About the Colorado Shooting

I wrote an article about guns over a year ago after a shooting in Florida. All the information from that time remains true today. I’m reposting that same article here tonight after reading about the shooting this week in Colorado. There are the normal and needed calls to “Do Something.” However, the Something usually ends up being a call for gun control, which will not work.

Tonight’s post is not about an emotional response. It is a fact-based response referencing two studies on gun control. Click on the links and read the articles yourself. I hope you find this useful.

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About the guns…

It most certainly is not about the guns!

Let’s be clear; if it was about guns, these stories would have peaked and plateaued decades ago here and around the world. They haven’t. Events like Florida’s are a more recent development in American history. Guns have been part of America since before we freed ourselves of the crown over 200 years ago. They have been a matter of self-defense and food.

I used to teach a corporate course on problem-solving and decision making; the Kepner-Tregoe model for those who are familiar. It is essentially paint-by-number Aristotelean logic, using wall charts and forms to lay out the facts and draw a conclusion. The defining moment is when you can accurately answer the question, “What changed?”

If guns have been a part of our culture since before our independence from Britain and yet the problem is recent, blaming guns is simply nonsense. One might argue that technology has changed, but that is only so much noise. Technology in gun design has been ongoing for centuries.

I submit the only meaningful change happened when the country as whole followed the words of someone who earned the designation of The Most Hated Woman in America: Madeleine Murray-O’Hare. It was her pushing and bombast that led the charge to abolish prayer in school and remove Christianity from a nation founded upon Christian principles. Why an entire culture would follow the rants of the person IT designated to be Most-Hated is quite beyond me.

Simply, what changed is that The United States of American told God to bugger off. We stopped doing what is right. What stopped so much as caring what is right. We started caring less about objective truth and more about what we decided we wanted our own personal truth to be, all the rest be damned.

We. Stopped. Loving.

Would you shoot someone you loved? Would you shoot someone if you thought you were loved?

Gun control? A fool’s errand. I’ve said so for years, and I’ll say it again here.

GUN CONTROL IS A FOOL’S ERRAND!!

Facts bear me out. An article in the Washington Post showed quite conclusively that gun violence has declined in the last few decades in proportion to an increase in gun ownership. The only places where gun violence has increased have been where gun ownership is severely restricted. You can say anything else you want, make any emotional plea, and parade any number of teary survivors, but those facts stand. Anything else is just noise.

Facts made a believer out of a gun control advocate:

Leah Libresco is a statistician and former news writer at FiveThirtyEight, a data journalism site.

She decided to use her resources to do a massive study of gun violence. The facts she herself accumulated convinced her, much to her dismay, that gun control is ineffective.

I used to think gun control was the answer. My research told me otherwise.

I urge you to read her article for yourself.

Other articles I’ve written that address the core of the whole problem:

I sometimes quip that if you are day-dreaming during Bible class and you’re asked a question, you can simply answer, “Jesus” and likely be right.

Truth be told, it isn’t as funny as it is correct. Whatever the problem, Jesus and the love He taught us and commanded us to practice is always the solution!

About the Guns

About the guns and last week’s horrid murders in Florida, please allow me to remind everyone…

Magnum 44It most certainly is not about the guns!

Let’s be clear; if it was about guns, these stories would have peaked and plateaued decades ago here and around the world. They haven’t. Events like Florida’s are a more recent development in American history. Guns have been part of America since before we freed ourselves of the crown over 200 years ago. They have been a matter of self-defense and food.

I used to teach a corporate course on problem-solving and decision making; the Kepner-Tregoe model for those who are familiar. It is essentially paint-by-number Aristotelean logic, using wall charts and forms to lay out the facts and draw a conclusion. The defining moment is when you can accurately answer the question, “What changed?”

If guns have been a part of our culture since before our independence from Britain and yet the problem is recent, blaming guns is simply nonsense. One might argue that technology has changed, but that is only so much noise. Technology in gun design has been ongoing for centuries.

I submit the only meaningful change happened when the country as whole followed the words of someone who earned the designation of The Most Hated Woman in America: Madeleine Murray-O’Hare. It was her pushing and bombast that led the charge to abolish prayer in school and remove Christianity from a nation founded upon Christian principles. Why an entire culture would follow the rants of the person IT designated to be Most-Hated is quite beyond me.

Simply, what changed is that The United States of American told God to bugger off. We stopped doing what is right. What stopped so much as caring what is right. We started caring less about objective truth and more about what we decided we wanted our own personal truth to be, all the rest be damned.

We. Stopped. Loving.

Would you shoot someone you loved? Would you shoot someone if you thought you were loved?

Gun control? A fool’s errand. I’ve said so for years, and I’ll say it again here.

GUN CONTROL IS A FOOL’S ERRAND!!

Facts bear me out. An article in the Washington Post showed quite conclusively that gun violence has declined in the last few decades in proportion to an increase in gun ownership. The only places where gun violence has increased have been where gun ownership is severely restricted. You can say anything else you want, make any emotional plea, and parade any number of teary survivors, but those facts stand. Anything else is just noise.

Facts made a believer out of a gun control advocate:

Leah Libresco is a statistician and former news writer at FiveThirtyEight, a data journalism site.

She decided to use her resources to do a massive study of gun violence. The facts she herself accumulated convinced her, much to her dismay, that gun control is ineffective.

I used to think gun control was the answer. My research told me otherwise.

I urge you to read her article for yourself.

Other articles I’ve written that address the core of the whole problem:

I sometimes quip that if you are day-dreaming during Bible class and you’re asked a question, you can simply answer, “Jesus” and likely be right.

Truth be told, it isn’t as funny as it is correct. Whatever the problem, Jesus and the love He taught us and commanded us to practice is always the solution!

Jesus Smiling

Guns: A Root Cause Analysis

It’s different now. If you have some savings, take them with you. If you have a pack, fill it and bring it. If you don’t have a sword, sell your coat and buy one.    Luke 22:36

Jesus: Put your sword back. People who live by the sword die by the sword.    Matthew 26:52

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.    Matthew 22:37-40

How do we reconcile the first two passages above? Defending yourself is one thing, both individually and as a nation.  Having the means to protect yourself is one thing.  Owning and using weapons as a way of living is quite another.

Karate SparringI’ve had friends who earned black and brown belts in a variety of martial arts. To a man and woman, they all had the same basic message for me: every good fighter avoids a fight at all costs.  You never know when you might be standing in front of that one person who’s going to hand you your ass.

Jesus was saying more or less the same thing, but more delicately, of course. Be prepared for trouble, but don’t go looking for it.

Matthew 26:52 also needs to be taken in context. Jesus wanted to be taken.  It was His job.  He had to be arrested, suffer, and die for our salvation.  That wasn’t the time for a sword fight, especially against trained troops.

So that leaves me in favor of gun ownership for home and self-defense. If you look at my article from last Monday, Gun Violence, you’ll see two very important messages.  First, the solution is in changing our hearts as a nation.  Second, you can follow the link provided to a Washington Post article from 12/3/2015, which clearly demonstrates that overall gun deaths have declined over the last two decades, coinciding with an increase in gun ownership!  The only parts of the country with increases in gun deaths are those states – Illinois, most notably – with the strictest gun laws.

Love HandsAs for Matthew 22:37-40, well, that would pretty much solve everything, now wouldn’t it?

Below I’ve pasted in a complete article from msc.com, which does a great job of talking about FACTS, not hyperbole and politics. When I taught corporate management classes, one mantra for solving problems and making the best decisions was “Think about WHAT’s right, not WHO’s right!”

It’s about fact-based discussions. Following is a great one.  I’ve highlighted parts to help you skim the article.  I also kept the links to other articles, which I don’t all agree with.  I provide them for you to look at and analyze yourself in light of the December 2015 article cited at the top and the article below.

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Opinion | I used to think gun control was the answer. My research told me otherwise.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/opinion/opinion-i-used-to-think-gun-control-was-the-answer-my-research-told-me-otherwise/ar-AAsRR7y?li=BBnb7Kz&ocid=iehp

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

Leah Libresco is a statistician and former newswriter at FiveThirtyEight, a data journalism site. She is the author of “Arriving at Amen.”

Before I started researching gun deaths, gun-control policy used to frustrate me. I wished the National Rifle Association would stop blocking common-sense gun-control reforms such as banning assault weapons, restricting silencers, shrinking magazine sizes and all the other measures that could make guns less deadly.

Then, my colleagues and I at FiveThirtyEight spent three months analyzing all 33,000 lives ended by guns each year in the United States, and I wound up frustrated in a whole new way. We looked at what interventions might have saved those people, and the case for the policies I’d lobbied for crumbled when I examined the evidence. The best ideas left standing were narrowly tailored interventions to protect subtypes of potential victims, not broad attempts to limit the lethality of guns.

I researched the strictly tightened gun laws in Britain and Australia and concluded that they didn’t prove much about what America’s policy should be. Neither nation experienced drops in mass shootings or other gun related-crime that could be attributed to their buybacks and bans. Mass shootings were too rare in Australia for their absence after the buyback program to be clear evidence of progress. And in both Australia and Britain, the gun restrictions had an ambiguous effect on other gun-related crimes or deaths.

When I looked at the other oft-praised policies, I found out that no gun owner walks into the store to buy an “assault weapon.” It’s an invented classification that includes any semi-automatic that has two or more features, such as a bayonet mount, a rocket-propelled grenade-launcher mount, a folding stock or a pistol grip. But guns are modular, and any hobbyist can easily add these features at home, just as if they were snapping together Legos.

As for silencers — they deserve that name only in movies, where they reduce gunfire to a soft puick puick. In real life, silencers limit hearing damage for shooters but don’t make gunfire dangerously quiet. An AR-15 with a silencer is about as loud as a jackhammer. Magazine limits were a little more promising, but a practiced shooter could still change magazines so fast as to make the limit meaningless.

As my co-workers and I kept looking at the data, it seemed less and less clear that one broad gun-control restriction could make a big difference. Two-thirds of gun deaths in the United States every year are suicides. Almost no proposed restriction would make it meaningfully harder for people with guns on hand to use them. I couldn’t even answer my most desperate question: If I had a friend who had guns in his home and a history of suicide attempts, was there anything I could do that would help?

However, the next-largest set of gun deaths — 1 in 5 — were young men aged 15 to 34, killed in homicides. These men were most likely to die at the hands of other young men, often related to gang loyalties or other street violence. And the last notable group of similar deaths was the 1,700 women murdered per year, usually as the result of domestic violence. Far more people were killed in these ways than in mass-shooting incidents, but few of the popularly floated policies were tailored to serve them.

By the time we published our project, I didn’t believe in many of the interventions I’d heard politicians tout. I was still anti-gun, at least from the point of view of most gun owners, and I don’t want a gun in my home, as I think the risk outweighs the benefits. But I can’t endorse policies whose only selling point is that gun owners hate them. Policies that often seem as if they were drafted by people who have encountered guns only as a figure in a briefing book or an image on the news.

Instead, I found the most hope in more narrowly tailored interventions. Potential suicide victims, women menaced by their abusive partners and kids swept up in street vendettas are all in danger from guns, but they each require different protections.

Older men, who make up the largest share of gun suicides, need better access to people who could care for them and get them help. Women endangered by specific men need to be prioritized by police, who can enforce restraining orders prohibiting these men from buying and owning guns. Younger men at risk of violence need to be identified before they take a life or lose theirs and to be connected to mentors who can help them de-escalate conflicts.

Even the most data-driven practices, such as New Orleans’ plan to identify gang members for intervention based on previous arrests and weapons seizures, wind up more personal than most policies floated. The young men at risk can be identified by an algorithm, but they have to be disarmed one by one, personally — not en masse as though they were all interchangeable. A reduction in gun deaths is most likely to come from finding smaller chances for victories and expanding those solutions as much as possible. We save lives by focusing on a range of tactics to protect the different kinds of potential victims and reforming potential killers, not from sweeping bans focused on the guns themselves.

Read more:

The Post’s View: The worst kind of American exceptionalism

Chris Murphy: Mass shootings are an American problem. There’s an American solution.

Richard Glover: How Australia beat the gun lobby and passed gun control

The Post’s View: Gun control’s silver bullets

Charles C.W. Cooke: The right to bear arms isn’t up for debate

Gun Violence

Originally posted December 29, 2015.

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“The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, They have done abominable works, There is none who does good.”   Psalm 14:1

DictionaryI learned something extremely important when I taught a class in Problem Solving/Decision Making; words matter! When listing goals and alternatives, properly identifying them would make a big difference in developing the rest of a solution or choice. Being precise in stating the goal of a choice is especially important!

This brings me to the ongoing debate over gun violence. Guess what? I think that’s a misidentification of the issue at hand. Gun Violence? I’ve never heard of a gun committing violence. Ever. The term subliminally skews our perception of the issue, as if guns are the real problem. Let’s call it People Violence.

GUN USE is another matter, and would best be listed as a sub point to People Violence. Once you straighten out your verbiage, you realize people are the problem, not guns. Apply the same logic to cars.

There are plenty of stories of people using cars as weapons; should we outlaw cars? Not a soul has suggested that, despite the fact that the same logic applied to guns can easily be used on cars – with a higher body count.

The terrorists in San Bernardino had a lot more than guns; pipe bombs, booby traps, grandparents to watch the baby, etc. Do we outlaw everything or do we try to fix the real problem where it resides: people. As a nation, we’ve invited God out of the country: you can’t show the 10 commandments hardly anywhere (Thou shalt not kill, for example), no praying in public – schools, football stadiums. Morality has taken a nose dive, and that is the real problem. Once we realize that the bible has something to it and that Christianity does not preach hatred but redemption…well, then you just might see the real solution.

“The Lord tests the righteous, But the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates.”    Psalm 11:5

 

Violence and wickedness go hand in hand. The Bible teaches morality, peace, and reliance on God.  And before you start yelling about how much violence is in the Bible, remember that God does not condone violence.  He will come down hard on the wicked to STOP THEIR violence.

“The violence of the wicked will destroy them, Because they refuse to do justice.”   Proverbs 21:7

 

God wants protection for the innocent and oppressed. He exhorts and expects us to work with Him for their good.

“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”   James 1:27

“Thus says the Lord: “Execute judgment and righteousness, and deliver the plundered out of the hand of the oppressor. Do no wrong and do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, or the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.”   Jeremiah 22:3

 

Execute judgment and righteousness. Do not shed innocent blood.  God calls us to His side, to work His works.  Unwarranted violence is not on that list.

“But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God; yes, let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands.”   Jonah 3:8

 

We need to repent of our wrongs, not pursue them with ever increasing zeal as is the norm for today’s society; fighting over Christmas presents, killing over the last piece of chicken, and all other sorts of wickedness. Greed is not on God’s menu.  It is the root of violence

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”   1 Timothy 6:10

 

If we could only learn what our ancestors of as a little as 200 years ago came here to practice; freedom to pursue a life pleasing and faithful to God. How will that solve the problem of people violence?

“A man shall eat well by the fruit of his mouth, But the soul of the unfaithful feeds on violence.”   Proverbs 13:2

 

To understand rates of gun use better, see this December 3, 2015 Washington Post article which documents the decline overall of gun violence with the increase of gun ownership.  Obviously, this gives the lie to those who use stories like today’s to push for gun control.

Headline: We’ve had a massive decline in gun violence in the United States. Here’s why.

“Premeditated mass shootings in public places are happening more often, some researchers say, plunging towns and cities into grief and riveting the attention of a horrified nation. In general, though, fewer Americans are dying as a result of gun violence — a shift that began about two decades ago.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/12/03/weve-had-a-massive-decline-in-gun-violence-in-the-united-states-heres-why/?tid=sm_tw

How America Voted on OTHER Issues in November

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3919096/Death-penalty-minimum-wage-gun-control-right-die-America-voted-measures-affecting-country.html

DEATH PENALTY

“In Nebraska, voters reinstated the death penalty. California had two competing measures on its ballot, one repealing its rarely used death penalty (FAILED) and another that would speed up appeals so convicted murderers are actually executed (PASSED).  Oklahoma voters overwhelmingly approved a measure to make it harder to abolish capital punishment.  It also declared that the death penalty is not a cruel or unusual punishment.”

This is a tough issue. I’m not a blood-thirsty guy.  If someone murdered someone I loved, knowing they were executed or even watching it happen myself would not make me feel better.  All that really matters, though, is what God says about the government executing criminals.

Romans 13:4

For he (the ruler) is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.

God apparently saw the need for a death penalty. I’m not saying it’s good for a society any more than, say, the Allies going to war against the evil of the Nazis, but then NOT doing it may well be worse.

LEGALIZED MURDER

OK, I know it’s assisted suicide, euthanasia, or some other pleasant-sounding name. I still say – and so does the law, by the way – that any death caused by human intervention is murder.  I have much more to say on this topic, but I’ll just ask you to search these topics on my blog: Euthanasia, Abortion

Here’s what happened with this issue last month:

“65% of Colorado voters approved a measure that will allow physicians to assist a terminally ill person in dying. with a sleeping medication that becomes lethal in high doses…joining Oregon, Washington, California, Vermont and Montana.”

Just a thought; if you can off someone with an overdose of sleeping medication, why all the problems this past year with legal injection? Orders of the wrong drugs resulted on a swing and a miss on the actual death itself or an especially gruesome show in another case.  One prison discovered that the one company that makes this lethal cocktail has decided to stop making it.

Oops.

Why couldn’t someone run over to Walgreens and get a case of Unisom?

My point being, when we want to kill someone who’s suffering, we can do it pretty well. If it’s a murderer/kidnapper/rapist who’s on death row, we suddenly turn stupid.

UP IN SMOKE

“Eight states voted to legalize marijuana for recreational or medical use on Tuesday, now giving nearly a quarter of Americans access to cannabis.  California, Massachusetts and Nevada voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, giving a huge boost to the campaign to allow pot nationwide. Californians may have embraced marijuana on Tuesday, but the tobacco industry received a major blow in the state.”

So smoke that calms nerves and maybe gives you a bit of a kick is very bad. Smoke that essentially intoxicates you (and I’m focusing on the recreational legalization here) is good.  Both are smoke and inherently not good for our lungs.

I’ve heard the alcohol argument, but justifying doing something wrong because it is similar to something else that is wrong is just stupid.

I had a friend who stopped smoking pot in high school, because he realized he was losing his enviable vocabulary, and his effectiveness on the debate team was declining. I am thinking it not an unreasonable conclusion that folks fighting for legalization of recreational marijuana use by making the alcohol comparison simply didn’t quit smoking the dope soon enough.

UM…

“California residents rejected an initiative that would have required adult film actors to use condoms while filming sex scenes.”

I once spoke with someone whose friend owned a strip club. He would go in just to talk to the girls and make sure they were OK.  Most of them had alcohol and drugs problems to one degree or another.  The tragedy is that those problems only surfaced as the girls self-medicated to deal with the negative psychological effects of stripping and being objectified by leering men.

A few Californians were worried about condoms. I repeat: “Um…”

GUNS

“…voters in California and Washington state toughened gun control laws.”

See my article from last December: https://jeffreyhking.wordpress.com/2015/12/29/gun-violence/

Also see this Washington Post article on gun violence: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/12/03/weve-had-a-massive-decline-in-gun-violence-in-the-united-states-heres-why/?tid=sm_tw

 

See the full article on November issues: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3919096/Death-penalty-minimum-wage-gun-control-right-die-America-voted-measures-affecting-country.html