Jeffrey Salkin: Martini Judaism Opinion wp-export

How religious people should respond to the horror in Parkland

If anything can teach us how to understand and appreciate religious differences, it is the way that people of different faiths have been responding to the horror in Parkland, Florida.

On Monday (Feb. 19), I spoke at a candlelight vigil at a middle school in Miramar, Florida – not that far away from Parkland.

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were there. They spoke of what it meant for them to see their friends and teachers gunned down before them; about the nightmares that have shown no signs of abating; of the ongoing, day by day trauma that engulfs them.

A pastor arose to speak. This is what he said: “I ask us all to forgive Nikolas Cruz (the gunman who had taken 17 lives).”

I took him aside afterwards.

“How can we forgive this murderer, this anti-Semite, this white supremacist?!?! Has he asked for forgiveness?!?!”

“It is not necessary,” the pastor answered. “We have to forgive him.”

To which I said: “You do it, then. I can’t. I won’t.”

Who are we – the onlookers – to offer him forgiveness?

  • Let him seek forgiveness from the families of the people he murdered.
  • Let him seek forgiveness from the students and faculty of Stoneman Douglas High School.
  • Let him seek forgiveness from the entire community, the entire country, the entire world.

Better yet: let him to go the unborn children and grandchildren of the beautiful young people that he killed.

Let him seek forgiveness from them – for the sin that he committed against them.

The sin of not letting them be born.

This whole forgiveness thing reminded me of Simon Wiesenthal’s classic book, The Sunflower.

As a prisoner in a concentration camp, the future Nazi hunter is summoned to the bedside of a dying Nazi. The Nazi tells him how he participated in the murder and torture of hundreds of Jews.

What does the dying Nazi want Wiesenthal to do?

To forgive him.

What did Wiesenthal do?

He walked out of the room.

Wiesenthal submitted this story to a varied group of religious respondents, asking: “Did I do the right thing?” Those responses were published in the book.

The late Father Edward Flannery: “I can well understand Simon’s refusal [to forgive], but I find it impossible to defend it.”

The late Archbishop Desmond Tutu remembered how South African blacks forgave their white tormentors, following “the Jewish rabbi who, when he was crucified, said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’”

But the Jewish writer, Cynthia Ozick, recalled how Wiesenthal brushed a fly away from the Nazi.

She ends her offering with these words:

“Let the SS man die unshriven. Let him go to hell. Sooner the fly to God than he.”

Yes, I am angry. I have every intention of staying angry. I told the students who were gathered at the vigil to stay angry. (Sort of what I wrote here).

No more, I said to them, as they screamed back: “No more!”

“Prayer is good,” I said. “Action is better. This is your moment!”

Several of the kids and their parents came over to me afterwards. They told me that they had never heard a minister, or a rabbi, speak this way. (I told them that they need to hang out with different ministers and rabbis).

Then came the moment that will stay with me forever.

A Muslim family approached me. Their youngest daughter presented me with a flower.

“Thank you for saying what you said.”

I wept.

I thanked her for the flower, asked their names, taught them about the parallels between shalom and salaam.

Through my tears, I said to them: “Make this world better. Please, tell me that you will make this world better.”

The older sister said to me: “Inshallah” (may it be Allah’s will).

I echoed: “Inshallah.”

When the American South was a hell on earth for blacks, people of all faiths got together. We fought – together.

When there was an unethical war in Southeast Asia, people of all faiths got together and rallied against that war. We fought – together.

How will America win this (paradoxical) war against guns?

First: we have now reached the tipping point. I saw it. I felt it. It should have happened at any number of places along this blood-stained journey. But, it didn’t. Something is different now. This fight is not going away. Please, let it not go away.

Second: people of all faiths are going to have to scream, and be uncivil, and be impolite, and channel Isaiah and Martin Luther King, and march, and scream, and be uncivil…..

Faith communities have won wars before.

Now, it is this generation’s term.


May it be God’s will.

About the author

Jeffrey Salkin


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  • We do not need forgiveness and “thoughts and prayers.” What we need is serious action to keep powerful weapons out of the hands of nuts, through waiting periods to buy guns, thorough background checks, and bans on assaults weapons.

  • I agree with Rabbi Salkin, and would suggest that the primary difference experienced in this situation, as I understand it, is that Judaism teaches forgiveness as something that is asked for by the perpetrator of a wrong, or in this case an outrageous atrocity. And is the product of a progression of awareness that ought to lead to transformation of the transgressors heart and actions. Christians, as I have experienced the tradiion, often conflate forgiveness with absolution, suggesting that forgiveness is fundamentally a gift bestowed by the one who has been wronged.

    Where I see the potential for forgiveness in this situation, is the lens that can both hold the perpetrator of this massacre accountable for his actions while also understanding that he to is the product of tragic circumstance and a broken system. Forgiveness, then, becomes the conscious effort to orient one’s efforts “for-giving” to transform the larger wrongs that helped shape the environments that allowed for this atrocity – namely the lack of adequate and responsible gun control and the resources and attention necessary to respond to one who exhibits a high probability of committing mass homicide.

    That the youth most affected by this recent event are actualizing their rage and grief in ways that address this larger reality, suggests to me that they understand the potential of forgiveness much better than those who we elect to govern us.

  • A neighbor stopped by one day, she was having a bad day, and needed someone to talk to. I had been friendly towards her and she asked for my help so I gave what I could. She told me some of her life story, a sister had been killed by her ex-husband and this neighbor asked me how she could ever forgive her sisters killer? She said as a Christian she knew she was supposed to. She also said she knows I am an Atheist.

    First I pointed out that offering forgiveness doesn’t mean that you can’t seek justice in the court system. It doesn’t mean you have to forget what happened.

    Then I told her the first step is to learn to let go of the hate. I told her hate is different from anger, and from sadness. Hate harms the one who hates often more than the one who is hated. It can eat you up (literally, cause many health problems). It can keep you from functioning on a day to day basis. I told her any time she starts to despair she needs to tell herself that what happened has happened, there is no going back. I told her she needs to stop all the “what ifs” and the “if only I had….”. I told her survivors carry a great deal of guilt for the things they didn’t do and that guilt can lead to hate if she lets it.

    Then I told her to take her grief, her sadness, her anger and put it to good use like the MADD mothers did. They channelled all that energy into passing laws state by state about driving under the influence. They helped put those ads we see on television. I told her she doesn’t have to do anything that big, but she can certainly see to it that her grandchildren are loved and taught to respect others and taught that violence is never the solution to our problems.

    People need to be encouraged to transform anger to action NOT to hate.

  • No problem. You do whatever you think will work for you. I am not obligated to agree or disagree with your approach, and I neither have to give — nor refrain from giving, if I so choose — public criticisms of your approach.

    That seems to be the underlying message coming from all sides — Salkin, Trump, the Florida high-schoolers (and their big-money liberal bankrollers like Clooney and Oprah), the Florida legislators who defeated the proposed Florida AR15 ban this week, and of course the fanatical gun-control network (commonly known as CNN.)

    Everybody’s got their own deep-rooted, religion-based opinions, (me too), and that’s where the issue will remain. Gun control won’t affect the body count in Chicago anyway.

  • It is disturbing the lengths that the overseers will go to disarm us all, isn’t it.

    Guns in the hands of citizens is the only true power we have against the corrupt fraks that run the world right now.

    Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

    Guns are a powerful weapon in the hand of someone who is very angry at a wrong. A bullet is used to put them right.

    I say, give us all guns. I live in the UK and I think we should all have guns.

    We should all be given a weapon so that we might protect ourselves from disrespectful fraks. It is every citizens right to carry arms.

  • Agreed. The first steps in keeping “the powerful weapons out of the hands of nuts” are to acknowledge that “nuts” is actually illness in need of being recognized, acknowledged and treated, and providing a mechanism for doing so. At some point, society has to get past the stigma of “nuts” and treat it with respect.

    The really difficult part is separating (and protecting the rights of) people who simply have off-beat personalities from those who actually are mentally ill and contemplating lashing out with powerful weapons. For example, it is easy to imagine situations in which someone is reported, then dragged out of bed in the middle of the night and interrogated or incarcerated, and just as easy to imagine the countless lawsuits against law enforcement and government that result from hasty judgment, even when the person doing the reporting had sincere intentions. (Now imagine if that same mechanism were used to get revenge on troublesome neighbors.)

    Revising gun laws will probably have little effect (aside from the token gestures being used to secure presidential re-election). Banning assault weapons is far from getting rid of them. Frankly, the US is probably beyond the tipping point on gun control anyway–we are unlikely to reverse the 2nd Amendment, and we certainly can’t stop gun manufacturers. It’s also not conceivable that seizing and destroying all weapons with power beyond basic self-protection (unnecessary power for civilian use) is even close to achievable.

    So what’s left? I wish I knew…that’s why we are in this situation to begin with. But, as you say, forgiveness, thoughts and prayers are definitely not it.

  • “Revising gun laws will probably have little effect (aside from the token
    gestures being used to secure presidential re-election).”

    Overhauling them to include national level record keeping however would have a great effect. As of now the hodgepodge of varying state regulations and record keeping requirements make for easily exploited loopholes and severe gaps which undermine effectiveness of federal legislation. Our current laws make a brisk illegal gun trade quite profitable and help put guns in the hands of people who have no business having any.

    You know things are bad when international gun smuggling in this country means EXPORTING guns to other countries. Those Mexican cartels are getting their guns from the US.

  • “I live in the UK and I think we should all have guns.”

    Guns in the hands of citizens who thought they were using their power against an oppressive government have been causing mayhem in Northern Ireland for decades. Nowadays they just kept their guns and became an armed criminal gang to cause mayhem for profit. A lot of good that did them.

    I think the least credible people on this subject are the wannabe partisans who want to play out Red Dawn masturbatory fantasies. No the 2nd Amendment is not license to armed rebellion. If you are stockpiling guns in case “the government turns oppressive” you declaring a desire to be a terrorist and perhaps murder police officers.

  • Even banning assault weapons will not prevent access. There are too many already in the possession of gun lovers. Registration will not stop someone ‘as mass killing actions are essentially suicide missions. The perpetrators who don’t own one will most likely borrow, steal or get one smuggled from Mexico. It would be necessary to make possession by civilians federal penalty and enforce this law.

  • Registration records on a national level however close the loopholes which enable the illegal gun trade which plagues our cities. They also produce ways of red-flagging behavior such as gun hoarding. Most perpetrators of mass murder use guns they owned or have easy access to.

    ” The perpetrators who don’t own one will most likely borrow, steal or get one smuggled from Mexico.”

    These days guns are smuggled TO Mexico.

    My attitude here is that we don’t need an air tight prevention of mass murders or gun deaths here. But we need to do something to cut their numbers to more manageable levels. The idea that an imperfect solution is not worth trying is ridiculous.

    I was thinking a more soft power motivation against gun hoarding and buying assault rifles.

    Mandatory liability insurance.

    Gun owners paying premiums on every gun bought, based on a sliding scale of actuarial researched potential peril, with incentives towards effective safe storage. It would make buying that expensive but largely useless for legitimate purposes, assault rifle something to be discouraged through the best motivator out there, one’s wallet.

  • People with guns kill People. You just declared that you want to kill people. I suspect you also call yourself a Christian.


  • Oh, I for one would never say that first sentence to inner-city, poor or minority parents or aunties worried about their kids, teens, babies. Nope. One dead kid at a time, has a way of adding up fast. VERY fast, in Chicago etc. I don’t necessarily oppose gun control, but banning AR15’s won’t work. School walkouts won’t work. Attacking Trump won’t work.

    Besides, in my hometown, AR-15’s are no problem. Our church held a funeral for a gang member one summer. Other preachers said don’t do it, but the grieving mother said she couldn’t find any other church, so our very compassionate Pastor said yes. Sure enough, all Hell breaks loose. But handguns only.

    Young black shooters from deceased young man’s gang, were visited by rival enemy black shooter gang. Right in front of our church. Shooting just like a crime movie. One ganger walks in, handgun upraised, to make sure other gang not singing songs in church. 80-year-old church mother drops underneath pew, preferring bruises to death.

    But you’ll be happy to know that NONE of the gangers had an AR-15. Our gangers and murderers don’t use AR-15’s. So exactly what gun control do you suggest here? Hmm?

  • You wrote a good post there, but it also indicts Salkin’s decision to
    “stay angry” and his refusal to forgive.

  • Obviously a perfect solution is impossible. The reason to not accept a
    a solution that leaves millions of murder weapons in the hands of civilians is that such “solutions” will prevent or delay a more effective solution.

    As I said above perpetrators determined to commit what amounts to a suicidal act will do what’s necessary to obtain a weapon most likely by stealing it. That person would not be concerned that the weapon was insured and registered as he/she expects to die or be captured anyway.

    My suggestion is to make possession by civilians of weapons designed to kill people a felony. It is only if this were implemented and they weren’t available here that they might be smuggled FROM Mexico. I just said that for effect, its not likely.

    I realize that neither of our suggestions will please the NRA which controls those who could make these changes. Both would require an enormous grass-roots effort. I feel the radical ban movement would be more effective.

  • ” Faith communities have won wars before. ”

    Isn’t that always the case ?
    But isn’t that also always too late ?

    Salkin – why didn’t you and your Christian clerical brethren and institutions – prevent America from become the killing field it has become ?

    The US is a nation founded on, and imbued with Judeo-Christian values.
    Right ?
    Some 80% of Americans believe and have always believed in a Judaeo-Christian God.
    Right ?
    80% – that’s a lot.
    What does this mean ?

    You and your Christian clerical brethren, as the self-proclaimed representatives of your God, always claim credit, after the fact, for the amelioration of a tragedy you (or He) couldn’t or weren’t interested in preventing.

    You and your Christian clerical brethren and institutions – and God – are impotently irrelevant.

    And Salkin – in a vainglorious attempt to identify with the suffering – you dare speak of YOUR tears…

    You shallow fraud….

  • He appears to have written that he favors opposing oppression.

    I take it you just wrote that you disfavor opposing oppression?

  • Yes it does. He is right that the Christian pastors platitude to “forgive” without an explanation of what that entails, and an acknowledgement of the right to be angry and to grieve, and the lack of a concrete way to deal with everything is also wrong!

  • Floyd, you and I both know the context in which I wrote that first sentence so don’t try to twist my meaning to make your point. The fact that semi-automatic firearms are available for sale to the general public begs the questions as to why. To defend oneself? Really?

  • Yes. To defend themselves. They really don’t want to be in that spot, but they do NOT apologize for being prepared just in case.

    I’ve listened to both Christians and non-Christians, women and men, about guns and rifles. I also see what neighborhoods they live in.

    What are you going to tell them Mark? That it’s okay for crooks, rapists, stalkers and “ex’s” to just stop by with their favorite guns, but that THEY cannot respond in defense with Taurus, SW, or even AR15?

    Do you tell them it’s okay for the burglars, gangers, and druggers to use their favorite semi’s but THEY, the law-abiding folks, aren’t supposed to have semi’s in their own defense?

    Pretty complicated topic, Mark. There are even a few areas of my state where I would NOT be averse to owning an AR15, (although I don’t own any guns.)

  • The question becomes what is a reasonable level of defense. A line has to be drawn somewhere or else why not allow civilians to have fully automatic weapons. I’m not against people owning guns but there should be strict regulations as to who and what kinds of guns.

    By the way, how often do you expect to get into a firefight with a gang member or druggie where an AR15 is required? If you home is being invaded, wouldn’t a shotgun be just as useful?

  • Oh, I’m hoping and praying NEVER to get into a firefight with any gangers. Especially since I don’t have a gun. Hoping that if I enter a classroom that looks like a choke-point shooting gallery, that nobody’s mad at their professor today.

    Hoping and praying not to be the motorist who happens to see a woman getting raped or a policeman being beaten to death by the roadside, as others have seen. Or have an immediate need to “persuade” today’s burglars.

    But I no longer assume “That will never happen to me.” (P.S. To answer your question, I would prefer a Taurus Curve. Small, fast, and built-in laser. But if you gonna buy a shotgun, go on and buy AR15, and end the problem wholesale.)

  • You would be taking it entirely Incorrectly if you did that. Even sillier and rightier and wingnuttier than usual.

    But just as immoral.

  • You explained pretty good what forgiveness entails (at least at the one-on-one level). However, one reason why Salkin might be angry is that we do NOT have “a concrete way to deal with everything”, other than repealing the 2nd Amendment and government door-to-door confiscation of ALL guns.

    Salkin said “action”, but he stayed away from saying “what action”, or whether a specific “action” would work. He says, tearfully, “please make the world a better place” — but how will THAT stop the next school or church slaughter?

    Even your own post kept to the one-on-one personal level and **stayed away** from any concrete solutions. It’s difficult. It’s even difficult to get people to open up about underlying moral and spiritual causes, or even the fact that Salkin’s version of forgiveness clearly ain’t the Christian version. So things aren’t going to get solved or resolved anytime soon.

  • An AR-15’s primary legal non law enforcement use is to show off to the people at the firing range. (Usually followed by wrestling with the bolt when your cheap ammo causes a spent cartridge case to be stuck).

    Shotguns can be used for hunting or competitive shooting.

    Taurus Curve is a bit too gimmicky for my tastes, plus it doesn’t come in left handed.

  • What is the basis for your assessments of morality and immorality?

    Natural law? The laws of California? What exactly?

  • Yes, in Judaism the perpetrator has to seek forgiveness, make reparation, commit not to repeat the offense.

    Teshuvá is the key concept in the rabbinic view of sin, repentance, and forgiveness. The tradition is not of one mind on the steps one must take to repent of one’s sins. However, almost all agree that repentance requires five elements: recognition of one’s sins as sins (hakarát ha-chét’), remorse (charatá), desisting from sin (azivát ha-chét’), restitution where possible (peira’ón), and confession (vidúi).

    “Recognition of one’s sins as sins” is an act of one’s intelligence and moral conscience. It involves knowing that certain actions are sinful, recognizing such actions in oneself as more than just lapses of praxis, and analyzing one’s motives for sin as deeply as one can. For example, stealing from someone must be seen not only as a crime but also as a sin against another human and a violation of God’s demands of us within the covenant. It also involves realizing that such acts are part of deeper patterns of relatedness and that they are motivated by some of the most profound and darkest elements in our being.

    “Remorse” is a feeling. It is composed of feelings of regret, of failure to maintain one’s moral standards. It may also encompass feelings of being lost or trapped, of anguish, and perhaps of despair at our own sinfulness, as well as a feeling of being alienated from God and from our own deepest spiritual roots, of having abandoned our own inner selves.

    “Desisting from sin” is neither a moral-intellectual analysis nor a feeling; it is an action. It is a ceasing from sin, a desisting from the patterns of sinful action to which we have become addicted. Desisting from sin involves actually stopping the sinful action, consciously repressing thoughts and fantasies about the sinful activity, and making a firm commitment never to commit the sinful act again.

    “Restitution” is the act of making good, as best one can, for any damage done. If one has stolen, one must return the object or pay compensation. If one has damaged another’s reputation, one must attempt to correct the injury to the offended party.


  • cont’d

    “Confession” has two forms: the ritual and the personal. Ritual confession requires the recitation of the liturgies of confession at their proper moments in the prayer life of the community. Personal confession requires individual confession before God as needed or inserting one’s personal confession into the liturgy at the designated moments. The more specific the personal confession, the better.

    A person who follows these steps to teshuva is called a “penitent” (chozér be-teshuvá).

    The tradition is quite clear, however, that recognition of sin, remorse, restitution, and confession, if they are done without desisting from sin, do not constitute teshuva. Without ceasing one’s sinful activity, one has only arrived at the “preliminaries to teshuva” (hirhuréi teshuvá). Actual desisting from sin is what counts. Thus, if one desists from sinful action because one has been frightened into it, that is still teshuva and the person is considered a penitent. For example, if a person ceases to gamble compulsively because someone threatens to beat him severely the next time he does it, such a person is considered a penitent. Or, if a person ceases to steal because he has been told he will be sent to jail the next time it happens, such a person is considered a penitent. Furthermore, if a person becomes convinced that he or she will be punished in the life-after-death and ceases sinful action on that account, this person too is considered a penitent though this motivation for desisting is higher than the previous ones because it is a function a larger religious worldview which considers the wrongdoing as actual sin.

    Teshuva which is rooted in fear of humans or God is called “repentance rooted in fear” (teshuvá mi-yir’á) and, while not the highest form of teshuva, it is the core thereof. Reform of one’s character through analysis of sin, remorse, restitution, and confession, when combined with the ceasing of sinful action, is called “repentance rooted in love” (teshuvá mei-ahavá). “Repentance rooted in love” is desireable but, without cessation of sin, reform of one’s character is useless. Maimonides, the foremost halakhic (legal) and philosophic authority of rabbinic Judaism, lists desisting from sin as the very first step to teshuva.

    Rabbinic tradition teaches that all the steps to teshuva are necessary. Their interrelationship is best described as a spiral which touches each of the five points, yet advances with each turn. Thus, one may begin at any point — with action, analysis, remorse, restitution, or confession. However, as one repeats the steps of teshuva again and again, one’s analysis and remorse deepen, one’s restitution and commitment-to-desist become firmer, and one’s confession becomes more profound. As one cycles through the five phases of teshuva again and again, one’s teshuva becomes more earnest, more serious. At its height, one achieves “full teshuva” (teshuvá gemurá) which would require full consciousness and action such that, given the same situation, one would refrain from the sin for which one had repented.

  • The problem wasn’t created overnight and there are no quick solutions NOR are there any easy solutions. Part of the problem is a cultural problem, the “toxic male” culture that has been discussed in other essays and posts. We have created a culture that glorifies violence, revenge, eye for an eye type of justice. That needs to change BUT it won’t be easy.

    We need gun laws that restrict the sale of weapons. We need a nationwide registry and better background checks.

    We need better mental health and overall universal health care for everyone. We need money spent on schools and our youth NOT on greater military buildup.

    We need to seriously control our world population, we need to get serious about cleaning up and preserving our environment. We need to seriously create jobs for people with a wide variety of skill levels and abilities. We need good day care programs and after school programs for kids.

    So where do we start? We start with us, with each and every one of us. We clean up our own acts, stop the “us versus them” culture promoted by a toxic mix of misguided Christianity and Nationalism.

  • You apparently have never met a piece of propaganda you did not believe.

    The Mexican cartels are armed with fully automatic weapons. They came from corrupt Mexican and police sources, Cuba, and the cartels further south. You can’t buy new fully automatic weapons in the US.

    The Obama administration sang your song and “walked” thousands of guns into Mexico with zero arrests on either side of the border. They did manage to get a Border Patrol agent, Brian Terry, killed.

    The guns wound up in the hands of low level punks, not cartels. The only indictments were the killers of Brian Terry and the individuals who the ATF permitted to violate the law, less than two dozen.

    They also failed to coordinate with Mexican law enforcement, which claimed the US violated Mexican sovereignty.

    AG Holder was found in contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions on the disaster, and his boss had to extract him with executive privilege.

    Another fiasco based on the specious gun control UFO crowd.

    Why not try “on-line gun sales”? That’s another big imaginary source of guns among Michael Bloomberg groupies.

  • There is no evidence, none at all, we need gun laws that restrict the sale of weapons, a nationwide registry, and better background checks.

    Connecticut ratcheted up its restrictions and background checks. Gun crime went up.

    There is no evidence that any form of mental health services this side of commitment, even less “universal health care for everyone” would reduce gun crime .0001%.

    But, the knee-jerk reaction every time something happens is to laundry list the Democratic Party platform as bullet points.

  • Making possession by civilians of weapons designed to kill people a felony would basically make every hunter a felon.

    Pump action shotguns, for example, were used in WWI, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.

    The notion that some guns are more designed to kill people indicates complete unfamiliarity with firearms.

  • Registration is unconstitutional for constitutionally protected firearms.

    We already have it for those are not, like machine guns.

    Gun hoarding is not illegal and it has not been linked to gun crime.

    A few handguns are smuggled to Mexico, a very few.

    Mandatory liability insurance is unconstitutional.

    Think of mandatory liability insurance to exercise your First Amendment right of free speech and it will become clearer to you.

  • Define “AR15″ for us.

    The way that term is bandied about you would think it actually had a definition.

  • The primary use for M-16 style firearms is hunting followed closely by target shooting.

    “AR-15″ is a Colt trademark, not a specific firearm.

    It is currently used for a semi-automatic sporting rifle.

  • Bob, I have a pump 12 gauge, Mine holds 3 rounds in the clip as that was the limit years ago in California. I also have a 30-06 rifle for hunting deer. I have never intended to kill people with them, I am fully aware they are both capable of killing people. If I were going to engage in a massacre I wouldn’t choose them.

    I said it should be a felony for civilians to have weapons DESIGNED to KILL PEOPLE. The assault weapons not only can rapidly fire many rounds, they also fire bullets at a velocity that tears a large hole in the flesh of the target. Survival from such a shot is less common. These weapons designed to cause maximum casualties should not be available for civilian use, If a person does not intend to kill someone their is no need for one. If he does want to massacre a group, let him struggle to get one.

  • Pump action shotguns have been a component of infantry, sailors, and others’ weaponry since WWI.

    They were called “trench brooms”, which gives some idea of both their design and their intended use. The only difference between yours and the military one was provision for mounting a bayonet, which was rarely used since the shells themselves did the heavy lifting.

    In fact, if I were going to choose a weapon for massacring, that is exactly where I would go since with B sized and up pellets aim would be considerably less of a concern. They can be fired as fast as any semi-automatic rifle.

    .30/06 bolt action hunting rifles are all descendants of the 1903 Springfield of WWI and WWII and the M1917 Enfield of WWI. Remington’s first post-WWI bolt actions were modestly civilianized Enfields, you still run into sporterized 1903s in the used gun selection, Winchester’s first post-WWII rifle – the 54 – was a lightly civilianized Mauser 98, used by Germany in WWI and WWII.

    So, you’re admitting you own two guns that were designed to kill people and you would be a felon under the law you’re suggesting.

    Assault rifles are fully automatic and require registration, fingerprinting, steep taxes, and more.

    Btw, both the shotgun and the .30/06 are designed to tear large holes in the flesh of the target. In most states the FMJ military ammo is illegal for hunting because it is non-lethal. Expanding bullets are required to provide a more humane killing wound.

    So you’re using ammo which is even more lethal than the military does!

    All varmint rifles fire at high speeds, some in excess of 4,000 fps.

    So, I am scratching my head as to what you believe you can accomplish, especially since both of your guns are protected by the Second Amendment, as are the semi-automatic hunting rifles. I think the issue is capsulized “I have never intended to kill people with them” and THAT, not this or that gun, separates you from the bad guys.

  • But I don’t want to leave you out in the cold.

    Back in 1994 when the so-called “assault rifle” ban was enacted, your Dianne Feinstein was facing the same problem.

    Since there was NO operational or functional difference between the weapons she wanted banned and weapons that have been around since the late 19th to early 20th centuries, she had her staff sit down with pictures of “assault rifles” and try to come up with characteristics for a law. Here is what wound up in the law:

    Semi-automatic rifles able to accept detachable magazines and two or more of the following:

    Folding or telescoping stock
    Pistol grip
    Bayonet mount *1
    Flash suppressor, or threaded barrel designed to accommodate one
    Grenade launcher *2

    Semi-automatic pistols with detachable magazines and two or more of the following:

    Magazine that attaches outside the pistol grip
    Threaded barrel to attach barrel extender, flash suppressor, handgrip, or suppressor
    Barrel shroud safety feature that prevents burns to the operator
    Unloaded weight of 50 oz (1.4 kg) or more
    A semi-automatic version of a fully automatic firearm. *3

    Semi-automatic shotguns with two or more of the following:

    Folding or telescoping stock
    Pistol grip
    Detachable magazine.

    *1 – despite the fact that there have been zero killings by anyone using a rifle-mounted bayonet in the USA

    *2 – although grenades themselves are destructive devices under Federal law and tightly regulated under the 1934 NFA

    *3 – this makes it clear the intent: to rid the market of “scary looking” weapons, function having nothing at all to do with it

    Note particularly that none of these have anything to do with DESIGNED to KILL PEOPLE. This is simply a “feel good” ban for people who know zero about firearms.

    In 2013 Feinstein reintroduced the same law except that “two or more” was replaced with “one” or “any”.

    This by any stretch of the imagination is insanity, and of course the bill died.

  • It depends on the firearm.

    The combat classic, the Winchester 1897 used in WWI, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam held 6 but because it was easily loaded by pushing a new shell into the bottom of the bolt carrier assembly as a guide into the magazine tube, in combat it could basically fire unlimited shells. Soldiers carried a bag of shells and topped it off on the fly.

    New ones are often magazine fed, so you can carry the shells already in magazines for fast reloading.

  • Loser says wut?

    Their purpose is to show off at the range. Open carry with them is more or less military LARPing. I can think of a host of guns better suited for target shooting, hunting or “home defense”. It’s appeal is primarily to ammosexuals.

  • Hardly true. Since registration is common in many states. If it were unconstitutional, that would not he the case. You are just making crap up.

    But then again, you support the brisk illegal straw buying trade, and can’t read a court decision honestly, so it’s not like you really know what’s you are talking about.

  • Your opinion isn’t worth a pile of dung. You have never made an honest assertion of fact either. You are denying stuff which is easily looked up from a number of sources.

    If you don’t have links to articles describing your assertions, I simply will disregard them. You lie too easily and often to take at face value.

    “The guns wound up in the hands of low level punks, not cartels”

    Guns ARE going to Mexico from the US, you conceded my point. Thanks for playing. You lost.

  • Exactly what do you think an “AR15” is?

    – a target rifle

    – a hunting rifle

    – a sporting rifle

    – a fully automatic weapon of mass destruction?

    Why is it more dangerous than the shotgun you appear to favor?

    If I place one these, whatever you think it is, in the hands of heretofore sane rational law-abiding citizen, will he suddenly go out and engage in mayhem and murder?

    If not, why is the firearm the problem?


    That was easy. There’s more if anyone wants the gory details.

    A few handguns, prostitutes, stolen cars, and so on move from the US to Mexico.

    Your point was that the cartels were being armed from the US. Well, no. You lost.

    Speaking of lying, liars, piles of dung, propaganda, and your other accouterments.

  • California, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maryland (handguns only), Michigan (handguns), New Jersey (handguns only as part of a permit process), and New York (handguns) have registration schemes. California and Hawaii are in the 9th United States District Court, which has never met a gun control scheme it did not love. A number of cases have been presented to the SCOTUS but none so far accepted. DC, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York are in the 2/3/4 District Courts which are not as anti-gun as the 9th, but have been consistently overruled by the SCOTUS on gun control issues. Each of them have at least one pending case that has been presented to the SCOTUS on gun control, including registration.

    Connecticut does not have a registration system for Second Amendment protected guns, per se, but has a de facto registration system in that it keeps sales records.

    There’s 51 states and the District, and that’s seven, hardly “common in many states” and hardly uncontested.

    But a federal scheme is another issue altogether.

    And “you support the brisk illegal straw buying trade, and can’t read a court decision honestly” are just sour grapes, inane, silly, and actually hilarious.

  • I suppose being ammosexual beats being asexual.

    Outdoor Life’s best rifles of 2017:

    Colt Competition CRP-18N – “This versatile rifle would work well in competition, and for staking out coyotes and stalking deer.”, Rise Armament 303H S Series, Savage MSR 10 Hunter

    Field and Stream’s best rifles of 2017:

    Six of the rifles are on the M-16 pattern, most .223 but one is a .308.

    And so on.

    Facts, they’re what’s for dinner.

  • What inspire this are the words written by the Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin in his article about the Parkland massacre, “I am angry, I have every intention of staying angry. I told the students […] to stay angry. […] Prayer is good, […] Action is better. […] Several of the kids and their parents came over to me afterwards. They told me that they had never heard a minister, or a rabbi, speak this way.”

    There is a reason for this. His words are his, not God’s.

    I would like to remind the Rabbi how our good God forgave the Israelites with every break of the covenant He made with them. How it was always His people, and never Him that broke this covenant. God, through first His chosen people, the prophets and lastly through His Son, Jesus Christ, keeps His Promise. We are reminded of what we are to do through His prophet Jeremiah, “Listen to my voice; then I will be your God and you shall be my people. Walk exactly in the way I command you, so that you may prosper.”

    With all due respect to Rabbi, He fails to take God at His Word.

    It is God’s mercy, defined as compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm, that we are to imitate so that we can truly be His people. God has the power to annihilate us, and in our sinfulness, we certainly deserve it. But time and again, He chooses to forgive, even taking on Himself what is due us as our father, Abraham said, “God will provide the sheep for the burnt offering;” which He did through His Son, Jesus Christ.

    Prayer is good (truth), action is better (false), Prayer to God before, during and walking in His grace through action is best (TRUTH).

    The Rabbi is absolutely correct to say that, “Faith communities have won wars before. Now it is this generation’s term.” How this should happen is what the Rabbi, a man of God, should have told that group of students and their parents, “As children of God, we must remember that of ourselves we are nothing, of Him we are everything. Do not act without God. For if we do, we shall surely perish.”
    The Israelites were taught this message and so has every generation, every civilization, every faith and every person up to today, often at great suffering, as we endure the consequences of our own willful actions and the willful actions done to us by others.

    To forgive is so very difficult indeed and is never about excusing or relenting in justice due the victims. Rather it is about being the antidote that will cure what ails this world of violence. We do this by allowing God to heal what is evil in us first so that we then become a healing balm for others. When we forgive, we heal and, in our wellness, others heal. We must stand together as one people who know that if one hurts, we all hurt, and so we work out our salvation forgiving and bearing with one another.

    If we are honest, I doubt there is one of us who if given the same life circumstances as Nikolas Cruz would not be tempted to think, “Someone must pay for my pain.” If only he knew, God already has.

    I pray for his sake, mine and yours, one day soon He will.

  • Which means you just refuted your own statement. If registration was unconstitutional, state’s couldn’t do it either.

    The NRA opposes any kind of national level record keeping because frankly, they have zero problem with illegal gun trade. It gets people to buy guns for protection from those getting them illegally. A self-sustaining cycle of fear.

    Frankly I think the best way to do such a thing is mandatory liability insurance, like we have with vehicles. This way national level ownership data is collected from a private entity. Law enforcement must follow 4th amendment protocols to access it. Plus the people keeping the records have a vested interest in maintaining ownership. Take the record keeping out of the hands of those who could use it for confiscation. Plus it discourages hoarding, straw buying, and best of all the NRA fully supports such insurance.

    BTW I have zero desire to hear what kind of BS comes from you in opposition to my idea here, because more than likely you don’t know squat about how property/casualty insurance works.

  • Which means I refuted your statement about “many states”.

    Until the Supreme Court ruled segregation unconstitutional and Eisenhower used troops to force integration, schools were segregated. That had nothing at all to do with it being constitutional.

    Your comments about the NRA seems to support the conclusion that the sum total of your knowledge about that civil rights organization is how to spell “NRA”.

    Vehicles are not constitutionally protected.

    You can no more institute mandatory liability insurance to exercise Second Amendment rights than you can impose a liability insurance requirement as a condition of exercising your First Amendment rights.

    Given the last administration and the Clinton administration, hoarding is understandable.

    Yes, I understand you simply wish to pontificate upon matters about you know nothing using Disqus comments as a sort of soap box to stand on.

  • If any state can do something, its constitutional. See 14th Amendment. Unless the power is reserved entirely with the state, it is constitutional on a federal well. There is nothing at all which makes it a lively state level issue.

    You really don’t know what you are talking about. Parroting brain dead NRA talking points isn’t useful here. You refuted your own argument. Again.

  • The problem is in your second to last paragraph. What happens when they get into non-rational and law-abiding citizens? To reverse the question, why do people need semi-automatic weapons?

  • The Second Amendment has to do with rights, not needs.

    Semi-automatic rifles and handguns serve the same purpose as revolvers, lever-action rifles, and pump-action shotguns and rifles – quick follow-up shots.

  • Fully automatic = machine gun.

    Machine guns are and have been since 1934 regulated by the National Firearms Act.

    They must be registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), private owners must obtain approval from the ATF to purchase one, pass an extensive background check including submitting a photograph and fingerprints, fully register the firearm, receive ATF written permission before moving the firearm across state lines, and pay a tax.

    That’s what’s involved in actual buying and keeping a real assault rifle.

  • Because every law requires defining lines.

    You can’t cite free speech to yell “fire!” when there is none in a crowded theater.

    It’s really not rocket science.

    The term “arms” rules out ordnance – cannons for example.

    The purpose of defense rules out destructive devices like machine guns.

  • “Guns in the hands of citizens is the only true power we have against the corrupt fraks that run the world right now.”:

    Try deploying your gun against the govt…let me know how that works out.

  • Semi-automatics aren’t destructive devices? All weapons are destructive by nature. An arbitrary line was drawn to include semi-automatics and not fully automatics. From a defensive standpoint (your right to bear arms) it doesn’t make sense because you can certainly defend yourself pretty well with a machine gun. And imagine how easy it would be to hunt with! After all it is the killin that’s the thrill.

  • Semi-automatics are not destructive devices as defined in the National Firearms Act.

    Yes, in one sense all rifles, handguns, arrows, spears, rocks, and so on are destructive or they could not be used for hunting.

    If there is a point you’re trying to make, it’s not being made.

  • In this case the local law enforcement and the FBI paid no heed to repeated warnings of threats by the shooter, indications of mental illness, and accumulation of ammunition. Any of them had probable cause for a warrant to seize his weapons and to obtain a mental evaluation BEFORE the shooting.

    When the shooting occurred the armed deputy sheriff on site failed to respond at all. He has since resigned.

    So, we have all these unenforced laws on the books, and people not doing their jobs.

    Before we pass another passel of unenforced laws, we might want to enforce the ones we have. It would have stopped this shooter two months before the shootings.

  • Hmmm…where is that in the trial transcripts?

    So if societies do not create morality…who does?

  • The definition of a destructive weapon needs to be redefined and there should be a real debate about whether semi-automatic weapons should be legal and if so, whether further restrictions should be applied as to who can purchase. The culture has changed since 1934 and we have seen that assault weapons have been used in quite a few mass shootings.

  • You know the drill.

    Write your senators and representative.

    And so on.

    I happen to disagree with you that further restrictions should be applied on who can purchase – if you’re old enough to serve in the armed forces, and old enough to vote, you’re old enough to buy a firearm.

    And, no, we have not seen that assault weapons have been used in quite a few mass shootings. An objective analysis indicates that the primary weapon has been handguns,which are protected by the Second Amendment.


    Principle II is probably most relevant.

    My personal belief lines up with ““We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights ….”.

    Otherwise positive law is all that matters, and Germany, the Soviet Union, North Korea, and so on show what that leads to.

  • “is a plea in a court of law that a person—whether a member of the military, law enforcement, a firefighting force, or the civilian population—not be held guilty for actions which were ordered by a superior officer or an official.”

    So this is in reference to a military situation…it says nothing about societal norms/morality so it’s not relevant.

    “Otherwise positive law is all that matters, and Germany, the Soviet Union, North Korea, and so on show what that leads to.” because they each are fueled by dogma just as a theocracy is. Citizens are not allowed to disagree and they hold their dogma as objective morality So it’s not subjective to them.

    Trying to pretend morality is not relative is simply a misunderstanding of reality.

    If societies do not create morals…where is the source of morals and what evidence demonstrates the claim?

  • The “old enough” argument is arbitrary as well. You mean 18 is old enough to buy a firearm but not a alcohol? But I forgot, alcohol is not a constitutional “right” and that is all that matters.

    AR-15 style weapons have been the weapon of choice (e.g. Florida, Las Vegas, Orlando, Texas Church).

    As fun as this conversation has been, we are going in circles and not likely to sway each other’s opinion. With that, I enjoyed the discussion and have a good day.

  • [facepalm]

    For crying out loud, Lare, get a constitutional studies book somewhere, anywhere (for you, middle school level will do) and find out what FEDERALISM means already. Once you understand it you will be horrified at how badly you are embarrassing yourself.

  • Alcohol sales are regulated by the states alone. There are no constitutional issues involved (although there were).

    Yes, constitutional rights differ from privileges like driving an automobile.

    No, “AR-15” style weapons have NOT been the weapon of choice. They are rarely used in crime at all. Columbine involved zero “AR-15” style weapons.

    I agree we are unlikely to sway each other’s opinions. I refuse to become hysterical and adopt bad laws.

  • I hate to break it to you, but the inclusion of “the civilian population” in the quote you provided blows a rather large hole through “this is in reference to a military situation”.

    My impression is that you are in over your head without an adequate background to understand the argument I have already made, so putting more into this would require explaining why the dogma they are fueled by has one thing in common, atheism.

    I also note that the statement “Citizens are not allowed to disagree and they hold their dogma as objective morality So it’s not subjective to them.” flies in the face of the Nuremberg Principles, in particular that no one can “not be held guilty for actions which were ordered by a superior officer or an official” using that as defense.

    It also explains why your example of a populace holding atheism changed the topic, since it’s the authority that is relevant.

  • I have never found your opinion or knowledge of the constitution to be adequate or even honestly represented.

    Bobs statement was beyond silly. Gun registration is perfectly constitutional and done in many states. If it violates a given right, it would be subject to 14th amendment issues. I see no case which ever considered registration to he so. Nothing more needs to be said there. Your average NRA shil exaggerates the limits our rights have.

  • I was referring, of course, to your foolish statement about federal action being constitutional unless entirely reserved to the states. Your notion of legitimate federal power is completely backward.

  • Could not care less . Not what I said. Feel free to burn whatever strawmen you want here. As usual it is an irrelevant digression from any real point to make.

  • Funny how it’s always “irrelevant” when you make a fool of yourself.

    However, it is hardly irrelevant that the constitution enumerates to the federal government no power whatsoever to legislate on the subject of bearing arms and therefore the issue is automatically reserved to the states.

    You are precisely the kind of low-information citizen that Madison worried would be confused by the inclusion of a Bill of Rights in the constitution.

  • Now you are just flinging poo here.

    As usual. You have this big argument in your head all worked out. But in the end, its in favor of the ridiculous remark that “gun registration is unconstitutional”. A remark that you are not bothering to defend directly. That is telling.

    “the constitution enumerates to the federal government no power
    whatsoever to legislate on the subject of bearing arms and therefore the
    issue is automatically reserved to the states.”

    Absolutely wrong, the terms “well regulated” in the 2nd Amendment and the conservative based interpretation of SCOTUS which states it is well within government power to control the right to bear arms as stated in “Heller”.

    There done. You lose.

  • Government power, but not FEDERAL power. You still completely fail to understand what that means. You are hopeless.

  • As has been pointed out to you a dozen or more times by at least three different posters in multiple discussions, the term “well regulated” in the Second Amendment has ZERO to with regulations in the mid-20th century and forward meaning.

    “Well-regulated” means “proficient”, and to become proficient one needs to possess arms and practice with them.

    Yes, the Court WITHOUT REFERENCE TO “WELL-REGULATED” in the Amendment said that, like all rights, the Second Amendment is subject to reasonable regulation.

    “Reasonable” means first that the regulation cannot effectively squelch or quash the fundamental right guaranteed, which the Court held the District of Columbia did in its opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller.

    It also means that the proposed regulations meets the three conditions of strict scrutiny.

    Given the amount information you’ve been given, including direct quotations of the Heller decision, conflating “well-regulated” with passing regulations is simply inexcusable.

  • As pointed out earlier, six out of 50 does not constitute “many”.

    Unless and until gun registration is actually litigated and ruled upon as constitutional, the statement “(g)un registration is perfectly constitutional” is absurd on its face.

  • You will spend a week making dishonest rebuttals for when direct quotes from a decision contradict your alleged interpretation.

    Been there, done that.

    Your ability to honestly present information or interpret a case is not existent. Don’t even need to bother.

  • Not at all. You are a l!ar. You even admitted the second amendment contemplated regulations.

    It has been pointed out to you even Scalia contemplated limits to the right to bear arms were a given, from the same case you are referencing badly. He expected regulations on the right to bear arms for a variety of reasons.

    You have already previously conceded regulation is necessary to a right to bear arms. You are just rehashing an argument you lost a week ago.

    You wil find no case which states the second amendment lacks limitations or a right to regulate it Your entire stance is nonsensical.

  • Complete nonsense. Federal power, as in the federal constitution, gives you the right to bear arms in the first place You can’t even pretend to make sense here.

  • No, you’re terminally confused.

    No one has argued that the Second Amendment could not be regulated, as are all our rights.

    Where you’re friggin’ it up is thinking that the term “well-regulated” in the Amendment itself has a single thing to do with it.

    That does not make people who know that “l!ars” but having had it pointed to as many times as it has been, including direct quotations on what “well-regulated” actually means, you’re beginning to look like an ideeot.

  • No, every right stems from the people. The Federal government is a creature of the people, not the other way around.

    All the Second Amendment did was place a firewall between the Federal government and individual rights.

    When the Fourteenth Amendment was passed, that firewall was erected between state and local governments and individual rights.

  • A right created in the Bill of Rights is by its nature Federal power.

    You are making asinine arguments here.

    Federal firearms regulations have existed without any challenge. Only a fool considers a right to bear arms absolute. There is nowhere in the country where that exists or is even considered same. No reading of the second amendment is that loose.

    You are repeating brain dead memes without thinking about what they mean. Even gun friendly Antonin Scalia considered your view silly.

  • What an absurd statement. The rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights are pre-existent to the constitution. Which is why neither Madison nor Hamilton wanted to enact the Bill of Rights in the first place — because they correctly foresaw that ignoramuses with a taste for tyranny would somehow perceive them to be the gifts of a federal government with the power to do anything it wasn’t expressly forbidden to do, rather than rights completely beyond the reach of the FEDERAL government created by the people and their representatives with enumerated and very strictly limited powers.

    I go further, and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and to the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed Constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers not granted; and, on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why, for instance, should it be said that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed? I will not contend that such a provision would confer a regulating power; but it is evident that it would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretense for claiming that power. — Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 84

    And of course, here you are.

  • The Bill of Rights CREATED no rights whatsoever.

    Go back to school. Somebody didn’t do their job the first time around.

  • I’m loving this…watching a liberal ignoramus actually claim that our fundamental rights are the gift of the federal government!

    And I’m all out of popcorn!

  • LOL! At this point you are just getting hysterical. You are arguing ridiculous points out of ego and a desire to let out hot air. Take a deep breath, find another topic and relax.

  • A right to bear arms is nationwide, it is not something created or controlled at the state level. There is nothing in the 2nd Amendment which says it is purely a state level issue. You just made crap up here.

    We have federal level gun regulation. Some for decades. There is your proof such power exists. I have yet to see a challenge to the very notion that such power did not exist. SCOTUS made it clear in Heller v. Dist of Columbia such power was there. It is the only case we know of which has a comprehensive discussion of 2nd Amendment rights.

    The idea that the federal government is not empowered to limit the 2nd Amendment like every other right ennumerated by the bill of rights is just plain ridiculous.

    Take a step back and look at what you are saying for a moment. You are so wrapped in BS, here you aren’t even trying to make a sensible argument here.

  • No rights were created in the Bill of Rights.

    Saying they were is the asinine statement.

    My view is Scalia’s and I’ve made that clear.

    You are ranting into thin air at mirages and enemies of your own imagination.

  • Federal gun regulation is rooted in the Commerce Clause, Einstein, not the 2nd Amendment. Which is why every case involving them has struggled to find an interstate commerce tag to grab onto. And given the changing composition of the SCOTUS, the playing field allowed to the feds under the Commerce Clause is only going to get smaller, not bigger.

    The constitution doesn’t HAVE to say that it’s “purely a state level issue.” Everything that isn’t delegated to the feds always was — and remains — a state issue. That’s how “enumerated powers” works.

    And just think — if your judicial activists had not insisted on stretching the 14th Amendment beyond anything the framers of it ever intended via “incorporation,” you could have gun-free states now. Now the feds can’t allow ANY state to ban guns.

    Like I told a similarly ignorant fellow the other day, the so-called “living constitution” giveth with one hand and taketh away with the other. LOL!

  • At this point, you are completely out of arguments.

    But I am thoroughly relaxed, thank you. You make it very easy to be so.