Welcome to Common Gunsense

I hope this blog will provoke some thoughtful reflection about the issue of guns and gun violence. I am passionate about the issue and would love to change some misperceptions and the culture of gun violence in America by sharing with readers words, photos, videos and clips from articles to promote common sense about gun issues. Many of you will agree with me- some will not. I am only one person but one among many who think it's time to do something about this national problem. The views expressed by me in this blog do not represent any group with which I am associated but are rather my own personal opinions and thoughts.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Awesome responsibility

There has been some recent back and forth in my posts about the different world views of the commenters, many if not most of whom are gun owners and permit to carry holders, and myself. These people, it seems, do carry their guns in public places and feel it necessary to do so. They carry in movie theaters, at public events such as festivals and fairs, in restaurants, etc. Since they carry all day, they view taking off their holsters to enter a place that bans guns inside, and putting them someplace "safe" such as their cars or leaving them at home, is an imposition and unnecessary. Also, one person said it could be unsafe to keep taking off the holster. I don't know; maybe doing this would cause the trigger to be jostled and the gun would "go off". I know, I know- these folks also hate it when I submit articles that show incidents about guns "going off" without someone actually pulling the trigger- a matter of semantics I say.

One of my gun owner friends has said from the beginning of our friendly and supportive work towards common sense legislation and conversation- "with rights come responsibilities". Take this story, for example. "Officer clearing in shooting of West Duluth teenager." As events transpired in just 27 seconds, the police officer in the story had to make a split second decision to use his gun. The bullet killed the very same teen -aged boy he had "escorted" to this boy's home earlier in the evening after a drinking party was broken up by the police. The officer was very personally affected by his action that night and it will haunt him forever. This opinion appeared in the Duluth News Tribune the day after the ruling came down clearing the officer. No one involved in this story will ever be the same. The officer, his family, the family and friends of the boy who was shot, and the community. Shootings have wide reaching affects on people's lives. Those who do the shooting can't get it out of their minds, unless they are hardened criminals or there is some pathological disorder that doesn't allow them to feel any remorse about their actions.

And since most homicides are committed among people who know each other, it affects the family and friends on both sides. I know that from personal experience. The family and friends of my now deceased brother-in-law were as affected by the fact that he shot my sister as my sister's close family and friends. His family is close to my family still- closer than even before the shooting. They are wonderful people who I love as if they were my own flesh and blood. They understood that their father, father-in-law, friend was absolutely in the wrong and suffering from depression. Their support for and from my family is unwavering and perhaps it is because they feel a sense of responsibility knowing that he abrogated his that fateful day that he shot my sister.

Take, also, the shootings and killings in wars. Many of those in the military who take the lives of those they are fighting against have terrible difficulties re-entering society. Why do we have so many cases of PTSD among returning military? Why are there so many suicides and yes, even homicides, among those returning military people? Why does my brother have PTSD having spent a year in Viet Nam and not being able to live with the consequences of what he had to do while there? Guns are the weapons of choice in wars. Why? They can and do kill. The aftermath all the way around is tragic.

You may remember my citing some novels and books that I had read in my post: http://www.commongunsense.com/2010/09/professor-plum-killed-him-in-kitchen.html.
In most of the books cited, the offender was racked with guilt, shame, remorse and other emotions because of having taken some one's life. In the book Immoral by Brian Freeman ( see post), there is a passage that I highlighted. Here it is ( on page 322 of the book): " Twenty yards away, two internal affairs detectives, looking cool as snakes even under the relentless sun, grilled Serena (police officer) about the shooting. Her beautiful face was stoic-void of emotion, no hurricane churning inside her. Stride knew better. He had seen the delayed reaction among cops in Duluth, even tough veterans who had seen plenty of bodies, all killed by someone else. Firing your weapon, taking a life, watching someone die at your hands, was devastating. It sent cops into therapy. Some left the force."

So being in public places with "one finger on the trigger" waiting for something to happen, in my world, just doesn't lead to the kind of communities where people feel safe working towards common purpose and the common good. If everyone is suspicious of everyone else, and people are carrying guns around with them, making it clear that we should not mess with them, that doesn't lead to trust. Those with the guns don't trust me either. They don't trust that I won't take their guns away. So there we are- at an impasse of sorts. Where will it lead? Time will tell.

For my "friends" who are writing comments about their need to carry a gun in case they have to use it some day, I hope you don't. Carrying a lethal weapon around in public is an awesome responsibility. You might shoot someone. If you do, I hope it will be in legitimate self defense. Those cases, in spite of what some who have commented here say, are few and far between. We just don't hear or see them often in the news. If I was presented with some evidence in real life situations, perhaps I would change my mind. Rather, what we do hear about daily are the shootings that are due to domestic violence, to accidents, and to suicides- many of these because a gun was at the ready and easy to use. The law is the law and people are allowed to carry guns if they so choose. But those who choose to would do themselves a favor if they stop trying to challenge the evidence. The shooter at Johns Hopkins Hospital was a permit holder in the state of Virginia and brought his gun to Maryland. Some who commented here said that made him a criminal. He shouldn't have brought his gun to another state. He knew it was against the law. Did that make the shooting of the doctor any less significant or awful? Did that make his own suicide and the shooting of his mother any less tragic? I think not. He was a "law abiding" permit holder. He attempted to murder a Doctor with whom he disagreed and then murdered his own mother and killed himself. The facts speak for themselves.

I have been posting articles about "law abiding" permit holders who shoot people in public places. They are "law abiding" until they are not. I'm not making these stories up. They are happening in real time. Yes, there are the gang shootings and the criminals who shoot others or, maybe more frequently, shoot law enforcement officers. They are all tragic. Life is precious. I choose not to take the chance that I, myself, might kill someone. I don't live in fear that there is danger around every corner. Surely, there might be. I could get hit by a car or be in a car accident, or drown while swimming, or trip and fall down the stairs. Some of those are more unlikely than others but they happen. Carrying a lethal weapon around with me just in case does not fit into my world view as it does for some who choose the opposite.


  1. It is somewhat difficult to move a gun from holster to the lockbox in my car while following all of Cooper's 4 rules of gun safety, and the lockbox in my car is by far the least secure place I leave a gun. The people willing to follow the minutiae of place-specific carry rules are not the people you need to worry about.

    One finger on the trigger? Wow.

    And no. I don't ever want to have to pull my gun, I don't ever want to shoot someone--I'll gladly give up my wallet, or even my car if it means I don't have to shoot someone. I'm not suspicious of many people. But...

    In a truly moral and civilized society, people exclusively interact through persuasion. Force has no place as a valid method of social interaction, and the only thing that removes force from the menu is the personal firearm, as paradoxical as it may sound to some.

    Please read the linked essay if you really want to understand us--it's short, less than one typewritten page. If I were that skilled a writer, I would have written the same thing.

    ...and you won't take my guns away. If you are successful, you'll send men with guns to take my guns away...

    National news misses a ton of local stories of armed self defense. A local story where an in-law of mine was robbed at the business he owns, and pulled a gun on the robber made the local newspaper, including their online section--but was never linked by Google. Similar stories in bigger towns don't even make the local news unless someone is shot, and not always then.

    The point about the Johns Hopkins shooter is that the fact he brought his gun to a state where his license was not recognized shows that the license was irrelevant--it wasn't a case of a license holder snapping, it was a premeditated crime, and he almost certainly would have brought the gun with him even without a license.

    License holders are not perfect, but based on almost any measure--gun crime, violent crime, assault, murder--we commit violence at a small fraction of the rate of the general public. If we could get you guys to match our rate, we would have a much less violent country.

    How much better than you do we need to be?

  2. Japete,

    I'll respectfully disagree with your statement:

    I choose not to take the chance that I, myself, might kill someone.

    You take that chance every time you drive a car.

    Carrying a lethal weapon around with me just in case does not fit into my world view as it does for some who choose the opposite.

    So, you don't carry a pocket knife to open boxes? It's a lethal weapon.

    How about an umbrella? Another lethal weapon?

    Tennis racket, racketball racket, golf clubs, baseball bat? Never carry one of those to a game or out for a day in the park?

    Heck, even of the purses I've seen ladies carry count.

    People carry lethal weapons all the time but those items are dismissed people are conditioned to seeing them.

    You take that chance every time you cook a meal.
    Food poisoning, choking, allergic reactions, etc.

    Dozens of ways each and every day, you take the chance you will kill someone.

    Even just walking down the sidewalk, there is a chance you can bump someone into traffic.

    So, unless you don't drive, don't cook, don't have as much as a letter opener.....how can you avoid being around 'lethal weapons'?

  3. Bob- are you serious? I don't know of a serious person who would consider that any of the above would be weapons. Yes, they could be. But God forbid if I don't like my golf partner's attitude and hit him or her with my hybrid club in anger. A tennis racket? I know someone who I played tennis with who got hit in the eye with a tennis ball. It caused her a lot of trouble for a while. A racket though? This is grasping. And no, I don't carry a pocket knife as a box cutter. I though terrorists did that. A box cutter? I don't need to cut a lot of boxes in my everyday life- especially while out and about in public places. I suppose I could consider carrying my 9 Iron around in a holster. Good idea. Guns are lethal weapons- that is what they are designed for- to kill or injure. You don't carry a gun around in a holster hoping to find a shooting range around the corner for target practice when out in public places do you? You carry around so you can defend yourself with lethal force if necessary.

  4. I do carry around my gun to defend myself my unborn child and my toddler, I am also trained in self defensive arts in which the goal is to escape, injure not to kill.
    However, I do believe that you are mistaken by stating "And no, I don't carry a pocket knife as a box cutter. I though terrorists did that. A box cutter?" Are supermarket employees terrorists by your statements definition of "only terrorists did that" When I worked for my local supermarket, I carried a box knife with me so that makes me a terrorist?

    I have to agree with Bob S. Simply for the fact that most Jails will define a deadly weapon "one with lethal force" as:

    Any firearm, loaded or unloaded, bullets, knife, bludgeon, or other weapon, device, instrument, material, or substance, which in the manner it is used or intended to be used is capable of producing death or serious bodily injury.

    "Bracelet a Deadly Weaon" http://www.cantonrep.com/news/crime/x1032439430/Accused-shoplifters-bracelet-considered-a-deadly-weapon

    Just because you do not consider your golf club a deadly weapon capable of lethal force does not mean that someone else is not going to feel the same way. It is always someone else's perception of "your" intent with the object in question that makes it then a deadly weapon capable of lethal force.


  5. Not sure what the point is here. Guns kill more people in the U.S. than any other type of "weapon" you describe here. I am working to reduce and prevent gun injuries and deaths. If you want to work on reducing deaths by golf club or pocket knife- great. Probably anything is capable of lethal force. Guns just plain kill more people than any other weapon and are the cause of the most homicides in the U.S.