Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Holidays Are About Peace And Goodwill, Not Guns

I want to wish all of my readers a very peaceful and joy-filled Christmas and holiday season.

I celebrate Christmas.  But regardless of which holiday you celebrate, the holiday season is about peace and goodwill toward our fellow citizens.  It's about family values.  It's about putting the worst of us behind us and going into the new year with a renewed sense of bettering ourselves and our communities.  To that end we celebrate by enjoying a little light in the darkest time of year -- namely the light of our faith and our fellowship.

Do guns fit into that philosophy?  Are lethal weapons part of the "goodwill toward Man?"

Earlier this month, the gun guys in Scottsdale reveled in their gun fetish as part of their season of joy by posing with their children and Santa ... and machine guns.  See the picture, above.  Said the owner:

"It's designed to be a holiday-themed event where people can express their passion for firearms and the holiday spirit."

Really?  The "holiday spirit" involves deadly weapons to these people?  Do they really celebrate the same holiday I do?  It doesn't seem to resemble mine.  And if you think violent movies and video games glorify guns and violence to our young children, just wait until they see Santa wielding his AR-15!

Listen to how Fox commentators try to justify it, saying it's a "reminder to visiting Europeans" not to invade us, and a threat to Occupy protesters that "the other side is better armed."  Wow.   And when one of the panel questions the involvement of children in this nonsense, watch how the gun apologists jump on him.  Is this how we want our nation to see Christmas?

And gun sales are apparently up this Christmas season in Springfield, Missouri.  From the article:

Firearms sales are always brisk this time of year at Gunsmoke Gun & Pawn.
"A lot of guys are buying themselves guns for Christmas," says manager Brandon Reynolds. "It's Christmas bonus season and people have a little extra disposable cash."
And giving firearms as gifts is becoming as popular as any flat screen TV or bicycle. 
"We sell a lot of concealed carry weapons," adds Reynolds. "We do the classes here and they're full just about every Saturday."
Sales for concealed carry weapons -- or CCWs -- are on the rise, especially since August when the minimum age for a permit dropped from 23 to 21.

Nothing expresses your joy and love for your loved ones like lethal weapons, apparently.  And how very relieving to know that people just out of their teens are now arming themselves on the streets of Missouri.  They'll have great judgment for life-and-death situations, I'm sure.

We need to fight this deadly nonsense.  Christmas is about understanding and peace, not about arming ourselves and our paranoia.

Here's one thing I'm grateful for today.  Here in the Eugene/Springfield area of Oregon, there hasn't been anyone killed or injured by firearms since early November, as far as has been reported in the media.  It must be some kind of a record.  There's been at least ten armed robberies with guns since then (bringing the yearly total to something like 30 now), but at least no one was harmed.  Let's hope the relative peace holds for a while longer.  Other areas of Oregon haven't been so lucky.

From myself and Ceasefire Oregon, I wish all of you a peaceful and joyous holiday season.  Put away your guns, eat some fruitcake, spend just a little bit of your time helping someone less fortunate, and try to recognize that even the worst people out there have at least a shred of decency worth appealing to.  Merry Christmas, and may peace be with you.

ADDENDUM (12/30/11):  Man who killed his entire family and himself after unwrapping presents, and dressed as Santa, was pre-meditated; distraught over financial issues: 

RELATED ARTICLE (12/31/11):  "No Season of Peace from Gun Violence" by Dennis Henigan:


  1. I'm not sure how you draw the parallel between gun violence and people posing with guns for x-mas pictures, but ok.

    I spent x-mas eve talking guns with my old man and perusing our 2011 gun purchases. He picked up a couple nice military Japanese rifles. He was equally impressed with the 3 new handguns I got a great prices. After we were done, we even ate x-mas dinner together! No dangerous crossfire and no blood under the x-mas tree.

    It sounds a bit elitist, Balder, when you attempt to stardardize behavior based on your OWN set of values.

  2. "And how very relieving to know that people just out of their teens are now arming themselves on the streets of Missouri. They'll have great judgment for life-and-death situations, I'm sure."

    You mean like this 11 year old?

  3. Molon, my blog post was about gun guy values compared to Christmas values, not the dangers of guns in a Christmas celebration. I'm glad you survived, though. Here's one example hitting the news about one Christmas celebration which didn't go so well. 7 people died.

    As for the 11 year old who shot the intruders, that's a very rare case. One example hardly compares to the thousands of teens who die each year from gunfire, often at the hands of other teens. Here's one example from this Christmas day where a 17-yr old shot another 17-yr old. If the gun guys in Texas had their way, 17 year olds would be legally able to purchase, too. I wonder where this boy got his gun.,0,1576462.story

  4. From your same link:

    "Temple has a juvenile criminal record and a prior aggravated unlawful use of a weapon arrest from earlier this year, Mescall said. She did not disclose a motive for the shooting.

    Temple is due back in court Jan. 3. He is on medication for bipolar disorder and has a tattoo on his arm that reads, "Smile Now. Die Later," court records said."

    Same individuals, same story. Time and time again. And this was in Chicago. No carrying of weapons allowed. I'd also venture a guess that the carrying of weapons by a 17 year old

    I get it though. Demonizing an intact, firearm enthusiast family over a career criminal is the hits much higher on the emotionalism scale.

    " blog post was about gun guy values compared to Christmas values, not the dangers of guns in a Christmas celebration."

    I get that too. You believe that anyone with an interest in firearms has a 'fetish' and can't possibly subscribe to the same appropriate moral standards as 'regular folk' do.

  5. Once again, Molon, you mis-characterize my point to defray the conversation.

    And nice try putting words in my mouth again, to exaggerate my stance. No, I don't think all firearms owners have "fetishes" or are immoral. Try it again, and you won't get the comment published.

  6. I don't think my post was that far of a stretch if you consider that unless you know the character of the owners of the gun shop advertising the photos or the family(ies) choosing to get their pictures taken with the guns, you're stereotyping and generalizing all gun owners as "fetishists" and your readers really have no other choice but to assume that you have a negative outlook on ANYONE engaging in this harmless act, right?

  7. Serious question, but just what are Christmas values anyway? I've never heard of such a thing.

  8. Nothing expresses your joy and love for your loved ones like lethal weapons, apparently.

    Indeed. I encourage my loved ones to carry daily. And I carry BECAUSE I love my loved ones.

    I'd have loved a new gun for Christmas, but I had to buy my own: A Ruger .22 target pistol. Let's see just how accurate I can be . . .

    If you can, and if you are so inclined, I encourage you to join me. Do not do so lightly; it is an enormous responsibility. And get the training and regular practice to do so responsibly and effectively, should it come to that.

    And if not, so be it. I, unlike Baldr and his ilk, do not seek to impose my choices on you.

  9. My daughter wanted a .22 for Christmas. So...apparently...CHRISTMAS values involve merchandise.

    Christian values are about spirit. And even Jesus' apostles wore swords.

  10. Interesting, Cargo. I wasn't aware that the spirit of Jesus involved lethal weapons. And here I thought his message was one about peace and understanding. Silly me.

  11. His message was about peace and understanding.

    My weapons have never harmed anyone, and I have peaceful intentions to all.

    But self defense is allowed in Christian ethos.

    As is target practice, plinking, hunting, and every other lawful use of a firearm.

  12. Peace and understanding until you, or your loved ones, are threatened. Isn't there a line in the Bible that goes something like if you don't have a sword sell your cloak to buy one?

    Jesus was about peace but not roll over and take it.

  13. @ Green: I'm no minister, but from what I've read of the New Testament, Jesus was about forgiveness and not retribution, and self-sacrifice instead of defense.

  14. "@ Green: I'm no minister, but from what I've read of the New Testament, Jesus was about forgiveness and not retribution, and self-sacrifice instead of defense."


    Is there any situation where you would approve of a non-law enforcement (ie, civilian) defensive gun use resulting in the death of a criminal or do you really believe that potential victims have an obligation of "self-sacrifice" rather than defending themselves?

    This is a fundamental difference between the pro-gun and anti-gun side of the debate. There's not much room for compromise when you start out a debate with one side believing in the right to self defense and the other side (not necessarily you, but definitely the mindset of some in your camp) believing that victims have an obligation to submit to their attackers rather than (*gasp*) kill them in self defense.

    It's kind of the mentality behind the opposition to Castle Doctrine. Someone comes onto MY property, threatens ME, in a place where I have every right to be. You can see how arguing for a "duty to retreat" could be unpopular, right?

  15. Baldr,

    Jesus was about forgiveness and not retribution,

    Are you claiming that self defense is "retribution"?

  16. I wasn't aware that the spirit of Jesus involved lethal weapons. And here I thought his message was one about peace and understanding. Silly me.

    A "lethal weapon" does not have a spirit, it's just a tool; nothing more, nothing less.

    There you go with that belief in totem magic again.

    Moreover, the two are far from mutually exclusive, Baldr.

    I'm all about peace and understanding. That does not mean I must submit to my murder, or my family's murder.

    That's not "peace and understanding" at all.

  17. @ Bob: It's certainly not about forgiveness.

  18. Baldr,
    I'm no minister either. I just have a simple, lay-persons knowledge of the Bible.

    The passage is Luke 22:36. It is spoken by Jesus and he is directing his disciples to arm themselves for self defense when they go out in the world after his death.

    This passage is not disputed among Bible scholars. They are in agreement that Jesus is condoning self defense.

    As far as retribution goes, I made no mention of it (or inference to it) in my original post.

  19. @ Green: That's an interesting quote, but it should also be weighed against others by Jesus in the bible:

    "You have learnt how it was said: 'Eye for eye and tooth for tooth.' But I say to you, Offer the wicked man no resistance. If anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; if a man takes you to law and would have your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone orders you to go one mile, go two miles with him." Mt. 5.38-41

    "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; fear him rather who can destroy both body and soul in hell." Mt. 10.28

    "you know the commandments: you must not kill..." Mark 10.18

  20. Baldr,

    The Matthew 5:38 scripture was referring to a common and accepted custom of the time.
    It was consider an insult for a person to strike the right check -- remember they had to use their right hand, the left was considered unclean-- to give a back hand slap to the cheek.

    The culture at the time considered it acceptable for some (Husband to Wife, Master to Slave, Higher Class to lower class) to slap someone.

    What Jesus said was not to return violence for an insult but to show you considered yourself the person's equal.

    By turning the other cheek, you forced the other person to strike you as an equal.

    I doubt you'll believe me so I encourage you to research it yourself.

    As far as the tunic, it states in the scripture "if a man takes you to law" -- ie to court, to give him your cloak.

    Again, consider it in the cultural setting. Nudity was not a considered a sin for the person being nude but the person viewing the nudity -- again please research this yourself.

    It was a common practice for a person to use their clothing as security for a loan -- if a person took you to court to make you repay the loan instead of forgiving it, Jesus was saying make that person be the one who was shamed.

    And for the last scripture, did you know that Roman law required any subject of the Empire to carry a Roman soldier's pack for a mile?

    And that it was against Roman law for the soldier to make the person to carry it for more than a mile?

    Again....Here Jesus is recommending a non-violent approach to a lawful situation. As long as the law is followed, the person should make the Roman soldier feel shame by going the extra distance.

    This is running long so I won't even start on the translation issue of "kill".

  21. Baldr,

    It's actually Mark 10:19, not 10:18. The passage correctly uses the word "murder" NOT "kill" (don't rely on the first thing that pops up when you google "Jesus" and "non-violence"). FYI: The passage in the 10 commandments that is oft quoted as "Thou shall not kill" correctly reads, from the original Hebrew, "Thou shall not MURDER", but I digress...

    Yes Jesus was an advocate of peace and love but only to a point. If he were a TOTAL pacifist then there would be no passages like Luke 22:38

    "And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough."

    So while he was not saying that all the disciples be armed, he is they should have SOME arms for defense. If he were a total pacifist he would be saying something like "Nay! That is two too many!!"

  22. Well, then I will forgive my transgressor after I stop him, if I can stop him.

    Update on that "Santa."
    Apparently, it was a honor killing.