We all know what happened in Uvalde, Texas on May 24th. 

In response to that abomination a friend posted this Meme on Facebook:

Cain killed Abel with a rock. The Lord didn’t get rid of all the rocks. He blamed Cain, not the rock. We have a sin problem, not a gun problem.

Opinion

Let’s walk through this fallacy.

Firstly, The Bible does not actually identify how Cain killed his brother. If we are going to cite God, then I think it is worth citing Him (or Her) accurately, and not alter the message to fit our human viewpoints.

8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”

“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

10 The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. (Genesis 4:8-10)

The phrase “my brother’s keeper” is understood to mean being responsible for the well-being of others. So let’s look at this from the perspective of the “brother’s keeper.” I am Cain’s friend, or mother, or sibling, and I know Cain has issues — depression, lost his job, broke up, bullied. I see Cain one day and he looks off — angry, detached, violent — and he’s heading for a pile of rocks. I know he could smash someone’s head in or smash his own. Do I let him go get a rock because it’s his right, or do I stop him, so he won’t hurt himself or others? I hope I stop him. That is not to say I intend to pass legislation on confiscating rocks, banning rocks, or outlawing rock purchases.

Subsequently, a while later, when I see him heading for the rock pile again, I notice he’s using the rocks to build something, so I let him grab the rock. The meme is right. It’s not about rocks or guns, it’s about having the ability to intervene so the rocks and guns can’t be used to kill innocent children. It’s about actually being your brother’s keeper.

I am an educator. I have been through Lock Down, Lock Out trainings. I have been shot at with paintballs during an ALICE training. I have barricaded my classroom, used rope to secure a door, hidden in closets, and figured out ways to leave the building in these trainings. I have bought supplies to make my classroom safer with my own money. This is real to me.

I have worked, and still work, with students who have mental health challenges. Years back, I had an elementary school student with the face of an angel. He had the most gorgeous blue eyes, and big dimples. I imagine when he reaches adulthood, he will have the face of a model. But he came from abuse. When he got angry, he would squint down his eyes, and his angelic voice would hiss, “I hate you. I wish you were dead,” and then he would form a gun with his thumb and forefinger and shoot me. He was not kidding. 

I had a high school student who was funny, quirky, and loved to watch YouTube videos on how to do skateboard and parkour moves. He loved G.I. Joe and would dress in anything tactical — gloves, pants, coats — you get the picture. He also had an “imaginary” enemy who told him to do bad things. He once choked himself, and in his mind, the hands were not his, they belonged to his “enemy.” To him, this enemy was real. It is surreal to sit across the table from a 6-foot-tall student telling you what his enemy is up to. I can tell you other stories, but the stories are not the point, it is the students behind the stories. 

I have read files that would make you lose sleep. Abuse you can’t imagine: drug use during pregnancy, sexual abuse and sexual grooming, physical abuse and neglect. You might wonder why I work with these kids. My answer is, most of them have been thrown away — by their schools, their communities and sometimes their families. They are broken in a way that doesn’t get healed. Maybe someone needs to care. Maybe someone needs to listen to their stories. Maybe someone needs to be present. I don’t kid myself; most of these kids are not going to move on to “normal” lives. Between their moments of rage, psychotic breaks and depression — they are just kids, and they are lovable. That doesn’t mean I would give any one of them a gun — EVER.

I know that guns and gun ownership are not inherently bad. I have eaten, and enjoyed elk, antelope and moose harvested by hunters, and was grateful for the meat. 

Many years ago, a Peace Corps friend tasked me with delivering gifts to his identical twin who worked for the ATF since I was going stateside. I met and had dinner with the twin. We discussed guns, and when I asked him if he thought it was a good idea for me (a single woman) to own a gun, he bluntly stated “no one should buy a gun unless they are prepared to kill. That’s what they are for. Don’t disrespect them.” 

I have always remembered that. I don’t own a gun. Not because I am against them. I just don’t want to have to make that choice.

This is my point. Gun ownership is a choice, and a right, but it is also a responsibility. Every responsible gun owner knows they need to lock their weapons up, and handle them safely. As we are a gun owning society, we collectively bear the same responsibility. We must do all we can to keep deadly weapons out of the hands of those prone to abusing them so that innocent lives will not be taken, and responsible gun owners will not be tainted. 

We must stop imbuing guns with the same value as the lives of our children. Are we really suggesting that we should lovingly carry our guns to bed, lay it on a pillow, surround it with stuffed animals and kiss it on the nose, whispering, “One day, you will grow up to be an assault rifle”?

I am not asking for our legislators to deny appropriate gun use. I am asking that they stop choosing guns over children. That they stop choosing the right to bear arms over the right for a student to not go home in a body bag. That they choose the right to go to school safely over the right for one person to kill others. 

This wouldn’t require draconian measures like bans, mass confiscations or registries. The majority of Americans support common-sense regulations like red-flag laws for a reason — they work, and don’t punish responsible ownership. In fact, I would argue that such regulations support it.

The definition of integrity is doing the right thing over doing the easy thing. I wish I could say our legislators will act with integrity, but I am not holding my breath. The blood of the victims of Columbine, Parkland, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, and Uvalde is crying out; perhaps it is time to listen.

Jeanne Raney

Jeanne Raney is a speech language pathologist who has worked in preschool, public school and medical settings working with the special needs population. She has a master’s in communication disorders...

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  1. This article was very good, Being reasonable, should be looked at initially, then respected, then hopefully a ted upon.

  2. Ms. Rainey’s article is superb! Relating history, writings from the Bible, child abuse and neglect hits all the signs of the making of a mass murderer. Preventing more of the same will take major action from the roll our society plays.

  3. Americans owned military weapons, including cannons, when the Bill of Rights was written. The Bill of Rights and an approved Federal Government are one and the same. You cannot have one without the other. The terms of ratification and the Bill of Rights are absolutes. These are rights. Not privileges.
    Liars will say otherwise and must be disregarded as fanatics.
    If leftists want to stop the violence, then the violence will stop.
    You don’t need laws; you need morals and ethics.
    That is what is missing today, as with Cain.

  4. The citizens of all the other countries on earth have mental health issues. They play violent video games in many of these countries. They have less than adequate ability to “red flag” potentially dangerous members of society. Why are mass shootings virtually unheard of in these places?

  5. Several problems arise from any attempt to control assault type weapons, one there millions of them floating around out there so a ban would probably fail. We had this same problem in the 1920s when sub machine guns could be ordered from the sears and robuck catalogue . It was solved by by class III licensing these military weapons could justifiably be moved into that category which would solve this problem without infringing anyones rights.

  6. The banning of high capacity magazines would be a tremendous step forward. These magazines are for war and war only.

  7. “The idea of these high-caliber weapons is of — there’s simply no rational basis for it in terms of thinking about self-protection, hunting. I mean, I just — and remember the Constitution, the Second Amendment was never absolute.”
    —Joe Biden

    “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.” -The Second Amendment, US Constitution.

    “The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes…. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”
    
—Thomas Jefferson

    “If violent crime is to be curbed, it is only the intended victim who can do it. The felon does not fear the police, and he fears neither judge nor jury. Therefore what he must be taught to fear is his victim.”
    — Jeff Cooper

  8. A convenient interpretation of the Bible to apply an activist egalitarian meaning of “brother’s keeper” from a clearly explicit reference by Cain to his actual brother, Abel. An inaccurate and arguably blasphemous reference to God as “Her” (found nowhere in Scripture). The normalization of integrating the dangerously mentally ill with our children. Advocacy for “Red Flag laws” that clearly violate due process rights. Concluded by an insensitive misapplication of provocative “blood” imagery. How is this not simply capitalizing on the tragedy of countless victims and their families for political gain?

  9. To many people, their right to own any weapon they want supercedes my right to live out my natural life. Evidently the issue is black and white to many of these folk. I belong to a gun forum, and in various threads about “gun grabbers” I have mentioned that Obama didn’t confiscate guns, Biden hasn’t confiscated guns. Every time the gun totin fanatics pile on me and shout me down. Instead of manly men, it appears they are scared of the dark and can’t imagine living without their trusty guns to keep them safe from boogy men and evil doers.

  10. Proof that it’s time to stop Liberal academics from coddling and enabling dangerous psychopaths in our classrooms. Leave the mental health decisions and diagnoses to competent board certified mental health professionals who are willing to place them them in secure facilities when appropriate.

  11. As for “fallacies”, nowhere in the Bible is God referred to as “she”; and the the second Amendment is clear, “shall not be infringed” (Supreme Court dismissed the “militia” argument in Heller case).

    The consequences of the deinstitutionalization of dangerous and criminally insane people should not be used as a tool to subvert the Constitution. In every case of school mass murder cited (“Columbine, Parkland, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, and Uvalde”), the killers were known to be dangerously mentally ill, or a criminal threat, yet were still integrated with “normal” students. We are provided here with examples of “educators” complicit in such dangerous school policies. These same career academics now want to lecture real-world, law abiding citizens on “common sense”.

  12. A SAD day, I think” our young are so caught up in the bad, that they just bust some days, I never understand, Every new cast on these tragedies, starts the program with the destruction of the twin towers, That was a bad day, BUT, have quit letting these people in to our country, No we house them feed them, give them money, The answer is Stay were your at, we do not need you.Lets see how meany we remove, send them home. Thank You.

    1. Are you on something? What does the twin towers and immigration have to do with the school shootings and assault style weapons?

    2. So, Elwood, in my opinion, your comment does more than “hint” at xenophobic tendencies. Should that then have you “red flagged” preventing firearm purchases? Would words such as this be sufficient to red flag anyone? Is the threshold for red flag one posting/public comment? Several? Many? Whose opinion matters in such actions? The questions surrounding firearm restrictions related to just mental health is enough to keep politicians busy for decades!

  13. Two responses here are interesting but not unexpected. The author said this, “This wouldn’t require draconian measures like bans, mass confiscations or registries.” Yet rather than discuss what she did say, responses immediately jumped to statements about disarming gun owners. Why not address what she did propose?

  14. Those who cite the Second Amendment, 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,” ALWAYS and again, ALWAYS, emphasize the words, “keep and bear Arms.” Yet, like those who cherry pick the Bible for their own purposes, they skip right over the words, “well regulated.” Or they bastardize the intent of “well regulated” to mean everyone is to be fully armed at all time.

    Maybe they’re ignorant that the Founding Fathers were referring to the armament of that time – the so called Brown Bess, a 10 pound, muzzle loading, smooth bore flintlock. It required the user to bite off the end of a paper cartridge containing powder and a ball, pour the powder into a priming plan, ram the ball into the muzzle, press the trigger and hopefully the flint created a spark which ignited the powder and ejected the ball. The most experienced soldiers could fire three, yes, that’s a total of three (3), shots in one minute. The writers of the Constitution could NEVER have imagined the invention and use of today’s assault rifles to mow down citizens.

    So back to “well regulated.” Who is regulating the men, mostly young, who continue to shoot innocent victims? Who is supervising their use of firearms? Who is controlling their understanding that guns are a poor method of handling disputes? Apparently no one.

    Speaking up for gun management is being an Originalist, asking for a return to the initial intent of the second amendment, which was to allow colonists coordinated by a recognized authority to use a weapon OF THAT ERA to fight off foreign nations, not to slaughter villagers going about their daily lives.

    We must return to the concept of arms use as a trained, organized, communal act of fellowship to protect our nation’s ideals. Or we can continue, to cherry pick and edit the words of Jesus in Matthew, chapter 26, verse 52, to “…live by the gun, … die by the gun.”

    1. Thank you. Your comment resonates with most people.

      I would assume that most of the people that are of the “pry my gun from my cold dead fingers” variety are also the pro-birth supporters as well. If they were really “pro-life” as claimed, they would understand changes are needed.

      Uvalde is already being blamed on mental illness and not the fact that a mentally ill 18 year old was able to legally purchase an AR. If the fringe repubs truly believed that it was only mental illness that caused Uvalde, why aren’t they for a universal health care? If mental health professionals were available to more people, perhaps this, or others mass shootings, could be avoided.

      They claim universal health care is government over reach. But, forcing a birth on women who are carrying an unwanted pregnancy ISN’T government over reach.

      Perhaps the right wing fringe is just trying to replenish the children that are killed in school shootings because of their inaction on common sense gun laws?

  15. You refer to all of these children that suffer from mental illness but you don’t offer any suggestions for dealing with it. I guess you want to be the lone ranger! Just add some more gun laws that have already been proven beyond a doubt that they don’t work! So you went to teacher boot camp and suffered through all of those terrible drills !!!
    Some of us went to war, Yes real war. We did that to protect the freedom’s granted to law abiding citizens of the USA. Let’s have big tech use their fancy algorithms to seek and identify mental illness and dangerous behavior. That’s pretty “red flag”! It might even have some social redeeming value!
    Semper Fi
    Gary West

  16. Thank You Jeanne, Very well done. As much as I understand your trying to bring this down to a level a level of morality a “God Fearin” individual might be able assimilate, alas there seems to be little hope. Those that are poorly educated and self indulgent that prioritize their lethal toys above the lives of others, will still use the ridiculous argument that they must have guns to protect themselves from the black unmarked helicopters will come in the night to take them away.

  17. I once heard the phrase “when seconds count, police are only minutes away.” In the case of Uvalde make that closer to 45 minutes away. Reportedly, Fentanyl kills 100,000 Americans each year, yet If we can’t (or won’t) stop deadly illegal drugs how are we ever going to stop illegal guns? I think most liberals understand this, yet they are anxious to disarm the law abiding well knowing this will have little impact on saving lives. To them, school shootings are an opportunity to achieve political goals. If liberals are genuinely concerned about securing schools then spend some money making schools safer. Train and qualify interested teachers to be armed first responders in the case of a shooter gaining access to a school. And compensate those teachers for taking on the extra responsibility and training. Lock and secure all doors, all the time. Give teachers a way to lock their rooms instantly. Stop making schools easy, soft, targets for evil people to exploit. If the federal government has 50 billion dollars to send to Ukraine, certainly we can find a fraction of that to protect our schools. And we can do it without denying the law abiding their most basic right….the right to protect themselves and their loved ones. This is a chance for liberals to show they are more interested in protecting children, than disarming law abiding Americans. Let’s see what they choose.

    1. Hello
      Where in the world in your “Liberals want to take away guns from law abiding citizens ” fit into your bizarre logic here.. never has there been any proposal to take guns away from those people…. gun ownership comes with responsibilities and with that in mind.. like drivers license competency, drinking and driving and multitudes of other “restrictions to freedom” (ha) so lets get real here and work to clean up our monthly “tears and prayers” doggerel and get something done about big magazines and assault type weaponry..for heck sakes we afford our game in this states better safety and chances than letting those mega weapons end up with nut jobs..

      1. WHAT WAS THE FEDERAL ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN?
        Details: The assault weapons ban was passed in 1994 after a series of shootings in Stockton, California, and on 101 California Street in 1993.

        Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) authored the original version of the bill, which passed the Senate in 1993 and was signed into law by then-President Clinton in 1994.
        It was passed with a 10-year “sunset provision” in place, meaning it would automatically expire in 2004 unless it was renewed with another vote.
        The ban called for a federal criminal code “to prohibit the manufacture, transfer, or possession of a semiautomatic assault weapon.”
        It included more than a dozen specific firearms and guns with certain features.
        The law also banned “transfer or possession” of large-capacity ammunition devices that could carry more than 10 bullets.
        Yes, but: Many of the guns were still sold legally “because there are so many modifications that can be made on weapons and the fact that it did not outright ban all semiautomatic weapons,” per ABC News.
        Research of the effects this Act found that due to the many loopholes in the law it didn’t significantly decrease assault rifle related deaths but did decrease semi-automatic pistol deaths. Any new legislation would certainly need to address, and not repeat those loopholes.

      2. Liberal politicians quotes on guns.
        “Hell yes we’re going to take away your AR 15″……Beto O’Rourke—
        “I don’t believe people should be able to own guns”……Barak Obama—
        “If I could have gotten an outright ban, America turn in your guns, I would have….Sen. Diane Feinstein— The problem today, as in the past, is politicians who won’t be honest and tell you what they really intend.

    2. The non-sensical chrump fringe don’t even trust teachers to teach the curriculum. Now you are expecting teachers, whose budgets have been decimated by repub state legislation, to take on the role of armed security as well? That’s hilarious.

      You all claim teachers are trying to indoctrinate kids through the imaginary CRT and books you don’t agree with. Now you want them to volunteer to be the protectors of schools? What bizarro world are you coming from?

  18. But, as modern history has shown us (the 20th century), a disarmed society is ripe for tyrants, fascists, etc, to enslave said society.
    And, if you trust our current government…………….

    Hmmmm, think I’ll vote for our rights.

  19. I have a better means of citing Biblical parables from 5,000 years ago to overlay on the gurrent Gun Violence debate in Wyoming and elsewhere , to wit ”
    ” A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear the Jawbones of Asses, shall not be infringed.”
    – because we know from scripture with as much certainty as can be assigned that Samson did in fact kill over a thousand Phillistines using the lower mandible of a Donkey .
    So all you modern day Samsons who are card carrying members of the NRA take note. It’s not the means, it’s the end result. What has the NRA and the rest of the fervant gun lobby done recently to mitigate mass shootings to allay the body count as the corpses pile up ? Not much… certainly not in Wyoming. The equine mandible AND the AR-15 are in your court…

      1. true this what a bunch of blind people .. claiming that Jesus would have been packing

    1. Dewey Vanderhoff, two comments: my now deceased brother-in-law, had a federal license to sell firearms. When I asked him if he belonged to the NRA he replied “No, because all they ever do is ask for more and more money”.
      I once told my police officer son, if the NRA doesn’t come up with a better solution to stop the killing of people’s kids, society will eventually demand restrictions that the NRA will hate.