchers and such, I suppose so. However, banning guns has nothing to do with protecting our children in school. It is a separate issue. Even if we made guns illegal today, the weapon that will be used in the next school shooting has probably already been sold.

          Banning weapons also does not accomplish much. Most tools, even fertilizer, can be modified into a weapon.

          The weapon is not the culprit, the perpetrator. If no one picks up a weapon, it just sits there, perfectly harmless. The weapon is not the killer; the weapon is just a device that the killer picks up and uses to kill.

          BTW – Knives seem to be more lethal than so-called assault weapons.


    1. That’s a bit more relevant than Doug’s comments. Soldiers often find it difficult to shoot the enemy. Why do they? They see their buddies being hurt. So would teacher have trouble shooting a madman with a gun? Probably, but I suspect the bodies on the floor would change that.


        1. Imagine that that bunch of goo was one of your students, and the homicidal maniac is still shooting. There are occasions when it is good to have a gun and to know what to do with it.


        2. Just as a gun is an inanimate object to a potential a mentally defective shooter bent on killing until he picks it up and uses it, so is a gun an inanimate object until a mentally aware teacher picks it up and has the courage to use it against that shooter.

          Consider this letter from a teacher… HERE.. if you need references.

          The full text of the letter

          Dear every elected official,
          Nowhere in my contract does it state that if the need arises, I have to shield students from gunfire with my own body. If it did, I wouldn’t have signed it. I love my job. I love my students. I am also a mother with 2 amazing daughters. I am a wife of a wonderful man. I have a dog that I adore. I don’t want to die defending other people’s children; I want to teach kindness and responsibility…and Art History. That’s what I am supposed to do each day. Blocking bullets? I am not supposed to do that. I imagine that if someone was trying to kill my students, that I would try to save them with all my being. I probably would jump on top of a child to save her life. And yes, I might be one of those heroic teachers that the media writes tributes to after their death. But I am furious that I would have to make this sacrifice. I am incensed that my own children would lose their mother because I chose to be a teacher.
          I chose to be a teacher knowing that on most days I would not be able to use the bathroom until 4 pm. I chose teaching knowing that I would be grading papers all weekend and working far beyond the hours of my contract. I chose to teach even though it meant that I would miss every awards assembly and field trip that my daughters asked me to attend. I even signed up to sit in a counselor’s office with a teenager on my lap, holding her as she sobbed through an anxiety attack. I signed up to ask a child if they were considering committing suicide and then relaying this terrifying information to a parent. It seems like a lot to agree to, but truly I knew what I was getting into.
          I did not sign up to be ripped apart by a spray of bullets that came from a semi-automatic rifle. At the end of my teaching contract, it says that I will perform “other duties to be assigned”. I do not interpret these words “as bleeding to death on the floor of my classroom”. The anger that courses through my body after a school shooting in this country is accompanied by pure panic. I am terrified of my own children dying in school, first and foremost, but I am also terrified that the responsibility that sits on my shoulders as a teacher is far greater than I can rationally accept. On Back to School Night, I look out at the gazes of the parents in front of me as we silently make a pact. “I am giving you the most precious part of me with the knowledge that you will shield my child’s body with your own when the need arises.” They say this with their eyes. I agree to this responsibility and make a silent unbreakable oath before them. As I am telling them about the 20,000 years of global art history that I will be teaching their child, I am also agreeing to die. When I am in the parent’s place at my daughter’s school, I am asking the same of her teacher. This teacher may end up being the only thing blocking a bullet aimed for my daughter’s head.
          I am furious. How dare you force me to choose between my own children and those that I teach. How dare you allow powerful adults who love guns to be more important than a generation of children growing up in fear. I don’t want to spend mornings memorizing my children’s clothing so I can identify them later. I don’t want to spend professional development hours learning how to save a few more lives by setting up barricades. Sometimes when a kid is driving me crazy in class I think to myself: “Would I die for you? Would I lose everything to save you from harm?” I have my moments when I shake my head NO.
          Instead of making dead teachers into saints, make them safer when they are still alive. Make it possible for schools to have smaller class sizes so that we can get to know our students and look out for the ones who need help. Hire more counselors and school nurses and social workers and psychologists so that many people are caring for each child. HELP us prevent this. Take away guns from people who will murder us. Stop taking money from the NRA and proving how soulless you are. Keep us safe so I can do my job. How dare you put me into constant danger so that you can be reelected. How dare you make me choose between saving children or making my own children motherless. How dare you make me into a hero when I just want to teach.
          By Rebecca Berlin Field


        3. @Doug

          The letter has virtually nothing to do with anything. No one is talking about forcing teachers to carry guns. The discussion has been VOLUNTEERS.

          The fact is that we have these nutcases attacking schools. They threaten everyone’s children. Someone has to deal with them. When we wait for the police to arrive, the shooter has already killed a bunch of teachers and children. So there has to be someone with a gun to oppose the shooter onsite. That is logic.


        4. I don’t think anyone is forcing Rebecca to wield a weapon or stop bullets with her body, but as the person in charge of a classroom of minors she does have a responsibility. I never signed up to stop bullets either….or for that matter, get ignited by fire, but I cannot abandon my patients as a nurse either.

          Liked by 1 person

        5. Well, no entity would be forcing her to do that. But morally public opinion will always judge her actions.. or inactions. More importantly, she will have been placed in a decision to perform an act from which her own guilt will manifest itself and likely her own PTSD will make her a victim.


        6. That’s why they have all those safety drills, and prepare for emergencies like fire, earthquake, mass shooter….I don’t want to have to man the safety exit on a plane during an emergency either but if I sit in that row I have to agree. Okay, done now. Off the internet. I wish I hadn’t read that rant by Rebecca.

          Liked by 1 person

        7. Excellent, anon! You don’t have to agree.. but she expresses herself in a very realistic real world way. I didn’t know you were a nurse. No wonder her letter affects you. You understand because you have an occupation that constantly challenges your morality and faith in humanity.


    2. True. And yet, in just about every instance where a mass shooter is stopped, he is stopped by someone using a firearm.
      I know I probably couldn’t act in the moment of truth. I haven’t worked on training myself to do so (I’m not sure I could be trained to do it either). That’s why I don’t carry.
      ((Insert wolf, sheep dog, sheep analogy here))


      1. When the Gainesville serial killer was running around lopping off the heads of students and placing them on a shelf, people were obviously worried. So law enforcement officers spoke to students in groups. Their advice was pretty standard: “buy a gun”. Not buy pepper spray. They made it clear no policeman would be able to intervene in time, so you’re on your own.
        If a person broke into my home, I would be able use a firearm. I’m not sure about outside the home though. Doug, feel free to defend yourself with pepper spray. I’m pretty sure you’ve never lived in the types of places I’ve lived.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. My spouse’s dad spent a few years working as a cop in inner city Miami (in addition to being an engineer for NASA, commercial pilot, software developer and realtor he was also a cop). They lived in Miami and he had a gun in every room (as well as a good security system).

          Liked by 1 person

        2. The story of how my father in law became a police officer is interesting.
          He was away on a trip (worked for Eastern then) and came home to an empty house (no cell phones back then), blood all over the floor and scattered furniture (one chair was broken). He had no idea what happened, so he started calling hospitals in the area and eventually found his family. My spouse was about two at the time, and was jumping chair to chair and fell and slashed his head open.
          His mother was waiting in the corner of the room in the ER, with a rag over my husband’s head, which was bleeding profusely. They were taking a cop who had been shot in the shoulder into the room when he looked over at my husband’s family and said, “Let the little guy go first”.
          That’s when my father in law made the decision to be a cop.
          Those are also the types of folks who own firearms shops, and are members of the NRA.
          -anon out

          Liked by 1 person

        3. My pleasure, Tom.
          This is another (of the…apparently long, long list of) subject I could go on a long, long while about. From many different angles.

          Suffice it to say:
          1) Self defense is an inherent right.
          2) the people who put their lives on the line are not the ones to point the finger at as the general cause of the problem.
          Take a look at the percentage of the population most likely to sign up for military service…it’s primarily good “ol southern” folks, and folks with the blood cowboys running through their veins. Watched train to Paris (1517 or some such) recently and it went into the history of the type of person who runs, unarmed, at a terrorist who is wielding an assault rifle….it’s a person raised to be that sheepdog (and he started shooting at a very young age).

          Liked by 1 person

        4. I don’t think you want to get into some pissing match comparing life experiences, dear Anon. I am sure you experienced some things and I am certain I have. You want to present some part of your life as needed recognition to support your opinion that’s fine with me. Hell, I like that kind of depth in discussion because I learn from humanity (actually I just read your story above regarding your father-in-laws inspiration to be a cop.. good story). But that’s just me. My opinion doesn’t mean a tinker’s damn anymore than anyone else’s; we vent in blogs for therapy against the absurd.


        5. “I don’t think you want to get into some pissing match comparing life experiences, dear Anon.”

          I’m not getting into a pissing match comparing life experiences. I’m under the assumption as an intelligent, rational human you would want to defend yourself if faced with the same circumstances.


        6. What I might do has nothing to do with what a teacher would do, might do, or even want to do.. and then be able to come through on their choice.
          By comparison… here’s a real world comparison as it related to ME only…
          I am currently a security guard in an office setting… and unarmed, except I have been “trained” in the use of pepper spray and use of handcuffs (that was about an hour’s training to satisfy the State and company marketing bragging rights). I get an extra buck and hour for that. Make no mistake, I am that guard on the TV commercial that says, “I just report if you are being robbed.” I work at an entity (not location) that suffered a mass shooting in the past, so I have been involved in a LOT of security planning. Most of use guards have reconciled that if a mass shooter pops in.. we are the first to die. At best (or worst) I might get to throw my handcuffs at the guy before getting a bullet in the head. And all this is for a buck over minimum wage.
          My greatest advantage, and that’s not a “great” advantage… is the fact that I have an entire life of experience to call upon, from military security work, weapons handling, business, management.. yada, yada.. and my kids are also grown, I am divorced.. so no one is really dependent on my being around other than for an occasional family connection. But I have a brain and if my only defense is “computing” a mental path to neutralize a shooter or save people in the process then that’s what I use. If anything I have “home court advantage” on the building. But the most valuable takeaway, I will NOT be the security guard that runs, or freezes at the door. The office I guard is full of human beings… not client staff. I have no death wish but as long as this is the only job I can get at my age I play the numbers and whore myself out on the off chance no shooter will pop in on my watch… and I’m still around at the end of the week to at least go to a movie.
          If I die in the process of all that… well, my company has sure gotten their money’s worth on my effort, successful or not, and future marketing bragging rights. The client I serve.. who cares actually. But to me it’s my fellow human beings… the office staff who does not have my years of experience to pull from, and I have proven experience in working under pressure so there’s little doubt on what I know I can do (and can’t do). If I get killed from the first bullet out of his gun as he walks in.. then that’s life (or death).
          But my whole point here… I expect all this from myself. If I am called upon by events to help the office staff escape a shooter, that has absolutely NOTHING to do with my employer.. it comes from within me.
          Teachers are not “designed” for that moral trade off.


        7. I have no idea why you don’t have a weapon. Given that a crazed gunman will most likely just shoot you as soon as he sees you, unless you have the capacity to activate some door locks, I don’t think you can provide substantial protection for yourself or anyone else.

          Anyway, the human race is “designed” for that moral trade off. We all have the capacity to love someone else. We all have the desire to protect those we care about.


        8. Yeah.. everyone laughs at mall cops, rent-a-cops, security guards.. (ugh, that Paul Blart crap!) and truly, even the industry itself does little to promote any sort of image of respect because in the end we are just a collection of uniforms paid minimum wage.. and customers/clients are getting what they pay for from a talent pool who can only get minimum wage. But the thing is, given the public threat by potential shooters loving soft targets like schools, malls, public buildings, etc. there’s always gonna be an unarmed minimum wage guard risking being a target. There’s no pride or honor in that.. you have to draw that from within to make it mean something.

          Liked by 1 person

        9. Not criticizing you. I just think security requires the power to enforce the rules we create for safety. My guess is your employer fears a lawsuit. Otherwise, guns would not be an issue.


        10. The security industry is totally determined by what the client needs. The security company never dictates the armed/unarmed on any given position.. it’s always the choice of the client as they pay for what they want in a guard. Most government clients are in fact tied to tight budgets, as you would expect. Even our paid days off are determined contractually by what the client is willing to pay for.. not some generosity of our company… except for vacation accrual. But.. it is what it is.


        11. Okay, back on the internet. I got some good news so I’m in a better mood now.

          I’d never laugh at mall cops, Doug.
          Our Chief was a mall cop! (he met his wife while chasing down a thief at Sears…or JCPenny, or some such).
          But, yes, if it’s a dangerous spot you should have a firearm.
          Fortunately it’s likely most people will assume you are armed and (hopefully) act accordingly.
          Yes, I’m a nurse. 🙂
          I had a patient once who was about 80 years old. She’d been a nurse too.
          She had some scars on her back. She told me when she was a young nurse, during a disaster (think it was a hurricane, can’t remember now) she dove on top of a patient right before the window shattered above the bed. Miraculously the largest glass shards missed her…but the hospital did get shatterproof glass after that. Anyway, I’m sure she didn’t think she signed up for taking glass in the back either. But it certainly made an impression on me.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. “But that’s just me. My opinion doesn’t mean a tinker’s damn anymore than anyone else’s; we vent in blogs for therapy against the absurd.”

    I like that. So true.

    I’ve always been facinated by survivalists. These are the folks who spend much of their time and money preparing for the apocalypse. Some of the pilots I knew (especially the Anchorage based ones) were survivalists to some degree or another. I read an article about the basic survivalist plan.

    Essentially, they stay prepared to hole up in their home for a month or so until things calm down enough to bug out to the cabin in the woods where they have everything they need (food, guns, ammo, seeds, etc.) to survive indefinitely and presumably to rebuild civilization from the ashes.

    That’s fine. Everybody needs a hobby and people should be free to do anything they want if they aren’t hurting anyone else. However, from a cost benefit analysis, it makes more sense to do something more enjoyable with your time and resources.

    What if the apocalypse comes in the form of a plague? As pilots, we are the ones most likely to spread and bring diseases home to our families.

    What if the apocalypse comes in a way that we expect, but not until we are too old and decrepit to survive long anyway. What if comes the week after we die from other causes? The survivalist is basically betting a lot of time and money on a long shot – the hope that death and destruction will come at the right time and in the right categories that he actually planned for.

    Another problem is what to do even if things go as planned. What happens when hundreds of refugees, many of them women and children, show up at the cabin wounded and starving? Do you share until you have nothing left or do you just shoot them to save yourself? What kind of a world have you created?

    And no matter how tough one thinks he is, when anarchy reigns, the toughest, most blood thirsty individuals rise to the top. If some navy seal wants what you have in order for his family to survive, tough as you may think you are, you wouldn’t want to be the guy trying to stop him.

    Figuring the odds, the costs, and the likelihood of real benefit, wouldn’t the survivalist be better off to spend their time and money preventing the apocalypse rather than preparing for it?

    The reason that I bring this up is because the fear that drives the survivalist is similar to the fear that drives this school security debate. However, unlike the individual survivalist, we are talking about actions as a community that need to be rationally governed based upon the threat, the costs and the benefit so that scarce societal resources are spent most effectively to prevent the problem rather than to just react to it. Im no expert, but the idea of arming and training hundreds of thousands of school teachers sounds irrationally out of whack to the threat, and it seems fraught with unintended consequences. Does it surprise you, however, that those lobbying to sell more guns and the politicians that they have bought and paid for have this as their favorite solution?


    1. A while back I saw the cover of one of those survivalist magazines. A couple of people in full-up chem gear, with masks. The world around them was a barren wasteland. My immediate thought was…why on earth would anyone want to survive in THAT?!?
      I’ll offer a reading suggestion though: One Second After.
      That book has made for a lot of survivalists. It’s about an EMP attack. A neighbor lent it to me and I read it and told my husband it was a good book so he took it on a trip. That was probably a mistake because he is now a survivalist too. On the bright side, we’re pretty set if a hurricane hits.

      “The reason that I bring this up is because the fear that drives the survivalist is similar to the fear that drives this school security debate. However, unlike the individual survivalist, we are talking about actions as a community that need to be rationally governed based upon the threat, the costs and the benefit so that scarce societal resources are spent most effectively to prevent the problem rather than to just react to it. Im no expert, but the idea of arming and training hundreds of thousands of school teachers sounds irrationally out of whack to the threat, and it seems fraught with unintended consequences. Does it surprise you, however, that those lobbying to sell more guns and the politicians that they have bought and paid for have this as their favorite solution?”

      That’s a fair point. But if you google “shooting” right now do you think you’ll get more hits for “training teachers in firearms” or…something about gun control? Let’s see…I’ll open another window now and just see what hits I get. Keep in mind, the bots know I’m a firearms person (the whole family shares this computer), so they should give me more hits to fit our family’s profile….

      Well, the first couple of hits are about the armed deputy that stood outside. Next it talks about the governor raising the minimum age to buy guns. It talks about how the police were warned about Cruz…lots of stories about that.
      Four pages into a google search and still nothing about arming teachers. I agree there’s a lot of fear and irrationality here, but I don’t think you’re pointing to the main culprits. In fact, overall homicide is pretty low in the US by comparison to the past decades. But you’d never know it to watch the news.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. On the subject of concealed carry, I’m less enthused with the idea for teachers (though I do think if they are trained they should have the option), but I think bringing concealed carry to military installations was a good idea. We’ll see if it makes a difference…so far (huge knock on wood) we haven’t had to find out. Or maybe that is the test. Perhaps it is a deterrent. Time will tell.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yeah, I understood that overall violence has been down trending as well. This seems to be cyclical and I’m not sure why. When it trends up we think things need fixing.. when the trend goes down we assume something is working. I’m not all that sold that these trends one way or the other are not just social or political cyclical adjustments, or a response to economic and/or demographic shifts.


        2. Okay, Doug….I agree there are reasons for variables but certainly statistics must mean something?!? If we’re going to blame firearms for increasing homicide rates and those rates are actually decreasing shouldn’t someone check their assumptions? California is more dangerous than Texas.

          Liked by 1 person

      2. When I search I used different search engines. The results can be strikingly different. Would not trust Google. Even those guys definitely have the best search technology, they also hav a political agenda.


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