Sunday, December 23, 2012


Wayne LaPierre, Director of the NRA explained on Meet the Press this morning, that the Bushmaster AR-15 was just a tool. In case you do not know the difference between one kind of tool and another, please take the quiz at right. I'll give you a full week to get the right answer. Is one tool just like any other? R. Francis, in a comment below suggested an article in the New Yorker, The dark presence of guns. Another good place to read is Geoffrey Canada's book, Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun. Tools have ways of shaping their users, bringing change both the material and craftsman. This was noticed by Comenius, the father of modern pedagogy, and utilized in his pedagogy of crafts education, so this is not just a senseless argument to be making in this blog, but one directly to the point.

We train our children to become either creative, or to align with darkness.
Tool A

Tool B

Tool C

Tool D

Tool E

Tool F

Tool G
Make, fix and create...


  1. Anonymous2:18 PM

    Any object/tool can be used to kill someone but this gun has no other genuine use (it is not even a precision sporting gun) it is deigned to kill people.
    This is why I don't accept the comparison made by NRA.
    In French we say :
    n'est pas raison"

  2. I'm not sure I understand your point. A tool is something designed to perform a particular task, right? And we try to match the tool to the job, right? So I wouldn't choose a gun in my woodshop any more than I'd choose a chisel on a deer hunt.

  3. Stephen my point is that the AR-15 is not just another tool, but differs in that it, unlike the others, has only destructive purpose. It is not something you would use for marksmanship, or for killing game. It is a tool with only one use, that of killing others. No, I would not take the chisel on a deer hunt. I might take a variation of the sloyd knife. Some tools have many uses. But to see the military assault rifle as being a reasonable tool outside use by the military is dangerous, as we learned last week in Newtown.

  4. I voted on all three statements. So I hope that I haven't screwed up the poll?
    It might seem like a strange question, but is it impossible to change the Constitution? In a democracy you can normally change even very old laws by making an election on that very subject. E.g. we had an election a couple of years ago that altered the heritage rules to the crown i.e if the first born was a girl, would she automatically loose the crowm in favour of a younger brother.

  5. No Jonas, you didn't screw up. The correct answers are all three.

    Here in the US in the past,we had a ban on assault weapons, and it is legal and constitutional to keep guns away from schools and controlled within cities, but the NRA is such a powerful organization that they have had too much effect on American laws, keeping legislators from renewing the assault weapons ban. No one in their right mind would need that kind of armament unless serving in the military. And so that brings us to the point.

    Guns here are a form of societal sickness. LaPierre, in his derangement thinks there is some kind of liberal/media conspiracy when what we actually have here is a bunch of folks tired of senseless gun violence.

  6. Doug.
    As long as there are people like you that have the courage to stand up for your opinions - Then hopefully one day you will be able to reduce the power of such organizations.
    Take care and have a merry Christmas

  7. Yes. You are both correct it is a tool and it is designed as an offensive weapon against other human beings. It would be exactly the type of weapon I would use if, let's say, my life, my family's life, or anyone else's life in this country that I value, came under the eminent threat of another individual, group of individuals, or the government. And, that is exactly why it is a Constitutional right.

    So much for the NRA keeping quiet huh?

    Why are we not talking about a mother who takes her autistic son, having no emotional connection with society, to the gun range and let's him play first person shooter games at nauseum in her basement. As a matter of fact, one common trait among people with autism is that they lash out when something does not go their way. My ex wife use to care for an autistic boy who chased his younger sister with a knife. Or about his absentee father who is more concerned about earning money than raising the human being that he took part in conceiving.

  8. Adam, it is not exactly a constitutional right to own an AR-15 or other form of assault rifle. We had a ban on such weaponry that was not overturned by the court, but rather was allowed to expire by a Senate and House of Representatives under the influence of the NRA.

    The right to bear arms in a well-regulated militia is not the same thing as having or using tool B.

    You can blame all kinds of things for the Newtown tragedy. Blame the father, blame the mother, blame Hollywood movies, or the failings of the mental health industry, but without access to these lethal weapons, and multi-round clips, twenty children would likely have been free to enjoy Christmas, 2012 with their families.

    Gun violence is a tragedy with many roots. And it will take some serious work to get it out of our culture. Do I want violent video games and movies and TV shows? NO. I don't watch them and I don't advocate them for our kids. I would prefer that folks in need of mental health care get it for free, rather than endanger the rest of us. And putting some restrictions on who can have guns and what kinds of guns they should have, for me is no-brainer. And why would I have a tool in MY toolbox that offered no creative use? And that is the difference between tools A,C,D,E,F,G and tool B.

  9. The Constitution as it was originally written states the right to bare ARMs. That was not just guns. They could own a canon if they could afford it. And their was a community, not government, run Constitutional militia that had possession of all of the weapons that the military had.

    What I think is a no brainier is that no gun or other weapon would endanger any human being if it were not for the evil force behind it.

    I believe we had periods in world history where their was a focus on the arts and enlightenment. What happened to those societies? They were overrun by evil selfish men with weapons.

    Meanwhile no one will touch Switzerland because would be invaders believed the consequences would be greater than the reward.

  10. Adam,
    I'll go back to what John C., a right to bear arms advocate said in an earlier comment. A shotgun would be the weapon of choice for homeowners wanting to protect lives and property. If that's not enough, and there's a real threat then perhaps you should call the cops and ask for protection. Isn't that why we have 911? And in part why we pay taxes and train officers in the use of weapons for our defense?

    So yes, the right to bear arms could be interpreted as cannon, machine guns, or even tanks. Machine guns are considered illegal. And so the government has the authority to regulate those. So why not regulate assault weapons? And why have loopholes allowing the sale to those who should not have any kinds of weapon at all.

    Each and every day there are unnecessary gun deaths. Let's all work together in every way we can to return to a focus on the arts and enlightenment. That means keeping bad folks from using guns to frighten the rest of us.

    Thanks for your comment.

  11. Anonymous9:56 PM

    The right to bear arms is not only for self defense in the home but also against a tyrannical government, for we are created as free men by God. The second ammendment protects the rest and if you see no need for that I will simply remind you of Harry Belafonte's recent comment to the President to lock up the opposition, or look to all of the negative comments you pubkish here on your blog.

  12. Anonymous,
    Here in the US, we have recourse against tyrannical government every two years in national elections. And the right to bear arms against government is not a recognized constitutional right. If it were, then you would be allowed to own machine guns, bazookas, tanks, howitzers and surface to air missles.

  13. John C8:29 AM

    Since the "well-regulated militia" clause is being repeatedly bandied about, let's discuss what the framers intent was on that. You will notice that nowhere in the constitution is there any mention of the government maintaining a standing Army (emphasis on "standing"), only a Navy (to defend commerce on the seas). The primary method of ground defense was intended to be local militias. This was actually true up thru to about WWI, before this armies were only raised in time of need (i.e. during the civil ware, the cavalry units used to defend the settlers; and yes even our continental army during the civil war.)
    The framers did not trust the government to have standing armies available be used against the populace, they were very wary of government in all its forms. They considered it a necessary evil, which was to be constantly watched and monitored. Looking around today, I think I'd have to say that they had a point.
    Back to the militias. When an able bodied man reported for duty in the local militia, he was expected to provide his own weapon and ammunition. In fact most (if not all) of the artillery pieces of the era also privately owned and typically belonged to the unit commanders. So, in retrospect I believe it is constitutional to own any weapon.
    Jonas, you suggest amending the constitution. That is a very slippery slope, first we outlaw guns. Now, nobody can stand up to government, so now we can throw those people in jail that say things we don't like to. Next we can after certain religions, after all, who can speak out about it now that they are all in jail. And then we can get rid of certain races of people... is this sounding familiar at all. Think, Germany in the 1930's.
    So after we get the NRA, lets get those ACLU guys, after all the first amendment is out of control too. Look how the paparazzi stalk those poor celebrities 24 hours a day. And the fifth amendment, if we could just beat the confessions out of criminals think of the savings in court costs.
    Guns (excuse me, "assault weapons") are not the problem. Did you know that national law in Switzerland requires every household to have a fully automatic weapon and that they been trained on how to use it, using your logic there should be blood running in the streets, there isn't. Also, the two greatest mass murders in the history of the country were perpetrated with using a single gun. But, we are not screaming at the top of out lungs to ban airliners, or rental trucks, fertilizer and racing fuel.
    Finally I'll say this. Gun control is the mistaken belief that, a woman lying dead in ally after being raped and strangled with her own panty hose, is somehow morally superior to that same women tearfully explaining to a police officer how her assailant was mortally wounded. Remember the police are not there to protect you from crime, they are there to investigate and arrest the criminals. After-all they cannot do anything until a crime has been committed, or are we trash that part of the constitution too.

  14. Doug,

    I don't get how many times I have to state that the constitution as it was written by our four fathers did not have regulations placed on what type of arms an individual could possess. And the previous poster was correct, as people like George Washington just seperated from a government of tyranny, they wanted to make sure that society was protected from that government. Just because different seats of government get replaced every two to four years does not mean they can not decide to become dictatorial. Their is something called marshal law.

    Americans have also come up with some pretty great sayings like, "all it takes for evil to prosper is for good to do nothing," or "power breeds corruption and absolute power breeds absolute corruption." Their are a lot of high ranking government officials, both Republican and Democrats, who think they are pretty powerful!

  15. Alex Wilkinson in this week's New Yorker:

    I don’t think there is any mystery to understanding the passionate feelings people have for guns. Nobody really believes it’s about maintaining a militia. It’s about having possession of a tool that makes a person feel powerful nearly to the point of exaltation. What argument can meet this, I am not sure, especially since the topic isn’t openly discussed. To people who support owning guns, the issue is treated as a right and a matter of democracy, not a complicated subject also involving elements of personal mental health. I am not saying that people who love guns inordinately are unstable; I am saying that a gun is the most powerful device there is to accessorize the ego.

    Read more:

  16. John C., the Swiss are talked about a lot in these arguments. Did you know that while they are given weapons, AND TRAINING they were required to turn in their ammo? That's kept for them at base... a decision that the came to from experience. You can learn more about it on Wikipedia.

    When folks in Switzerland are discharged from active duty their weapons are returned to semi-auto if they choose to buy them from the government. Folks in a well regulated militia have someone watching over (like officers) who notice if one of their troops has gone nuts.

    All this is interesting, but you guys are offering the same sorry old arguments gun advocates have always offered that continue to keep the status-quo in which unnecessary gun violence is wrecking our society. Now that the NRA wants guns in all schools, will it want more guns in all shopping malls and armed guards in movie theaters, too?

    Won't you guys give a single quarter of an inch? Are you really so frightened? Using your logic, you should be allowed to own bazookas and anti-aircraft missiles. And is that the kind of world you want to live in? Where our wives and daughters won't be safe unless packing heat?

    When I was a kid, I worked with a craftsman who was also a gun smith. I got plenty of opportunity to see self-professed "gun nuts" in action. That experience did not give me any sense of confidence that unrestricted access to firearms was in any way reasonable for a peaceful society.

  17. R. Francis,
    Thanks for your comment and referring me to the New Yorker article. Of course common sense in the "liberal media" will mean nothing to those guys who think they are under siege. The tragedy at Sandy Hook should make all of us consider the kind of society we want to live in and lead us to make some clear decisions about how to get there.

    I suggest we put creative tools in the hands of kids. Perhaps then they will grow up as craftsmen and makers of beautiful and useful things. That's the America where I want to live.

  18. John C9:07 AM


    I would not be so wary of the government, if they would simply return to the constitutional principles upon which our country was founded. I don't need big brother telling me what kind of light bulbs I can buy, or what kind of health care I should have. By the same token, I don't need them to bail me out when I run into a rough patch or because I made bad decisions.
    The "federal government" was ever intended to act as a referee in commerce between the states, and act as a single unified voice when negotiating treaties and a unified front for defense of the member states. Also, keep in mind that at the time the word "state" was the same as "country". The United States Constitution was essentially the same thing as NATO or the EU is today, a treaty between equal states. It has, unfortunately, morphed into a beast the founders would not even recognize today. The constitution lays out 18 very specific powers of the "Federal" government, read up on it. A hint, "general welfare" is not one of them.
    You continually focus on the nut-cases that commit horrible acts using guns, and yes it would be nice if we could identify all these people before they commit these acts. And being under the supervision of a military commander doesn't make that task any easier. Take for instance the Major who shot up the mobility processing area at Ft Hood, TX. The "liberal media" repeatedly claims that he was nuts and not a terrorist. Either way, its interesting that no one saw it coming and that he chose to attack the one place on the installation that he knew no one would be armed so he could maximize the carnage before anyone could respond. How about the soldier in Afghanistan that left the base one night and killed a number of civilians in a nearby village, his commander also missed that.
    The early militias were not standing military units where a commander was constantly monitoring is troops, so that argument rings hollow.
    And, no Doug, I do not want to live in a world where everybody has to be "packing heat" to be safe. However, we live in the real world. Morals are no longer taught to our kids. The media hypes one tragedy, after the next in order to keep up with the 24-hour news cycle, and because people are so bored or depressed with their own lives that they pay over and over to see the show. So, the next nut case sees how much press this guy got and thinks, "What can I do to make a bigger splash, so people will notice me? I'll show them!" And, to top it all off, our society does not hold anyone responsible for his actions any more, its always someone else that is to blame.
    --end Pt 1--

  19. John C9:08 AM

    -- Pt 2 --
    Lets try this little exercise to prove the point about the media hype. Now be honest with yourself, with looking anything up 1) Name one of the two perpetrators of the Columbine shooting, 2) name the perpetrator of the Oklahoma city bombing, 3) name the perpetrator of the Colorado movie theater shooting, and finally 4) name just one of the victims of any of these (again without looking anything up). I'll bet that, unless you were personally involved in the lives of anyone connected to any of these events, you can pop the first three right off the top of your head and are at a complete loss on the fourth. That is what our media has done for us.
    The answer is not to disarm the law-abiding public. Everywhere that has been tried, it is a miserable failure. Look at Chicago, New York, LA, any of our big cities that don't allow gun ownership. The criminals are armed and the innocent are defenseless. I know the argument, if we ban them throughout the republic, the criminals won't be able to get them. If that would work then riddle me this, how is it that 13yr old gang bangers are using fully automatic MAC-10's and UZI's in drive-bys? Weapons like this are so highly controlled that even a law-abiding citizen (and military veteran)like myself does not have access to. How is it that guns crimes in Great Britain and other countries with oppressive gun laws are through the roof. Mexico, has a staggering murder rate and some of the stiffest gun-laws in the "free" world.

  20. John, this being Christmas morning, I won't take the time to respond to all your arguments, except to say that in the spirit of the holiday, I heartily disagree with almost everything you say. I am amazed that in a predominantly Christian nation, folks would be so unChristian to each other... and to see violence as reasonable in this time and season of giving.

    As far as morality in schools, there is a basic misunderstanding of how morality is best taught. Some mistakenly believe that morals are what we tell each other to do, Ten commandments and the like. In contrast, the early practitioners of the manual art in schools understood morals as being related to both word and deed. Craftsmanship, the pride of craftsmanship, and the ownership of the consequences of craftsmanship whether good or bad is there for anyone with his or her wits about her to see, and evaluate.

    I would love to see gun advocates come up with some solution to gun violence other than more guns. You all lose credibility real fast when you go over the same old arguments over and over again, and instead of offering something reasonable that could work, just make the same unacceptable proposals again and again.

    I realize that this is not a discussion that will be settled in this blog. In any case I have made my position clear and your arguments are the same old unconvincing rhetoric that I've heard so many times before.

    very best to you,