Let them bear guns

Let them bear guns

As Marie Antoinette once famously said, “Let them bear guns” although, to be fair, there was quite a loud howling gale of wind at the time she said it and so history has mistakenly recorded her words as “let them eat cake” which is what those at the back of the crowd swear that they heard.

A slightly more true story is that after the recent tragic shooting in Las Vegas and some conversations about gun ownership, i decided to run a poll on Facebook to see if there was any correlation between how people feel about gun ownership and the death penalty.


So which of these letters MOST CLOSELY describes your views on these matters:

[A] Thinks responsible people can own guns and is for the death penalty

[B] Think responsible people can own guns and is against the death penalty

[C] Thinks no one [police excluded in an ideal world where police are the good guys which is not true for many today] should have guns and is for the death penalty.

[D] Thinks no one [police excluded in an ideal world where police are the good guys which is not true for many today] should have guns and against the death penalty.

After about a day of polling, here are the results that came in:

[A] 9 people [yes guns, yes death penalty]

[B] 23 people [yes guns, no death penalty]

[C] 4 people [no guns, yes death penalty]

[D] 57 people [no guns, no death penalty]

Also, as there often are with these things, there were a few people who coloured outside of the lines. The two most helpful exceptions were:

# Two people said E – no-one including police should have guns, no death penalty

# A number of people said B or D [circumstance depending] and i have no idea what that means as i did not ask anyone to clarify.

But the majority of people played by the rules, which was a request to choose a letter and not comment and it was an interesting experiment.

Firstly, i was very surprised that so many other people were against the death penalty, because any time i have spoken about that it seems to have received much pushback. But 80 out of 93 people were against the death penalty. That makes me very happy and while there is no easy solution to situations where we find the kind of people that others would want the death penalty for, for me it is often the idea that we kill people to show that killing people is wrong. Does not make sense.

For me on that one, i would love to see a greater move for prisons to be places of rehabilitation as opposed to just punishment [or in the states and other places big business, slash some might say a modern version of slavery] because that would make a huge difference in society as a whole. People should not be dispensible and so easy to throw away.

Secondly, just looking at gun ownership [of those deemed responsible] we have 61 people against and 32 people for.

What was really great was that there was a lot of conversation around guns and gun ownership and what different people through was okay and what they didn’t.

[i get accused on occasion of surrounding myself with people who agree with me and this is clearly a conversation where i have strong disagreement with a number of people and yet we managed to remain civil about it. i find it super valuable hearing why other people think differently on an issue, because it either helps me to change my opinion on something [which happens a LOT more than you might expect] or else it helps me strengthen my belief that i already have. Dialogue is so valuable. Trolling is something different and while we might interpret that in different ways, when people come to deliberately misdirect conversations or refuse to listen to what other people are actually saying or make things personal beyond what is being discussed, that tends to set me off a little.]

But back to guns, my friend Wayne Eaves sent me an amazing comedy piece by a guy called Jim Jeffries on gun control and it is a little rough in parts in terms of his delivery but you can check it out on my Facebook page over here, but one of the responses a lot of Americans have to the whole gun control thing is that it is an inherent right “because it’s in the constitution” and this piece by Jim Jeffries from that clip addresses that nicely:

“I can get someone after the show in the car park yelling at me in my face, “You can’t change the second amendment.”

“Yes, you can. It’s an amend-ment. If you don’t know what an amendment is, then you need a thesaurus more than you need a constitution. And if you don’t know what a thesaurus is, then get a dictionary and work your way forward.’

[Jim Jeffries on gun control]

Much better with an Australian accent… but ja, there seems to be this set-in-stone mentality that so many Americans have about the constitution as if the people who put it together were perfect and as if God had ordained it as a truth that will stand the test of time. As Jeffries points out, it wasn’t even that because it has amendments – ah man, there is some speech in some movie that i can’t remember where someone is talking about the constitution and how the people who put it together were wise enough to know they didn’t know everything and so they created space for it to be updated and corrected as it needed to be… speech is happening in my mind, can’t remember the movie.

But yes, “because the constitution says so” doesn’t seem to be good enough to cover mass shootings that are happening in schools, in churches, in clubs and now at music concerts at an alarmingly increasing rate.

“Because the constitution says so” doesn’t seem to cut it when it comes to the fact that something like 43 people have been shot by children under the age of 4 [that have been reported] in Americaland this year alone.

Things like that should make us say, “We need to do something about this!” And yes, if we took away all the guns people would still find ways to kill each other because people. But every time another shooting occurs, there is a buzz for a week and hashtags and prayers and thoughts get created and sent, but nothing is changed.

i found Jimmy Kimmel’s words on this thing super helpful, looking at it from a purely human aspect:

As for me, if it wasn’t obvious, i’m a D person. i don’t think people should have guns and in particular some of the people arguing to have guns, i really don’t think should have guns. Are there exceptions Yes, one of my friends messaged me and this is what he said:

Hey bru, Just saw your post about guns and the poll you are taking. for your interest my answer is B. a lot of my work requires me to carry at least one gun and sometimes i have a pistol as a back-up. Cannot do my job without it here as i guide people through fairly dangerous areas and need to stop them getting trodden on by elephants or gently nibbled by lions, and although we take every precaution not to get our clients in harms way and don’t take chances, i still need a weapon for those times.

i don’t want to be responsible for someone being gently nibbled by lions and so this for me feels like an easy exception. i believe that guns might be necessary when overpopulation of animals demands a culling [if there is not a better way to avoid that] and when it is for food but am very much against guns when it is for sport. If someone thinks that is hypocritical i would far sooner lean towards no killing of animals at all than i would for allowing us to hunt for sport.

i also don’t think the death penalty is the right answer and think we need to do so much better with our prisons to find what that best answer is. As a follower of Jesus there is the additional element of believing that in every person i can see the image of God, always blemished in some way by what we and culture and context and life and sin add to it, but the image of God is present in every person. To snuff that out and not give it a chance to be redeemed is an awful awful thing.

i do also think that if we collectively lived life better – if we were nicer to people – if we genuinely looked to serve those around us instead of benefitting from their struggle – if we tackled the economic systems that benefit some while really hurting others – if we could learn to share our time and resources and money and food and skills a lot better – if we looked out for the loner and the marginalised and the ‘invisible’ and the stranger and the hurting and took a moment to see them and give them a space to share their story and invited them in – if we adopted a #NotOnOurWatch mentality and practice that refused to let racism and sexism and trollism go unchallenged in front of us, both online and offline – who knows, maybe a lot of this stuff would just work itself out and we would have a much smaller need for guns and killing people?

What do YOU think about guns? Are you a gun owner? Would you be? Do you think it’s okay for others to be?ย 

By |2017-10-05T09:38:06+00:00October 5th, 2017|activities, things to wrestle with|8 Comments

About the Author:

Brett Fish is a lover of life, God, tbV [the beautiful Valerie] and owns the world's most famous stuffed dolphin, No_bob (who doesn't bob). He believes that we are all responsible for making the world a significantly better place for everyone.


  1. David Fee October 5, 2017 at 10:05 am - Reply

    “i donโ€™t want to be responsible for someone being gently nibbled by lions and so this for me feels like an easy exception. i believe that guns might be necessary when overpopulation of animals demands a culling [if there is not a better way to avoid that] and when it is for food…”

    Or in fact “responsible people”. Or to reverse that, people with a responsibility.

    So, you’re a B. Your exceptions put you in that category. Those are my exceptions too, with perhaps a few more. I’m a B for that reason. And so are you.

    Yours a wee bit pedantically
    David ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • brettfish October 5, 2017 at 1:16 pm - Reply

      No, i disagree. But perhaps it is a semantical issue in terms of the wording of the poll. i don’t think citizens should be allowed guns for personal use which i thought was quite clear. A hunter needing it to protect people on safari falls outside of the poll.

  2. David Fee October 6, 2017 at 10:10 am - Reply

    Yeah, I read what you think, so it’s definitely the way the poll is worded. ๐Ÿ™‚

    In an ideal world I’m a pacifist. But even in that world, where people don’t use guns for violence against humans, and where they’ve designed veggie burgers that taste like REAL burgers, and they’ve found ways of protecting the safari guide without resorting to killing the lion, then I think people should still be able to use guns for fun. Which is how some people get there fun now. (You might argue that as long as guns exist there is the potential for violence, but that is true of so many things…knives, bleach, water, and probably M’nNs too).

    In a less than an ideal world (this one at this moment in time) I think countries and sometimes individuals need to be able to defend themselves, and that should involve the minimum amount of use of force possible. But the minimum might be (in fact is) sometimes guns.

    I hope we develop effective ways of self defence, for individuals and nations, that don’t involve killing people. And clearly (to me anyway) the biggest work needed to make that happen is in the area of prevention.

    Probably the best form of prevention is one area you are very passionate about. An attack on all forms of poverty. Poverty, is the biggest cause of violence. And though wars are often perpetrated by the rich, out of greed, they only get the cannon fodder for those wars by using and abusing poor people.

    Of course the guy who carried out the recent shooting in the US wasn’t poor. But then, I’m sure you’ll agree, there are spiritual (psychological/ emotional) forms of poverty too.

    That’s my short version take on things anyway, for what it’s worth. Kudos for getting the discussion going.


    • brettfish October 6, 2017 at 10:20 am - Reply

      You make some great points although i’m not sure what Mโ€™nNs are but sounds like some kind of violent Scottish animal… and speaking of your neck in the woods, Val and i just discovered a show called Burnistoun and watched two episodes and thought it was quite a lot of silly fun… you seen it?

      But yes i think we agree here – when i talk responsible people i am talking police/military where you need those sorts of things and not personal civilian gun owner but would also prefer a world where neither were needed…

      And have never thought of the poverty angle in that way which is super interesting and worth a deeper post sometime i think…

      Good to be in contact again, love b

      Sending my folks your way soon – will you get to see them?

  3. David Fee October 6, 2017 at 10:30 am - Reply

    Cheers Brett. I don’t think we’ll get to see your folks this time, but I’m not sure what there plans are. I’m pretty certain they’ll be staying with my Dad at some point.

    ps *M’nMs. Colourful, sugar laden bullets.

  4. Cathy October 11, 2017 at 8:24 am - Reply

    Hi guys,

    I just want to add my humble opinion. As a woman who weighs around 48kg, 5’5, I am not exactly in a position to take on a 6 foot man weighing 80kg. I think in this case, my .22 does come in handy. If I were attacked of course, not because someone cut in front of me in traffic. lol

    In an ideal world, we’d vote for the perfect government and they will always serve us properly. The US idea about gun ownership is two-fold, to allow a weaker person (myself) to be able to protect herself from a stronger person. Guns equalize things between men and women. I think if you could pose this question to women in this context, many would agree.

    Should all women then only be allowed to own guns? Maybe… ๐Ÿ˜‰ lol

    Secondly guns are allowed to be able to protect citizens from a government that had to step out of line and become militant against the citizens. In pre-WW2 Germany, guns were the first thing to be taken away. Citizens should be allowed to bear arms as it would be crazy should a faction in government take over and impose similar to WW2 style dictatorship on people.

    Yes, the US has a lot of gun crime. Nobody can deny that. But should we blame something else like the media, education, alianation of people through media. The culture.

    Switzerland is the highest armed population per capita and almost zero crime or gun crime.

    South Africa is has strict gun control, but look at our murder rate.

    So lets look at all the factors, maybe there are others. But to allow government to be the only ones armed would be dangerous.

    Have a happy day,

    • brettfish October 11, 2017 at 8:53 am - Reply

      Thanks Catherine but i don’t think that is even close to being an accurate depiction of the difference between Switzerland and South Africa and i don’t think it’s simply the gun control that is leading to murder rate – you have to factor in poverty and oppression and way of life and living circumstances – introduce the same to Switzerland and watch those stats change pretty quickly.

      i guess as a short woman with a gun it does put you on equal footing with a big dude if the gun is handy and ready to be used and the guy waits for you to get it, but the reality is that if you have guns freely available in the house then they are likely to be used against you and if you have them locked up well then the moment you need them they are not going to be much help…

      So while the idea may make you feel safer i’m not sure in reality that it helps all that much.

      i would probably choose for no-one including government to be armed in the ideal world, but clearly this is not that.

  5. Deborah October 11, 2017 at 12:18 pm - Reply

    I own a small firearm, but I keep it in the safe during the day. At night, I have it under my bed for quick access. I have no children and live alone, so there is no risk to kids. I also lock my bedroom door at night. Should an intruder break in, I’ll warn them that I have a gun and then hide by the bed with the gun. If someone came into the room after that, then depending on the situation, I might have to shoot, but then aim for the legs, or first fire a warning shot (one must do that first).

    It doesn’t really help much unless its at the ready.

    A grown strong man could easily kill a woman – so in that case, his hands and sheer strength is a lethal weapon if used against a woman. A gun is the the tool to even things out. With so much rape culture, its always on the minds of women and more women need to feel empowered. Martial arts only go so far, but in reality a blackbelt lady against an aggressive male – still nothing the woman can really do (in most cases). A gun is also a huge deterrent.

    Government and guns and people – difficult one. Ideally nobody should be armed, but there are always some who are a bit mad or unstable.

    Regarding automatic weapons – I’d say no no. Like that lone gun man who killed all those people, no reason to be owning such weapons at all.

    I think women are the best to ask when it comes to guns.

    Knives are also freely available and how many are killed by knives? Just as dangerous as a gun up close.

    The government needs to as a prority get illegal guns off the streets. In SA AK47 is the most commonly used weapon in hijackings. The hijhackers arrive in Audi A4, they have AK47 and many are ex-military and they know what they’re doing. A regular gun will have no effect on them.

    Imagine the world without guns. Until men start treating women better, that would be impossible.

    I know you are anti-guns, but have you ever been shooting at the range? You should go, not to get into it or to take up the hobby at all. But it will really give you a better perspective on guns – you’ll see how powerful they are. The power you get from holding one cannot be described. The satisfaction of hitting the targets. It will help you be more pro-gun, or even be more anti-gun, but it will show you more of how guns are. It will in some way alter your perception of them.

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