A Farewell To Arms . . .

Gun Control Is Such A Loaded Term - Let's Call It Disaster Control


When my daughter was three she walked up to me and said, "I know where you keep your fire." My wife and I were puzzled - and a little disturbed . . . Fire? Turns out she was talking about the long red lighter we use to start the grill. It was hidden on the top shelf in the kitchen cabinet, behind all of our bills. She was two feet tall. We found a new hiding spot for our "fire."

I came home from work the other day to find my wife working in the garden, my daughter playing outside with her friends and my son playing with his NintendoDS under his covers in his bedroom. "It's nice out - why don't you go outside and play." "No, I wanna play my DS," he said. "Put it away and get outside," I told him. "Fine," he grumbled back as he stomped into the kitchen, dragged a chair across the room to the fridge, climbed up both and buried his DS way into the bottom of the towel basket that sits on top of the fridge. "What are you doing?" I asked him. "Mom hid it there because I was naughty."

My grandfather always kept a gun in the house - in his bedroom closet behind Grandma's red winter coat. I knew where the bullets for that rifle were too - in a discarded checking account box in his underwear drawer . . . I came across these when I was about 8 years old. What was I doing? I was snooping around for Christmas presents - a pretty normal thing for a kid to do I think. Grandpa had no idea that I knew where he kept that weapon.

So if you own a gun and think that your children either don't know about it, or don't know where it is or how to get at it - you are likely very wrong.

A few facts about guns, kids and America:

  • Americans own more than 200 million firearms
  • 35 percent of homes contain at least one gun
  • 1.7 million children live in homes with loaded and unlocked guns
  • 39 percent of kids knew where their parents' guns were stored
  • 22 percent said that they had handled the weapons despite adults' warnings to stay away. 
  • More than 500 children die annually from accidental gunshots
  • 88 out of every 100 gun-owners in the world are American
  • The US has 8 times the gun fatality rate of any other economically-comparable country in the world.
    see study here


My grandpa, an army veteran, instilled in me an attitude of fear and apprehension - not towards other people, but of that rifle. "I don't ever want to see you handling any guns - ever . . . do you understand? You could accidentally shoot somebody. When you're old enough I'll teach you how to use one," Grandpa had told me.

Luckily for me the older I got, the more my interest in guns waned. By the time I was old enough to be taught how to handle a gun I was more interested in firing fastballs past opposing hitters than firing guns at animals or targets.

These little anecdotes were easy to share, but there is another piece of my life that is much more personal - one that only my closest family members and friends know all the details of. Out of respect for the people involved, I won't share much, but I will tell you that as someone who has seen first-hand what a gun can do to a human body, as someone who has checked another human being for a pulse and not found one, as someone who has found a shooting victim still alive and suffering and as someone who has tried to comfort that victim - I want NOTHING to do with guns.

You won't find a gun, real or fake, anywhere in my home. This is not an invitation to come steal my TV, but my lack of gun-ownership is something that I am proud of. If you want to steal my TV, take it - it is not worth the loss of a human life, yours or mine. Personally, I think guns are for cowards. Guns are for people who live in fear and paranoia. I don't want to live like that. And assault weapons are for the military and police only, not my neighborhood block watch guy.

I have neighbors right in my safe little suburban Village of Greendale that drive around with a bumper sticker that reads, "You keep the change, I'll keep my guns, my money and my freedom." I understand about the money part, but the fact that you think owning a gun is freedom is disturbing. The fact that you think you have to walk around Pick N' Save with a holster containing a concealed weapon does not sound like "freedom" to me, it sounds like paranoia. My idea of freedom is walking around in flip flops and swimming trunks containing a swimming pool pass in my pocket and nothing else sounds like freedom to me.

As a country, the prevailing attitude is that the best mode of self-defense against ignorant, senseless acts of violence is to arm ourselves to the teeth . . . When the best defense against ignorance and violence is an educated, tolerant and accepting society.

The recent shooting in Oak Creek was the end product of a life fueled by ignorance and bigotry. The suspect, who was being monitored by the Southern Poverty Law Center for his involvement with hate groups, and who was kicked out of the army, was able to waltz into a local West Allis store and buy a semi-automatic killing machine. The owner of The Shooters Shop told the news, "He seemed normal." If a skinhead covered in Neo-Nazi tattoos who wants to buy a killing machine seems normal, then our new normal is quite scary.

The suspect in the Colorado movie theatre shootings placed a $306 internet order for a combat vest, magazine holders and a knife, and payed extra for expedited two-day shipping to his apartment just days before his rampage - and this was AFTER buying thousands of rounds of ammunition online for his legally purchased automatic weapon . . . and nobody, not even the FBI noticed.

In a country where 200 million handguns float around freely, but only 131 million votes were cast during the last Presidential election, something has to change.

Something is wrong when politicians create laws making it is easier to purchase an automatic assault weapon and 1,000 rounds of ammunition off the web simply because you have a current driver's license, then turn around and write legislation that makes it impossible to walk into a polling place and cast your ballot without the proper ID.

Voting and gun-ownership are both constitutional rights, but we seem to value bearing arms over casting ballots.

I do not disagree with the fact that it is our constitutional right to bear arms - or do I?

Let's look at the actual text of the Second Amendment to the US Constitution as ratified by the States and authenticated by Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State:

"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

I understand this amendment as the right to keep a weapon in order to be called to join the all volunteer militia. We had no real organized army with a stockpile of weapons during the 1780's. We were also still fighting the British, Native Americans and protecting our back 40. It was a wild frontier and a new nation. It was a different time. Our founding fathers could have never imagined automatic weapons that spewed hundreds of rounds in minutes.

I understand and respect the right to own a gun for hunting and even for defense, but NEVER an automatic weapon - which is only good for hunting a mass of people.

But even owning a single gun shows that you have made yourself and your family more susceptible to gun violence, not peace. The most recent data collected by Gallop and the Pew Research Center show that gun owners have 2.7 times the homicide rate and 4.8 times the suicide rate of non gun-owners.

But despite all of these pesky little things known as facts, I still do not advocate taking away anyone's guns, but I do advocate banning the sale of any more automatic weapons, deeper background checks and stricter testing, written and physical before the purchase of any gun can be complete.

Even conservative hero and gun rights activist Ronald Reagan went against the powerful NRA and put his support behind the Brady Bill in the 80's, clearing the way for other conservatives to vote for the bill that restricted gun-ownership.

It should not take an assassination attempt of a conservative President however to force Republicans to stand up to the NRA, and it should not take another mass shooting with a legally-purchased weapon for the Democrats to stop their knee-shaking and propose a bill that eliminates the sale of all automatic weapons and requires written, mental and physical testing in order to obtain a gun permit.

I have to take a written and a physical test to obtain a driver's license because if used incorrectly an automobile can kill someone - so why not put the same requirements on the ultimate killing machines, guns?

It will take a bold and brave individual to author such a bill or proposal either at the state or national level. My local State Rep. Jeff Stone of Greendale is not that kind of person. I recently spoke to him and asked if he would make such a proposal - and his answer . . . "That's not my place."

News Flash: You are a law-maker, so it is your place! If I were not busy working two jobs, raising a young family, coaching sports and chauffeuring my daughter around, I would give you a run for your money (though you've got a ton more) as someone who actually represents the people and the interests of your district Jeff Stone, but until that time comes we are stuck with "law-makers" who would rather make it more difficult to cast your ballot than to buy an automatic killing machine.

Some say it is too soon after these tragic shootings to talk about changing our gun laws, but it could be our only time to get it right.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Lyle Ruble August 11, 2012 at 12:01 AM
@Jason Patzfahl...One correction, neither Holmes or Page used automatic weapons, they were both semi-automatic.
Jason J August 11, 2012 at 01:02 AM
I understand your point, yet you really blew your whole post and look kinda silly because there is a HUGE difference between a semi-automatic weapon and a automatic weapon. Automatic weapons are currently banned and the only way you can legally own a automatic weapon is by jumping through several federal hoops, and even then you can only purchase one that was in the US prior to 1986 (I believe) hence why If you want one you will pay upwards of $10,000 or more.
Richard Head August 11, 2012 at 11:21 AM
Mr. Patzahl - a firearm stands as the last line of protection between a citizen and a murderous government. It maintains the balance of fear. LET THE GOVERNMENT DISARM FIRST! Some of the Largest Mass-Murderers of history: "Mass murder may be committed by individuals or organizations. Mass murder may also be defined as the intentional and indiscriminate murder of a large number of people by government agents. The largest mass killings in history have been attempts to exterminate entire groups or communities of people, often on the basis of ethnicity or religion. Some of these mass murders have been found to be genocides and others to be crimes against humanity, but often such crimes have led to few or no convictions of any type." YOU would deprive these people of the means of self-defense against a rogue State, while arguing that the State should have Terror Drones, Missiles, Cluster bombs, Automatic Weapons, Armored Vehicles, Tanks, Planes, Napalm, and "Daisy Cutters". Political mass murder or the killing of a particular political group within a country, such as the White and Red Terrors, Joseph Stalin's Great Purge, Mao Zedong's Campaign to Suppress Counterrevolutionaries, Pol Pot's Killing Fields, massacres at the partition of India, or the Hama, Jallianwala Bagh, Tlatelolco massacres, mass executions of civilians in Spanish cities commited by the fascist forces during the Spanish Civil war and the mass killing of communists by Suharto's New Order.
Richard Head August 11, 2012 at 11:21 AM
Deliberate massacres of captives during wartime by a state's military forces, such as these committed by the Empire of Japan, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II: the Nanjing Massacre, the Katyn Forest Massacre of Polish citizens in 1940 and the massacres of political prisoners after the launch of Operation Barbarossa, the Three Alls Policy and the massacre of Soviet Jews at Babi Yar. Mass killing of civilians during total war, especially via strategic bombing, such as the Bombing of Chongqing, Bombing of Tokyo, the Blitz, the bombing of Dresden and Hamburg, or the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.[3] Actions in which the state caused the death of large numbers of people, which political scientist R. J. Rummel calls "democide", which, in addition to the cases above, may include man-made disasters caused by the state, such as the Holodomor in the Soviet Union,[4] and the disastrous effects of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution in the People's Republic of China.
Richard Head August 11, 2012 at 11:35 AM
You are aware that "America's Greatest President" (sic), Franklin Roosevelt, had food supplies deliberately destroyed while purposely starving Americans to Death during the depression? - You know - "OUR LITTLE SECRET" *WINK* *WINK* "Now, 72 years later, those census reports — the details of some 132 million American lives — will be made public for the first time starting April 2, at the National Archives' special site: 1940census.archives.gov. Interest is always high when census records are finally declassified because the pages are gold for genealogists, researchers and anyone interested in tracing their family tree, which has become immeasurably easier in recent years with the advent of searchable online databases and genealogy sites." WHY was the Census classified? To hide the deaths of millions of Americans who were deliberately starved by Franklin Roosevelt. The researcher, Boris Borisov, in his article titled “The American Famine” estimated the victims of the financial crisis in the US at over seven million people. The researcher also directly compared the US events of 1932-1933 with Holodomor, or Famine, in the USSR during 1932-1933. In the article, Borisov used the official data of the US Census Bureau. Having revised the number of the US population, birth and date rates, immigration and emigration, the researcher came to conclusion that the United States lost over seven million people during the famine of 1932-1933.
Richard Head August 11, 2012 at 11:36 AM
“According to the US statistics, the US lost not less than 8 million 553 thousand people from 1931 to 1940. Afterwards, population growth indices change twice instantly exactly between 1930-1931: the indices drop and stay on the same level for ten years. There can no explanation to this phenomenon found in the extensive text of the report by the US Department of Commerce “Statistical Abstract of the United States,” the author wrote. http://english.pravda.ru/world/americas/19-05-2008/105255-famine-0/
Richard Head August 11, 2012 at 11:41 AM
Let us look at how the American Government murdered innocent miners: The Battle of Blair Mountain: The battle marked the first time U.S. troops were ordered to bomb civilians. Federal troops squared off against citizen miners, many themselves veterans hardened from recent service in WW I. The union leader Bill Blizzard eventually surrendered his army in order to avoid further civilian casualties. Blizzard was acquitted in court of insurrection. Future UMW & CIO leader John L. Lewis fought alongside Blizzard at the Battle of Blair Mountain and succeeded in getting recognition for the union 14 years later in southern West Virginia. he miners were opposed by a well-armed contingent of mine guards and State Police with rifles and machine guns. These would eventually be joined by 2,000 regular Army troops armed with airplanes, bombs, and poison gas. The two forces met at Blair Mountain, in Logan County, along the ridge line. The battle ended after approximately one million rounds were fired,[3] and the United States Army intervened by presidential order. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Blair_Mountain You want to end mass- murder? Take the guns away from the CORPORATE Governments of the world - FIRST!
Luke August 11, 2012 at 12:33 PM
@Jason J., Exactly.
Jason Patzfahl August 11, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Or you could just go to a gunshow . . . or craigslist.
Jason Patzfahl August 11, 2012 at 01:49 PM
While I freely admit that as a non-gun owner I do not quite understand the difference between a semi-automatic and a fully automatic weapon, I do understand that they are both designed to kill quite quickly, not to hunt. I will also admit that these "men" who killed innocent people might very well have purchased guns illegally even if all guns were banned, but if they had to attempt their acts of cowardice with old revolvers bought off the street, I am sure we can all agree that the carnage would have been much, much less, if even at all. It is time to make gun ownership more restrictive. . . and gun owners more responsible.
Black Hats August 11, 2012 at 02:14 PM
our federal government genocide of the American Indian over the years since the founding of our country. most of it done for the growth of businesses to take what we wanted. also to change a weapon from semi auto to fully auto cost only a few hundred dollars if done illegally
Black Hats August 11, 2012 at 02:34 PM
great post, wrong state to do it in. I have had that same 2nd amendment discussion (argument) with many a gun owner (NRA member). look I don't want to stop hunters I prefer they shoot that deer so I don't hit it with my car. and most hunters I talk to agree that they don't need AK-47 or AR 15, so why do we allow them to be sold to the public? a few dollars later they can be fully auto and it can be done illegally. and don't give me that bull about gun collecting for the history, that's for the museums that way we can all enjoy them. not just you sitting in your bomb shelter waiting for the world to go over the edge. heck remember those bank robbers that had that shoot out with the cops. I think all we are asking is DONT MAKE IT SO EASY.
Black Hats August 11, 2012 at 02:41 PM
the key statement you made is legally, you can change them over for a few dollars and the kits are easy to get. you know that......
I'm here August 12, 2012 at 01:22 PM
Ignorance is always bliss.
skinnyDUDE August 12, 2012 at 03:32 PM
You don't need to own a gun Jason . Us law biding citizens will protect the nerds too. Because the person hell bent on killing people doesnt care about the law. That's the entire point. Chicago has all those Laws.....Its the Murder capital of the country. Many will say that it is mainly bad guys killing bad guys. Which has some truth to it . But the plain fact is there will always be bad guys with guns that don't give a rats ass about the law on restricting guns. Once again these shootings when they do ago are certainly unfortunate, but the only real defense to them is Armed force . Whether it was Fort Hood, Colorado batman shooting or the temple. A Legal Conceal Carry resident would of been able to respond to the defense of all. My basic view is I will not trust the criminal to do right by weapons........and the criminals best benefit is to give them a free hand and punish everyone else by not ever having a response. As to specific gun law ideas. Lawmakers currently are not on board in either party in any significant numbers so its irrelevant.
Alfred August 13, 2012 at 04:10 PM
Geldings like Jason should be thanking folks like me for having the courage to conceal carry to protect him and his family.
oak creek resident August 13, 2012 at 06:43 PM
Jason talks alot about ignorance, but his ignorance on guns and their owners is truly frightening.... yet expected for a man who wears women's eyewear.
Alfred August 13, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Hey Jason, Rachel Maddow wants her glasses back.
Greg August 13, 2012 at 07:13 PM
A few facts for consideration: There are almost as many firearms in the U.S. as there are cars. Car Accidents: Kill 260,000 children a year and injure about 10 million children. They are the leading cause of death among children and a leading cause of child disability. Per Jason: "More than 500 children die annually from accidental gunshots" "I have to take a written and a physical test to obtain a driver's license because if used incorrectly an automobile can kill someone - so why not put the same requirements on the ultimate killing machines, guns?" I think Jason and his grandpa have the wrong agenda.
Greg August 13, 2012 at 07:21 PM
I use semi-automatic guns for both hunting and sport shooting. My guns have never killed or injured anyone. Jason, If you don't understand the subject, why do you blog about it? Your emotional stories and unsupported conclusions would be best kept to yourself.
jason pantywaist August 14, 2012 at 02:02 AM
what kind of grown man calls his grandfather, 'grandpa"?
sparky August 14, 2012 at 02:37 AM
I have always hunted with a bolt action, maybe something I learned as a youngster in the Marines, 1 shot 1 kill. If you can't shoot worth a lick, I guess you need a semi auto. Do you guys need a semi auto bow too? Back in the eighties when I bought a mini 14 to play with(take to the range and shoot), it was pretty simple to convert. Never saw the need and it really wasn't a decent hunting rifle so I just kept the weapon around for nostalgic reasons.
Greg August 14, 2012 at 02:54 AM
Try prairie dog shooting at 400 to 800 yards with your bolt action, one shot and you get to spend 5 minutes reacquiring the target. Sparky, I have won my share of shooting competitions and I would be happy to put my money where my mouth is. I'll even use my mini 14.
GearHead August 14, 2012 at 04:18 AM
Stone makes a good point. It's not his place to write hair brained laws because some anti-gun wingnut tells him to! What about tolerance for others Jason? You know, that coexisty stuff? The same coexisting you always expect my side to cave in on? Why not practice what you preach? How refreshing that would be!
sparky August 14, 2012 at 05:43 AM
Is that anything like plinking rats and racoons at the dump with a .22 and a flashlight?
Independent Mind August 14, 2012 at 08:26 PM
It's people like you Mr. Head, not our government, that scare the hell out of me. Your rantings sound like the words of the next Timothy McVeigh.
Dave Koven August 15, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Jason Patzfahl...Excellent article! I couldn't agree with you more. I'd only like to re-emphasize to "dyed in the wool" gun owners: KIDS WILL SNOOP IN YOUR STUFF. They WILL play with whatever they find. "nuf said. I'm not too thrilled with government either, but if they really want to harm the people, I don't think the paltry weapons currently owned by "sportsmen" will scare them off. Responsible gun owners often lose their weapons to burglars who come when they are not home. Finally, the mentally ill will always be around. Often their behavior cannot be predicted. Like it or not, profiling would be a smart thing to consider. When a guy covered in Nazi tattoos comes into a gun shop, the police should be called just to see what can be learned. I don't think you'll find he sang in his church choir. Political correctness CAN be carried too far. As far as gun ownership goes, the "genie is out of the bottle". It's here to stay. Now we have to concentrate on safety for everyone. Maybe the NRA could spend less money on political action, and instead spend it on mental health services for the people that need it. The mentally ill are vastly underserved in this country.
Daniel S. August 25, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Jason writes: "You won't find a gun, real or fake, anywhere in my home." Is the video game system blocked from games that contain weaponry and violence?, how about the home computer system that I imagine the children use? Where do kids get the bright idea that it is okay to SNOOP through things that don't belong to them? Isn't that akin to criminal activity? Is it hereditary or just natural human instinct to seek out that which is not within our reach for whatever reason?


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