“Packing Heat”

21

September 26, 2010 by Ron Madson

On August 30, 2010, a very disturbed man entered an LDS building and murdered Bishop Clay Sannar.  Hopefully, this tragic and horrific incidence is isolated and will never be repeated.  One never knows.  This incidence spawned a post and commentary on one Mormon blog entitled “Packing Heat’, wherein the opening post argued that we should consider “Packing Heat” when we come to church to prevent such incidences.

At the same time that I was reading Patrick Q. Mason’s Doctoral Dissertation entitled  Sinners in the Hands of an Angry Mob: Violence against Religious outsiders in the US South, 1865-1910. Patrick Mason’s dissertations reviews the persecution and murders of  blacks, Jews, Catholics and Mormons in the south from 1865 through 1910.  About hundred pages chronicles the persecution of the Mormons in the south and in particular the murder of three missionaries and two members (An Elder Standing in once incidence and two Elders and two members at Cane Creek).

And concurrent with reading Patrick Mason’s dissertation, I was reviewing and finishing up a paper that I will be submitting to the “War and Peace Conference” held at Claremont College next spring being sponsored by Richard Bushman and Patrick Mason.   My paper focuses focuses on the Missouri Wars of 1833 and 1838–with the 1833 conflict giving rise to Section 98 of the Doctrine and Covenants and the 1838 conflicts being the test to see if the saints would in fact follow the “immutable covenant” that the Lord gave in that section.   What has captivated my attention is the wide range of reaction by the Mormon saints during the crucible of the Missouri conflicts.

Here is a an extract from my paper followed by a few questions for which I invite comments from the readers of the Mormon Worker blog.  Here is the excerpt:

“The first Bishop of the restored church of Christ was called by revelation on February 4, 1831.  The Lord revealed why Edward Partridge was qualified for that sacred Priesthood trust:  “And this because his heart is pure before me, for he is like unto Nathaneal of old, in whom there is no guile.” Bishop Partridge’s pureness of heart would be tested in a most acute manner just two and half years later.  In July of 1833, Edward Partridge was among the saints in Jackson County, Missouri when angry and violent mobs began forming.  Bishop Partridge in his own words recounts how he and George Simpson were taken from their homes by an armed mob to the public square in Independence and there tarred and feathered. They had reason to believe that they would be put to death.   Confronted with such unprovoked hostility Bishop Partridge recorded the following:

“I told them that the Saints had suffered persecution in all ages of the world; that I had done nothing which ought to offend anyone; that if they abused me, they would abuse an innocent person; that I was willing to suffer for the sake of Christ…

Until I had spoken, I knew not what they intended to do with me, whether to kill me, or whip me, or what else I knew not.  I bore my abuse with so much resignation and meekness, that it appeared to astound the multitude, who permitted me to retire in silence, many looking very solemn, their sympathies having been touched as I thought; and as for myself, I was so filled with the Spirit and love of God, that I had no hatred towards my persecutors or anyone else.” (History of the Church Vol. 1, pg. 391).”

Now, considering Bishop’s Sannar’s murder; the murders such as those chronicled by Patrick Mason if you have taken the time to read his dissertation; the example of Bishop Partridge (not to mention others who emulated his act such as John Whitmer, Isaac Morley, John Corrill to name a few); and considering the reality that we still live in a violent world, I ask (leaving out any church policy issues and/or debate as to 2nd Amendment):

1.   What is your opinion about “packing heat” at church or just in general?

2.   What is your opinion about others coming to church or in general “packing heat.”?

3.    Do you feel that it is safer or less safe to “pack heat” in thwarting violence, ie, is it effectual in stemming violence or do you believe it is more likely to result in more violence?

4.     What is your spiritual framework that governs what you do or not do when it comes to direct and personal violence?

I already have a settled opinion as to how we act as groups and nations, but I am still unresolved as to direct, personal assaults and so I would appreciate any and all opinions.

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21 thoughts on ““Packing Heat”

  1. mormongandhi says:

    Wow, Ron. Thanks for posting this. Do you have a link to the “Packing Heat” post you mention, as I am not familiar with the phrase and need to see it in context before providing a thoughtful reply to some of your questions? I also took notice of the murder of Bishop Sannar, and these violent acts in the Mormon community worries me because violence all too often breads violence. Even the most peaceful of religions in a violent context can contribute to a cycle of interpersonal violence spinning dangerously out of control. What Edward Partridge did in his case was to stop the violence cycle started by his abusers at the root through his nonviolent response. “Nonviolence holds that voluntary suffering can educate and transform (5th Principle of Nonviolence – by Martin Luther King, jr.).

    Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. (Roman 12: 14, 17-21)

    I love this verse, as it really teaches interpersonal nonviolent response and that answering evil with good is the way to go to break thecycle. As a kid, when us brothers would fight, my mother would say: Which one of you will be the greater one?, meaning always: which one of you will be the one to end the fight. The only way to do that was for one of us to stop hitting, kicking or abusing the other. It proved to me at an early point that responding to violence with nonviolence, is indeed responding to evil with good. The story of the above mentioned shooting reminds me of the Amish response to the 2006 school shooting, and the response of the monks to a shooting in Conception Abbey in West Missouri in 2002. President Veazey of the Community of Christ recounts the event in this 2008 Peace Colloquy address: http://www.cofchrist.org/peacecolloquy/2008/SteveVeazeyPC08.asp

  2. mormongandhi says:

    and here’s a quote from Leo Tolstoy’s book “The Kingdom of God is Within You”. I like his allusions to Christ’s ideal and of man’s relation to those teachings.

    “The Christian teaching seems to make life impossible only when people mistake the indication of an ideal for the laying down of a rule. Only then do the principles presented by Christ’s teaching appear to make life impossible. In reality, those principles alone make true life possible and without them it cannot exist. ‘Too much should not be demanded,’ people usually say when discussing the requirements of the Christian teaching. ‘It is an impossible demand that we should not take any care for the future, as is said in the Gospel – though one should not be too careful about it. It won’t do to give away everything to the poor, but one should give a certain definite part’ – and so on”.
    “But to speak like that is the same as to tell a man who is swimming a rapid river and directing his course against the current, that it is impossible to cross the river directing one’s course against the stream, but that to cross it one must swim in the direction of the spot one wishes to reach. In order to reach the place to which he wishes to go, it is necessary for him to direct his course towards a point far higher up. To lower the demands of the ideal, means not only to diminish the possibility of perfection but to make an end of the ideal itself. Only this ideal of complete, infinite perfection acts on men and moves them to action. Moderate perfection has no power to influence men’s souls”. – Leo Tolstoy (The Kingdom of God is Within You, 1893)

  3. Ron Madson says:

    Mormon Ghandhi,

    I really appreciate your voice and contribution in developing a peace narrative within our faith—I am linking your excellent blog to this comment for those that are not familiar with your writings http://mormongandhi.com/ I was not aware of Martin Luther King’s 5th Principle of Non-violence and how voluntary suffering can “educate and transform”–beautiful! Tolstoy is another hero in this cause ad again the quote you gave I had not read before. Finally, the Community of Christ to their credit is leading out in this cause.

    I included the Edward Partridge example, but there are times when Christian submission does not prevent the sword from falling. When I read Patrick Mason’s dissertation, it is interesting to read the details of the Elder Standing’s murder. THe mob clearly had evil intent and clearly their abduction/kidnapping and threatening these Elders was wrong on every level. But I was struck but the fact that his companion Elder Clawson was NOT killed—especially since Elder Clawson was the only witness at the later trial. When they were abducted, the mob held them at gunpoint and they wanted to herd them out of town, put them on a train and send them out of the community (or at least the evidence indicated that that was their intent). Elder Standing had a real raw fear of being whipped and had stated before hand that he would rather die then be whipped. When they were being herded, Elder Clawson had indicated that Elder Standing grabbed one of the guns of these criminals and pointed it at one of them at which time he was shot dead by another. Elder Clawson expected the same fate, but submitted to his execution and they did not harm him but sent him on his way. Interesting. It can be surmised that they did not want to kill them but chase them out because they thought that the Elders were there to steal their woman and enslave them in polygamy. So arguably Elder Standing died because he escalated the conflict—although justified and understandable and the act of the mob was still murder I wonder out loud if trying to “protect” oneself under many such circumstances is self-defeating behavior. Not always, but?? Then at the Cane Massacre apparently the two Elders and two members killed had taken up arms to defend themselves—unsuccessfully. My point? Well, maybe most times our evil assailants did not intend to kill or are on the fence and any provocation pushes them over? So is it best in most cases to treat such assaults with total passivity as Elder Clawson did? I recognize what happened to Bishop Sunnar or in many such incidence that that is not the case—no passivity succeeds.
    I am conflicted personally on this issue but it seems that passivity may EVEN be more effectual in protecting oneself and other in many cases–more often then not.
    And I do appreciate the principles your shared. I share those, but this one area of personal self defense I have not come to a final resolution as to how to approach it?

  4. Robin Payne says:

    Hello again, Ron

    As one of the responders above, I was unfamiliar with the term “packing heat”. Now that I believe I do understand, I have as many questions as opinions.

    Do you “Pack Heat” in your home for your protection or for your family, for both, or not at all? (I don’t think a public response to this one might be advisable)

    How is it different on the personal level as opposed to an institutional level?

    Why should it be different on a national level as opposed to a personal level.

    I have read and reread a number of times, section 98, since you announced your plan to present in March on the topic. You refer to the “immutable covenant”. Is that covenant inclusive of the entire section of the D&C or does it represent one portion of it (in your opinion)? That statement is followed by very clear options that the Lord seems to offer His followers. By reading and rereading, I don’t think that one can make a simple statement as to what the Lord’s solution is to violence. Most anyone who looks at section 98 with mono focus can make a “definitive” statement to suit their purposes. In the end, it seems as the Lord provides a number of solutions that a faithful follower could use and still be found in the grace of Christ. They of course range from total passive response to thumping on thy neighbor after patient enduring and warnings.

    In the end, I feel as though the Lord would be proud of us individually to be long suffering. However, I feel that all acts of violence, either endured personally or collectively as a nation or church, need a response that is tied to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. When the issue is for our collective welfare and protection, we need to appeal to the “Lords command. To me this should be through his appointed spokesman, and not of private interpretation.

    For you, as I have observed in the past that this may be problematic in that to you, living prophets can and do err, (am I wrong?). If this be the case then, for you: How Do We Know When The Lord Commands?

    I believe that some day, when we become more perfected as individuals and as a Church, that all this conversation becomes irrelevant in that He will fight our battles and if we should not be spared, for the Lord’s own knowing, all is well. Until then, to me, it is not carving out of section 98 a single interpretation/solution to an individuals needs, in the presence of threat of violence. I am not saying you have done so, since I have not read but little of your upcoming presentation.

    At the present, I don’t “pack heat”. I don’t intend to until the Lord communicates to me (provided, I can hear) that I should.

    I have often wondered over the months, why do you feel a need to link your anti war sentiments to Church doctrine? Is it not OK for one to renounce war and proclaim peace and at the same time feel the Lord’s approval even though another may feel differently? Do you need to feel estranged from the Lord or His Church for having those feelings?

    For me, it only becomes an issue when someone with these feelings feels the need to justify those thoughts and deep feelings through an appeal to diverse scriptural references and sundry quotes from past and present leaders of the Church or even lay members. I guess it is OK to use those resources, but for some of us an appeal to selective resources begins to pigeon hole the rest of us who read the same scriptures and listen to the same brethren, but hear it some differently. I absolutely give you the right to feel as you do and I admire your noble desire for peace and an aversion to conflict. I some times wonder if you believe that others of us within the Church are entitled to the same feelings, even though we may see things perhaps with a different slant or at best in a broader context of a very complicated issue.

    BTW, I must have repented of my commitment (off line) to not comment.

    My best to you, as always,
    Robin

  5. Tariq says:

    What a sad incident. That must be extremely hard on Bishop Sannar’s family. I don’t know if there are any clear-cut answers as to how to deal with such incidents, but I don’t see how “packing heat” could have prevented this incident, as it seemed to come without warning, according to the news reports I read.

    Back in 1902 a mentally ill man shot the anarchist Voltairine de Cleyre, attempting to kill her, but, while she was severely wounded, she didn’t die. She forgave him at the very first opportunity and refused to press charges against him, arguing that prison was no way to handle someone with mental problems. She also did not resort to “packing heat” after the incident. She moved on in life and lived without fear. The mentally ill man ended up apologizing to her.

    In the anti-anarchist hysteria following the McKinley assassination, U.S. Senator Joseph Hawley boasted that he would pay a thousand dollars to have a shot at an anarchist. Voltairine de Cleyre wrote Senator Hawley a letter saying:

    “You may by merely paying your carfare to my home (address below) shoot at me for nothing. I will not resist. I will stand straight before you at any distance you wish me to, and you may shoot, in the presence of witnesses. Does not your American commercial instinct seize upon this as a bargain? But if payment of the $1,000 is a necessary part of your proposition, then when I have given you the shot, I will give the money to the propaganda of the idea of a free society in which there shall be neither assassins nor presidents, beggars nor senators.”

    Of course Senator Hawley didn’t take her up on the offer. She exposed him for the arrogant coward that he was.

    I only share these stories of Voltairine de Cleyre to show one way someone has dealt with violence and threats. Voltairine de Cleyre was courageous and she refused to be controlled by violence or the threat of violence.

    One isolated incident is no reason to start carrying guns around at church. I am not a pacifist. I believe in the right to bear arms and I believe in a person’s right to self-defense, but something doesn’t sit right with me about supposed disciples of Christ “packing heat” at church.

  6. Ron Madson says:

    Robin,

    Does the statement “immutable covenant” apply to the entire section? That is a very good question and thank you for posing it. Better the question asked now then before really smart people next spring at Claremont. I always assumed it was for purposes of my paper. Hmmm. Well, it appears as a preamble similar to what we see with DC 89 and it “seems” to refer to the commandment that he is about to give. I will have to think about that. We do not have “legislative histories” for the scriptures as we do in the law, but I will have to look up the context again when it was given and if it was given as one distinct revelation and not in parts.

    As to personally packing heat, I do have a shotgun (bought from my heavily armed brother in 1968); a revolver–bought in early 80s when I had someone I was suing threaten to kill client and possibly me—after that became more cautious as to who I would represent; and then I have a Winchester rifle bought about the same time.

    I do NOT have a definitive answer as to personal protection of self and family even though I am resolved as to “group” or national endeavors. I thought I would put this post out there to invite opinions such as yours. thank you.

    I personally am of the opinion (although now intuitively and anecdotally) that “packing heat” probably leads to more violence and risk then not. I would never suggest bringing it to church. Maybe irrational in a sense but there is that great line in Les Miserables when the priest said in reference to vagrants and crazies that might come to his home the following: “Unless God protects a house, they who guard it watch in vain.”

    Then I remember vaguely in For Whom the Bells Toll by Hemingway when the revolutionaries entered a town and then gathered up about 20 “fascists” and intended to kill them by throwing them off the cliff, the townspeople who had never taken life were provoked and after killing two men they MIGHT have stopped having been sickened by the act of killing, but then one of fascist started reviling, swearing and taunting the townspeople and the provocation was such that they then went into a contagion/rage and killed the rest–including the priest. Now I know it is fictional but Hemingway points out what we often observe that total submission seems to subdue the beast/mob whereas reviling or trying to defend often only inflames So I am approaching this personal “packing heat” on a practical level as well as doctrinal/spiritual level.

    The best treatise on this topic is John Yoder’s “What would you do if” and there are some amazing accounts in that book of how pacifism subdued an enemy when confrontation and even self defense would have most likely provoked the violence it sought to eliminate.

    My approach to DC 98 is NOT that is pure pacifism–although an invitation is extended—but rather it is framework that allow us at the minimum deliberation and consideration before reacting. For example, let’s say we believe that North Vietnam attacked us in the Gulf of Tonkin, but then rather then reacting we listen to North Vietnam and they disclaim that as a rogue act and that they wish peace then under DC 98 we must accept their proffer of peace and explanation. Same with WMDs and Iraq. What harm is their to slow down and invite declaration of peace and honor it? DC 98 is IMO a fail safe system to eliminate evil and conspiring men in the last days who might manipulate us with false intelligence or create wars where the other nation is suing for peace.

    anyway, I see no conflict nor seek one with church authorities. I believe we each must seek our own revelation and follow our conscience. I can’t see being asked otherwise. Even during Viet Nam COs were allowed. As now. I think in this forum I will dribble out more of DC 98 in segments during the next few months. I have given this whole war/peace thing somewhat a rest for months but this conference has roped me into this issue again, but still have unresolved questions personally.

    Tariq,

    Thank you for the examples. I am not a PURE pacifist myself. I know there are dozens of variants from “nuclear pacifist” (who can use any arms or strategy but NEVER nuclear) to the Amish pacifist types.

    I agree with you that I really am not convinced that “packing heat’ really works in most cases—maybe in isolated instances but relying on accounts I have read it seems to more then often increase/provoke more violence and collateral damage. Call the police/professionals for sure, but I wonder what would have happened if that certifiably deranged person I was suing had come to our office and I would have drawn a gun? Other then wetting my pants I am not sure what would have happened to myself and others?

    • Robin Payne says:

      Ron,

      If I may . . . a follow up comment or two regarding your original post and your kind response to my own. I don’t think I really very well responded to any of your 4 stated questions, but simply added more thoughts to consider.
      Questions 1-3, “packing heat” at Church meetings is not likely the Lord’s solution, and I will assume it isn’t until he otherwise communicates that to us. Too messy and “packed” with too many issues.
      Question 4, What is your spiritual framework that governs what you do or not do when it comes to direct and personal violence?
      I now believe I understand what my response to violence to myself or family would be. It would essentially be the same response regarding violence to the Church or to a country. The underlying elements of cause are so similar and those aspects of potential resolution so much in common. I find my understanding supported by Section 98 and Alma, chapter 43. The Lord seems to be telling me in both narratives, illustrated responses to violence and then a foil of its relation to individuals and families in the BoM chapter and in section 98 the introduction of nations as a foil to the Lord’s command to individual conflict.
      Section 98 makes this transition from a discussion on the micro level beginning with verse 31 and evolves with commentary on the macro level relating to nations, ending roughly with verse 36. The same appeal to peace is followed by justification. The Lord continues His discourse refocusing upon the individual/family (as I understand it).
      Alma 43 is largely consumed in the ongoing armed conflicts found so often in the Book. However, as a foil to the primary narrative of organized armed conflict, verses 46 and 47 echo some of section 98, and to me hint that we have an obligation from the Lord to “defend your families even unto bloodshed.” One might argue that this statement refers only to larger conflicts. To me, not.
      At any rate, in these two instances I would once more make the ultimate appeal to section 98 verse 33, where the Lord says to all, Hey folks, don’t thump on thy neighbor until I command you. So what does that mean to me? It means something very hard: that being, I need to be in tune at all times, since I don’t always have time to study this out in my mind etc. Don’t know if it caught your attention, that within the first 22 verses (section 98) the Lord invites/commands all to keep His commandments without particular regard to any specific law. Becoming righteous in all ways is the real preamble to this entire issue of dealing with violence on all levels.
      Now, our reference to “immutable covenant” seems at first reading, for me, to refer mostly to the first 3 verses. Looking at it with your perspective, it would be a most fitting preamble to the entire section. (It probably is.) Are not all commandments essentially “covenants” with the Lord in that obedience to any of them provides a blessing?
      I think that sometimes an individual person who may opt to be passive in all cases of violence may perhaps shine in God’s opinion. However, when others, particularly our families depend upon us, the Lord’s expectation may be somewhat different in the context of physical harm or death.
      No, I don’t have a gun to use, but I wouldn’t mind anointing the eyes of an intruder with hornet spray, or using my wife’s bat to make a point might also cross my mind. Heck, who knows what we would do in each situation when violence presents? There are so many variations that would surround any conflict, either on a personal/family level or a nation. Best wishes as you reach your own conclusions,
      Robin

      • Ron Madson says:

        I am still trying to come to some conclusions about preambles/structures of the Doctrine and Covenants? For example, section 89 seems to have a preamble that applies to just that section when it says to the best of my recollection, “Not given by way of commandment..” but essentially a tenet that could be “adapted” on an individual basis. So I wonder some instructions are policy for the time subject to change, some specific to a time and place and others “immutable”??? Not sure? I will say that in comparing DC 89 to 98 that we probably have spiritual dyslexia (having our numbers in reverse) in that we seem to treat the WOW as some hard, fast commandment to extent that worthiness, eternal families, etc. etc. seems to hang on whether I drink the right kind of “hot drink” or not but DC 98 is just window dressing. appreciate the comments. I think I need to prepare a diagram for that section and not just use prose because as you aptly pointed out it does shift from individual to national conflicts and the formula may not be read by all the same way…what I thought was perfectly clear may not be the case

  7. Joseph says:

    I remember being in Salt Lake City sometime mid-90’s or so. Gov. Mike Leavitt (is that how you spell his name?) was signing some legislation on making it easier to “pack” (I don’t think that was the term used, but that’s essentially what it was for). When asked if guns would be allowed in churches, Leavitt responded with something along the lines of: “Yes, we want Utah to be known as a ‘gun’ state.” LDS Church Leadership shortly thereafter responded by stating that Church policy would be that guns are NOT allowed in LDS Churches. So far as I can tell, those “packing” to church, unless their weapon is the Word of God, are in fact going against the last I heard on Church policy. Unfortunately, I don’t have documentation, since this happened so long ago.

    Interestingly enough, I remember that Leavitt recanted after the LDS Church’s announcement, and excluded churches from acceptable places to carry concealed firearms.

    I also am not a strict pacifist, but I have a difficult time understanding violence. I recognize the need for violence in certain situations, but my nature has always been bothered by it. I have of late been trying to get rid of anger, and just let that part of my nature come back, rather than allowing the fact that I live in a violent world get to me.

    I distrust any government trying to disarm its populace, but there are freedoms that are also important to me in the Bill of Rights that tend to get even more neglected. I have had guns lent to me by family, and I know how to shoot one, but I do not currently have any firearms. I’ve just never been able to get comfortable with them.

    Right now I’m just wrestling with the likely violent situation of a mouse having invaded my home. I respect the mouse’s right to live, but I am also concerned about having a healthy place for my children.

    I feel terrible for the Sannar family. They need prayers, and they need support and comfort from their brothers and sisters in the Gospel. But I haven’t read anywhere of his family recommending we “pack heat.” It wouldn’t likely have stopped this event from happening, and would probably have made it worse, with more violence occurring in a church, and with many innocent bystanders present and unnecessarily endangered.

    • Ron Madson says:

      Joseph,

      As best as I can tell Utah law permits the carrying of concealed weapons into LDS chapels UNLESS the church applies for an exemption which the Church has done. This so called “sitting duck” policy has been criticized by members as articulated by this article that I am linking http://sittingduckpolicy.com/2010/lds-church-policy-puts-clergy-congregation-at-risk/

      But I agree with you that I personally do not see how having weapons can effectively curtail such violence as that suffered by Bishop Sunnar. Note that the assailant killed himself and such acts where the person is willing to die himself then how could one effectively prepare for one isolated murder—maybe a mass murder might be different.

      But again, this whole gun culture just seems so idiotic..

  8. mormongandhi says:

    Ok, so now I think I get the “packing heat” expression. For a Norwegian (Northern European) like me, and member of the Green Party (the ecological and nonviolent party of Norway), hearing you guys in a US context talking about bringing guns to church is just out of this world and weird… There is a long way to go, I understand, back to my earlier comments on nonviolence! Europeans really have a hard time understanding this owning a personal gun thing that you guys have going on in the States. Sounds like the Wild West has permeated American culture and made guns acceptable if not (re)commendable. To give you an idea of my reality, see Michael Moore in Norway on this following youtube:

    In principle, we don’t [EVEN] have armed police in the streets!

    • Ron Madson says:

      Wow! What will it take for me and my family to become Norwegian! Sign me up!
      This is very remarkable and yes it is really strange how we have the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world–even China or others that we think are oppressive.
      My son (Josh Madson) and I thought it humorous that the man that killed two people with a chain saw was allowed to use a chain saw in his prison work assignment. Amazing!
      thanks for sharing the you tube clip…..

    • SUNNofaB.C.Rich says:

      Man, Norway sounds like a great place. I bet they just let as many people immigrate there as want to. Oh, wait. No they don’t.

      • Ron Madson says:

        SUNNofaB.C.Rich,

        Touche! I read that Norway has societal concerns about immigration as we do (11.4% of population are now immigrants). But this thread is about another issue, but my comment above invited your well placed retort given this forum. Appreciate your paying attention. I am personally conflicted about immigration issues and believe we need to find some consistent, sane, legal process for all concerned..

  9. mormongandhi says:

    Well, SUNNofaB.C.Rich, you’ve got an entirely fair point. Of course, Michael Moore would present the best sides of Norway (and so would I in the context of a bearing of arms discussion). Strict immigration policies is one of the things I am totally in disagreement with and unfortunately it is becoming an accepted position for the whole political specter in Norway. So my views are part of a small, but vocal minority on that issue. This “peace” that we experience in Norway could be accredited to the homogeneity of our society, and many who are advocating strict policies on immigration want to keep this homogeneity to keep the supposed peace that comes from it.

    another issue that has come up in the media only very recently (and that is more related to this post) is the behavior of Norwegian soldiers who are now serving in Afghanistan. I think that Norway has been “out of the loop” so to speak of the war that we have been engaged in in Afghanistan, and only now reports from the front are causing Norwegians to reconsider whether or not this is what we want as a foreign policy, to have our young kids out there shooting, fighting, swearing and seeking vengeance for their fallen comrades. War is a new thing for Norway, and I am not sure we have a military equipped with the necessary morale to handle the corrupting and damaging effects of dealing with violent armed conflict.

    A friend of mine says that there is no such thing as soldier ethics. Being a soldier is immoral either you are a “goodie” or a “baddie”. Not sure I agree, but I see her point. That’s perhaps why Norwegians in Norway should not be surprised of the kind of reports we are now getting from the front?

    • SUNNofaB.C.Rich says:

      I’m a big fan of the Norwegian black metal scene, so I did some checking into Norway…. I believe military service is mandatory too? In any case I wouldn’t worry too much about the reports from the front in regards to the Norwegian military… I think they’ll probably have less societal impact back home than Varg Vikernes and the like…

  10. Brooks W. Wilson says:

    As a retired Police officer, I can tell you that my observations have been that keeping a gun your in home does not make you safer. I have one but I am under no illusion, it is more for my peace of mind than for my safety. Although I am 100% in favor of the government controlling who has guns and what kind they have, I see no harm in owning hunting rifles (although I am against hunting for pleasure)or home protection weapons.

    But make no mistake, the gun you keep is more dangerous than the rare home marauder. I have taken or reviewed many police reports where guns were stolen in a burglary, a spouse killed the other spouse in a fit of rage or jealousy, or a child accidental shoots him/her self or were used for suicide over, most often, a temporary or overblown crisis. I never read a report where someone successfully thwarted a home intruder. I know it probably happens but my point is that based on my experience, it is rare.

    I grew up around violence, I served in the military (which in itself exposes one to violence) and I was trained to kill; although I never expected to do so. But the thought of bringing a gun, worn for protection, into an LDS church is unfathomable to me and the possession of one by the murdered Bishop would not have saved his life. If one can’t exercise enough faith in God to trust him to protect him or her in the Lord’s house, he/she is in spritual trouble….IMO.

    Don’t pack heat into Church.

    • Ron Madson says:

      Brooks,

      Thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge. What you say rings true. I am persuaded. The Priest in the novel, Les Miserables, has a placard above his door where it says something to the effect that “If God does not protect this home then those that do so do in vain…” —butchered the real quote but you made the point very well. thanks

  11. George III says:

    This is such an American issue. Most of the world — even in dangerous places — would never consider “packing heat” in church. It is absurd and very, very sad.

  12. Beryl Clarke formerly (schleisner) says:

    I’m the one who posted “PACKING HEAT ON ELDER ABUSE” My deceased husband and I suffered on going Elder Abuse by some of his
    family members, and accomplices ,who tried to kill us by toxic, hazardous
    chemicals in our food,medications,clothing,and vehicle. There is no name
    under the sun for these sick criminals who should be locked up for life.
    They are very angry that I was on top of every thing, and is an advocate for Elder Abuse. In May 2012. my deceased husband Step daughter Lynda
    Elise Schleisner was cited in Lemoore Court for Elder Abuse. The Hanford
    Police turned a blind eye to my plea for help. I was refused to be given the
    go ahead to file criminal charges against Lynda Schliesner,and her
    daughter Melissa M.Fee.
    The Obama admistration, The Fbi and others do know about the horror and extent of the abuse. Nine cameras were destroyed,and ADT camera
    was tampered with. I would like to see the Carlos Mestas the Chief of
    Police of Hanford Police Dept step down. If it was his mother,as I told him
    in a letter, he would have the entire Police department looking for the
    criminals. In the USA, it’s a crime to be a black Foreigner, a crime to be
    Elderly and a crime to be in an interachial marriage. It is a shame that
    America is till living in the 1900.
    Every day, I cry my heart out. 2013 I’m planing an Elder Abuse/disabled
    Convention in Washington DC. We the elderly have rights,and many can
    speak up for themselves. I’m appealing to every one to keep an eye on the
    elderly , no matter what color,creed nationality they are. WE ARE ALL GOD’S CHILDREN. I no longer live at that apartment of “HORRORS” I
    continue to write the book “SILENT KILLERS WITH CHEMICALS”. And
    I’M YOUR WOMAN is about to be published. Help the elderly keep a journal,take pictures become a good detective. Keep in touch with me.
    Love and prayers.

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