Laudato Si on the Gun Cult

Laudato Si on the Gun Cult June 23, 2015

We have to accept that technological products are not neutral, for they create a framework which ends up conditioning lifestyles and shaping social possibilities along the lines dictated by the interests of certain powerful groups. Decisions which may seem purely instrumental are in reality decisions about the kind of society we want to build.

So much for the oft-repeated lie that “A gun is morally neutral.  It all depends on what you do with it.”  Like so:

Technology exerts pressure on us to use it.  That’s why the same people who constantly make this claim labor to keep abortifacients and porn out of the public square and are none too keen to put nukes in the hands of ISIS or Kim Jong Un.

Nobody says, “The trouble with Kim Jong Un is his sinful *heart*. There’s no point in blaming nuclear weapons. We should make them freely available to him and focus on changing his *heart* not on the morally neutral hydrogen bomb he now has in his hands.He comes from a troubled family. Is anybody thinking about that? And he may well be influenced by violent video games and rock music. If he doesn’t get a nuke he will just use a rock to kill people, so what’s the difference? Libtards always blame the nuclear weapon and don’t look at the real issue. Until they do, there’s no point in trying to keep nuclear weapons out of Kim’s hands. What? Do you think a criminal like him will respect the law? He’ll just get one anyway. So there’s no point in trying to stop him.”

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  • Hm, not seeing the analogy with nuclear weapons because they are designed to be largely destructive. Their only purpose is to destroy large amounts of land and a large population. They could maybe be used licitly in a just war scenario, but only if the target was purely military in nature and all other avenues had been exhausted — and Kim Jong Un has already shown by his actions that he is not interested in using moral reasoning.

    But guns have a legitimate purpose (sport, and hunting). So do knives. So do baseball bats. So do cars. All of these have been used to kill people, but that doesn’t mean that those objects are therefore intrinsically evil because they have been used to harm others.

    • chezami

      Handguns are designed to kill human beings. Period. Putting them into the hands of unstable people is an invitation to use them. You can slaughter a lot more people with one than with a rock. Much like a nuke can.

      • Pete the Greek

        This case will be a good chance to see if all the political talk is really about justice and prevention, or just rights limitation.

        If they begin seriously looking at the father’s action in this (which is where he got that .45) they’ll be serious. If they start looking at trying to apply stupid and useless additional restrictions that would not have prevented anything, we’ll know it’s just another stupid political stunt by out ruling class.

        • Stu

          Yes. Common-sense gun owners (those of us who actually have firearms and have actually bought them legally and gone through the process) know that the safeguards in place are either right or very close. Just need to enforce them.

        • Joseph

          I have to agree here and I’m no gun owner.

      • Really? That’s odd. My husband and I own a handgun and we’ve never used it to kill a human being, nor do we ever intend to do so. We’ve only ever used it for target shooting at our local shooting range.

        • Rebecca Fuentes

          We carry them because we hike in rattlesnake/cougar/wolf/coyote country.

          • chezami

            And that’s perfectly legit. But it’s not the argument that the NRA makes. Their argument is that guns are completely morally neutral *and* desperately needed so we can “protect our families”. It’s certainly not *at all* *ever* about the fact that gun are an aphrodisiac or anything: https://img.4plebs.org/boards/pol/thumb/1407/38/1407382996242s.jpg

            • Guns are morally neutral. They’re tools. They can be used for good purposes (self-protection, protection of others, hunting, target shooting) or bad purposes.

            • Stu

              Mark,
              What is your experience level with firearms? Do you own them? Have you ever? Have you ever purchased one legally? If so, how was that experience?

              • chezami

                Irrelevant. I enjoy shooting skeet. So what? The issue is this: a completely preventable human sacrifice 32K people and a couple of Sandy Hooks are the fruit of a decades long policy of studied maintainance of the status quo by the NRA and those who defend their policies. Not all gun enthusiasts agree with maintaining the status quo, but the vast bulk do, in my experience. The lies and falsehoods they tell in defense of maintaining the status quo have one effect: making sure the human sacrifice continues forever. That spiritual stronghold must be broken.

                • I would guess that most gun enthusiasts would prefer changes in the gun laws. They’re just not changes that you would prefer so you ignore them and call them unthinking defenders of the status quo.

                  In point of fact, the NRA has been pushing for changes in gun laws and it’s been winning.

                  • chezami

                    I seldom encounter gun enthusiasts who want the slightest change to the status quo. Their sole recommendation is typically “More guns!” That’s pretty much it. Beyond that, every suggestion for the slight change is met with “Won’t work!” or “Tyranny!”

                    • They aren’t in favor of instant check instead of waiting periods where checks are optional? They aren’t in favor of permit reciprocity? They aren’t in favor of putting Eddie eagle gun programs in elementary schools? You know some very unusual gun people. Or maybe they don’t talk about such things with you because they are used to being in a defensive crouch around you?

                • Stu

                  It’s not irrelevant. It speaks to your competency in this discussion.

                  So are you saying that the “gun enthusiasts” are guilty of telling “lies and falsehoods”. Might it be they just simply see things differently than you and such a differing viewpoint might be based upon experience?

            • Rebecca Fuentes

              Yeah, that’s weird. And disturbing.
              But . . . just like a lot of things on the internet and TV, I don’t see it as generally representative of gun-owners. I know a lot of people who own firearms of various types for hunting or sport; my father is the local gunsmith, so there’s all sorts of people I’ve known growing up who treat guns with respect and responsibility. Going shooting with Dad, whether paper targets, trap shooting or prairie dogs, are precious memories for me. People who do respect the danger of firearms also get tired of feeling like they are included in the same category as whoever posted that weirdness.

            • Joseph

              So… the NRA doesn’t speak for all gun owners. Problem solved. I have many friends who are gun owners in Texas that have never shot, nor plan to shoot, human beings. with them. They use them for similar reasons JoAnna cites. I personally would never own a gun, even if I could. But that doesn’t mean that I’m opposed to my perfectly sane neighbour or friend owning one if they so choose.
              .
              I think it’s best not be a zealot on either side of this issue. Both sides have labelling and anger issues, and neither have cogent arguments to back them.
              .
              In other words, neither the gun control zealots nor the NRA nutbars/gun ownership zealots should be able to own guns. They’re unstable. I think that would be a sensible law. Restrict those two groups from owning guns and all of our problems will be solved.

            • You do know that this is a joke, right? The banding is imitation of the rainbow flag of the LGBT folks but with shades of khaki and evoking homosexual pride with the saying, all around the gadsden flag’s coiled snake.

          • Absolutely. We live in AZ and will often bring a gun with when we go hiking or camping, just in case. My husband is a hunting aficionado, but he generally uses a shotgun while hunting, not a handgun.

  • Ann

    So now it’s a gun cult? You do paint with a broad brush.

  • Peggy

    But he chides the WW2 allies for not bombing trains to Awschwitz.

    • Dave G.

      He does?

      • Peggy

        See link from MMS.

        • Dave G,

          Saw it.

    • chezami

      Catechism:

      2306 Those who renounce violence and bloodshed and, in order to safeguard human rights, make use of those means of defense available to the weakest, bear witness to evangelical charity, provided they do so without harming the rights and obligations of other men and societies. They bear legitimate witness to the gravity of the physical and moral risks of recourse to violence, with all its destruction and death.104

      + Just War doctrine

      +

      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.

      How about that? The Pope touched on all three points too! And the Francis hater, true to their insistence on inventing contradictions where none exist, make themselves dumber than they actually are in order to try to land another wild and desperate punch.

      • Pete the Greek

        I understand the point the Holy Father was making, but… it just seems like a HUGE case of hindsight being 20/20.

        The sheer MASSIVE number of things that we ‘coulda/shoulda’ done in WWII, or ANY war for that matter, could fill countless libraries. The reason they weren’t done range from other strategic priorities to simple, garden variety stupidity.

        I mean at that point, why not also wag fingers at the French for not stopping Hitler’s seizure of the Rhineland when they had overwhelming force and could have easily done so.

      • ManyMoreSpices

        Perhaps Mark didn’t see this. [Insert Standard Francis Media Caveat]

        “It makes me think of … people, managers, businessmen who call themselves Christian and they manufacture weapons. That leads to a bit a distrust, doesn’t it?” The crowd applauded and he went on to criticize those who invest in weapons industries, saying, “Duplicity is the currency of today … they say one thing and do another.”

        I’m not sure what the Holy Father expected the allies to bomb the rail lines with. Certainly not bombs or airplanes built by Christians. Maybe they should have acquired the bombs and planes from Jews, Hindus, or atheists – the Shabbos Goyim of WWII. Christians can drop those bombs, because Just War, but they can’t build them, because that’s duplicitous…

        Uh huh.

        I also don’t know how Pope Francis feels about those who manufacture arms for the Swiss Guard. Maybe that’s different. Because of reasons.

        Look, I like Pope Francis a lot and I think the encyclical is generally great. But sometimes he says internally inconsistent things, or expresses ideas that obviously haven’t been thought all the way through. There’s no reason to go to the barricades to defend everything that comes out of his mouth.

        • Stu

          That incongruity hit me too.

        • Neihan

          Pope Francis seems to restrict himself to saying whatever he thinks will give emotional weight to whatever point he’s immediately attempting to make. What he says in support for one claim always seems to be in complete isolation from any other point he makes. It’s all about the rhetoric, not the dialectic. Give the “argument” emotional force and let the chips fall where they may, even if when taken all together they fall into intellectual incoherency.

          That’s not a criticism of him, but it’s been my constant impression through-out this Papacy. When I was an atheist this sort of thing repulsed me and was one of my primary “weapons” against Christians (anti-intellectuals just saying whatever sounds and feels good to say). A stupid and ignorant criticism, to be sure, but this Pope has said a lot of things (or has been reported to say many things) that I would’ve used as ammunition in support of that caricature.

          I wouldn’t make those criticisms now, however. I think most people, of all education levels, have absolutely no experience in, and an emotional reaction against, dialectics. In an age ruled by sophistry and rhetoric perhaps it’s good to have a Pope who spends most of his time engaging in rhetoric. I’d wager more people are swayed by emotionalism and rhetoric than by reason.

          Or perhaps not. Like I said, it’s a style that doesn’t appeal to me, and I don’t particularly bother paying attention to him anymore. Thankfully, the Church has some of the most brilliant thinkers who have ever lived, so one is never starved for intelligent and reasoned reading material. However, if Pope Francis’ style reaches even one person and leads them to Christ then glory be to God.

          • Stu

            I don’t pay much attention either. That’s not to say that I think he doesn’t have good to offer but his rhetoric is a bit to unfocused at times and leaves on with “what did he say now?” Much easier to just wait for the “what the Holy Father meant to say” clarification.

        • Peggy

          This is the contradiction to which I was referring. In addition to being contradictory re his views on armaments, it has the problem of Francis judging without much explanation of any knowledge he would have to assert that the Allies acted immorally in not bombing the train lines, ie, they deliberately chose not to do so when they could/should have. What if the Allies had killed many Jews and other innocents in the process?

        • Dave G.

          The problem is that this is hardly a settled issue. Just what the allies should have done is open to very strong debate. He seems to have chosen the view that relies on the worst possible interpretation of the events where the allies are concerned. An approach, oddly enough, used by people who make the same charge against the Church. Not that the Church did nothing to help Jewish victims in WWII, but it didn’t do enough or do it fast enough, and thus was partly responsible for the horrors. A harsh interpretation of the events to be sure, but no different than the interpretation Pope Francis appears to have chosen for his statement about what the allies should have done.

        • Daniel G. Fink

          I’ve gone to the mat to defend the Church and her individuals worth defending, in live conversations and online forums. This statement by Pope Francis is drawing the usual, “Should we have fired spitballs at the Nazi’s?” reception in one of my favorite forums. I appealed to the catechism to contextualize Francis’ statement, but it is getting old.h

          • chezami

            The hatred of the Right will never relent. They will keep punching themselves in the face hard over this guy.

            • Daniel G. Fink

              Mark,

              One individual is a Lutheran who spent 35 years overseeing the safety regulations at a government arms plant. Another is related to Catholics through marriage, and is a theist without specifically defining what it means to him. They have no criteria for understanding Francis but in his most literal sense. The Lutheran believes he is being labelled a “non-Christian”.

              • antigon

                The current pontiff tends to throw that label around a good deal, a sort of Jansenist proclivity some have worried, albeit solely because they are Francis haters.

  • Pete the Greek

    Considering that the gun people I know have no problem with background checks (properly implemented) and laws that forbid people who are mentally unbalanced, have committed acts of violence, etc from posession, I’m not sure why this is so controversial.

    What I, and those I know, object to is taking this idea to a perverted extreme that so many seem to accept unquestioningly: The idea that, aparantly, the only thing keeping someone who is, I think, level headed and pretty reasonable like our host here from machine-gunning an orphanage is that he doesn’t have a machinegun within his reach at the moment.

    • chezami

      Gun people who favor common sense are not part of the Gun Cult. The NRA (high priests of the Gun Cult) demand the status quo and MOAR GUNS as their one and only response to every fresh slaughter as they go on their merry way repeating false memes like “It’s a heart problem, not a gun problem.”

      • Pete the Greek

        “common sense”
        That’s really what you need to define in specifics. That sounds like a contradiction in term, but the reason is because that term itself is GROSSLY misused. I routinely here is being applied to things as a full on revocation of all gun rights.

        Perhaps a more level headed enforcement would be called for, especially with this latest terrorist murderer:

        His weapon was low capacity, a design over 100 years old, legal in even the most restrictive of states. HOWEVER…

        The murderer himself could not have legally purchased it, or anything else really, as his arrests for hard narcotics and crimminal trespass would have flagged him. if I understand the police reports so far, it was purchased for him by his father, who had no such background. I think it is unreasonable to say this his father was in the dark about his legal troubles, which makes this what is called a ‘straw man purchase’, and totally illegal. Usually it carries a penalty of 10 years in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. To my knowledge, he has not been arrested for this though.

        • ManyMoreSpices

          That sounds like a contradiction in term, but the reason is because that term itself is GROSSLY misused.

          There’s this article from last year, headlined “A Former Navy Firearms Instructor and Proud Gun Owner On Why We Need Common Sense Gun Control.” Common sense! How could anyone oppose Common Sense?

          Well, then you go digging into what Common Sense means, and you discover that it means:

          At the very least, misdemeanors such as DUIs, drug charges, and white-collar crimes should be added to the list of crimes that preclude offenders from owning firearms.

          Drive your car home from a restaurant after splitting a bottle of wine? Get caught with a joint? Write a bad check? No gun for you.

          Remember, this is what someone thinks is Common Sense. If this is Common Sense, what would a more controversial gun law look like?

          Anyway, yes it is a heart problem. Don’t give guns to people with heart problems.

          • Hezekiah Garrett

            Don’t give guns to people with heart problems? So do you support a total banal on firearms, Or deny concupiscience?

      • Joseph

        It is illegal to own a handgun in Ireland. There are tough restrictions on owning rifles and very few people have them (other than farmers who use them to protect their sheep). Almost every day on the radio while on the way to work, I hear on the news of a shooting in Dublin or Limerick. I looked at the stats for gun crime in Ireland and the numbers don’t seem to match the news reports. I wonder if they fudge the numbers here to make it appear like a smaller problem than it actually is. The point: Ireland has the gun laws you fantasize about, but that doesn’t stop gun crime. I have no idea where this notion comes from. Criminals will get their hands on weapons illegally. They’ll use them to kill. Banning guns just ensures that the only ones who have them are criminals.

      • Someone once told me how Romania was disarmed in the mid-20th century. They passed a law to register all weapons and for them to be turned in for a maintenance check that included free repair in order to ensure the safety of the people. Compliance was very high. The guns were returned. The next year a new law was passed and all weapons were required to be turned in and they knew exactly who had what from the previous law. It is this legacy of bad faith that most gun controllers ignore when they are (or pretend to be) astonished by the hard positions of gun rights advocates. It’s why people who would never buy a CNC machine will fight quite hard to maintain the right to make their own guns without serial numbers or registration.

        We’ve been lied to time and again by your side of the argument. It’s got no credibility anymore and the stakes are quite high.

  • ManyMoreSpices

    That’s why the same people who constantly make this claim labor to keep abortifacients and porn out of the public square and are none too keen to put nukes in the hands of ISIS or Kim Jong Un.

    Speaking of nukes, we all just watched a suitcase nuke detonate in a field of strawmen.

    (1) Abortifacients and pornography are intrinsically immoral. There’s no non-sinful way to use them, unless you want to be silly and say that you can roll up a copy of Hustler and swat flies with it. Lusting over the women in that publication is degrading to both the women and to yourself. Squeezing off rounds at the range degrades no one.

    (2) Kim Jong Un is already a murderer. No one supports giving weapons to known murderers or the mentally ill. No one thinks that we should give guns to known murderers and hope to persuade them not to murder.

    I gather that Mark owns – or at least drives – a car. I also assume that he uses knives on a regular basis. Both of those tools can cause death and destruction. Yet the car has not yet successfully whispered to Mark “Accelerate! Drive faster! Now plow into that sidewalk cafe!” Nor has the knife successfully urged “stab your family!”

    • Pete the Greek

      If I recall, there was a statement issues by the American bishops years back about nuclear weapons and how they were (i may be misremembering here) pretty much intrinsically evil as well. The reason being that their entire reason was to destroy vast amounts of people and countryside indiscriminately. Can’t find the quote at the moment, I welcome correction if I’m remembering wrong.

      • ManyMoreSpices

        I’m happy to agree that nuclear weapons are intrinsically evil. I don’t see a way that they can be used proportionally. Too many civilian deaths. I mean, maybe something low-yield could be used on an extremely remote military installation, but it’s probably best to steer clear of the whole thing.

        But it’s not just nuclear weapons that I want to keep out of Kim’s hands. It’s a tank, a rifle, and a rubber band. Anything.

        • Stu

          They could CONCEIVABLY be used on remote battlefields and certainly at sea in a discriminating way. Though generally I would agree on them being just plain wrong.

          • Hezekiah Garrett

            Sure, and a line gun just throws a mooring line, and an inoculation gun just causes intense temporary pain to volunteers.

            And as mentioned, You can swat flies with hustler and you could probably strangle a really inept attacker with abortifacients.

            I see why an earlier commenter on your ‘team’ had no trouble recognizing dishonest debate…

            • Stu

              See B57 depth bomb.

              And as for the dishonest debate thing, I don’t know what you are talking about.

              • Hezekiah Garrett

                Just to be clear, I wasn’t accusing you of dishonest debate, just jumping in with the most reasonable member Of a cadre of commenters to try to bring some change. See mittens and Bailey argument earlier in this thread.

                On the B57, sir, No fair. I’m honestly not sure what I can Or can’t say about it and Lulu. But then, when we switched from ‘neither confirm nor deny’ to ‘it is a violation ‘ it confused my simple soul to no end.

                • Hezekiah Garrett

                  Motte, not mittens above

                  A preview feature in disqus would go a long way.

                  • I generally have the option to edit after posting. Is that absent for you?

                • Stu

                  I can say plenty about them. I watched them get phased out. But you can make the case for them being a discriminating use of nuclear weapons.

                  But as I said before, I generally would agree on them just being plain wrong.

        • One non-evil use of nuclear weapons is in asteroid avoidance scenarios. As NASA put it in 2007:
          “Nuclear standoff explosions are assessed to be 10-100 times more effective than the non-nuclear alternatives analyzed in this study. Other techniques involving the surface or subsurface use of nuclear explosives may be more efficient, but they run an increased risk of fracturing the target NEO. They also carry higher development and operations risks.”

          Fracturing the NEO is bad. We’ll all be happy to have nuclear weapons if an asteroid ends up headed towards our planet.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asteroid_impact_avoidance

          • Pete the Greek

            DOH! I had quite forgotten that application!

            • There are a couple of specialized uses out there that survived the anti-nuclear gauntlet dating back to the more optimistic era of “atoms for peace” and the ploughshares project. Is it possible to have a good use for a technology and for that technology to still meet the definition of intrinsically evil? I actually am unsure on this point.

              • Pete the Greek

                Well, in an emergency you can inflate condoms with water and put them inside a sock as a decent way to transport water… so, maybe?

                • The best use of the things (nuclear weapons, not condoms) is to sit there and to put a practical roof on warfare. There are a couple of minor other uses. I recently did a space defense analysis exercise and proposed an asteroid diversion strike so I guess it sort of was wandering around in my head.

  • ManyMoreSpices

    For future reference, this style of argument is called “Motte & Bailey.” It’s not a true logical fallacy; it’s more… not very sporting… than anything else.

    A Motte & Bailey castle is a system in which there’s a large walled in area called the bailey. That’s where the animals are kept and where the farming takes place. That’s where you want to hang out most of the time, breeding/shearing/slaughtering your livestock, collecting eggs, growing corn, milking cows. There’s a low wall around it, and maybe a small moat or ditch, enough to slow invaders down but not to keep them out. It’s not economical to build an impregnable wall around it. It’s just too big.

    When your enemies do start attacking, though, you gather your stuff and head up to the motte, which is an elevated portion of land. It’s much smaller, has high walls with excellent fortifications, and may include a keep. You can’t do any farming up there, but you’re safe. You hide out there and wait out the siege, shooting arrows and putting cow carcasses in the catapult. Then when your enemy gets tired of waiting and goes away, you return to the bailey, which is where you really want to be.

    A Motte-and-Bailey argument is similar. There’s the argument you want to make, down in the bailey. That argument is typically a hard sell, and is easily attacked. Then there’s the position you can retreat to, in the motte. It’s utterly uncontroversial, but also useless. It exists to outlast your opponents and make them go away.

    An easy example we can all understand: Feminists in the bailey want abortion on demand, affirmative action, campus speech codes, elimination of due process when rape is alleged. When someone responds to these demands by saying “I don’t like feminism, I’m not a feminist, feminists are wrong,” the feminists retreat to the motte. From the motte, they argue that feminism just means that men and women are equal. “How could you be opposed to equality?” they ask incredulously. Their opponents give up and go away, saying “fine, feminism is okay, I believe that men and women are equal.” Then the feminists run back down to the bailey and explain that feminism means abortion on demand.

    We’re seeing gun control Motte-and-Bailey here. Down in the bailey we’re told that a gun is not morally neutral. It tempts you to use it, and therefore we need to control guns tightly. When challenged – when it’s noted that virtually no one who legally buys a gun goes on to murder with it – there’s a hasty retreat to the motte. “How could you oppose common sense gun control? That’s all we want.” And the gun owners say “sure, common sense.” Then when the gun owners nod in agreement with Common Sense Gun Control and go away, we’re back down in the bailey, talking about how guns tempt you to murder.

    Start looking for Motte-and-Bailey arguments. They’re generally a sign that someone’s not arguing in good faith.

  • Dave G.

    If guns aren’t morally neutral, are they immoral? Are handguns, for instance, always immoral? Earlier in the year, a fellow in our neck of the woods used a handgun to stop a man who was in the process of robbing and assaulting an elderly neighbor. Immoral handgun? If not, then it seems it depends on its use, as opposed to, say, pornography which I’m at a loss to think of what a neutral, much less moral, use would be. And if that’s the case, doesn’t it go back to being neutral, because it depends on its use? I think there are some things that can be without a good or neutral purpose. I’m just not sure guns necessarily fit in that category. Or at least some guns.

  • Na

    Mark if you think republicans are crazy ….prez entire middle east policy is that iran’s ideology, behavior, words and stated goals are all irrelevant. Once iran has nukes they will feel like the powerful country and start to act responsibility.

    • Hezekiah Garrett

      On the one hand we have a reasonably stable culture of longstanding with legitimate aspirations for nuclear technology.

      On the other lies a revolutionary government who has absolutely indicated a willingness to use nuclear weapons to achieve their ambitions.

      How dare the revolutionaries who already targeted the Catholic Church with nuclear bombs deny a Mich older civilisation’s legitimate aspirations for cleaner energy? More importantly, how dare a follower of Christ’s Church defend the only world power to every target the Catholic Church for nuclear destruction?

      • Joseph

        Took the words out of my mouth.

      • It wasn’t a particularly funny joke the last time this was trotted out. It hasn’t improved with age.

  • Elmwood

    it’s the automobile that’s responsible for all our global warming woes. jrr tolkien always road a bicycle.

    • Joseph

      Do you drive?

  • The quoted text is not talking about the gun cult. This is proof texting like a protestant. It is a misuse of the encyclical to distort the Pope’s words like this.

    Weapons such as nuclear, and biological weapons are mentioned but in other sections and with a different message. The closest mentions are in 104 and the last sentence is going to take me a while to digest “It is extremely risky for a small part of humanity to have it”. It sounds like he’s in favor of the idea of democratizing technology availability to prevent concentration of power but the things he would be talking about democratizing would be highly unusual for a Pope to be in favor of and nobody seems to be clutching their pearls over it.

    The relevant paragraphs for the above quote in the article are 106 through 108. The text quoted above is from 107.

    My own interpretation is that technology in general is being discussed and the difficulty many have in breaking from the herd. Technology decisions that are invisible to us day-to-day impose pushes on us to go further in certain directions and whether they are good or bad is not easily discerned. I absolutely agree and think that there is an opportunity to make these invisible decisions more visible in order to not be just carried along, unthinking, on these technological tides. It’s kind of spooky when the Pope’s writing my business case. I hope he won’t mind me cribbing his stuff here.

  • According to Col. Jeff Cooper, the purpose of a handgun is to stop fights. If somebody is presenting you with convincing evidence that he intends to assault you and yours and inflict grievous bodily harm, and you produce a handgun … well, in 92% of cases, the result is that he changes his mind and flees, without a shot being fired. In the US, there is strong evidence that such defensive gun uses where, not only is nobody harmed, but an inoffensive person protects himself from harm, happen an average of every 15 seconds or so.

    Presenting a handgun works in cases where a group of hostiles present with aggressive and hostile affect, and demonstrate intent to harm you and yours. What doesn’t work when confronted by hostile and aggressive criminals — at least, not without somebody getting hurt — is trying to fend them off with a melee weapon (e.g., club, knife, really butch keychain), or the sort of martial arts skills that take years to develop.

    Mark, this statement, “completely preventable human sacrifice 32K people and a couple of Sandy Hooks,” is entirely without merit. Disarming the law-abiding will not change the fallen nature of man, and criminals will continue to find ways to prey upon the weak. I think handguns are one of the best ways to put the weak on an equal footing with the strong.

    Here in the US, the worst murder rates occur where governments interfere with people’s right to obtain and use effective tools to defend themselves from attackers, and when suicide rates have been tracked over increased restriction in gun rights, the net effect on the suicide rate is somewhere between negligible and nonexistent. With no more than two exceptions in the last fifty years, every Sandy Hook has occurred in a gun-free zone. Golda Mier’s solution, to increase the number of people carrying concealed handguns in the general vicinity of large groups of soft targets, continues to work for Israel, which is why Muslim terrorists targeting Israel have been using bombs instead of AK-47s, which are much cheaper, more broadly available, and easily used than bombs, but not as fast.

    Now, I’m pro-life. Murder is murder, regardless of means. I think reducing the death toll should be our goal. And if reducing one segment of the death toll results in more deaths elsewhere than were eliminated, that’s bad policy. And it’s been the result everywhere in the US that people are prevented by their goverments from owning and carrying handguns.

    Mark, we do tend to say “won’t work” a lot. That’s because a lot of the things you recommend have been tried, and rather like socialism, have regularly led to results that are diametrically opposite to what are promised, and say you want.

    • chezami

      You can stop fights with pepper spray. The purpose of a handgun is to slaughter people.

      • Sure, if the wind is behind you, and he’s not on drugs, and you don’t mind taking a pretty good whack or two, and he doesn’t have any friends with him, and there’s nobody else who might get caught in the line of fire — particularly asthmatics.

        Even a thirteen year old can safely deal with a couple of adult muggers without anyone coming to harm by presenting a firearm. If said muggers have any wits about them at all, they will back up, turn around, and run away. I cite here Massad Ayoob, who carried a gun from that age or prior while working in his father’s jewelry store, and described such an encounter from his childhood. Two guys came running up on him from behind, he drew and pointed his .45, they windmilled to a stop like a couple of Looney Tunes characters, and ran away.

        Remember, in 91.7% of cases where a civilian presents a firearm when threatened or attacked, no shots are fired.

        I can readily recommend Ayoob’s book “In the Gravest Extreme” to you, because it deals not only with the howto of concealed carry, but also the legal, psychological, and moral implications of using deadly force in self-defense.