The Mormon Case Against Gun Control

2ndAmendmentAll over the Internet has been talk of gun control and the current President’s executive order to extend background checks for those selling firearms. He and his supporters believe that too many guns have created a deadly culture of violence. Counter arguments have sprung up that all the crimes used to back laws for more gun restrictions would not have been avoided. No lives would have been saved by background checks because criminals don’t follow the laws anyway. The other concern is that making it harder to obtain and carry guns puts handicaps self-defense and puts innocent lives at risk. Many believe the underlying problems of mental illness and unchecked illegal immigration are ignored or worse. Mormon scripture and history contains evidence that blocking people from having weapons is a death sentence when up against the hearts of murderers.

History has examples of government or hostile forces restricting or taking guns away from people and then attacking them. The Ottoman Empire in 1911 passed a law banning guns, and within a few years started what is known as the Armenian Holocaust with 1.2 million deaths. Armenian soldiers fighting for the same side as the Ottomans in WWI were disarmed and killed after placed in labor camps. Of course, Nazi Germany is the most famous example with a law in 1938 banning all guns for Jews while deregulating for almost everyone else. He also stated in 1942, “The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that the supply of arms to the underdogs is a sine qua non for the overthrow of any sovereignty.” (Hitler’s Table-Talk at the Fuhrer’s Headquarters 1941-1942, Dr. Henry Picker, ed. Athenaum-Verlag, Bonn, 1951). In other words, he taught those with the guns controlled those who didn’t have them. The American frontier proved this many times with the U.S Government treatment of Indians. Most of the military raids were to disarm the Native Americans and drive them from their homelands or outright kill them. Custard’s last stand represents what happens when armed resistance is possible against a hostile force. In the end one battle didn’t matter against the tide of Western American history, but that day would have seen an Indian massacre instead.

As a matter of consideration, the true Gospel is one of peace and avoidance of violence. Jesus Christ who came to offer Salvation to humanity is known as “The Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6) preaching love. His greatest sermon proclaims, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God” (Matt. 5:9). The faithful are required to “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you,” (Matt. 5:44) because its easy to love those who already show love. It is much harder to do the same for people that are seen as an opposition.One of the stated reasons for the Great Flood was the constant violence (Gen. 6:11) that filled the Earth.

Modern prophets closer to our own time were no less expressive for the need for peace as a part of faith. Perhaps the strongest statement on this subject came from Pres. Spencer W. Kimball in his June 1976 Ensign article on other gods we cling to today:

We are a warlike people, easily distracted from our assignment of preparing for the coming of the Lord. When enemies rise up, we commit vast resources to the fabrication of gods of stone and steel—ships, planes, missiles, fortifications—and depend on them for protection and deliverance. When threatened, we become antienemy instead of pro-kingdom of God; we train a man in the art of war and call him a patriot, thus, in the manner of Satan’s counterfeit of true patriotism, perverting the Savior’s teaching . . .

What are we to fear when the Lord is with us? Can we not take the Lord at his word and exercise a particle of faith in him? Our assignment is affirmative: to forsake the things of the world as ends in themselves; to leave off idolatry and press forward in faith; to carry the gospel to our enemies, that they might no longer be our enemies.

Despite calls for peace as an ideal to strive to achieve, such a position is not always attainable. The Lord has at times commanded a more vigorous approach to the enemies of Israel. Rules for war in Deuteronomy 20 set differences between some groups encountered and other more spiritually dangerous foes. The soldiers of Israel must proclaim peace to a city and accept their surrender without incident, but free to attack if peace overtures are rejected. A list of other people are not given that chance, “But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee: That they teach you not to do after all their abominations, which they have done unto their gods; so should ye sin against the Lord your God” (Deut. 20:17-18). When Israel was more of a nation, God sent them out as warriors to possess the lands He promised to the patriarchs.

Jesus during his ministry might have had a much more peaceful response to enemies of any kind, but he wasn’t ignorant of conflict. He knew that the Gospel of peace he proclaimed would have the seeds of division, “The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law” (Luke 12:53). During the final Passover meal he told the Apostles the days of going to preach without preparation were soon to be over. They were to take with them (Luke 22:36) money, a “scrip” or personal belongings, and other items. Among the list was to be a sword, purchased by trading in clothing if necessary to acquire. Most likely this was for self-protection against thieves while traveling on preaching missions. The mention of bringing a sword was misconstrued by the Apostles (Luke 22:38) who no doubt thought Jesus was contemplating an insurrection. He quickly cut them off from pursuing that notion.

Until Christ comes the second time when the wolf and lion sits next to the lamb and calf (Isa. 11:6), those who pursue peace will have to do so at a price. For Mormons the best example of pacifists are Anti-Lehi-Nephites (see Alma 23-24) who are a group of Lamanites converted to the Gospel through missionary work of Ammon and his brothers. As part of their conversion, they covenanted to not take up arms for any reason to fight at any time. To signify their peaceful intentions, all weapons they owned were buried in the ground. Instead of defending themselves, many were martyred when their enemies attacked them. Other Lamanites converted after watching the massacres without resistance. They were spared the first time, but later attackers were more ferocious and hardened against them. Remaining where they were and pacifist would end in their destruction if they didn’t take some kind of action. On the other hand, taking up arms would have ended in spiritual destruction. They couldn’t stay a peaceful people on their own without help.

Through revelation and consultation the “Ammonites” (Alma 27) pleaded for the Nephites to allow them to live among them. Taking pity on them, they set aside the land Jershon for the Ammonites to settle. Even then the Ammonites were at the mercy of hate filled enemies who would do whatever it took to kill them all, along with the Nephites. They decided, “And now behold, this will we do unto our brethren, that they may inherit the land Jershon; and we will guard them from their enemies with our armies, on condition that they will give us a portion of their substance to assist us that we may maintain our armies” (Alma 27:24). There was no other choice but for one group to take up arms to protect another group who refused to protect themselves. Peace loving pacifists the Ammonites didn’t take issue with both allowing the Nephites to defend them or ask for material support. For those who spiritually feel they cannot own weapons, they must be open to the possibility that others must take do so on their behalf and support them in this action.

Giving up weapons to gain peace is not always about receiving the same in return. More than likely doing this is less about resolving differences than submission to a stronger adversary. Right after the Hauns Mill Massacre of Oct. 30, 1838, Joseph Smith saw no alternative other than suing for peace and trying to negotiate. Instead of negotiations, he and the Mormons were given ultimatums:

Seeing no alternative, Joseph acceded to Lucas’s terms. The Mormons were to give up their arms and leave the state. Those accused of crimes were to be surrendered and tried. Mormon property in Missouri was to be confiscated to reimburse the Davies citizens whose houses had been burned. The Mormons were to give up everything except their lives . . . With 2,500 Missouri militia men camped outside of Far West, he had no stomach for battle. The Mormons were to give up their Zion . . .

On November 1, Far West surrendered. The soldiers searched the city for firearms, threatening and ridiculing the Saints. A few days later, a force dispatched to Adam-ondi-Ahman accepted the surrender of the Mormon leaders, who followed Joseph’s instructions not to resist. The Mormon men came one by one to a table where they signed away their property to the state of Missouri while militia men stood by and struck anyone who protested. By this time the Mormons were willing to go . . . (Richard L. Bushman, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, pg. 367).

There was not peace after giving up arms. It might have protected against the total extermination of Mormons in a battle, but unprovoked attacks and assaults on women and children continued with little resistance. The heavily armed and large number of military and mob eventually evicted a minority at will.

Years later a group of Mormons would return the favor, although without any of the glory of victory. During the height of tension between Mormons and the U.S. pre-Civil War government, a “Gentile” wagon train of emigrants were crossing Southern Utah. The Mormons refused to sell them any supplies in accordance with Brigham Young’s orders to not give the enemy any more advantage. This angered the emigrants who needed supplies to carry on their way. Both distrusted each other and made accusations of abuse and worse. Mormons and Indians attacked on Sept. 7, 1857, but only supplies were taken because of the robust defenses. That was enough to dishearten the emigrants who agreed to terms supplied by the same Mormons who attacked them with a larger Indian presence earlier. They were approached with a white flag and safe passage to Ceder City:

. . . Telling them they needed to take precautions to avoid instigating another Indian attack, Lee required the emigrants to surrender their weapons and exit the meadows according to his precise instructions. The wounded and small children would travel first in wagons, the older children and women would then proceed next, and the men would bring up the rear in a single-file line flanked by armed members of the militia. Despite their misgivings, the hungry, thirsty, and nearly hopeless emigrants accepted Lee’s terms. (John G. Turner, Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet, pg. 278).

As history records, the men were shot point blank and died. The rest of the emigrants, save about 17 very young children, were butchered. Why they decided to give the weapons away knowing the possible consequences is not easy to determine. They might have decided showing deference in hopes of relief was the gamble they had to take. It remains a terrible stain on Mormon history that could have had less impact if the men retained their weapons for self-defense. History might have recorded it as just another skirmish in the Utah War instead of a blight tragedy. Giving up arms was a death sentence.

Followers of Jesus Christ are required to “renounce war and proclaim peace” (Doctrine and Covenants 98:16) to become Saints worthy of His name. This should be the default position in any potential conflict. However, the mortal world is full of evil and those who wish to cause harm. No amount of pleading for mercy will deter those whose hearts are hard enough to not listen. The Lord stated, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matt. 10:16). We should always be diligent in resolving conflicts and finding a peaceful solution to problems. That isn’t always possible, especially when there is only enough time to take action to protect self and family. Never give away the right to own weapons without accepting the negative consequences. The same can be said about using weapons. A blanket ban or making it hard to acquire guns, as history provides evidence, does not necessarily make the world safer. It mostly identifies who has power and who doesn’t.

35 thoughts on “The Mormon Case Against Gun Control

  1. I suppose that John D. Lee is a pretty good argument against disarming yourself. I’m not sure if I’d call that a Mormon argument, though.

  2. Are you an official spokesman for the Church? If not, a better title for this article might be ‘One Mormon’s Case Against Gun Control’.

  3. No I am not an official spokesman, and anyone who reads this will pick up on that. If someone wrote “The Mormon Case For Gun Control,” other than my probable disagreement with the conclusions, I wouldn’t disagree with the title. These are Mormon examples, and therefore Mormon arguments. Now, what about your opinion on the substance that really matters?

  4. I think what you are claiming is that despite the commandments and instructions to seek peace there are times when defense through deadly force is justified. The key question (from a doctrinal perspective) is when and why. I don’t think you really answer that question in this post.

    With respect to gun control in the US – a critical point to remember is that nothing in the President’s proposals creates any new laws to take away guns, the proposals are merely to more accurately exclude those who society has *already* judged should not have access to them.

    Short of a very significant Constitutional Amendment all that can possible be done (and political nothing even close to this could actually be done) is to increase the level of review a person must undergo to obtain a (or several) gun(s).

    Modern prophets and scripture have stated a preference for seeking peace but have also recognize that after repeated problems some force is justified (but at the direction of God through Church leaders). Given that Church leaders have signed on to members participating in the armed forces and local police forces that suggests the answer to the key question of when and why is somewhat “gray”.

    President Kimball’s quote (a portion of which you cite) comes down clearly on the peace side of the question, but other statements by Church leaders grant far more leeway. In the end I think (JMO) that one had better receive a pretty strong and unambiguous prompting from the Spirit that a specific action is justified before one takes the life of another (or causes injury).

    From President Kimball:

    ““In spite of our delight in defining ourselves as modern, and our tendency to think we possess a sophistication that no people in the past ever had—in spite of these things, we are, on the whole, an idolatrous people—a condition most repugnant to the Lord.

    “We are a warlike people, easily distracted from our assignment of preparing for the coming of the Lord. When enemies rise up, we commit vast resources to the fabrication of gods of stone and steel—ships, planes, missiles, fortifications—and depend on them for protection and deliverance. When threatened, we become antienemy instead of pro-kingdom of God; we train a man in the art of war and call him a patriot, thus, in the manner of Satan’s counterfeit of true patriotism, perverting the Savior’s teaching:

    “”Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:44–45.)”

    (Source: The False Gods We Worship by Spencer W. Kimball)

  5. My point is that gun control of any kind is more a matter of who has power and privilege than public protection; background checks included. Society has no right to “judge” anyone’s ownership of guns unless how they use them has excluded for them the right. That would mean they lose a lot more rights than gun ownership. NO law has been passed that would have prevented any celebrated attacks. All it does is punish the innocent for the actions of the guilty, and built a database that a corrupt government can use against them.

  6. There is no Mormon case against gun control. There is only your opinion vs. Christ’s “turn the other cheek” and his church’s official statement that firearms have no place in a church and are therefore banned — whether or not a Gentile army is on the way. Also check your facts on Mountain Meadows — the church’s official account will do. And your spelling of Haun’s Mill.

  7. Please, Jettboy. Do not begin an essay with an egregious grammar error, leaving readers wondering whether the rest of the essay is worth reading. Example: “Him and his supporters believe. . .” Ow!

  8. A lot of people make this issue much more complicated than it needs to be. The Book of Mormon and centuries of just war theory make it clear that self-defense is justified. Just to give one of literally dozens of examples from the Book of Mormon, please re-read Alma 43, which makes it clear that Moroni was a just man with good motives (the liberty of his people) who armed his people with superior technology for self-defense. If guns are used in self-defense, they are clearly justified by Mormon morality. If they are used in an offensive manner, ie, for pre-emptive attack, for robbery, murder, etc, they are not justified by Mormon morality. The purpose of the Second Amendment is to protect from government infringement arms used for defending yourself, with the specific purpose of protecting liberty. The 2nd amendment could have been written by Captain Moroni himself and is perfectly in line with Mormon philosophy.

    If people use weapons in an aggressive or non-defensive manner they are directly violating Mormon morality.

  9. Supporter and other commenters, please feel free to point out grammatical and other errors that need to be fixed. I have fixed the one you mentioned. The good thing about on-line blogs is that readers can act as editors. I will assume people suggesting editing changes are acting in good faith.

  10. I knew Mountain Meadows and John D. Lee would instantly be mentioned or brought up by folks with beef. Utterly predictable. And utterly useless and not germane to the conversation.

    Here’s the deal. The Supreme Court recognized in 2008 that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess firearms. The areas of contention are really about ease of access and reasonable regulation of acquirement.

    The new battlefront is over semi-automatic weapons. (Fully automatic guns have been banned for decades).

    The Bill of Rights, from the First Amendment down to the Tenth, is all about liberty and restraining government actions. Unfortunately, progressives have treated the 2A like a second-class fundamental right, if they acknowledge it at all.

  11. Here is a juxtaposition. We want everyone to go to the temple. But we don’t round them up in vans and take them to the temple without preparation.

    I understand the concern that increased restrictions on a fundamental right, in this case the right to bear arms in self-defense, can be seen as eroding access to that right. However, in what way do the proposed restrictions actually limit someone who has a legitimate need to bear arms?

    I admit some level of ignorance here. The most aggressive form of self defense I have personally used was pepper spray. During the year or two that I carried pepper spray, each of my three brothers pick the can up, pointed it at their face and said “What is this?”

    I might not have remembered these three incidents had they not then sprayed themselves in the face. Amusing with pepper spray. Not so amusing had it been a firearm.

    On the other hand I do know individuals who lost loved ones do you to accidental death related to personal firearm ownership. And I also know individuals who should not be allowed to own firearms due to mental incapacity.

  12. The point of comparing gun ownership to having a temple recommend is just to say that merely because there are conditions placed on the thing does not mean that access to that thing is being inappropriately a controlled.

  13. Chad it seems like your comment is a little hostile in itself. Your advice to “turn the other cheek” might be best taken in context. I mean we are talking about the same Christ right? The Christ we know in the Old Testament as a ” man of war”? The same Christ that braided a whip and with violence overthrew the money changers? No student of the scriptures can deny the violence in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon! Don’t get me wrong, I strongly believe in both. But it seems to me that fear is the conflict of interest that does not allow someone to believe that God could command to kill. And if fear is the opposite of faith then we must ask ourselves, what are we afraid of? Are you afraid of guns? Perhaps the Psalmist put it best, and there is a time for peace and a time for war. And perhaps perfect faith allows you to both turn the other cheek and defend yourself. And if we are prepared we shal not fear!

  14. For those who own a gun, periodically and carefully considering the mental health of family members is wise. Keep in mind, that teens, in particular, may not be forthcoming about the magnitude of depression they may be dealing with. Suicide is often impulsive. Access to a highly lethal means of suicide seems to increase the rate of successfully completing suicide. Standard advice from mental health professionals to family with a depressed member with suicidal thoughts is to remove or safely lock all firearms in the home.

    “Suicide was the leading cause of death for youth ages 10 to 17 in Utah in 2013, surpassing motor vehicle accidents, which have traditionally held that title but have recently been on the decline thanks to a variety of safe-driving campaigns. Utah’s suicide rate for teenagers — and adults — has consistently ranked in the Top 10 for states nationwide for at least the past 15 years. ” http://www.standard.net/Preventing-Teen-Suicide/2015/02/14/Too-many-young-lives-lost-to-suicide-Utah-ranks-fifth-in-nation

    “After cancer and heart disease, suicide accounts for more years of life lost than any other cause of death.” https://www.afsp.org/understanding-suicide/facts-and-figures

    LDS religious activity seems to be a protective factor against suicide. “Statistics on Suicide and LDS Church Involvement in Males Age 15-34,” Brigham Young University Studies 39 no. 2 (2000), 177

    Gun ownership may be a risk factor.

    Firearm suicides
    Number of deaths: 21,175
    http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/suicide.htm

    “Mapping the Overlap- As these maps show, the correlation between guns and suicide is strong but inexact, since both are influenced by poverty, population density, and crime. The nine states that rank lowest in terms of gun prevalence are the very same nine that rank lowest for suicide rates. Similarly, the three states top-ranked for gun prevalence can be found among the four states ranking highest for suicide rates.” http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/magazine/spr08gunprevalence/

    “While males are 4 times more likely than females to die by suicide, females attempt suicide 3 times as often as males.” https://www.afsp.org/understanding-suicide/facts-and-figures

    “Part of the explanation for the male/female discrepancy in rates of completed suicide may be due to men’s utilizing more violent and more lethal suicide methods. The United States is the only country in the world where use of firearms constitutes the most common method of suicide, and this very lethal method is used predominantly by men. ” http://susan-blumenthal.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Susan-Blumenthal-Suicide_and_Gender.pdf

    Of course, a persistently determined person will find a way. But often, putting space between the impulse and a highly lethal means, may prevent a tragedy.

  15. @ meg stout.

    If you believe the constitution Allows the goverent to require a registration to exercise your freedom of religion or speech, then your sentiment will be equally applied.

  16. @laserguy

    I suggest reading the Commerce Clause and the 10th Amendment before providing your non-sequiturs.

  17. The problem with the temple recommend analogy is that the church owns its temples. The government does not own the guns they are seeking to regulate.
    Gun control would be more like the church requiring that nobody was allowed to enter any nice building unless they carried a current temple recommend, and then enforcing that requirement using lethal force.

  18. @pass the chips…. If you think the commerce clause or fifth amendment can undo the first and second amendments… You are reading them wrong

    The right to free exercise of religion
    The right to peaceably assembled
    The right to free speech
    The right to bear arms
    Shall not be infringed.

    If you want to take away the right of the people to bear arms, there is no logical reason not to take away the exercise of Muslim or Mormon religion, or not to squash liberal or conservative speech. Let’s be consistent and true to the Constitution, not give in to proposals that will not make us safer, and lose our freedoms.

  19. Another non-sequitur lase? C’mon. How about reading the Commerce Clause and the 10th Amendment first?

    The Constitution clearly gives both the federal and state governments the right to regulate commerce. To make that a little more clear for you, that means that if you want to buy a gun (or a Don’t Tread on Me flag), the government can regulate who can do so (although I haven’t seen any regs around flags – even though there probably should be – I’m getting a little tired of Ammon Bundy and his ilk). This isn’t debatable and is completely in line with the Constitution. The Supreme Court in case after case after case has agreed with this very simple concept. That’s why you see different regulations in different states. I hope that clears it up for you.

    And just so you won’t continue to non-sequitur us all to death, religion, assembly, and free speech are not commerce.

  20. To be clear, the commerce clause germane to this discussion reads:

    “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States . . .
    . . . To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes.”

    The 10th Amendment reads:

    “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

    Nowhere do I read in them the power of the government to control gun sales. For that matter, any regulation (for the libertarians I concede) of products. In context the commerce clause is about money and not material. Even the overused “general welfare” statements are about taxation powers and not some nanny state permission. The best those who are concerned about guns can do if living in a real Constitutionally following country is regulate, with laws passed by Congress, how much taxes will be imposed on sales.

  21. Passthechip’s interpretation of the commerce clause is patently ridiculous (although unfortunately very common). In the short period between the surrender of the British and the adoption of the Constitution, the colonies were governed by the Ariticles of Confederation. One of the key failings of the Articles of Confederation was the each colony was seen as a sovereign country, and therefore commerce between each colony was difficult. The purpose of the commerce clause was simply to establish national rules for commerce rather than 13 different sets of rules. This is why the clause was written: “To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes.” The central government is responsible for setting up basic rules of commerce with other countries, between the states and with Indian tribes (which were considered foreign nations at the time). This does not mean that the central government should be able to regulate what is traded. Rules of commerce (meaning making it easier to trade) is different than controlling/limiting/preventing trade, which is the modern-day interpretation of many people. The commerce clause was simply intended to make national rules to make trade and commerce easier between the states. End of story. The federal government has no power under the commerce clause to regulate who buys a gun.

    Does this clause mean that the federal government’s right to “regulate commerce” should trump the 2nd amendment? Definitely not. In fact, if anything, the commerce clause should be used to make sure guns get shipped and traded between states more easily than is done today. Meanwhile, the 10th amendment (again, apparently not understood by Passthechips) makes it clear that individual states can set up their own regulations, *except where the Constitution provides fundamental rights that cannot be infringed upon,* including of course the right to bear arms.

    The commerce clause has nothing to do with gun rights. The 10th amendment is not really relevant because the 2nd amendment is a fundamental right, similar to speech and religion and assembly. The 10th amendment may become relevant, however, as individual states use their sovereign and intended powers to abrogate federal overreach, as has happened with marijuana laws and will certainly happen more and more with gun laws.

  22. Thanks for backing me up, Geoff.
    Pass the chips, for the record “non sequitur” is a noun, not a verb.

  23. The second amendment is important not only on its own, but it also
    supports the first amendment. If the people have the right to peaceably
    assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances, and
    assuming that the people had been permanently disarmed, government officers (who have not been disarmed) have no compelling reason to listen to these people (who are normal citizens).
    The same could be said about the free exercise of religion, free speech and the press.

  24. Most “living constitutionalists” read the Commerce Clause as a carte blanch for virtually any centralized government action. And in fact, progressives in Federal courts have so used it for about seventy years. This misuse of the clause has fundamentally warped federalism beyond all recognition. (That’s a nice way of saying that they’ve changed the Constitution without going through the Constitutional procedure for changing the Constitution. Very sneaky of them.)

  25. The reason for men using guns for suicide more than women may have something to do with the reasons they decide to try to end their lives. For most women their appearance has a very important place in their value as a person. Often women are ‘crying out for help’. Thus they take too many pills but there’s always the possibility they didn’t take enough, or slice their wrists but leave a note that could bring rescue. I spent a few days in the same hospital room with a young woman who had attempted suicide by overdose. I have no idea why they didn’t put her in the psych ward instead of the pre-op wing, however over the several days I spent in the bed next to hers I overheard much of her conversation with various therapists and interns. It soon became evident that what she wanted was attention and concern. She was very unhappy that the people she had been living with made no attempt to visit her and she seemed truly peeved with the therapists who were trying to help her because they couldn’t solve her personal problems by summoning those she had tried to manipulate.
    Add the concern for appearance to an indefinite intent and it is less likely that a woman will use a gun, particularly since shots to the face (gun in the mouth or at the temple) are the most common in suicide. Where else would you aim with an expectation of certain results?
    Growing evidence points to altitude as a factor in depression and attempted suicide which complicates the picture.
    In 2009 the CDC reported that nearly 60% of gun deaths were suicides.
    So maybe the solution is that only women should be legally entitled to own guns?

  26. “So maybe the solution is that only women should be legally entitled to own guns?”

    LOL

    In my relatively large sample of siblings, I’m pretty sure none of the females own guns, while the males own quite a collection. I have fired a gun, but place more value on other items with respect to sharing my living space with those items. Like books and computers and beds and towels. And games. Lots of games.

    In one space where a gun safe might reasonably reside, I keep a piano.

    By the way, to the use of non sequitur, it is a noun. But a noun may be used as an understandable verb, as in the case of club:

    He carried a club.

    He used the club to club the bad guy in the head.

  27. Pat makes a good point about the sex of perpetrators. And it’s not just suicides. Of those who commit murder with firearms, the vast majority are men.

    But then, a possible rejoinder, as pointed out by Archie Bunker, “Would yous rather they was pushed outta windows?” (Meaning that murderers will always find a way to kill, if that’s what they really want to do.)

    But history has always shown that criminals just ignore laws that prohibit them from obtaining things, like drugs, firearms, etc.

  28. @pat. I meant be willing to only let women own guns, just add long as we also go back to only letting men vote…

    @meg… And words that are nouns that are also verbs have multiple listings in the dictionary. Thus me lists club defns as noun, intransitive and transitive verbs. Sadly non sequitur lacks a verb form, and is listed solely as a noun.

  29. Oops, now I don’t see the comment I made as Jared. So I guess I’ll repost it.

    @laserguy – I tend to think the problem with having the women have all the guns is the same problem with having women have the vote, that is that women tend to think every problem can be solved socially, meaning that just as long as there is consensus, then the problem is solved.
    That’s why it tends to be men that recognize that our country is in serious jeopardy, while the women tend to be striving for consensus, usually one that assumes the problems are only a result of our not agreeing with each other.

  30. Lucinda, is that to say that Obama’s world-view, or view of foreign relations, is feminine?

    (Btw, I read somewhere that if women didn’t have the vote, neither Carter, nor Clinton, nor Obama would have been elected; i.e., most men voted Republican in those elections.)

  31. I don’t mean to say that creating agreement on an issue can’t solve a good number of problems, especially within a society (domestic policy). Deciding which side of the road to drive on would be a good example. But there are some problems that simply don’t respond to social consensus. Spending far more than we produce would be an example of this kind of problem. Or figuring out how to effectively deal with people who don’t mind destroying you and all you love would be another.

    This is why men generally observe that agreeing with women, saying to them “you’re right”, is the fastest way to finish an argument, because whatever is at issue, she feels it is solved once agreement has occurred. The fact is that women probably are better than men at solving problems that respond best to creating widespread agreement. But not all problems are of that nature, and women are generally incapable of grasping that basic fact.

    This is why men need the guns (and the voting that decides who gets the biggest guns). Women are expert at negotiations with people who have no interest in destruction itself, but not all people are like that, bad guys especially. And yes, there are some bad guys whose strategy for destruction involves a lot of lying to women by saying “all problems can be fixed by creating agreement on the issues.”

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