The Cowboy Fantasy of a ‘Good Guy With a Gun’

Reality isn’t very sexy.

Most our lives don’t look much like the movies.

We are usually buried in routine and ordinary and unremarkable.

We often spend the lion’s share of our days feeling microscopically small, and dream of being the towering characters we see on the big screen, if only for one glorious moment.

Enter the seductive cowboy fantasy of “the good guy with a gun.”

It’s the deadly lie that men have been led to believe; that the world is in grave danger, and that we’re all poised to be the steel-jawed hero—riding in, packing heat, and saving the day by gunning down the bad guys and getting the girl.

It is the perpetuation of a dangerously antiquated gender trope, where men all want to save and women all just want to be saved; that misogynistic myth sold by Hollywood, Republicans, and Bible Belt Evangelicals. This fantasy is incredibly persuasive and undeniably effective—but it is not reality. 

The National Rifle Association nurtures and exploits this same sick celluloid dream the in the minds of men; thereby manufacturing the very horror that these “good guys” imagine themselves rescuing people from. The NRA creates the deadly demand and simultaneously generates the violent supply. They flood the world with guns to then necessitate the need for gunslingers. They generate an endless, self-replicating revenue stream—and more and more people die long before they should.

In real life, the cowboys and their guns are useless.

As we saw with the horror in Las Vegas, mass shootings are usually absolute chaos, with factual information difficult to get in the moment and the actual threat virtually impossible to ascertain—not to mention the complication of law enforcement walking into greater confusion with multiple shooters. These massacres rarely provide the advanced warning of a clear threat and the benefit of time and precisely controlled circumstances that the cowboy fantasy requires. Unhinged terrorists with automatic weapons seldom give such consideration: one second you’re singing a country song with a blissful crowd, the next second your chest cavity is invaded.

The “good guy with a gun” myth revolves around a scene in the heads of the gun owner, of some perfectly played out, magical movie moment that allows them to be the hero, unscathed and without human collateral damage—when in reality such circumstances rarely, if ever present themselves.

That hero myth becomes more important and more real to these would-be cowboys, than the very high likelihood that when all hell breaks loose (like it did in a field in Las Vegas), far more people will be endangered by a civilian with a gun than saved by them.

This lie is what the NRA, FoxNews, and the GOP leverages, and it’s why lots of people will keep dying; why elementary school kids will continue be blown apart, music fans again will be riddled with bullets, and churchgoers’ bodies once more ripped to pieces: because men are taught to be cowboys—and because life is not a movie.

The saddest truth of the cowboy fantasy, is that everyone believes they’re the hero.

Every single person who ever indiscriminately gunned down a group of strangers in cold blood—either through anger or mental illness or a fictional story they told themselves—believed himself in that horrible moment to be a good guy with a gun. As they squeezed the trigger, they all imagined their cause righteous, their rage merited, and their execution of others justified. As they sent rounds of bullets into scores of people, each of them was certain that they wore the white hat while they did.

That’s the rub here: that every villain is a hero in his own head, and lots of small, insecure men want to feel big—which is why the blood of thousands of Americans will continue to be spilled every year, and why the NRA and the GOP will joyfully swim around in it.

They are the producers of the grisly cowboy fantasy.
They compose the narrative, they profit from the plot—and the good guys with guns all dying to be cowboys will continue to gladly generate sequels for them.

I’ve had it with the myth of heroic men, saving women from the bad guy.

I prefer that we save humanity from the deadly cowboy fantasy—by not giving it ammunition of any kind.



53 thoughts on “The Cowboy Fantasy of a ‘Good Guy With a Gun’

  1. You don’t want anyone to have guns except the State?

    What about those who live in rural areas who might need to defend themselves? Or the woman who needs a gun to protect herself from a dangerous ex husband?

    • I read John Pavlovitz everyday and he speaks my mind on every occasion. I have not commented in a while, until today. I can see that Joe Catholic and *Dave* are still contributing their completely lovely and oh so intelligent comments to impress the masses. To quote JK Rowling “you have tiny bigoted minds inside thick sloping skulls”. If you don’t agree with JP and the vast majority of us who do agree with him, why don’t you mosey on over to some alt- right, pin-headed, dumb as shit website where you will fit right in? You are impressing no one, well maybe each other.

  2. “The best thing for a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

    ~ Said every NRA-obsessed moron who ever dreamed of packing heat.

    • If only some “NRA-obsessed moron” had some guns in 1938 Germany or when those black slave traders rounded up blacks hundreds of years ago.

      • “If only some ‘NRA-obsessed moron’ had some guns in 1938 Germany or when those black slave traders rounded up blacks hundreds of years ago.”

        Said the idiot who seems unaware that the US had a fully functioning armed forces in 1938 (problem was the US was pacifist and the POTUS at the time could not convince Congress to declare war on Der Fuehrer). And the slave traders had guns of their own; such guns as they had at the time were puny one-shot things and any potential opponents would have been hopelessly unable to mount any sort of a fight.


  3. John again, thank you for your insight and your willingness to be open and honest about the horror that is American guns. Your voice is so needed by the world. Please do not stop standing up for what is right and good. Can’t wait for your book to be delivered to my Kindle!!

  4. Some of those band members were gun owners . . . but the guns were on the bus and they couldn’t get to the bus!
    And, if you were in the crown and had a gun – if you had tried to use it, you might have been shot by the police because they might have thought you were the shooter.

    • Kathy, let’s think a minute about your concept of the band members being able to come to the rescue if they only could have gotten their guns from the bus:
      Shooter is in a 32nd floor hotel room across the street. At least 400 feet up and a good distance away. The average person is accurate to about 25 feet with a handgun, and that’s not under circumstances of extreme anxiety. You would have to agree that being shot at by a sniper with what appeared to be a machine gun could be classified as “extreme anxiety”, no?
      So, unless some of those band members were trained snipers and had their sniper rifles with them, a spotter, and time to set up and find their target before engaging him. I seriously doubt that any of them would have been much help, more likely they would do more harm than any possible good.
      Once again, this points out perfectly that the fantasy of the “good guy with a gun” is just that, a fantasy.

      • Absolutely correct. More likely than not, if they had seen him in those two 32 story windows and had started shooting, many of their shots would have hit innocent hotel occupants in their rooms nearby.

  5. Unfortunately, too many members of law enforcement share the “good guy with a gun” mentality– and too many juries buy into it as well. I only pray that our lawmakers see the horrific consequences of these shootings, and FINALLY take action to make them less likely.

  6. There was a time when the NRA said “teach your children about guns before television does.” That slogan seems to have been replaced by their television inspired references to good guys and bed guys. Call my cynical, but I suspect its because the latter slogan sells more guns.

  7. I am tired of hearing the “good guy with a gun” fantasy. I’m a gun owner and I believe in concealed carry laws but the idea of being able to carry in a public or private gathering is absurd. Once a gunshot is heard all Hell would break loose as all the “John Waynes and Dirty Harrys” started shooting at whoever they THINK was the shooter. It would be a shitstorm of the highest order and dozens more would be wounded or killed. Then security or the cops would shoot your ass. Anyone with half a lick of common sense knows I’m right. If you’re that “brave” lay down on top of the nearest person and protect them with your body. Jesus gave His life for us now take your turn. Put your money where your mouths are for a change. Betcha can’t do it. There I’ve said my piece and if I’ve raised some self righteous hackles well that’s just too bad.

  8. Your level of hypocrisy, and degree of ignorance, is stunning.

    “It is the perpetuation of a dangerously antiquated gender trope, where men all want to save and women all just want to be saved; that misogynistic myth sold by Hollywood, Republicans,”

    Hollywood is predominantly politically left-leaning, and decidedly not Republican.

    “far more people will be endangered by a civilian with a gun than saved by them.”

    It’s really a shame that FBI statistics suggest you’re almost entirely wrong.

    “These massacres rarely provide the advanced warning of a clear threat and the benefit of time and precisely controlled circumstances that the cowboy fantasy requires”

    I strongly encourage you to explore use-of-force training. If you don’t find out just how ridiculously wrong your statement is, then you probably aren’t approaching the training with a curious mind, and/or one ready to learn.

    “That’s the rub here: that every villain is a hero in his own head,”

    Except, there is zero psychological basis for this – and in fact, many studies suggest the complete opposite.

    It’s a cute little piece you’ve written; a shame you’ve based it all on emotion with little or no factual basis.

    Try harder next time, bub, and maybe talk to BOTH sides of the topic, rather than assuming one is right and the other is wrong. If you can handle the cold, hard truth: That kind of dualistic thinking is, in fact, the problem. Not the gun, not the NRA, not the GOP. It is, coincidentally, also what Hollywood continues to peddle. It’s the mindset that people such as yourself unwittingly buy into – good/bad, right/wrong, etc etc ad nauseum.

    When you recognize the world isn’t a binary solution set, then you’ll be ready to REALLY start looking at the problem. Not immediately come up with a knee-jerk solution like “ban guns” or “ban ammunition” – just start looking at the problem, with an eye to understanding it.

    Until you understand the problem, your proposed solutions are worse than meaningless.

    Or, as I’ve taken to saying in social media forums: “I have an idea! Let’s just pass a law that makes murder illegal! That’ll solve it!”

  9. In the Klamath shootings there was a highly trained military ARMED man sitting in a class, but he did NOT draw his gun. He was concerned that in the craziness people might think he was the shooter. This was a highly trained decorated man. He knows that these things in crowds is not easy to do…

  10. This is an article that should be mailed or read to EVERY GOP senator and representative. These deniers of what guns do need to have their faces rubbed in the guts and blood of what their political views and money hungry votes result in.

  11. Thanks, John, you said it so well. I deeply appreciate Canada’s gun laws. I feel much safer in my country than I do when vacationing in the states. I think everyone who is concerned needs to post the pictures and names of every senator that supports the NRA and STOP voting for them. Its the only way to get your message out there. To get the right message out there.

  12. Could you be a little specific about your solution? All guns from all citizens should be confiscated by the government? No more using guns as self defense or for hunting? What about the fact that crooks and bad people are unlikely to give up their guns. So we’re then left with unarmed law-abiding citizens, and well-armed miscreants.

    What happened is a horrible tragedy of course. But national reporting tends to blow things way out of proportion. Imagine if all traffic fatalities made the national news. There would be wall-to-wall carnage reported every day, dwarfing deaths by gun murder, and we might be inclined to see the automobile as a killing machine.

    The fact is that what happened is very rare. Just as it is EXTREMELY RARE that an innocent black person is unjustly killed by a white policeman, yet those rare exceptions will be exploited for political gain or because of ignorance, as if they are commonplace.

    Anyway, let’s see your plan. I have an open mind.

    • “Extremely rare that an innocent black person is unjustly killed by a white policeman”? Have you been watching the nightly news for the last 3 or 4 years now, Joe? It happens just about every damn day! And we only hear about the high-profile ones in big cities. How many happen in small cities that the MSM doesn’t find interesting? They’re commonplace, all right. Why do you think black athletes are protesting? What do you think all the marches are about? Oh, that’s right – athletes are protesting the flag, God, America and apple pie. And the millions of protesters in the streets just don’t have anything else to occupy themselves with. Silly me for thinking it all has any basis in fact.

    • His plan is to call gun owners bad people because they don’t believe that more ineffective gun laws will decrease gun violence. That’s pretty much it.

    • Car crashes were top-of-fold national news when fast cars and highways first came upon the scene. Those news stories are one big reason why we have seat belts and safety regs. Americans saw the photos, freaked out and took action.

  13. “Every single man who ever indiscriminately gunned down a group of strangers in cold blood… believed himself in that horrible moment to be a good guy with a gun.”

    All the good guys think they’re the guys in the white hat? I’m not sure that’s true. While I agree with the essence of this post, the above statement assumes no evil intent. I think evil, the shadow-self, is real and active in some of the perpetrators of these evil acts.

  14. Republicans:

    When will this “party of family values”, these righteous saviors of the unborn, the ones who show such contempt in speaking of black people killing black people stop giving us the “shit happens” shrug each and every time this carnage keeps repeating itself over and over and over again?

    How spineless can you be under the thumb of the NRA/Weapon Manufacturers? How much do they own you body and soul? The NRA/Weapon Manufacturer’s concern for your rights begins and ends with their ability to sell you more guns. Nothing more.

    Why in the world does an average Joe/Josephine need an automatic weapon? You are not a boots on the ground soldier under attack 24/7. You wake up each morning in your own bed, you go to work, you come home to your family. There is no comparison.

    An automatic weapon’s sole purpose is to kill as many as possible in the shortest amount of time.

    Please do something to make this stop and stop making it worse. If Republicans pass the legalization of the silencer they will finally be showing the world their utter disregard for life – everyone’s life, no matter how many empty words they use. They should therefore be held responsible – each and every one of them – not the taxpayers – the individuals who vote to pass this law. They should each be considered to be aiding and abetting mass murder.

    Between 2012 to 2014 an average of 19 children under the age of 18 were shot every day in a year’s time – this includes 3.5 children killed by guns every single day.

    In 2016 – 63 toddlers picked up a gun and pulled the trigger. The youngest victim was 13 months old. 111 kids under the age of seven shot themselves or someone else.

    Stop pretending you care about the born as much as you care about the unborn. If you cannot we can only assume your preoccupation with abortion is just a way to demonize women and that you only care about having power over every woman’s body.

  15. My political stand is we need something to do the job the NRA has forgotten to do; one that is actually concerned about the dangers and misuse of firearms. When I was a kid, about 58 years ago, I couldn’t wait to get my NRA gun safety permit so I could hunt with my dad and carry my 30-30 Winchester. (I still have that permit!!) We changed the cigarette culture in this country with a campaign of videos, television commercials, and advertising educating young people about the dangers of smoking. We need a movement that will do the same for firearms. We need advertising, classes for people who want to own a firearm; instructions on how to handle them, studies that show how we glorify violence that does not solve problems, etc.

    So often all we have for our society is to “ban guns”. Of course that looses us the support we really need, from responsible and reasonable gun owners. (By the way, I own many firearms.) Many of those people have a great respect for firearms. Most are appalled by mass shootings or “accidental” (read negligent) discharges as we are. We will really make progress in our culture when we have the responsible gun owners convinced we are working WITH them to put firearms back into the place where it is culturally irresponsible for someone to think they can use a firearm to solve their emotional needs and problems or treat a firearm carelessly. THE PROBLEM IS NOT SIMPLY “GUNS”. The 2nd Amendment people are right about that. It is the acceptance of the gun by our society as a common and easy answer present in society. Remember when it was just fine for someone to light up a cigarette next to you on a plane or in a restaurant?? Then, there were non-smoking sections in restaurants and planes. Now that behavior is unthinkable in most places. (Oh there are still some people angry about that, but it is changing.) The new movement should have a whole “arsenal” (sorry, I couldn’t pass up the pun) of ads and videos that should say, “This is a gun!! It is not a toy!! You are not living in a movie! This is how you should approach it!!” Etc. When I was a kid, the railroad seemed to lose a lot of blasting caps. I remember posters and ads and PSA’s in movie houses that instructed kids to “BEWARE! This is a blasting cap. If you find one of these, don’t pick it up. Call a policeman.” That is the direction we need to go to change attitudes about fire arms. And we can get many firearm owners to go along with us!

    I would also add that we need a new set of laws that says that THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS AN ACCIDENTAL DISCHARGE. THERE IS ONLY FIREARM NEGLIGENCE! If a firearm goes off while cleaning, dropping, being found by a child, or someone is hit by a bullet, NEGLIGENCE is the deciding factor in EVERY CASE!!! As long as we call it an accident, it tells us that it is just some undecided factor. NEGLIGENCE says that someone did not take the precautions that they need to in dealing with a fire arm. They did not treat a firearm in a safe manner. This is a machine that can maim or kill you. It must be handled, carried and stored with a high degree of caution and respect. To fail to do so or take it for granted is stupid, careless, and reckless and makes the person who does so uncaring of his family and neighbors.

    THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS AN ACCIDENTAL DISCHARGE!!! I don’t have all the answers so someone else can propose responses to these. But, there is #1. Negligence where there is no harm and no serious property damage. #2. Negligence where there is some harm to a person or serious property damage. #3. Negligence where there is serious harm or death to a person, (including the owner of the firearm) or serious property damage. Guns do not kill people: Negligent people treating guns without proper respect or acting like idiots kill people. We may not be able to enact laws or change the Constitution or even root out the crazies, and we will have more mass shootings and heartbreak ahead, but we can start by getting Americans working to make every person understand that a fire arm is not an answer to a problem, an angry expression nor a toy.

    • Jon – the problem right now is there is NO group as far as I can tell that works to both support gun rights where necessary, but ALSO actively works to support GOOD legislation. ALL gun rights groups do only one thing, fight to stop ANY and ALL gun laws. Period. Many owners even will talk about the NRA not being strong enough in this area, and support other, even further right gun rights groups like Gun Owners of America. There simply is no group, certainly none that has any visibility politically, that gun owners that would LIKE to see reasonable restrictions like universal background checks can even support. Many cannot belong to local gun clubs because they often require NRA memberships. Ultimately this issue is ONLY going to be solved when gun owners start agreeing amongst themselves that fighting against any and all gun control legislation is hurting the entire country, themselves included, and start forming political action groups that will fight for laws that we ALL can support.

  16. The survivors of the VA Tech massacre are thankful for the good guy with a gun who stopped the psycho killer with guns. The survivors of the church shooting in Tennessee are thankful for the good guy with a gun who stopped the madman with a gun. And that’s just two off the top of my head. I’m sure your expertise in psychology and your examination of mass shooters prior to their deadly rampages led you to draw your conclusion that they were good guys in their own heads, (snark intended you irrational, arrogant, assumptive provacatour), but I don’t think it matters. They were deranged killers and that is what matters. And they were stopped by good guys with guns. And the good guys with guns saved countless lives. And you clearly would rather they be victims than not. Sad. And save your “I love my guns more than life” BS for the feeble minded who buy it. I cherish my freedom, my God given rights, one of which is to defend myself. How likely do you think it is that I’ll ever have to defend myself by using one of my firearms? Slim? None? About as likely as it would be to get shot at while attending a music festival I suppose. A cowboy fantasy. Interesting you would choose those words given that it was a country music festival that the victims were attending. Not only sad but callous.

    • John Harrington, people like you are part of the problem here. We’ve heard the same “a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun BS after every single massacre. Just as an example, what in the world do you think would have happened at the movie theater in Colorado if people in that darkened, smoke-filled theater had started firing wildly at a shooter who was dressed all in black? How many dozens more would have died? It is way, way past time to look seriously at limiting the amount and availability of guns in America. There’s essentially one gun for every man, woman and child in the country. How, pray tell, is that absurdity making us all safer? And nobody, NOBODY needs to have military-grade weapons unless they’re in the military. Enough is enough!!

    • I think I made a point of the absurdity of the “good guy with a gun” fantasy in the Vegas shooting situation, but in case you missed it:
      Shooter is 32 floors up in a hotel room across the street. That’s an elevation of roughly 400 feet and probably at least twice that distance away. Now, unless you’re carrying your sniper gear with you to that concert, Mr. Good Guy, your little pea shooter Glock or Smith or SIG, or whatever you’re packing is gonna be totally useless. The average person is accurate to about 25 feet with a handgun and that’s not under circumstances of extreme stress… being shot at by an unidentified shooter, who we’ve already determined is much too far away for even Mel Gibson to hit with his Beretta.
      At best, you and a couple other “good guys” in the crowd would probably, in the panic and terror, mistake each other for the shooter and take each other out…..hopefully without harming any innocent bystanders with friendly fire.

    • Well said.

      Defensive gun uses may be rare, but I’m pretty sure that those who have saved lives by using their weapons are grateful that they have the right to bear arms. I’m also sure that none of them were fantasizing about being Wyatt Earp as well.

    • Where do you get your information?? VA Tech shooter committed suicide. Usher in TN, did not have a gun, it was while struggling with the shooter that the attacker was shot with his own gun. This is far more often what happens in situations where the shooter can even be located, unarmed people take him down. But in mass shootings, far more likely is you cannot tell where the shots are coming from, and having a gun yourself puts you at VERY high risk of the REAL good guys with guns, the police and swat teams, thinking you are the one to take down. Which is what the country music star in Vegas described, that having guns nearby, they were totally impotent and unable to use them. People in the Aurora movie theatre stated the same thing. And the more often we see these types of shootings, the more likely that other people that go off the rails will copy them, and the tactics used to make sure that no one can take them down quickly.

  17. Is there any thing more ridiculous than Sean Hannity, when speaking of the Las Vegas tragedy inserting a discussion about the importance of people (including himself) who know how to use guns and were armed. If every person in that crowd was carrying a gun – it would have changed nothing – unless they happened to be carrying a long range rifle and maybe a tripod and had time to set it up before the first 50 were killed. This is why he is called an entertainer not a journalist or an authority on anything.

    I just read that some Republicans have pledged to “consider” banning bump stocks. Hopefully “considering” is a step up from the usual scripture reciting and “shit happens” shrug and not more of the same old baloney.

    • I read that Paul Ryan said that there will be no legislation on bump stocks. I am incredulous! It sure didn’t take them long to walk over the dead and wounded. To me they just spit on them – exactly like they have done each time a tragedy like this happens. Just move along people, nothing important to see here.

      To think that the average person needs a semi or full automatic weapon is an insult to our soldiers who are in constant harms way. Automatic weapons do not actually emit testosterone to their owners.

      These Republicans are anti-abortion (except for those who might get their mistresses pregnant) but they certainly are NOT pro-life. I read that almost half of Republicans want a preemptive strike on North Korea. It must be because Bush II’s Iraqi invasion turned out so well. Why worry about millions of men, women and children being murdered. It is not like we are going to run out of humans. We know how to make more. That must be the reason for making it harder to access birth-control. We must make more humans to fuel the war machine.

      Of course, we have these other troublesome areas and we just hate that Trump finds it hard to maybe call or write about a heroes death and that he slaps back when questioned about his silence. Don’t we know he has much more important things to twitter about than the deaths of our heroes during his watch. The buck is always going to stop miles before it goes anywhere near this President.

  18. I heard an interview with a “good guy with a gun” who huddled in safety with other “good guys with guns”. They knew that to bring out their guns and start shooting would only put the target on them, from both the shooter and the first responders. It would have added to the chaos and likely resulted in more deaths.

  19. This was a difficult read (but uplifting in a sad way). My personal hero is my cousin Bob G., a recently-retired “first responder” (law enforcement). In 25-plus years of service, he rose in rank from rookie patrol officer through Field Training Officer (FTO) to sergeant (narcotics enforcement). He chose to go no higher in rank because he “didn’t become a cop to do a desk job.” He isn’t a cowboy; his hat was standard-issue dark blue. If he’d worn a Stetson, it would’ve been gray. He’s my flawed hero because we can both brag that after 25-plus years on the force that he NEVER FIRED HIS WEAPON AT ANOTHER HUMAN BEING. Violence only begets more violence. We are commanded by Jesus, Moses, the Prophet (blessed be He), the Buddha, and other great spiritual leaders to relocate our humanity.

  20. John,
    The sad things about your article is that it isn’t encouraging for others at all, but instead it is written in a way to attack others, judge them, and reassures the killing of more Americans (instead of condemning it). What is going on in your heart? Why can you say this? Have you become a genius and know everything and everyone one? Why would you want anyone to loose their American, Constitutional Rights? Especially in a time like this? Because, John, not all those who have a gun or own guns are cowboys. I’m surely not. I’m a mother, a sister and a daughter. Not a cowboy. Not all those who have a gun will use it to kill anyone or anything. I’ve only had to fire my weapon in shooting practice, thankfully.
    My small weapon is mine. And I’m a responsible gun owner. I’m grateful that I live in a county that allows me to own a gun! Shoot it for practice! And be able to protect myself if an intruder came into our home. We don’t live in the best of areas and a rash of door-bust-downs have taken place all over the Tampa Bay area recently. Plus, I’d rather have it to defend myself and my family, than NEED a gun to defend myself or my family and NOT have it. You see, I’m a single mother of a 2 year old daughter. Her dad left us for a higher paying job with the U.S Army in Virgina (which they also use guns to defend America). I’m home alone a minimum of 345 days per year. Some nights my dad and mom come to stay with us, which my dad is a retired Sheriff’s Deputy.
    Another thing you fail to see or understand (by your undying will to push your belief that Jesus didn’t want us to defend ourselves) is that I’m a victim of a 2003 kidnapping (or as they call it false-imprisonment) and sexual violence attack. I have PTSD from that incident. But I am who I am today because I survived. I got out. And I praise God for showing me an escape.
    Lawfully owning a gun, loving God and Jesus Christ as my Savior, doesn’t make me a bad person. I don’t want to be a Hero. I just want a shot at “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness,” while seeking God’s face, following my purpose, and being a blessing to others. You see my gun and may fail to see that, I’m a God-fearing woman who just wants to live life, do good deeds for orphans and widows, and not let evil stop any of this short of my purpose.
    Having a gun assures me that I will not be a sitting duck inside or outside my home when some crazy person tries to hurt, rape, or shoot at me or my child in our own home or outside our home. What you should be saying is that, “Crazy people who want to kill people with a gun, a knife or any other way of hurting them must seek HELP from the mental health support systems in our communities. Like talking to a psychologist, a doctor, or a priest/pastor. Or even better tell them to “turn yourself in with the BAKER ACT if you’re feeling suicidal.” This is/would be more productive then to judge those whom you have not met, don’t care to understand before judging, and have little to no empathy for.
    I’m not a perfect woman. I too have flaws and need Jesus. I know that killing people is deemed wrong, both in our society and in our world, but I will defend myself from another violent, would-be attacker. And if necessary, I will shot that person before they can carry out their evil plan against me or my family.
    Protecting myself doesn’t make me a COYBOY, re-payer of evil, a warrior, or a Hero in an unscripted movie. I’m just a half-grown daughter trying to raise and protect my own daughter from the world.
    And because you’re a man, maybe you’ve never been raped or sexually assaulted? You may not be able to relate to me on this one, but I assure you, You’re fight is not with gun owners or those who protect the 2nd amendment. Because we all know, if guns were outlawed (which bombs are), the-bad guys or mentally ill people would find a way to still buy guns or make other use of other weapons. Which, then if guns were banned as you so desire, then I wouldn’t have a to way to compete (without my gun) to protect myself against the law-breakers.
    John, my brother in Christ Jesus, Our fight is with the devil, through prayer, not the political ways of this world. We’re fighting evil. Not one another. Remember what Jesus said about that? I mention this because when you label people and use a false narrative to defend your own position on ending the right to bare-arms, you’re dismissing a large segment of people who still need Jesus. And If you, a pastor, are pushing for no gun rights for all, then your pushing away non-believers who have guns and think they can’t have a gun to accept Christ. Pray for these people. Don’t exclude them. Don’t exclude me.

    Lastly, while you’re praying, please pray and please remember that I go to bed alone every night. I do have my dogs and my cell phone near by to comfort me if/when we’re in need of help. But having my gun within arm’s reach reassures me that the evil I once saw eye-to-eye will never get that close to me again. Don’t fight to take that reassurance away from me.

    • Stacey, I don’t know why we keep hearing this same rebuttal every time. No one wants to take your gun. A gun for protection is your right. You take the NRA/gun manufacturers’ sales pitch as gospel.

      I have been charged with not loving my family enough because I have never owned or even shot a gun. Both statements are pure hysteria and serve no purpose.

      Do semi or automatic weapons serve some purpose in daily life? Do you not see the connection between those who idolize weapons that kill the most in the shortest amount of time are the same ones who scream about their patriotism. If they are so patriotic why do they use the argument that this same country will come after them?

      My problem is that the NRA/gun manufacturers try to market a gun as magic. It is not magic. Policemen/women carry guns. Policemen/women get shot. Not every guy who has purchased a gun legally is a good guy. Not every bad situation can be solved by a good guy with a gun.

      Peace Stacy – I will always hope and pray for the safety of all.

  21. Thank you, John Pavlovitz, for some very needed, rational and common-sense talk on the subject. That having been said, you missed another salient and important point; while the MYTH of “A Good Guy with a gun” is used to sell both guns and toxic masculinity, the reality is this. Ever since the “founding fathers” of this so-called “Christian Nation” used the words “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” America both individually and as a collective nation has chosen to actually be an outlaw nation using the myth of “A Good Guy with Gun” because it’s such a convenient narrative, the truth about ” A Good Guy with a Gun” is that really it’s a smoke screen for both of the ideas that “Might makes Right” and “My way or the Highway”. Right and Wrong no longer even have a moral dimension but becomes a function of speed, control and accuracy with a firearm. And skillsets are easier to obtain and master rather than the process of thought and accepting responsibility for the consequences of that thought process. As Bob Dylan put it so many years ago, “What people forget about actually being an outlaw is the fact that YOU have to be ABSOLUTELY HONEST with YOURSELF and OTHERS”

  22. I think you got it half right. People are the issue, not the tools. There are populations around the world that have guns in their homes but don’t o mass shooting. An object is an easy scape goat because it cannot object. People however want their rights. Though mentally ill people are the problem.

  23. It disgusts me to hear someone say ” guns don’t kill people people do” when we know if ” people ” did not have a gun people would not be dead by the gun. I have the unpopular belief that we should ban all guns and rewrite or clarify our second amendment rights to bear arms. We are animals and animals should not own firearms because of nature or effect firearms have on us. How many have to die before we realize guns and animals don’t mix.

  24. Someone asked me for my opinion knowing that I am a liberal and that every day for some 22 years I was an armed law enforcement officer. My first inclination today is still to run toward danger. I now work in a mental health facility in a support role. I own a firearm.

    My thoughts:

    We should not try to solve gun control on social media. There is no future here. We should allow/encourage/force our elected representatives to practice civility and statesmanship and actually discuss and debate what is best for all of the people, trying to find common ground and compromises. There should be no 20 second sound bites, just honest debate.

    By way of comparison, dId you know there were regulations governing how much whiskey we can can buy at the ABC store and transport? There are two amendments to the US Constitution dealing directly with whiskey. There was Prohibition and then its repeal. There are reasonable regulations and state laws governing all aspects of whiskey.

    Reasonable laws and regulations about firearms, who can buy, who can sell, who can possess – how many, what flavors, etc seem reasonable to me. I don’t recall firearms control being compared to whiskey control – I think it is a model worth exploring.

    If laws and regulations can prohibit me walking down the street with an open bottle of my favorite bourbon in my hand, sipping on it as I go then it seems reasonable to me that walking down the street with a firearm in my hand could also be controlled and regulated.

    Here is the bottom line for my elected representatives at all levels: start solving the problems and stop running for re-election. If you solve problems and work hard to practice civility and statesmanship, you will get my vote in the future.

  25. Maybe its true. Perhaps I have been sold a misogynist myth sold by Hollywood Republicans, and Bible Belt Republicans (Not necessarily in that order). However, it’s probably more likely because I’m just a right winger from Texas, and am clinging to God and guns.

    The point of this article (despite the hyperbole) is that there is no difference between a good civilian with a gun and a bad civilian gun. In other words, a civilian with a gun is simply a bad civilian. I think the difference is huge!

    And not all gun owners are “Cowboys”. We have a gun in our family that my great grandmother used to protect her family. A small derringer that would fit in the palm of her hand. She eliminated an intruder with that gun. A lot of Americans have guns for the same reason

  26. Killers will keep killing, by using guns or some other means. Not all gun owners plan to murder other people. Self defence is also important in many situations. I feel we should be more vigilant of a person’s mental health and intervene if we suspect something is wrong. How could he hoard so many guns for a year before the shooting, at home and elsewhere and even his girlfriend suspected nothing!!? Is that normal behavior? How many guns does a person need !!?? There are signs that someone’s mental health is deteriorating….these things may happen more with people who are isolated, lead high stress lives, are angry, depressed, misfits, loners, maybe they need to do something they feel they can control by planning shootings etc. to get back at a world that is upsetting them in some way. Nobody really cared about this guy or they would have noticed he was going wrong and stopped him somehow. Almost all killers are unhappy people with low support networks. They want to destroy themselves and take others down with them especially those who are happy while they are not. They desperately want out of a life that keeps harming them until all they want is revenge on everything. A happy person cannot kill so helping a troubled person find at least some meaning in life and some stability might steer them away from bad deeds. Unless it’s already too late for them.

    • You aren’t going to like this, but: You ask, “How many guns does one person need?” That very question already defines your view on firearms and closes any dialog we might have. How many records does one person need? Or how many shoes does a woman need? (Well, that might be a legitimate question.) The argument is not from the standpoint of need. A hunter may “need” a dozen or even two dozen different firearms, depending on what all he/she is hunting. A person protecting their home may only “need” one. But that dictates that your definition and evaluation is the only valid one. I am a re-enactment person doing programs in schools. I have firearms from many different eras. (I have seven in that category.) I target shoot. I have many more for that. (About 6.) I collect old historical guns and black powder. (I have a couple dozen there.) I have a couple of home defense weapons. I hunt big game for food and shotguns for upland game birds, again for food. (About 6 there.) To imply that having more than one or two is not “needed” is to attempt to define firearms as only for shooting people in theaters or music festivals. That not only upsets me, but seems to say that every firearm is meant for shooting people. For most people, firearms are a hobby or something you might share with your kids, hunting and shooting gophers or tin cans. The guys I hang out with do western shooting, mountain men shooting and for teh four years I spent in Gettysburg, Civil War re-enactments. I share with school kids where I can also teach safety and responsible use. Yes, there are lots of problems out there and some people abuse their access to guns, but would you rather have me on the reasonable side of the debate or keep defining me on the side of the NRA because your definition of firearms tells me that you have no ability to understand the rational side of the people who do own firearms?

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