Gun Control vs. Self Control


Every time there is a mass shooting in the U.S. the gun-control debate is revived. “Guns kill!” one side chants. “Guns don’t kill, people kill!” the others side retorts. And while it’s true that no gun ever killed anyone without a human pulling the trigger, it’s also true that no human ever killed anyone by pointing their finger and shouting, “Bang!”

The truth is: both statements are correct. Guns kill. And so do people. Therefore, any real solution must address both issues.

Guns kill. Modern weapons aimed at large crowds, as demonstrated in Las Vegas, kill and maim with hideous efficiency. Yes, the U. S. Constitution guarantees the right to bear arms. But the Founders clearly did not mean this to go unchecked: from the beginning, convicted criminals forfeited the right; and it’s long been the consensus that violently unstable people forfeit the right, as well. America’s half-baked registration process needs to be retooled with up-to-the-moment information about disqualified individuals, and about privately owned semi-automatic weapons and explosive devices (“bump stock” devices should be outlawed altogether). In the early days, guns were registered with town sheriffs. In the era of interstate travel, that information must be nationally coordinated. Will it stop people from killing? No. But it will diminish it. And diminishing human chaos is the best any law can hope for.

People kill. It has always come down to Self vs. Other. Cain (Self) slew Able (Other) because Able had something Cain wanted. The highest moral codes have always striven to check this bent, to promote selflessness over selfishness. But when accession to moral codes erodes, anarchy ensues. When the ethics-driven Roman Republic became the power-driven Roman Empire, truth faded: One-time legitimate sports and arts events devolved into spectacles in which human beings were raped, tortured and murdered as entertainment, as “artistic” statements. Plebeians were taught to believe in everything, while the cognoscente no longer believed in anything.

Modern culture is undergoing a sea change like that of ancient Rome, only it’s happening far more quickly. Former civic values—duty to God, family, country and community—have become outmoded, replaced by duty to Self. Can the trend be reversed before we dissolve, like Rome did, into chaos?  I don’t know.

Families, schools and communities would have to recommit to teaching the kind of selflessness depicted in stories like Casablanca, Schindler’s List, and Hacksaw Ridge. And the ultimate story of sacrificial love, the story of Jesus on the cross, would have to be mirrored far more effectively in the lives of His followers. They can’t make people believe, but they can model selflessness, they can live it (the word Christian means “like Christ”). In fact, that’s what He calls them to do in Luke 9:23-24. He doesn’t command them to take up arms against Rome. He says, “Take up your cross,” die to yourself, and in the process, show others

How to live.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
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63 Responses to Gun Control vs. Self Control

  1. Well said. I’ve always found simple rhetoric is not a solution. A focus on one part of the solution is no solution. The real solution has many parts, but mostly rests in changing the hearts of people.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Mitch, politicians, partisans, and even the media seem to perpetuate an either/or mentality on controversial issues. As you so wisely point out, it isn’t just a question of guns or people, it’s both, and it’s complex. There are countless issues where we’ve reduced them to either/or, when they should be both/and. But complexity doesn’t “sell”—it requires that we both listen and think. A great many people would rather spread division and perpetuate the problem than seek solutions that might bring us closer together and maybe even reduce the magnitude of the problem. Sometimes it’s to their economic or political advantage; sometimes they just want to fuel more anger and hatred. It’s discouraging. Thanks for speaking out.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. homelife7597 says:

    It’s ashame, how everything changes in a blink of an eye. Chaos after chaos, will it ever be better? I think not unfortunately.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Mitch,
    I love the marriage of the guns vs. People arguments.

    What can we do to build the virtues necessary to peace when virtue is now considered opinion?
    How can you be free if my freedom undercuts your foundation?
    We need to find a freedom which is only activated through fellowship. Freedom driven by connection. Such a thing must exist as it is what we are essentially.
    Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ekurie says:

    Irresponsible people kill with guns, knives, rocks, baseball bats, cars, boats… But no one ever makes an argument against anything but a gun. I can’t agree with you.


    • mitchteemley says:

      I would say that no one makes arguments against the other items because: 1) they are all designed for other uses; 2) only guns are actually designed to kill; 3) the other items cannot kill from a distance, hence guns are far more lethal.

      How is the fact that other items can be used to kill an argument against updating an out-of-date registration system?

      Liked by 4 people

      • thedamari says:

        We also regulate fertilizer and poisons. I guess that’s why there’s no argument over them. Because they’re already regulated.

        Liked by 1 person

      • ekurie says:

        Can you think of some way to regulate them without removing them from the hands of responsible persons? My father was a collector of guns for historic, hunting, investment value purposes. He taught his family to be vigilant in respecting guns. He taught us to be certain to keep them safe. I do not own a gun. Arguments against guns only serve to remove them from responsible persons. Individuals who wish to obtain or illegally convert the shooting capability of guns for harmful use will always find a way to get what they want. The problem is people who once could defend themselves no longer can. A criminal can get a gun without a registration and whether or not good, responsible people’s guns have been taken from them by gun control means. So eventually if there were the strictest of gun control laws this guy could have still built up his arsenal. Illegally.

        Liked by 1 person

      • mitchteemley says:

        Outlawing guns and regulating them are two different things. I’m not arguing for the banishment of guns, only the rational regulation of them. Yes, illegal guns are an issue, too, but a different one. Most of the mass shootings in America, including the one in Las Vegas, were committed with weapons legally purchased by someone who should never have been able to acquire them.


      • ekurie says:

        To your last comment on my reply: then you don’t have a gun problem, you have a human one.

        Liked by 1 person

      • mitchteemley says:

        You could certainly put it that way. But until I can fix all of the crazy violent people, I’ll do my best to keep dangerous weapons out of their hands.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. ellie894 says:

    Well said! Thank you Mitch! Have a blessed weekend. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. My internet access has been limited recently, so I haven’t been reading any posts, and I’ve only sparsely written on my own blog. However, since today I’m where there is free WiFi (while in the pediatrician’s office), I decided to read, and your blog came up first on my feed. And to think, I’ve written little, so far, addressing what happened in Las Vegas, much less gun control.

    I understand your concerns. However, even though I don’t want bad people owning serious weapons, how we determine who’s unstable, dangerous, or mentally ill is ripe with potential problems. Definitions change all the time, and now that we are in a post-Christian/post-modern society, I fear tweaking laws based on somebody deciding who is/is not qualified or “worthy” of owning firearms. To be more specific, it’s been stated several times how that Christians who have certain christological or eschatological beliefs are mentally ill, so when will they come take my weapons away? When will I be denied a carry permit because I don’t support same-sex marriage? Yes, like you said, it’s complicated.

    Just this morning I overheard two men talking, and one of them said to the other, “Who needs a 20-round clip?” [its actually called a magazine, but I digress] However, who was this man to determine what a person needs or doesn’t need? He didn’t NEED to be sitting in a restaurant spending his Social Security income on bacon and pancakes, but I am not going to ban his choice of food. When we start arguing for what a person needs or doesn’t need and use that for writing law, that’s when we start trampling over legitimate constitutional rights.

    My honest opinion is that the whole gun argument (at least nationally) is practically void of any debate over morality, personal responsibility, and societal decay. The elites would rather ban something than address the root causes of violence, or in any way offend those whose god is Self.

    Rome fell without gun violence. We are falling, guns or not.

    Liked by 2 people

    • mitchteemley says:

      I appreciate your concerns and think you address them well, Anthony. However, I’m not arguing about whether gun regulations should exist (they have all along), I’m arguing that they should be made more effective in reducing violence. I would agree that people should not be kept from purchasing guns for ideological reasons. If and when someone proposes outlawing gun ownership for those reasons, I’ll stand with you against that proposal.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. thedamari says:

    I’ve noticed the same conversations over and over, and they tend to center around the rights of gun owners. I’d like to see more discussion of what responsibilities go with owning and selling guns, as well as what are the rights of gunshot victims. Should they have a right to medical care for their injuries (the wounded, obviously not the dead)? What if they can no longer work? Do they still have a right to enough money to live on? What if a family loses their primary wage earner or children lose their primary care giver? We don’t seem to be addressing these questions at all. Maybe there should be a tax on every gun and ammunition purchase to help fund the needs of gun violence victims. Or insurance should be required. Or something.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Mitch,

    I respect you, sir, but in a lot of ways I must disagree with you on this. I’ll go through them as I read along. First, when pro-gun supporters make the statement that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”, what they’re saying is that a firearm won’t just magically open fire. It takes a conscious decision on the part of someone else to bring that about. As such, guns don’t kill. I could take my pistol, set it on a counter, and leave it there. It won’t wander off and suddenly shoot someone. However, if I were to draw it, point it at someone and pull the trigger, then something will happen. The difference here is the intent. Firearms lack it, the people handling them possess it.

    The mainstream media narrative notwithstanding, the odds are that the majority of humans in the U.S. will spend their entire lives without ever encountering a single violent situation. What’s more is, less than a fraction of a percent of firearms owners will misuse their firearms.

    Now, you and I both know that the first murder in history didn’t involve a firearm. As I recall, Cain bashed Abel’s head in with a rock. Violence exists in the hearts of all humans, and while firearms might make mass killing easier, it isn’t the only method available. Just check out this news story out of China:

    A knife attack in Kun Ming, China, in which 30 were killed and another 130 injured. Doing anything to firearms won’t remove the desire for mass killing when it arises. People will simply find another method. That time it was knives, others choose bombs, and 19 men used four jumbo jets on 9-11. There is darkness in all our hearts that can only be removed by our Lord and Savior. Legislation won’t don’t anything but make life more difficult for millions of innocent people.

    Next, on the topic of dealing with the National Instant Check System, or NICS. First, it isn’t antiquated. In fact, it’s a massive pain in the rear because it’s rather thorough and effective. (for more info: Are there times when it will fail? Of course, the Law of Averages dictate that someone is going to make a mistake somewhere. It’s a system managed by humans. However, given that this system is accessed millions of times a year, with only one known true failure (Dylan Roof), I’d call that very effective. No system is ever 100% effective, just so we’re clear.

    On the topic of bump stocks, set aside the media narrative. Those things are actually trash, Las Vegas notwithstanding. Check out this instructional video on how bump stocks work, and why they are a giant pile of dog doo. Also, bear in mind how many hundreds of thousands of them have been purchased since they became available and consider that this is the only time they’ve been used in the commission of a crime.

    Believe it or not, per Federal Law, there is a registry of how many people own Assault Rifles. It might surprise you to know that there wasn’t a single Assault Rifle used in the commission of the Las Vegas shooting. How do I know? Because I’ve studied this, and I’ve served in the Armed Forces for more than 12 years, handling real Assault Rifles the entire time.

    What you’re referring to is the civilian variant of those Assault Rifles (M-16, M-4, M249, M240) used by the U.S. military, also known as the AR-15, which is absolutely NOT an Assault Rifle. It lacks one of the main defining features of true Assault Rifles: select fire.

    What is select fire? This feature allows one to switch between semiautomatic fire and auto/burst fire. By Federal mandate, AR-15’s can’t be manufactured with this capability. Can someone modify an AR-15 into a fully automatic rifle? Absolutely, with the right tools, expertise and time. Of course, by time I don’t just mean the amount of time spent in a gunsmithing shop, I also mean time spent in Club Fed. Such modifications are absolutely illegal, unless special permitting is obtained through the BATFE.

    (Side note on explosives: of all the explosives on the market, there is only one explosive that does not already require registration and a license for purchase/ownership. It’s a binary explosive known commonly by the brand name Tannerite. One can purchase up to 50 lbs without being required to register it. All other explosives are illegal for ownership by civilians unless they are properly licensed.)

    On the U.S. Constitution, as a Soldier I swore an oath to uphold and defend it. This obligates me to fully understand what said document says and what it means. Please, check out this site, in which an expert in the English language breaks down the wording of the Second Amendment, and decide for yourself what it says.

    Another factor that should be noted is that Federal Law states that all male citizens, or immigrants who’ve declared intent to become citizens, who are not currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, between ages 17-45, along with all female veterans of the National Guard, comprise what is known as the ‘Unorganized Militia’. (see: 10 U.S. Code § 246 – Militia: composition and classes)

    Per U.S. vs. Miller (1939), the Unorganized (or Reserve) Militia exist to augment the U.S. military. As such, should they be called up, they are required to report furnishing their own weapons, which must of the type currently in use. That would be the AR-15, though I feel that it’s wholly inadequate to conventional warfare because it lacks the select fire capability.

    Moving on, I’ll be honest. In all of my research into the gun control issue, I’ve never found anything that substantiates the claim that firearms were required to be registered with local sheriffs. Not saying that it isn’t true, just that I’ve never seen or heard anything to that effect. Also, firearms restrictions on convicted felons didn’t become a reality until the 1960’s.

    I’ll be honest, I don’t hold out much hope for the future of our country. I’ve seen and heard enough to know that we’re headed down a path that won’t end well for any of us. I don’t know what else to add to that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • mitchteemley says:

      Ezekiel (afraid I don’t know your name). You make a lot of valid points. To address a few:

      Pointing out that other things can be used to kill doesn’t really do away with the gun regulation argument. Guns are far more lethal because they kill more effectively than knives (or, say, swords or clubs), and from a distance–mass killings with knives are the exception, not the norm. I’m in favor of regulating anything that can effectively be regulated (e.g. killings with cars have led to better barriers around civic gatherings); the key word there is “effectively.”

      Re. NICS: I’m certainly no expert on the subject, but when I inaccurately used the term “antiquated” (I’ve removed it), I was thinking of elements that are still missing. I don’t know, for example, how Paddock was able to amass so many serious weapons and so much ammo without sending up a red flag at the FBI; and an effective means of barring potentially violent mental patients via licensed therapists still hasn’t been set up, even though there’s majority agreement that it should be (e.g. James Eagan Holmes in Colorado and Adam Lanza in Connecticut).

      I’m not arguing about what type of weapons should be legal when I (perhaps inaccurately) refer to assault rifles and explosives, I’m arguing that amassing of large amounts of said items should be caught by NICS/the FBI–not to stop gun collectors and aficionados from buying, but to discover potential anarchist-terrorists.

      Re. “Bump stocks”: I simply think that since automatic weapons are illegal anything that is meant to turn a weapon into one (whether effective or ineffective) should be illegal, as well.

      Re. Militias: If you’re arguing that all men should be required by law to own a modern assault rifle, I’m afraid I’ll be headed for jail; I don’t even own a BB gun. Neither does my wife, but apparently she gets a pass on this one.

      Re. Firearms being registered with local sheriffs: I’ve read about this in various places. One that comes to mind is a reference in a book about Mormons in mid-18th century Missouri (No Man Knows My History) that mentions their being required to register their guns with the local authorities, as was the norm (the original document mentions) virtually everywhere at the time–partly, I suspect, to show accordance with the militia-readiness code you mention above.

      I’m not terribly hopeful about the future of our country, either. But I hold out a great deal of hope for individuals. People sometimes forget that the Church was born in the midst of a corrupt, pagan empire that was far worse than anything we’ve seen in our lifetimes–that’s rich soil for the God’s servants to plant in!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, this is a first. Thus far, no one has mentioned anything about my name. Perhaps they assumed it really is Ezekiel. For the record, I wish. 😂 My first name is Jimmy. I don’t intend to reveal more than that, for security reasons.

        You’re right, pointing out that people can use other methods to kill people doesn’t actually change the fact the firearms do impart a certain advantage. That wasn’t my point, however. My point is that we humans will always find a way to exercise the violence in their hearts. I’ll give an example.

        At about 3:30am, March 2, 2012, a 64 year old man pointed a loaded revolver at his 20 year old mistress, and shot her dead. He would later dump her body on the side of the highway, one town over, and leave her like trash.

        When police questioned him regarding his motives, he said that he had grown tired of the nature of their relationship, and felt that she was taking advantage of him. Just like that, he basically makes clear that she wasn’t even a person to him.

        Now, the question that comes to mind is, if he had not had access to a firearm, would that have deterred him from killing her? I submit that the answer is “no”.

        I’ve been face-to-face with cold-blooded killers, and there’s no one home. They’re nothing more than mindless killers in search of a victim. That’s what this guy was, and he’s the one who took my baby sister from her family.

        I do like that you used the qualifier “effective”, because it is key. For my part, if it’s effective and does not infringe upon my rights as a private citizen, who hasn’t committed a single crime, then I’m all ears. However, it’s been my experience that such a thing is akin to a unicorn or a UFO; that is, everyone has heard of them, but no one has actually seen one.

        To answer your question, Paddock was able to acquire a moderately sized collection of firearms because there are no limits on the number of firearms one may acquire. The same applies to ammunition. Such limitations are considered unconstitutional, and rightly so.

        Additionally, the only possible red flag his purchases could have raised would have been with the BATFE, because the FBI doesn’t hang on to more than a basic outline of the NICS data. Firearms registration in this country has long been regarded as unconstitutional, and keeping record of what is purchased, and by whom, constitutes a defacto registry.

        As to bars to ownership/possession due to mental illness, I have two points to make.

        1. That’s shaky ground because there are too many opportunities for the violation of a patient’s rights under HIPPA, not to mention outright abuse by healthcare professionals with an ax to grind.

        2. This point is one I’ve heard my wife make. Consider the following, you believe in an all-knowing, all-powerful invisible man who created the earth in seven days. He is able to manipulate nature and defy science by doing things like walking on water, being born of a virgin and raising from the dead.

        If phrased correctly, religious belief can be made to sound exactly like a delusional state, which is only acceptable if you’re trans. In either case, the implication is that our rights could be taken from us with the stroke of a pen, if we aren’t careful.

        The use of a bump stock does not, in fact, render a semiautomatic weapon into a fully automatic weapon. It simply uses the recoil of the weapon to manipulate the trigger faster than one’s finger. For some, this is useful (?). For me, it’s stupid.

        As it doesn’t do more than manipulate the trigger, the BATFE has never seen fit to ban or limit its use. They really aren’t all that popular anyway.

        Now comes my favorite point, the Reserve Militia. As a member of the National Guard, I’m part of what’s known as the Organized Militia, according to the Federal statute I referenced earlier.

        To answer your question, no, I’m not saying you have to go out and purchase a firearm. My point goes much further than that.

        The point is, the Reserve Militia is the primary reason for the push by certain politicians for gun control, because the total number of men and women in this country who fit that statute massively dwarfs our current military strength, and is still growing.

        Now, as someone who swore to uphold and defend the Constitution, I make a habit of advocating for people’s rights under the Constitution. This includes educating and encouraging. So, consider it this way, rights are like muscles, if you don’t use them, you will lose them. At present, we live under a government that has a demonstrated history of civil rights violations. Simply take note of that.

        I’m familiar with the way Missouri used to persecute Mormons. My wife was brought up in the Restorationist branch of the LDS. No worries, she saw the light long before we met. 😊

        From what you’re saying, the Mormons were required to register their firearms with the local Sheriff because they were a persecuted minority. In fact, it was legal in the State of Missouri to murder Mormons; a law that wasn’t repealed until the 1980’s. Apparently, people forgot it was still on the books.

        As to your final point, all I can say is a hearty Amen!


      • BelleUnruh says:

        I want to tell you I am sorry to hear what happened to your sister. Very sorry. I’ve lost my grandson and nephew recently. You have my sympathy and prayers.


      • I’m sorry for your loss as well. There were 15 years between us, and I’d only seen her twice. The rest of the time, we communicated online. Things were pretty rough for awhile after.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Side note: On December 19 of this year, my oldest son turns 17 and joins the Reserve Militia. I’ll begin his training in earnest, and his 18th birthday present from me will be an AR-15, along with some basic gear.


      • mitchteemley says:

        Jimmy, I’ll be brief (Saturday chores await). The death of your sister is a tragedy, one I know no one in your family will ever fully recover from, and I earnestly sympathize. However, the issue here is large scale shootings. Yes, those who wish to kill can use virtually anything, but not mass shooters–they employee the kinds of weapons currently in discussion.

        The belief that “effective” regulations are a fantasy is an argument for anarchy, i.e. that no regulations work and therefore no regulations should exist.*

        You’re the first person I’ve heard suggest that there was anything normal (“moderate”) about Paddock’s build-up of arms and explosives. It’s clear he was not a mere collector or enthusiast. So, yes, I believe the FBI (or BATFE?) should have been able to notice that and find out what was up–just as they look for cues to catch terrorists before they act.

        Re. Registration: Six states, plus the District of Columbia, register all or some types of firearms. Federal law allows this and does not consider it unconstitutional. I am in favor of it. The historical example of registration I mentioned previously, btw, was not directed at Mormons; it was a requirement for everyone and, according to the document, standard practice at the time.

        Re. Barring violently unstable persons from owning firearms is not the same thing as barring people who believe things unsanctioned by a thought-controlling dictatorship. *The slippery slope argument–“One day tyrants may abuse this”–can be used against any law. Our job as citizens, I would argue, is to see that: 1) rational (and, yes, effective) laws are passed now, and that, 2) they are not abused in the future.


      • TEP336 says:

        Mitch, not to dredge up an old discussion, but I was bored and began scrolling through old comments. Oddly enough, I was never notified of this comment, so here we are, nearly a year later. Please, bear in mind that I’m not looking to start an argument, I just read through your last response and felt I owed it to you to respond. This is only due in part to my argumentative nature.

        Thank you for the sympathy. In spite of the fact that I hardly knew her, I loved my sister tremendously and still miss her. She had a bright future ahead of her, and didn’t deserve an ounce of what her poor decision making brought her. As for her killer, as much as I would have preferred the death penalty for him, I’ll have to be fine with a life sentence.

        On the topic of mass shootings, there is something that needs be considered here. They are heinous, tragic, and thankfully rare. To be sure, their sensational nature ensures that they are more memorable, but the fact of the matter is that they account for a fraction of a percent of the 16,000-20,000 people murdered annually. As a result of one of them, Sandyhook, President Obama ordered the CDC to conduct a study of firearms related violence, most especially mass shootings. Here is a sampling of their findings. Please note that the CDC has never made an effort to hide their anti-gun sentiments:

        “These multiple-victim homicides, because of their shocking nature, have commanded the attention of the public, the media, and policy officials, even though they are relatively rare and account for a small proportion of all firearm-related injuries and deaths in the United States.” (pg.11)

        “Defensive use of guns by crime victims is a common occurrence, although the exact number remains disputed (Cook and Ludwig, 1996; Kleck, 2001a). Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million (Kleck, 2001a), in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008 (BJS, 2010). ” (pg. 15)

        “Studies that directly assessed the effect of actual defensive uses of guns (i.e., incidents in which a gun was “used” by the crime victim in the sense of attacking or threatening an offender) have found consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies.” (pg. 15-16)

        Here is the link, in case you wish to look it over:

        The overall tone of the study is a bit confusing, in that they admit that mass shootings are rare, yet, push the same standard rhetorical arguments for gun control. These particular snippets came from the Introduction, and paint a bit of a different picture from the rest of the study, which is why I keyed in on them. By their own admission, firearms are used to save more lives than they are used to take them, and prevent just as many violent crimes as are used to commit them. That, to me, when coupled with the argument that most forms of gun control constitute a violation of the Constitution, says a great deal about this.

        I will finish with this. In the 1930’s, it was possible for one to mail order a fully functioning machine gun and have it delivered to their door. There were no questions asked, no onerous background checks, very few restrictions, and mass shootings were virtually unknown. Since that time, it has become increasingly difficult to purchase firearms. In fact, the days of ordering a firearm and having it delivered anywhere other than to a Federally licensed dealer are over.

        Today, I could go online, order and purchase a firearm, but I couldn’t have it delivered to my house. By Federal law, it must be delivered to a dealer with an FFL, who is required to run my information through NICS before they can even hand me the firearm. Yet, mass shootings, while still relatively rare, happen far more often than they did nearly a century ago. Is there a correlation? I don’t know, but it speaks volumes either way.


  10. Jeff Rab says:

    Well said, Mitch! Well said.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. oneta hayes says:

    Mitch, If a person wants to kill and there is no gun available, he has many more options than to point his finger and go Bang. A gun pretty much just lies there if a person doesn’t control it. I’n not opposing your argument that both kill, but the situation is not as easily settled as the scenario you have given. From a person who hates guns, but I see all the countries rules by a fiend and realize those countries do not have a citizenry who can possess guns. I wonder if 6 million people could have been killed if they could have had guns.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mitchteemley says:

      Oneta, my “bang” argument isn’t that a person who wants to kill cannot do so unless he has a gun, it’s that he cannot kill with a gun unless he has a gun. Yes, he/she can use a knife or another object, but guns are far more lethal. Paddock could not have killed or injured the number of people he did with a knife or a baseball bat, nor could Omar Mateen in Orlando last year. I agree with you that the problem is not easily settled, and certainly meant to convey that in my post.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. smzang says:

    I haven’t seen the premise stated more clearly, accurately or in a more unbiased manner. If every person who read this article would, with your permission and byline, email it to their US Senators and Congressmen (oops, make that Congress people,) it would surely have an impact on what takes place next. Here is an all-inclusive contact list:

    Please feel free to delete this whole thing, but I can not pass by the statement made in a response to your article:

    “the odds are that the majority of humans in the U.S. will spend their entire lives without ever encountering a single violent situation. ” If there is even one person in this whole country who has not encountered a violent situation, they were either born in the
    last 20 minutes are they are an ostrich without a heart.

    I know the purpose of your article was not to create arguments amongst dunderheads, but I have to tell you, when this dunderhead reads obtuse statements that suggest every citizen in this country does not experience and encounter every mass shooting, I feel a great disgust.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Yoly says:

    I agree with you on this issue. You definitely educated me. It’s sad but innocent people are the victims of this and regardless of what arguments people have about this issue, we can’t bring them back. I go to Vegas very often and now I will feel sad when I go because of this event. Vegas is very close to home.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Svelte says:

    Ditto – and the preamble is spot on!
    This made me LOL – “the odds are that the majority of humans in the U.S. will spend their entire lives without ever encountering a single violent situation. ” – but laughter is good for the Soul!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Forrest Pasky says:

    This is the “sanest” piece I have read on the matter.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. StephanieRae says:

    Very powerful, thank you

    Liked by 2 people

  17. gerrymackrell says:

    Needed to be said. good article.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Nancy Ruegg says:

    We cannot expect moral behavior in a society that increasingly accepts amorality; a good conscience cannot develop in a vacuum. For many in our country, the Golden Rule has been replaced by duty to Self, as you’ve said, and “whatever feels right for you.” I agree 100% with your conclusion, Mitch: We HAVE to recommit to selflessness as demonstrated by Jesus. Thank you for this wise and incisive post.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Roos Ruse says:

    Reblogged this on What Next; Behind Roo's Ruse and commented:
    Again, IMHBIO Mitch Teemley addresses the matter best:

    Liked by 1 person

  20. you found the words that i could not put together in my grief to voice… bless you double!

    Liked by 2 people

  21. As hell-bent as the killer was in Vegas I’m afraid a bomb would have been used, if not the guns. Yes, common sense regulation is called for here, but then again, how much common sense is going on in this country. One reason guns were in the 2nd amendment was for us to firearms to protect us against our own govt. Alas, weapons have been perfected to such a degree there is no way an American Citizen could go against a hostile govt. If we used the level of force theory Americans would have access to Nuclear bombs to go against invaders or hostile govt. However, all of this is insane. Really time to alter the 2nd amendment to reflect realistic values, goals and aims. Thanks for your post. Too the responses have been great.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Ann Coleman says:

    I’m impressed that you were willing to address such a controversial topic, and that you did it so reasonably. My personal opinion (and it is just that, no more) is that there does need to be a better process to determine who legally buys guns and that military style assault weapons don’t need to be in the hands of anyone other than soldiers. That being said, I think that someone bent on killing lots of people will always find a way to do it, whether buying their guns illegally or using bombs, or something like that. In other words, I kind of believe both sides of the argument: we need better gun control laws, and also that better gun control laws will not keep guns out of the hands of criminals. I think we want to believe they will because we want an end to the carnage.
    I agree that the only real way forward is to have more people value life. Whether or not that will ever happen, I honestly don’t know.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Well said. Guns should be banned

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Lucie says:

    As usual, we totally agree…Thank you for your piece….

    Liked by 1 person

  25. landl30 says:

    Hi Mitch,
    I’ve been meaning to get back to you for awhile on this, but was on the road.
    Thank you for a very well thought through piece. I happen to serve on a Local Advisory Council re: Adult Mental Health in the MInneapolis area, and one of the issues we deal with regularly is the stigma that attaches to the term mental health, especially as we use it to label almost any issue of gun use… especially mass gun use.
    By almost any definition we use the man in Las Vegas was mentally stable… not mentally ill in any recognizable, verifiable way. What he was was evil…and a tool of evil. Which is a category our culture doesn’t know much of what to do with.
    Years ago I worked as a Chaplain intern at San Quentin…. where I learned a lot about original sin, as being genuinely there in all of us… but also of a reality…. that some people look the choice of right and wrong directly in the eye, and make an intentional choice to be evil. It’s a hard concept for a lot of secular thought, but not Christian thought.
    We need to seriously protect people from those who have made the choice to be dangerous… by not allowing them access to such weapons as were used here. And also to move towards helping people to recognize and make the right choice in dealing with our human limitations.
    Again… a well written piece. Thanks.

    Liked by 3 people

    • mitchteemley says:

      Len, I’m not sure Stephen Paddock was all that mentally stable–it’s come out that he kept a psychiatrist “on retainer” (Paddock’s words) and a Valium prescription at hand, gambled obsessively all night and slept all day, hardly a physically or emotionally sound lifestyle. But even if he wasn’t unstable, the string of mass shooters over the years has been; and my suggestions are based on the overall pattern. That said, however, I agree with you about the “intentional choice to be evil.” The decent into evil is both a real and (arguably) mad decision. Thanks for your thoughtful response.


  26. alexankarr1 says:

    Former civic values—duty to God, family, country and community—have become outmoded, replaced by duty to Self.
    But lots of things have improved too. Respect for basic civil rights of all individuals and oppressed groups has almost been, well, born in the last century and a half.

    It’s not that I exactly disagree with you. On balance you might be right, but it’s not a black and white issue. Certainly the sacrifices my grandparents made for their families would be almost unthinkable now to most people.

    I’m pro-gun control, but the outcome of using any tools will always be dependent on the moral character of the people using them. The internet, for example, can be used for mobbing, abuse and self-aggrandization, or education, human rights support and building community.

    Reading this back, I suppose in essence I’m agreeing with you. Focusing solely on either side of the gun violence argument won’t work: arms must be controlled, and human beings must learn self-control.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. jpvillasmil says:

    I just wrote a similar post, and when I saw yours I felt really inspired man. Great work, new follower.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Its not a debate, its resolve. If anyone can put up an argument for Automatic weapons in a civil society i would like to hear it? You dont need cars that go faster than 120km you dont need guns that fire 60 rounds a minutes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mitchteemley says:

      I agree. Although I’m not hearing any call for the re-legalization of automatic weapons (they’ve been illegal in the U.S. since the 80s). Or are you referring to semi-automatics?


  29. Great line: “Former civic values—duty to God, family, country and community—have become outmoded, replaced by duty to Self.”

    “Laws are not designed to eliminate crime. Laws are designed to reduce crime.” Scott Adams

    Would a requirement to take a gun safety course violate the Second Amendment?

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Diana Reese says:

    Mitch, great post. I stopped teaching at schools in part because of the safety issue. Families, schools, communities and I would include government also, act as if they were against each other. Values are compromised and everything must be instant… including instant way to solve differences. “I don’t like you; therefore, I eliminate you.” like instantly, like a tweet, or a follower I don’t want to see.

    As much as I understand the desire of having a gun for self defense, I still don’t justify the lack of control. I talk it in my post “Safety First. It’s Just Common Sense” how we are requires to have:
    License to drive.
    Enforced use of seat belts in cars, planes and toddlers chairs.
    Degree to become a doctor to save lives.
    Degree to become a lawyer to defend wrong doing or evil.
    Degree to become a religious leader to help saving souls.
    Even a degree + 1 year internship to get a license to deal with dead people.
    but no degree, license or test to buy a weapon to practice evil and kill the same people who the government, doctors, lawyers and religious people try to save.
    Can you visualize the future of our children? I talk about that also.

    We are missing some common sense to fix the issue and you nailed it when you mention “Luke 9:23-24. He doesn’t command them to take up arms against Rome. He says, “Take up your cross,” die to yourself, and in the process, show others.” That’s what Jesus did. He pleaded to the Father “forgive them because they don’t know what they’re doing.” How wonderful it would be the day we turn back to God.

    Read my post at

    Liked by 1 person

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  33. Great thoughts, seeking the common ground. Both statements are true, and a solution needs to address both – love it!

    Liked by 2 people

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