Common Sense

The totalitarian fiends in Rome who want to leave Real Americans[TM] prostrate before Leviathan teach:

2315 The accumulation of arms strikes many as a paradoxically suitable way of deterring potential adversaries from war. They see it as the most effective means of ensuring peace among nations. This method of deterrence gives rise to strong moral reservations. The arms race does not ensure peace. Far from eliminating the causes of war, it risks aggravating them. Spending enormous sums to produce ever new types of weapons impedes efforts to aid needy populations;111 it thwarts the development of peoples. Over-armament multiplies reasons for conflict and increases the danger of escalation.

2316 The production and the sale of arms affect the common good of nations and of the international community. Hence public authorities have the right and duty to regulate them. The short-term pursuit of private or collective interests cannot legitimate undertakings that promote violence and conflict among nations and compromise the international juridical order.

2317 Injustice, excessive economic or social inequalities, envy, distrust, and pride raging among men and nations constantly threaten peace and cause wars. Everything done to overcome these disorders contributes to building up peace and avoiding war:

Insofar as men are sinners, the threat of war hangs over them and will so continue until Christ comes again; but insofar as they can vanquish sin by coming together in charity, violence itself will be vanquished and these words will be fulfilled: “they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

So they say. But of course what they *really* mean is this:

This message of sobriety brought to you by the Tea Party, reminding you that the second amendment is Sacred Tradition and that anybody who suggests in any way that there is the slightest problem with our gun culture or so much as mentions gun control (including the American bishops or Rome) means to send you to a concentration camp and murder your whole family.

As therefore you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so live in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one makes a prey of you by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ. (Colossians 2:6-8)

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  • mike in kc, mo

    In this I can speak for no one but myself:

    I do not for a minute hold the belief that the 2nd amendment is somehow beyond any form of regulation, as are the other amendments. We have laws to prevent felons from purchasing firearms, preventing children from purchasing, as of this date it is illegal to possess modern automatic weapons unless you are military, police or a dealer who sells to same, we have laws preventing people who are medically certified as mentally unbalanced from purchasing weapons, etc. The number of firearm laws we have in the US numbers in the tens of thousands at last count.

    In a similar vein, we limit freedom of speech in many ways. You can not yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre, it is illegal to knowingly slander another person (whether it can be prosecuted is another matter).

    Gun owners such as myself do become very irate when politicians and others like yourself who know little to nothing about the actual situation with firearms seem to decide that any law whatsoever will be fine and dandy as long as it is done in the name of prevention. Lost on these people is the knowledge that ‘assault weapons’ were already banned before nationally, that many states already have local bans (California and *GASP* even Connecticut being two current examples.) These have done absolutely nothing. Further, even their proponents have admitted that they do pretty much nothing, mainly because they have a myth as their base (

    Are there legal actions that could, and I think, should, be taken? Yes. As I mentioned in a previous post on your site, a good change would be that if you are the primary caregiver of someone who is mentally unbalanced and that person lives with you, then you should not have any firearms at all in the home. If we had THAT law, then there is a VERY good chance this entire problem would not have happened.

    In short, instead of saying ‘what precisely can be changed that has a realistic chance of preventing such madness as this in the future?’, politicians said ‘how can we leverage this massacre to further limit liberties for all people and consolidate more power to ourselves?’

    If the legal response from the government dealing with the Church’s sexual abuse crises had been as broad and reaching would you have supported it? If our government had decided that, in the interests of protecting children from abuse, constant audio and visual surveillance in all sacristies by CPS would be mandated, why not allow it? Why fight against that? What, do you hate children or something? Does such a law REALLY address what the actual problem is?

    Yes, that’s an extreme example, but I’m trying to make a connection with something you seem not to have any real knowledge about using something you do. Just because some law or regulation is declared to be in the interests of children, particularly if you are not that well informed about the subject in question, doesn’t mean it’s automatically a good idea. This is especially true if our ruling class is trying to slam such a law through while emotions are high, attempting to avoid actual debate. We’ve seen that kind of tactic before, and it’s never worked out.

    • Raul De La Garza III

      I would agree with your opinions save the following: regulation of firearms are proper to the states and not at the federal level. As the diagnosis of mental health is a moving target I would be hesitant to regulate based on this criteria. I recommend personal responsibility within each respective family and encourage the use of gun safes.

    • Linda C.

      “In short, instead of saying ‘what precisely can be changed that has a realistic chance of preventing such madness as this in the future?’, politicians said ‘how can we leverage this massacre to further limit liberties for all people and consolidate more power to ourselves?’”

      This statement describes a good bit of the problem. It is a bit disingenuous for an administration to decry the use of semi-automatic weapons to kill children while the same administration evidently had no moral objection to selling the same kinds of weapons to drug cartels (hundreds of people dead as a direct result). That same administration and their supporters are vocally anti-gun (except for themselves—see various remarks over the years by Feinstein, Biden, Schumer, Reid, et al., who claim the right to go armed and have armed bodyguards), but some see their ostensible opposition as an objection to their political opponents having weapons.

  • ivan_the_mad

    Some teachings have given me difficulty in my efforts to conform myself to them, which includes not dismissing prudential judgements out of hand (really, I’m likely not qualified to dismiss any of them in any case). The teachings on civilian arms ownership is certainly at the top of that list. The Catechism section you quoted in bold caused me to grudgingly recant a gun rights position typical of the American right, although American jurisprudence already permitted not a few efforts by the public authority to regulate the sale and ownership of private arms.

    I must in honesty say that I have not fully accepted that in a modern state there is little need for ownership of private arms for purpose of defense; indeed, the first time I read “Handgun Violence: A Threat to Life” it engendered a less than charitable reaction on my part. Over time, I’ve come to at least understand and find not unreasonable the prudential judgement (and please correct me if it is more than this), a judgement which has only continued to see further development as subsequent documents from the USCCB evince. As a consequence of that, I will not oppose proposed gun control legislation that hews closely to such a judgement. That’s the best that I can do right now.

  • Subsistent

    Pagan Rome had plenty of bad in its culture, but one good ideal was, “Est modus in rēbus”: There’s a just and sound measure [which should be] in [human] things.” Here this means wise and moderate, not extreme, gun control. This moderateness is what the Catechism and the USCCB recommend, as I see it.

  • Hezekiah Garrett

    I agree, Mark. You do know, though, that the proposed and previously-expired assault weapon ban is cosmetic in nature? That it would, indeed, ban the particular weapon this shooter used, but it wouldn’t ban functionally identical, though cosmetically different, firearms at all? At best, the assault weapon ban means guns can’t ‘look military’ as opposed to ‘look hunt-y’, and that you have to change magazines a bit more often. (Smaller magazines are less prone to failure due to the heft and weight placed on the spring, so its a tradeoff. More brief opportunities to disarm the psycho while he changes clips, but no likelihood his gun will be disabled by a failure in the feed mechanism, which happened in Aurora.)

    When anyone proposes legislation that might actually be effective, I will endorse it heartily. Good luck with that!

    • Mercury

      What legislation would be effective, in your opinion?

      • mike in kc, mo

        If I may also respond:
        As I mentioned above: “a good change would be that if you are the primary caregiver of someone who is mentally unbalanced and that person lives with you, then you should not have any firearms at all in the home.”
        The problem is, this is only a stop gap measure. It tries to limit the possibility or this happening again, while attempting to curb few liberties. It does NOT address what the root of this problem is, which is societal. TRUE care for those that are disturbed, and their families is needed. A real change in our culture in how we view our fellow man. We can go on and on…

        The thing is, we Americans LOVE technological fixes for everything. That’s part of the appeal to reflexively banning something: it gives one the feeling of ‘doing something’ and being lauded for it, without having to actually do something hard. But solutions to our REAL cultural rot are not technological, they aren’t sexy, they aren’t quick and nobody will be lauded for attempting them (at least not that time, or even outside eternity). Avoid THOSE solutions and you might as well not bother with anything else, as all you’re doing is putting a coll damp rag on the forehead of someone who drank a full glass of digitalis. Yeah, you ‘did something’, but it was a useless gesture.

        • Mercury

          I agree that true solutions are needed. But what solutions are there really for the violently mentally disturbed people, especially those who are psychopaths or sociopaths and incapable of feeling remorse or empathy? I know medication can help, and of course God can work miracles through prayer (even cure real psychopaths, I’m sure), but besides committing these people to mental institutions for life, what can be done (again, prayer and loving care are a given)?

          This is especially troublesome because often this kind of stuff is not known until it’s too late.

          And lest we forget, not all such killers suffer from menta illness.

          But for those that do, I always wondered how God judges them – which is a good lesson in why we cannot judge.

          • Mercury

            I guess why I mean is – psychopathy and sociopathy and things like that are medical problems – the society may exacerbate them, but mental health is an issue in many cases. I’m just wondering what can actually be done for that.

            Of course our insane death culture and sensationalist media don’t help, but they are also only part of the problem.

            And lest we forget – sometimes these people come from good family and social backgrounds.

      • Hezekiah Garrett

        Past my paygrade. As a voter, I analyze the legislation offered by legislators and prospective legislators. I don’t draft legislation.

    • kenneth

      The old “assault weapons ban” was a joke because it focused on cosmetic features and for all that didn’t actually ban anything. It only banned import and sales of certain configurations of certain guns after 1994. All it did was triple the price of the most popular models and of high-capacity magazines. It also made it damn difficult for the average person to know for sure if their own gun was legal or a federal felony prosecution waiting to happen. Any potentially effective hardware-based legislation would have to focus on function, not appearance. We know what works. Australia banned semi-automatic weapons altogether and recovered a great many of them through a buyback program. The effect on day to day crime and suicide is debatable, at best, but they went from almost one mass shooting a year for a couple decades to none since 1996. Now, we’re a different animal than Australia on many levels, but it’s not accurate to say that gun regulation is some sort of irreducably complex problem in which laws can have no predictable effect.

      • Mike in KC, MO

        Actually, yes it did. It banned quite a few things, several by name.

        “Any potentially effective hardware-based legislation would have to focus on function, not appearance.”
        – Which is exactly why I don’t think it will ever get anywhere. I don’t think your average American is quite at that nanny state level yet.

        “The effect on day to day crime and suicide is debatable”
        – It is non-existent. And they still have very serious violent crime, much of it gun related.

        “but it’s not accurate to say that gun regulation is some sort of irreducably complex problem in which laws can have no predictable effect.”
        – They do have VERY predictable effects. It’s that usually people pushing the laws ignore them because they don’t fit the political story they want to tell.

  • Mark S. (not for Shea)

    If you need a 50-round magazine to hunt deer, you don’t really need that 50-round magazine. If you need more than 2 bullets to put down a deer, you need target practice.

    There is absolutely no logical reason for civilians to own assault weapons. It’s lunacy.

    • mike in kc, mo

      “If you need a 50-round magazine to hunt deer”
      – I stopped reading after this point. If you want to be taken seriously, sir, I highly suggest you invest some time in learning a bit out the subject you are trying to pontificate on.

      Here’s a little tidbit: If every single form of hunting, EVERY SINGLE FORM, were banned tomorrow in the United States, it would not be a Second Amendment issue.

      Now when you have actually studied the subject some and know what you’re talking about, you can come back and have an adult conversation.

      • Linda C.

        Thank you. The 2nd Amendment is not about “hunting”, or “sport”, or target-shooting at the Olympics. The 2nd Amendment, like all others, needs to be read and understood in the context in which it was written, and it is about providing armed resistance to tyranny or invasion (the words, “being necessary to the security of a free state” are not window-dressing, nor accidental). Which is not to say that there can/should be no discussion about guns, but such discussion should proceed intelligently, that is, rationally and truthfully. What we see, however, is a lot of people making decisions based on emotional uproar rather than rational thought. And we have a Constitutional mechanism to amend the document and change the wording of the core as well as subsquent amendments if necessary, which many of us much prefer to the current method of torturing words to say what they do not or ignoring the bits we may not like.

        • Mark S. (not for Shea)

          I know. But I also know that if anyone thinks civilians owning assault rifles would be able to withstand the might of the U.S. military, they are living in Fantasyland. This isn’t the 18th century anymore, and our tyrants aren’t separated from us by a two-month ocean voyage.

          If you’re really concerned about tyranny, then get involved in the political process. Don’t hoard guns and canned goods.

          Assault weapons are, by definition, designed to kill a large amount of people in a short amount of time. There’s no reason for civilians to own those.

  • Richard Chonak

    Was the parents’ divorce a factor?

  • mike in kc, mo
  • kenneth

    I already posted this earlier someplace, but it’s far more relevant here:

    Any realistic response will have to involve some deep rethinks of both mental health and firearm laws. The NRA mantra on gun regulation is that it can’t offer a perfect solution and therefore it is all just PC window dressing to attempt any regulation. Yes, people could always pack more magazines, or if they were restricted to revolvers could carry speedloaders or a couple extra guns. People, and especially psychos, will always find a workaround. However, none of these alternatives give an untrained or lightly trained person nearly the same out-of the box killing efficiency that high capacity semi-autos do. These scenarios play out in just a few minutes. Seconds save lives. Tens of seconds of delayed firing over the course of the event can save a lot of lives. Every stop to reload gives someone time to run, or time to rush the shooter. Every reload is a chance that the guy will fumble something and possibly discard the main rifle for smaller hardware. As a gun owner who thinks the NRA is an absolute wingnut outfit, I’ve tried to think of what I consider potential middle of the road solutions. One idea I keep kicking around is a two-tiered system of regulation. Aside from better mental health rules, allow single-shot guns and wheelguns as is. Limit semi-autos to 10 rounds with a fixed magazine. I cannot envision any sensible sporting, hunting or self-defense needs that cannot be adequately covered by this gear.

    Anything above that, if not banned for civilian ownership, would at least require enhanced licensing of some sort which would force a person to open their medical records and undergo an exam at regular intervals. There would also be some serious security requirements for storing such weapons and permits, a system not so unlike the requirements for owning an actual machine gun now, but less onerous. As just one of a bazillion second amendment fans, I could live with that. More importantly, I think a lot of potential victims could too.

    • Mike in KC, MO

      “The NRA mantra on gun regulation is that it can’t offer a perfect solution and therefore it is all just PC window dressing to attempt any regulation.”
      – For the most part, it is just window dressing. What possibly is to be gained by treating tens of millions of law abiding people as, one and all, potential thrill murderers, when much more focused legislation would have actually prevented this incident (see my earlier post).

      “However, none of these alternatives give an untrained or lightly trained person nearly the same out-of the box killing efficiency that high capacity semi-autos do.”
      – I find this statement laughable, as you just finished stating that ‘psychos will always find a work around’.

      “Every stop to reload gives someone time to run, or time to rush the shooter.”
      – Ah, so your self defense plan in these situations is to hopefully have an unarmed man who is just suicidal enough to charge, bare handed, a fully armed man. While better than nothing, the fact that this seems to be your ‘main plan’ for these potential situations tells me two things: you really HAVEN’T thought much about them at all and two, that pretty much never happens. Witness the Virginia Tech shooting where the murderer LINED UP people in the room and executed them one at a time, stopping to reload several times. In more recent times, the theatre shooter’s cartoonish AR beta mag jammed pretty much right away, as those silly after-market gadgets are wont to do, and he switched to his pistol and Remington 870 (all of which fall under your criteria of being acceptable, and did most all of his damage with them.

      “Limit semi-autos to 10 rounds with a fixed magazine. I cannot envision any sensible sporting, hunting or self-defense needs that cannot be adequately covered by this gear.”
      – This idea of yours is a failure as well. Almost every single murder in the United States, 97% of all people who are murdered in this country as reported by the FBI statistics, is killed by a pistol. Most of these are compacts of the cheapish variety. The FBI numbers indicate that rifles of any kind (not just “assault weapons”) are used in less than 3 percent of murders. Even killers with multiple victims are much more likely to use ordinary handguns than “assault weapons.” Even police don’t buy into it (again see my earlier link). one additional point here: For years (I haven’t checked stats on this for the last 5) one of the most common long arms that police would encounter in, when they faced any at all, was the inexpensive SKS which, I would remind you, HAS A 10 ROUND FIXED BOX MAG.

      You ideas don’t sound thought out at all. They attack entire swaths of the population as being millions of potential mass murderers. There is no need to do this. It is beyond irrational. There are plenty of very targeted points of legislation that could be done that would than cover situations such as this (again, see my above post).

      I’m a wheelgun man through and through (and can probably reload faster than most people can a standard semi) and prefer the beauty and grace of older designs like the K31, so I personally don’t much care for the ‘battle plastic’ so many people seem to love. But I don’t have to be an AR fanboy to recognize the irrationality of attacking millions of people as potential thrill murderers with onerous and useless regulations for pretty much no benefit, when decent results could be had with much more focused, even handed action.

    • S. Murphy

      This all seems to me to make a lot of sense.

  • Will M.

    I’ve never posted here before, but I also want to point out this statement:

    “In a world marked by evil … the right of legitimate defence by means of arms exists. This right can become a serious duty for those who are responsible for the lives of others, for the common good of the family or of the civil community. This right alone can justify the possession or transfer of arms”. (Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, “The International Arms Trade: an Ethical Reflection” in Origins 8 (24), 7 July 1994, p. 144).

    I keep and bear my arms for protection of my family.

    • S. Murphy

      You’ll do that better with advanced knowledge of IT, security, how your devices can be used to spy on you, and steal from you, and a law degree and admittance to the bar. ( not that I disagree in principle.)
      And maybe, for that hypothetical police-state eventuality, the ability to hack into a drone… 😉

  • tz

    Take my guns, take my liberty, take my life, just as long as I don’t have to pay for contraception!

    In a work of fiction, there was a rule which went: “Passion rules reason”.

    Terrorists blow up the WTC and crash into the pentagon and into a field in PA, and we shred the constitution out of fear. We adopt torture and all kinds of grave and many intrinsic evils and cheer them.

    Someone who is PSYCHOTIC – is detached from reality and a tool of evil and even suicidal – goes and kills children so we need to remove guns from those who are sane and responsible.

    Liberty always dies to thunderous applause – of the angry, vengeful, hateful, and fearful who will do anything to satisfy that urge no matter how irrational the means or the end.

    We must do something – anything – and do it now, not wait until we are calm, until reason can prevail and find solutions. We must act first!

    Whatever arguments for the proper regulation of arms were either valid or invalid, rational or irrational, practical or impractical, just or unjust a week ago. Nothing has changed except a huge shout of “Fire!” creating a panic. Rush toward the gate. Ignore the words “Abandon Hope…” since you don’t have time to read the whole thing.

  • Elmwood

    If weapons of mass destruction are inherently immoral, then wouldn’t it also be inherently immoral for weapons like assault firearms to be made widely available and inexpensive? If the arms trade has serious moral implications, then certainly the legalization of weapons which can kill multiple people like the Bushmaster .223 assault rifle used in the killing of 20 children and seven adults, should be looked at seriously. We’re not talking about a bolt action hunting rifle, but a weapon designed for killing multiple people in a short time span.