On Swords and Guns

Premium Membership, The Good Men Project

About JP Rennquist

JP Rennquist works as a toymaker and home visitor with an early childhood education program hlping to educate parents and strengthen families in northeast Minnesota. He lives in Duluth, MN with his family. Follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jprennquist


  1. Kirsten (in MT) says:

    “But, America does need to address the issue of access to weapons.”

    I agree. Women need more access to weapons to level the playing field.

  2. This nation is too stupid to survive!

    I am outraged that MORE little children and teachers have died and not person of power is even considering how to defend them!!!! NO ONE believes that more bureaucratic gun hoops will save anyone! If someone does believe that, they are certifiably nuts! To leave our children with nothing more than to hide under their desk and quiver in hope that a bullet does not find them is a crime against humanity.

    Our nation has turned into such a coward-fest, we won’t even consider our own survival. All we can do is hope the bad man doesn’t come into this classroom.

    If police can be trained to shoot a dog, so can teachers! No? If accountants for the FBI can be trained to shoot a bad guy, so can a school principal.

    My little town of yuppie fktards pay $21,000 per-student in school budget taxation. We can certainly afford staff gun-training or a hired armed guard, but no one in this nation will even consider it.

  3. I PREVENTED AN EVENT LIKE THIS FROM HAPPENING and so can other people. I have a schizophernic brother who wanted to get a gun and spoke of his homicidal fantasies against catholics. I called an emergency meeting with my family and made them PROMISE not to get him a gun (they wanted to surprise him w/ a gun for X-mas!). They said “What could possibly go wrong?” and I told them to stop living in denial. He’s now in a half-way home where they keep him on his meds. The family didn’t want him there. Thankfully, they didn’t get their wish.
    I am so saddened by this and ALL such tragedies. We can all make a change by EDUCATING ourselves about the warning signs of Schizophrenia & homicidal fantasies. There ARE warning signs! 2.2 mil Americans are Schizophenic, which means we all know someone who is. Let’s keep an eye on them and get them on meds/treatment. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schizophrenia

    • @Audra … thanks you for sharing this. I don’t understand why families are in such denial. I don’t see the benefit of denying a mental condition.

  4. I’m afraid trying to ban objects is the wrong way to go here.

    I suppose it’s also futile to link to the various massacres throughout history , though I do intend to point out that this isn’t the worst school massacre: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bath_School_disaster.
    The Bath school disaster involved the use of explosives and left — ahh, heck, I’ll defer to wiki:

    The Bath School disaster is the name given to three bombings in Bath Township, Michigan, on May 18, 1927, which killed 38 elementary school children, two teachers, four other adults and the bomber himself; at least 58 people were injured. Most of the victims were children in the second to sixth grades (7–11 years of age[1]) attending the Bath Consolidated School. Their deaths constitute the deadliest mass murder in a school in U.S. history and the third-deadliest non-military massacre in U.S. history, behind 9/11 and the Oklahoma City bombing.

    Certainly there’s been times in the past when US gun ownership rates were higher than they are now, and yet, while you would hear of the occasional murder of a teacher, you never heard of large massacres involving guns until the Prohibition era. This suggests to me that trying to take on guns to “solve” this problem – as if one could ever truly stop forever rare events like elementary school massacres- is rather futile.

    However we can reduce their incidence with the following three steps:
    A. More coverage for mental health issues. Often, even people who have insurance have trouble getting mental healthy therapy, and most coverage only pays enough to cover the issuance of psychotropic drugs.
    B. Don’t popularize such things in the media as some of the killers do this stuff for attention. That doesn’t mean don’t report it, but it would be nice if news organizations informally decided to report only official statements for the first 5 days after an attack (to allow initial investigations to complete) and voluntarily agreed to publish no books nor do any tv special reports for six months after an attack.
    Of course getting the news media to be this responsible would be a hard battle.
    C. Someone at any large gathering SHOULD be armed. It might be a security guard or a principal, but the someone should be trained and have access to some sort of protective gun or weapon.
    Oh, did I forget the biggest and most effective way to reduce fatalities, esp. firearms fatalities?
    End or at least significantly reform our “War on Drugs”. Most firearms deaths in this country are between criminals killing each other over sex, drugs, or money.

  5. JP Rennquist says:

    I am appreciative of the thoughtful discussion underway here. I’ll share some more personalized comments when I have a chance. (One thing I didn’t share earlier is that I am also a full time grad student and this is finals week.)

  6. JP – thanks for this piece. I believe that the issues involved in the Sandy Hook killings are far more complex than the availability of guns. Mental health, social isolation, bullying, were probably part of the recipe that contributed to this. I also believe that faith matters. We may never know what part faith played in the life of the killer, but I am convinced that what we believe in shapes our lives and our actions. And actions like those of the shooter in Newtown are actions of one who has lost faith – in himself? in life? in hope? in possibility? in relationship? – we won’t likely know. But I don’t believe that someone who still has faith inn something can do something like that. Faith matters.

  7. JP Rennquist says:

    Hi folks, thanks for the thoughtful responses.

    Kirsten and Rob I don’t disagree that someone with a gun could’ve stopped it all from happening, I do think that the deployment of the guns would likely cause more harm than it would ever prevent. And, it might not work, either. In the 2005 school shooting in Red Lake Reservation in Minnesota the shooter killed a police officer (his grandfather, if I recall correctly) and then used the officers weapon to do most of the killing.

    Audra your brave response really impressed me and I am happy to hear that your brother is getting some care. The attitude that someone with mental health problems is just fine and what harm can it do is extremely widespread. Extremely widespread so your family is not rare whatsoever. What is great is that you were able to work though some of the relationship issues and take a stand for your brothers health.

    In my part of the world I am lucky to live in a little city where I can look our my window and see three hospitals. However, it still takes about a year to get in for a first appointment with a psychiatrist. Chemical dependency treatment can work much more quickly but the quality varies. Of course if you are violent or attempt a suicide you can get in right away, but that is too late, isn’t it.? Our mental health system is broken in this country. BROKEN.

    I also think that our relationships with one another are important. One news report about Sandy hook described a place with huge houses and no sidewalks. Where I like there are plenty of sidewalks, but also plenty of isolation. I don’t know a lot of my neighbors names, and some of them come and go so quickly that I wouldn’t have time to really get to know them if I did have the courage to break out of my shell and make a good effort at trying. I’m going to work at it. We all should work at it. Busyness is enough of an epidemic that we don’t have enough time to take care of ourselves, our kids, and we don’t have time to really know other people. Not even our close friends and family as well as maybe we should. Audra, clearly you did know your brother well enough to (possibly) prevent another catastrophe.

    I think I agree with everything that Clarence said. I will add that the shooting outside my own house was a gang/drug related incident according to police investigators. But that was already obvious to me. The drug war is just nuts and it keeps us from working on our real priorities

    Thanks also for your kindness and insights, Roger. I think I agree with you there. My faith teaches that we need a savior but that we have one that we can engage with whenever we need to, too. No one is getting out of here alive, so it is how we live today that reverberates in the afterlife (hey, isn’t that a line in Braveheart or something?) Anyway, my spirituality has made all the difference in my life. But I don’t claim to have the truth cornered, just, for me, that’s the truth.

Speak Your Mind