No, these are not “our kids,” they are their parents’ kids to protect and raise.

During his gun control press conference today President Obama referenced a few young children who were in the room who had written letters to him concerning violence with guns.

After reading excerpts from their letters and getting them to wave he said,

These are our kids.  This is what they’re thinking about.  And so what we should be thinking about is our responsibility to care for them, and shield them from harm, and give them the tools they need to grow up and do everything that they’re capable of doing — not just to pursue their own dreams, but to help build this country.  This is our first task as a society, keeping our children safe.  This is how we will be judged.  And their voices should compel us to change.

Now, coming from most people and in most settings I would accept these remarks as meaning nothing than the conventional collective responsibility for each others’ safety, “I am my brother’s keeper,” sentiment.

But this President isn’t most people and this press conference was not most settings. This President has followed a vision of government that puts governmental power first and the people second. He has demonstrated a propensity for power grabs that serve a narrow ideology and a cadre of wealthy, elitist supporters rather than advance the good for society. A gun grab is entirely within the vision that this President espouses, and his Alinsky training screams, “never let a crisis go to waste.” Newtown provides the unassailable crisis. Guns are the target. Of course, like his desire for single-payer health care, he won’t go for the whole enchilada at once: that will require a few more crises. But he’s got four more years. This is a great time to start the gun grab, hence today’s executive orders.

Because of that, I say to the President, no, those are not “our kids,” they are their parents’ kids. Their safety is not among my primary concerns, it is among their parents’ primary concerns. Giving those kids the tools they need is not my responsibility, it is their parents’ responsibility. Our first task as society is not “keeping our children safe,” it is protecting everyone’s ability to flourish according to their own effort and industry, it is helping parents accomplish their responsibilities vis-a-vis their children in the ways those parents decide they need help.

We are not a collective where kids, after birth (should they make it that far in Barack Obama’s Planned Parenthood-saturated America), become property of the state on loan, as it were, to the parents to raise so long as the state allows. Most of us recoil at the notion of becoming “Julia.” When kids go to school their primary teachers remain their parents, regardless of what the National Education Association and the Department of Education say. Throughout the day the persons chiefly responsible for the safety of the children remains their mother and father. Should the parents entrust this charge to another they have not thereby relinquished it.

That said, if parents in a local area wish their school to be protected by armed security they should be allowed to have it. If they wish to allow teachers and administrators to be armed, they should have it. If they wish their school to remain unprotected, surrounded by an imaginary “gun-free zone” bubble, that is their prerogative too.

And in the house, if the parents, the husband and father in particular, feel the need to possess firepower they deem necessary, within reason, for the protection of themselves and their children against all intruders civilian—or governmental—that right ought to continue to be protected.

In our Catholic tradition this falls in the vein of Just War Theory. Aggression, including lethal force, is justified in certain circumstances, among them is defense of another, especially those for whom you are responsible.

We believe that the family is the basic unit of society, and all components of society that are composed of families drawn together—a local community, a neighborhood, a town or city, a county, a state, and eventually a nation—are established because of, and must be in support of, the preservation and advancement of that foundational unit.

The government has responsibilities because families have rights to protect and responsibilities to carry out; among them the right to self-defense. Families banded together in a local area will entrust an overarching responsibility for policing to a governmental organization, but they do not thereby relinquish their right and primary responsibility to protect and defend themselves with all proportionate force. Within the family this responsibility of protection falls chiefly on the husband and father.

Woman with an AR-15

This woman has a better chance of surviving a home intrusion than a woman with nothing but a phone.

Governmental action should support, never neuter, a father’s ability to protect his family against those who will not obey silly gun control laws, and who intend also to violate laws against assault, burglary, rape, and perhaps even murder.

Reliance on the police is no answer. A criminal bent on mayhem busting through your window will not pause and wait for you to place a call to 9-1-1 and then wait for the police to arrive before he attacks. A five-minute response time may be four minutes and fifty-nine seconds too long to save your life or your virtue. On the other hand, merely flashing an AR-15 in the assailant’s sight and showing the least ability to use it will adjust his attitude real quickly, and in ways that even a handgun likely would not.

When a government seeks to reduce a husband and father’s ability to protect his family that government is not acting in support of the family, but rather at odds with it. When this happens the government becomes an enemy of the family rather than a friend.

That some people cannot fathom a reason someone else might want or feel that they need such a weapon does not overrule this. Laws ought not be based on “I don’t think you need those, and, frankly, they scare me.” but rather on sound reasoning.

The crazed actions of a few sick young men who did horrible things in a spectacular fashion do not overrule this. Reasonable measures to prevent such people from getting their hands on such weapons can and should be taken (more on that in another post, because I think some of the President’s policy proposals are actually quite sound). But measures are not “reasonable” that would remove these weapons from the hands of the overwhelming majority of persons who are only a danger to those who would do unjust harm.



  • angelccorr

    “This is our first task as a society, keeping our children safe. This is how we will be judged.”

    Yes, we will be judged and being a leader carries a heavier judgement.

    “My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater
    condemnation.” James 3:1.

    For Obama to talk about keeping children safe and then refuses to even save the life of a child born from a botched abortion makes him a complete hypocrite. He is THE abortion president! Yes, we will be judged and our leaders will be judged much more harshly!

  • Pauline Lambert Reynolds

    How Republican you are. Let’s see, have the parents be 1. Two 2. Male and Female 3. Financially comfortable 4. Have been raised right themselves 5. Without any mental illness or addiction. And it will all “trickle down.”

  • Grisha357

    Dear Tom ~ Growing up Catholic is the ’50’s the priests, nuns and my mother ingrained in me that “all children are our children.” There will always be various times, places and cricumstances where the safety of a child must be yours and mine primary concern. This can range from a temporally lost child (My wife and I found one on Thanksgiving) to abusive households where children permanetly can’t remain. As for the lady in the photo, depending on her situation she may need a firearm to protect her home and family. However she almost certainly doesn’t need an AR-15 with a 30 Rd. magazine which, BTW she is using an incorrect position to aim. A revolver or semiauto handgun with a ten rd. magazine a or better yet a 12 or 20 gauge shotgun will not only meet her needs but IMHO would be a better choice. ~ Pax tecum, Greg

    • Tom Crowe

      Greg— Your example of “all children are our children” is what I meant by “most people in most situations” as opposed to “this president and this occasion.” This president does not mean what those priests and nuns meant by that.

      As for what that woman needs for protection, you can have your opinion, and she and I can have ours. As I mentioned, the value is not merely in the amount of lead it can spray and how quickly, but in the psychological effect. A woman brandishing an AR-15 as the intruder enters would be more intimidating to the intruder than the revolver, IMHO. Beyond that, of course, the basis for the Second Amendment is not home protection against armed intruders, but an armed citizenry to deter tyranny. I could have written a book about all the topics I touch on but do not flesh out, but I touch on this when I included the “or governmental” in the list of unjust intruders into the domus. And at root, while a shotgun may in fact be the optimal weapon for home defense, the arguments against AR-15s are mostly based in ignorance and irrational fear, which I touch on in the final two paragraphs.

      Pax tecum

  • Brian Sizemore

    Thank you for this article. I am encouraged that this article brings in cultural marxism’s battle philosophy by conjuring the specter of Saul Alinsky. This stuff needs to come to the forefront. Another interesting thing; is it a child’s natural reaction to reach out to the President when a crisis occurs by writing letters? Perhaps their families claimed powerlessness and pointed the child in that direction? Not likely.

  • Marvin Derks

    So a child is the responsibility of the parents but a fetus is the responsibility of everyone except the woman carrying it. Odd wouldn’t you say?

    • Tom Crowe

      No, not at all. But thank you for bringing up abortion, it is a related topic. The state can legitimately step in if a parent is going to shoot their five year old in the head. Just so, the state ought to prevent mothers from offing her pre-born child also.

      • Marvin Derks

        Considering the fact that there’s no such thing as a ” pre-born child,” your logic falls apart. A fetus is a fetus. A child is a child. If you must make up definitions in order to support your logic, then there is no logic. Its quite simple really. Is a flower seed a flower? Is an acorn an oak tree? Is the grass seed I spread in my yard grass?

        • Joe M

          Is your only defense based on semantics?

          There is no difference that is significant to this discussion between a “fetus” and a “child”. They are both living human beings. That is scientific fact.

          An abortion ends the life of a human being. You calling the human being a fetus does not change this fact.

          • Marvin Derks

            I disagree.

          • Joe M

            You disagree with what? That according to the way that BOTH religion AND science defines life, a fetus is a living human being?

            It seems to me that you are hiding behind a word, hoping that nobody notices that it distinguishes nothing of significance to this debate.

          • Paulspr

            How many times have we hear that marriage = one man and one woman and that we have to protect that definition. Yeah, that’s semantics.

            Stop using your silly excuse for banning gay people from marriage and maybe you’ll have a leg to stand on when others demand that a “fetus” isn’t a “child”

          • Joe M

            People defend the traditional definition of marriage with reasons far beyond semantics. Are you in seriousness claiming that they don’t?

          • Paulspr

            I’ve yet to hear a coherent argument on why the government must ban gay couples from civil marriage and the legal rights associated with it in order to accomplish a valid governmental objective.

            If you have something, perhap you should share it.

          • Joe M

            A) A definition is not a ban. That distinction is very important to this debate.

            B) One example of a non-semantics argument: defining marriage as including gay relationships forces people to recognize marriages in contradiction to their religious beliefs, thus infringing upon religious liberty.

          • Paulspr

            I’ll define the word “citizen” to exclude people that post under the name “joe”. I’m not “banning” you from being a citizen but you won’t have any of the rights that apply to everyone that is allows to be a citizen. That cool with you?

            Yeah, defining people out of the rights is the same thing as banning them. Stop being dishonest.

          • Joe M

            Your theoretical definition does not resemble marriage laws at all. Nobody is excluded by the law.

            All people have equal access to marriage as it is defined by the state. In fact, many people that call themselves gay engage in traditional marriages before or after having gay relationships. This proves that gay people have equal access to that definition of marriage.

            By your “exclusion” logic, me not being able to collect farming subsidies because I don’t fit the definition of farmer, means I am being “banned” from rights that I should have.

          • Paulspr

            Joe, your claim rings hollow. I could not define marriage to b the union of one Protestant woman with another Protestant man while claiming that it somehow does not discriminate against Catholics. Yet you have just as many rights as the Protestants. You can become a Protestant and get married.

            Stop trying to ban other people from getting married and being dishonest about what you are doing. You are purposefully banning them from legal rights in order to harm them because you just don’t like them.

          • Joe M

            Have people who once identified as being gay engaged in traditional marriages? Do you accept that this has happened?

          • Paulspr

            Do you admit that of we banned Catholics from marriage, that some of them would become Protestant in order to participate in marriage? Your point proves nothing except prejudice.

          • Joe M

            My point proves that all people have equal access to state defined marriage. They are also free to engage in marriages that are not defined by the state.

            The law is full of definitions that apply depending on a persons freely chosen actions. If you think this is prejudice by the logic you have given. You must also think that there is prejudice against back-yard gardeners because they don’t get the same subsidies that commercial farmers receive.

          • Greg Smith

            Joe ~ in fact I know a woman who did just that. She still considers herself a lesbian and says “You don’t fall in love with a gender, you fall in love with a person.” Pax, Greg

          • Joe M

            Thank you Greg. I’ve known people who did that as well. It goes to show that gay people do already have equal rights when it comes to marriage.

          • abadilla

            Paul, can you explain what is it that gays have under civil unions that they don’t have with gay marriages? In other words, is there something in civil unions gays can’t have they would be able to have with gay marriages?

          • Paulspr

            Sure. There are thousands of legal rights that are given to “married couples” that are not available to “civil unioned” gay couples. In fact, 1,138 based on a simple Internet search, which indicates that you don’t really care enough about the issue to be concerned enough to type the question into google. Anyway, among those rights are:
            The right to file joint taxes
            The right to social security survivors benefits
            Tax breaks from estate taxes
            The right to sponsor your foreign born spouse for immigration
            The right to refuse to testify against your spouse
            Tax breaks for your family
            And over a thousand other rights that are denied to gay couples when they are banned from marriage

          • abadilla

            Paul, you want to find the worse about people, don’t you? If I didn’t care, I would not have asked you. How about getting off your high moral horse and giving me the benefit of the doubt? Again, I don’t trust the INTERNET for a serious search of issues. I do trust university data bases, and certain organizations which have come out with studies, and the teachings of my Catholic Church.

            If it is true gay people, even with civil unions do not have the right to,

            “The right to file joint taxes
            The right to social security survivors benefits
            Tax breaks from estate taxes
            The right to sponsor your foreign born spouse for immigration
            The right to refuse to testify against your spouse
            Tax breaks for your family.”
            I would say the answer then lies in strenghtening civil unions, not in seeking a marriage which is only between a woman and a man in order to procreate children and build up society.
            Do you honestly believe I and many Catholics also oppose the right to file joint taxes and all the other rights you listed by gay people?

          • abadilla

            Paul, we believe that marriage is between a man and a woman in order for the marriage to be fruitful. Even if we dind’t have a Bible saying to us, “Male and female He created them, the two shall be become one flesh and they must be fruitful and myltiply,” it is a biological fact that we are born of the union between a man and a woman. You have a mom and a dad, and that was possible because of the union of a man and a woman. Since sexual relationships are considered sinful in the Scriptures and we believe Scripture is God’s word, we can not bless what is considered sinful nor do we want to enshrine sin into civil law because we don’t want to change the nature of what marriage is. Am I getting anywhere with you? I’m not asking to believe what I’m saying but to respect a worldview that is very different from what you believe to be true.

          • Tom Crowe

            Threadjack much? You keep beating that one drum. Gay “marriage” isn’t anywhere to be seen, but you wedge it in there.

          • Paulspr

            You’ve written enough anti-gay articles that rely on the same arguments that you decry here that I think it’s a valid point.

          • abadilla

            Paul, it is more than semantics. A man and a woman are complimentary and that’s precisely what allows for that marriage to be fruitful. Where are the “semantics?”

          • Paulspr

            Still waiting for the valid governmental purpose that is accomplished only by a law banning gay people from getting married. Other than making gay people wear a proverbial scarlet letter on their chest, what government interest is served?

            I see none.

          • Joe M

            From earlier in these comments, here is one non-semantics argument that is also of government interest:

            “B) One example of a non-semantics argument: defining marriage as
            including gay relationships forces people to recognize marriages in
            contradiction to their religious beliefs, thus infringing upon religious

          • abadilla

            I already gave you the answer to this question and I’m not about to repeat myself.

            “I see none.”
            You see none because you don’t want to see it, period. The teaching of the Church is very uncomfortable to you, so you pretend you don’t get it, instead of reading the teaching and then deciding you can’t accept it, period. Instead, you come into a Catholic web site and you go on and on with the same subject like the energizer bunny.

          • Marvin Derks

            You calling a fetus a human being doesn’t change the fact either. A human being exists at birth and not before, in my humble opinion.

          • Joe M

            Your opinion is not even based on the meaning of the word “fetus.”

            Merriam-Webster Dictionary: “an unborn or unhatched vertebrate especially after attaining the basic structural plan of its kind; specifically : a developing human from usually two months after conception to birth”

            Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia: “Unborn young of any vertebrate, particularly mammals, after it has acquired its basic form. In humans, this stage begins about eight weeks after conception (see embryo). The fetal stage, marked by increased growth and full development of the organ systems, climaxes in birth (see pregnancy, parturition).
            By the end of the third month, the arms and legs of the human fetus
            begin to move and reflexive movements (such as sucking) begin.”

            As you can see, there is no such thing as a fetus that does not belong to “a kind.” It’s a cat fetus. A whale fetus. Or, a human fetus. Not an anonymous, unassigned-to-a-species fetus.

          • abadilla

            Marvin, but humanity can’t go by “humble opinions,” it has to go by facts and it is a scientific fact a fetus is a stage of development in the womb of the mother. If an infant IS a human being, why do you presume a fetus isn’t when both an infant outside of the womb and a fetus both have a DNA already?

          • Marvin Derks

            We could have this discussion forever and still not agree. The simple fact, in my opinion, is that a woman has the right to determine when she will become a mother, if ever, regardless of whether the fetus is considered a human being or not. Women are born with this right. Taking that right away is a form of slavery and a violation of one of our primary rights as human beings.

        • Luke

          In the biologic, taxonomic, and philosophic sense, the answer to all of your questions is: yes. A flower seed is a flower, an acorn is an oak tree, grass seed is grass. So logically, wouldn’t that make a human fetus a human?

          • Paulspr

            A grass seed is not a blade of grass. An acorn is not a tree. A flower seed is not a flower. This is obvious. A fetus is not a human being. A toenail clippings aren’t a human being either.

          • Luke

            Well, the only truthful thing you said is that last bit about toenail clippings…with the other things, I would be interested in you proving how what I said before is not true.

          • Joe M

            Paulspr. According to your logic, a person might not be a human being if they can also be called “middle-aged”, “tennis player”, “race car driver” or “confused about biology.”

          • angelccorr

            It IS a human toe nail and any other part of a human is a human part. Either we respect human life or we don’t. If we do not respect life, then what do we respect – death? This is the culture of death.

          • abadilla

            Paul, isn’t it rich? You claim we will not see the reasonableness of your position on gay marriage while you twist like a pretzel to try to explain why a human being is not a human being. You talk about human rights for gays, but when it comes to human rights for the unborn, well, they just don’t exist, even Science is wrong.

          • Marvin Derks

            Then I guess I’ve killed a lot of oak trees with my lawn mover.

        • Tom Crowe

          Not sure what your experience with expectant mothers and fathers is, but I’ve known a fair number, and most of them consider the “one in the oven” a child before it is born. Friends who have had miscarriages count the “ones in heaven” as children if you seriously discuss their children with them. “Fetus” is a developmental designation, like “pre-pubescent.” “Child” is a familial designation, like “son” or “daughter.” Of course one can have a “pre-born child.” A man and a woman have conceived, therefore the contents of the womb are an entirely new, complete, human being in a very early stage of development from the first moment of conception. Just as an oak acorn is not called an oak tree until it has sprouted and attained a certain size but is still a complete oak organism, a zygote is a complete human person, as is a fetus.

          • Marvin Derks

            So when I run over an acorn with my lawnmower so that the acorn can’t become an oak tree, have I then killed an oak tree? And if yes, how could I possibly kill an oak tree that never existed?

          • Joe M

            Being a tree and being a seed are two stages during the life of an oak plant. Just like being a fetus and being middle-aged are two stages during the life of a human being.

            If you mow over a seed, you haven’t killed a tree. You have killed an oak. Similarly, if you kill a fetus, you haven’t killed an adult. You have killed a human.

          • Tom Crowe

            You may note if you read more carefully, I said an “acorn” is not yet a “tree,” but is a complete oak organism.

          • Paulspr

            I suspect those are the same people that choose not to have abortions. However many people rightly believe that a fetus is not a child and choose to have abortions. That doesn’t make them bad people or evil or wrong. They just disagree with you.

            If you believe that abortion is immoral, then don’t get one. If you believe that gay marriage is immoral, then don’t get gay married. But leave other people free to live their lives based on their own beliefs, the same as you demand that others allow you to live yours based on your religious beliefs.

            It’s called basic respect for others.

        • Dave Stechschulte

          A fetus is a human being. A child is a human being. That’s just a fact. Your attempt at diminishing the humanity of a fetus through a level of development argument will result in arbitrary standards for allowing the unborn and other human beings to be intentionally killed.

          Just a few….

          “A zygote is the beginning of a new *human being* (i.e., an embryo).”

          Keith L. Moore, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 7th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2003. pp. 16, 2.

          “[The zygote], formed by the union of an oocyte and a sperm, is the beginning of a new human being.”

          Keith L. Moore, Before We Are Born: Essentials of Embryology, 7th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2008. p. 2.

          “It is the penetration of the ovum by a spermatozoan and resultant
          mingling of the nuclear material each brings to the union that
          constitues the culmination of the process of fertilization and marks the
          initiation of the life of a new individual.”

          Clark Edward Corliss, Patten’s Human Embryology: Elements of Clinical Development. New York: McGraw Hill, 1976. p. 30.

          “After fertilization has taken place a new human being has come into
          being. [It] is no longer a matter of taste or opinion…it is plain
          experimental evidence. Each individual has a very neat beginning, at

          Dr. Jerome LeJeune

          Professor of Genetics, University of Descartes
          I am no more prepared to say that these early stages represent an
          incomplete human being than I would be to say that the child prior to
          the dramatic effects of puberty … is not a human being. … I have learned
          from my earliest medical education that human life begins at the time
          of conception.

          Dr. Alfred Bongiovanni, professor of Pediatrics and Obstetrics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine,

        • angelccorr

          You are comparing a fetus to grass? And then you talk about logic! It is interesting that all the people that support abortion are already born!

          • abadilla

            “It is interesting that all the people that support abortion are already born!” Not only that, they were all fetuses too.

          • Marvin Derks

            That’s really deep. Is that a scientific fact or just your opinion? Oops, you don’t believe in opinion. Expressing a personal opinion, for you, is like risking that you might be wrong so you use “scientific fact” and “religious dogma” to back up everything you say. How about offering a personal opinion on some subject, any subject? All you have to do is start your statement with “in my opinion.” It really isn’t as scary as you think.

          • abadilla

            It is both. It is an informed opinion based on scientific fact. I didn’t wake up one morning and decided on my own that a stage of development of a human being somehows robs that human being of its humanity. I didn’t arbitrarily decide when human life begins or when it ends. Even if I were an atheist, I don’t decide that on my own unless I want to be completely irational. That a fetus is a human being growing in the womb of a mother has absolutely nothing to do with religious dogma, so why do you presume my belief that a fetus is a human being is based on any religious dogma? By the way, in this context I use the word “mother” cautiously because the word “mother” implies care, nurturing, protecting, upholding the life within her, etc, and a woman that is willing to murder her own child can’t possibly be a “mother” in the full sense of the meaning of that word. How does a “mother” turn against her own child, her own flesh?
            Opinions are not necessarily objective unless they are informed opinions. Far too many people today think their opinion “is” the truth, when, in fact, it is a distortion of the truth. that is why many of us call this era “the age of moral relativism.”

        • abadilla

          Marvin, we have gone through this before, “A fetus is a fetus.” No, you were once a fetus and Science and I can assure you that is an objective truth. A fetus is a human being in a state of development and if he or she is left alone in the womb to grow, in 9 months the child will be able to be born and we would call the first stage out of the womb an infant. All the word “fetus” means is a state of development of the child and it grows in a womb that supposedly offers protection and nutrition. This is biology 101 and why you don’t admit it is simple. If you did, you would have to abandon the idea that abortion is right.
          I can see you and I disagreeing on a theological position, but it is scary when we begin to disagree on scientifi facts.

    • Paulspr

      We have to “protect marriage” by banning gays from it in order to protect all that innocent children from some unarticulated threat that gay people create, but we shouldn’t be responsible for protecting those same children from being murdered by a crazy man with a semiautomatic weapon. Yeah. That makes sense.

      • Anne

        We should protect them from being murdered by a crazy man with a semiautomatic weapon. By protecting the semiautomatic weapon from the crazy man. NOT by punishing the non-crazy man whose hobby is semiautomatic weapons and would hurt a fly.

        • Paulspr

          Wow Anne, that’s exactly what Obama suggested and what this article is suggesting good “Catholics” should fight against. Careful, someone might mistake you for a liberal!

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