PAINTER: We all need to use more common sense

When do human rights clash with common sense? In my opinion, It happens too often.
Jul 9, 2014


Take, for example, an incident that occurred at the Kalamazoo Public Library early last month. A Kalamazoo resident took his handgun to the library’s Summer Reading Party – an event to kick off the library’s summer reading program for children.

According to media reports, the man, who was attending the party with his wife and child, was within his rights to carry a gun. He had a license and guns are not currently banned at Michigan’s public libraries. They are, however, banned in such places as banks, churches, courts, sports arenas and theaters. Some major retail outlets, such as Target, have also begun to ban guns from their stores.

The Michigan Library Association is currently seeking to have guns banned from libraries.

Library officials asked the man to leave the party, but he declined. He finally did leave after the police were called.

The man told a reporter that he was merely trying to protect his wife and 3-year-old daughter. He said he carries the gun at all times.

But library officials told him that he was scaring other children who were at the party.

Yes, he had the right to carry a gun to the party, but it wasn’t a very smart choice. With all the school shootings that have occurred in recent years, it is understandable why people would be upset over someone carrying a firearm at a place full of children.

Loutit District Library Director John Martin said he doesn’t agree with someone who comes into a library with children just to make a political statement that he has a right to carry a firearm. While he acknowledges that a person has the right to carry a gun, Martin said you don’t know for sure what that person’s intentions are with a gun.

Spring Lake District Library Director Claire Sheridan also recognizes that people have a right to carry a gun — but, at the same time, libraries are a safe place to be.

I agree with John and Claire — there is no need to carry a firearm into a library.

A similar incident took place at a Western Michigan Christian High School soccer game in September 2013. A man brought a gun to the game. He was asked to leave.

Again, the man had the right to carry a gun. But I can understand why school officials felt uncomfortable with the situation. The man would have been better off to have left his gun at home.

These kinds of incidents are taking place all over the country. I’m not going to get into the gun debate. Personally, I would never carry a firearm in fear that something horrific could occur.

People should use more common sense in situations that occurred at a public library and at a high school soccer game. But common sense often seems to take a backseat.

Take bicyclists, for example. I wrote a column last year about my bicycle accident in which my head slammed into the sidewalk. My bike helmet was cracked. My doctor told me that I could have been severely injured or even killed if I hadn’t been wearing a helmet.

I did have some people approach me and told me that they would wear a bicycle helmet from now on.

But I still see too many people riding their bikes without helmets. I even observed one young man riding at breakneck speed along a busy highway. He was attired in nice bicycle apparel, but he wasn’t wearing a helmet. Accidents do happen — and, if he fell and hit his head, he could be seriously injured or even killed.

Before the motorcycle helmet law was repealed, I had a lengthy discussion with a former colleague. He argued that people should have the right to choose whether to wear a helmet. I argued that riders without helmets who are involved in accidents are more seriously injured. I also told him that we all end up paying more into the catastrophic insurance fund.

Yes, it is probably more comfortable to ride without a helmet. But the threat of injury is more severe.

We all could stand to use more common sense – whether it comes to carrying a firearm or riding a bicycle or motorcycle.

— By Len Painter, Tribune community columnist


retired DOC

Odds are the young kids were not scared unless the "adults" made an issue of the gun. Looking closing at the shootings, most of them were in "gun free zones". In many ways those are the least safe places. As far a helmets go, I feel the helmet and seat belt laws should match. Helmets and seat belts are there for the same reason.


can the gun be concealed? If so it should be. No need to alarm someone. And not a good idea to show your hole card ahead of time. If I see that, I'M out the door. Feeling threatened not protected having no idea who the gunman is. Or his personal and CURRENT mental status. Life is dynamic. Here today spaced out tomorrow. Helmets? with MI. catastrophic care act and some of the highest insurance rates in the country. Do the citizens need an even higher chance of maintaining a vegetable for the rest of their closed head injury life? lifetime rider firearm owner.


If I go to a store, the Coast Guard Festival, or the library and I see some fearful gun-toter, I'm leaving. Before I leave I will tell someone why I'm leaving. I'm afraid I don't recognize my country anymore with gun-toters walking around intimidating everyone. There's absolutely no reason to carry a gun in Ottawa County. I can't wait for one of these gun intimidators to shoot themselves in the foot while pulling up their pants in the bathroom.


You must really be scared of society, next time you see a police officer in uniform carrying a gun you'd better go home and peck away at your keyboard just to feel safe in your own home....

Maybe you should do some research on how many registered concealed carry people there are in Grand Haven, you'd be surprised at the numbers.

I carry everyday, I have a CPL. I'm not fearful or trying to intimidate anyone. 9 out of 10 people don't even know I carry.

The only time I've EVER had to pull my handgun in all the years of carrying is when a pit bull jumped a 6' fence and came after my wife and I while walking our lab on the opposite side of the street, he came within 3 feet of taking his last breath that day. Yes we made a police report and I could have legally shot that dog by law. The owner was givin a warning if the pit bull escaped again the dog would be seized and euthanized.

Stop and think how many people carry jack knives everyday, its no different than a handgun other than the fact it shoots a projectile vs having a blade.

If your that scared of us crazy fearful legal gun owners with a license and training that carry because of our 2nd amendment right, maybe you should stay in the safety of your home and never leave......


I'm not fearful of society. I AM fearful of fearful people carrying guns around.

I also had a German Shepard rush me when I was walking my dog once. He was ready to attack....I kicked him. End of story.

So tell us, I'm really interested, why do you carry a gun in Grand Haven all the time??????


Because I can and its my legal right.

End of story.


Agree with Riverside. Might I add our founding fathers had a little more common sense and more wisdom than many folks in our present day. They put the 2nd amendment in place and staked their lives and fortunes for it. And its my legal right because of them.

Tri-cities realist

And perhaps Riverside refuses to be a victim. Perhaps he would rather protect his own life, rather than wait for the police to show up to collect his corpse. Yeah I know, that is such a crazy concept, personal responsibility. You should try it sometime, it can be very rewarding.


'Becasue it's my right' is a lame excuse for carrying a killing machine when you go shopping. 'Because I don't want to be a victim' is a lame excuse as well as it shows your paranoia. It's only a matter of time before there's another totally preventable gun accident in town:


My 2nd amendment right is a lame excuse? And no I don't have a paranoia about being a victim. I bought my first handgun at 18 years old, that would be 32 years ago. I've hunted since I was 13, do the math.

You pal/mam are a menace to society with your severe paranoia of us legal gun owners, you need to get some serious mental help from Pine Rest.

I'll go a little deeper on this subject, Like I said I carry because I can and its my 2nd amendment right. Am I scared of being a victim? No. Do I carry to feel special? No. Since were on this subject both my wife and 28 year old daughter carry daily, we still take refresher courses because of all the changes on legal carry and protection laws. I've volunteered multiple hunter safety courses at various gun clubs educating our youth on proper handling of firearms.

I'm scared for people like you, if the occasion ever arises the life I save might just be yours or another persons because I don't want you or them to become a victim.

I'll just sit back while you live your insecure pitiful life and wait for another lame comment about us legal crazed licensed to carry gun owners.


The topic at hand is using common sense, so let's start using some. No one is talking about infringing on your 2nd Amendment right to own a handgun for protection, hunting or sport. You have a legal right to carry a gun. Apparently you and your family have either been traumatized in the past, just get off on the vibes and the theatrics (think violence-themed video games and movies, or maybe the John Wayne vigilante fantasy), the gun has become a source of security and safety to you, and/or the gun has become an integral part of your persona and a form of self-expression.

Whichever it is, I am sick of the defensive, hostile, and crass attitudes of the "I <3 Guns" crowd. I have yet to read a post on this forum from one of those folks who can bring themselves to say - "I understand how the other side feels about this", or "I can understand why people would be against the open carry of military assault weapons into the high school basketball game", or even, "I believe in doing all we can to cut down on gun deaths and suicides".

It's all about "ME and MY rights, and MY deep-seated psychological need for a gun, and I can't even imagine why everyone doesn't carry a gun while shopping for groceries at Meijer in Grand Haven. And I'm going to argue, badger, bicker, and berate anyone who dares to think otherwise".

And then you folks wonder why the rest of society shudders at the thought of that kind of thought process walking around with a gun all day under the pretense of "protecting" everybody.

Tri-cities realist

As soon as the "I hate guns" crowd takes your advice, we'll consider doing the same.


The "I hate guns" crowd hates guns because they hate what guns can and often do - kill more people in this country than any other developed nation on earth. They hate the image of slaughtered innocent children, unrecognizable from their wounds; of people using guns to settle differences, to get revenge, to commit suicide, or to play out some violent vigilante fantasy. They hate the reports of mentally ill people cracking and using guns to express their outrage.

Is this so hard to understand, so irrational to gun-lovers? Does this make no sense?

Tri-cities realist

What makes no sense is to blame the guns. Do you blame the car when the driver kills somebody by running them over?

Is this so hard to understand?


This is a tired argument that conflates two entirely different things. Cars are produced for transportation. Sometimes there are accidents with the cars and people get killed. Guns are produced for one and only one reason - to kill a living thing. True - people can be infatuated with cars as well as guns. People can put thousands of dollars into both cars and guns. There is the aspect of sport - auto racing and target shooting. There is the protection element - cars protect against bad weather; guns protect against assault. Cars and guns can both be used as a means of self-expression.

But nothing kills as quickly and precisely and as violently as a gun, and nobody is as angry, deranged, or desperate as the person pulling the trigger.

Tri-cities realist

Are you aware that guns are used to protect the innocent? I'll let you do your own research, it could be enlightening for you.

deuce liti

This is how people are truly viewed when open-carry troglodytes express their desperate plea for attention:

Open Carry Texas visits Chili's:




I read your reply before you edited it. I appreciate your explanation of why. I hope you can understand the other side.

deuce liti

I must have missed a good one.


I believe the issue here is concealed. It's these drugstore cowboys who like it known. So they pack in plain sight. I carry a pocket knife every day limited by law to a maximum of three inches. Key word. Pocket. I am a gun owner.

average driver

Illegal guns are making Chicago a third world hell hole. They have some of the strictist laws on LEGAL gun owners. Now they are asking for federal money (good guys with GUNS) to save them from the bad guys with guns.


Lani, I completely understand the other side. What I don't understand is their phobia of people who carry and our reasoning's of why we do.

Were not some gun toting crazies as they think we are, the sad part is we are stereotyped because of the mass shootings by 98% of the people who cannot legally own a firearm.

deuce, Lani mentioned two things in the comments I replied to respectfully with an explanation and decided to edit it out.

Pro gun vs anti gun is a battle that will never be won, I blame that on society and the media.

I could keep going like the Energizer Bunny, however it wont change there mindset, its simply a loosing battle.


I have a long-time farming heritage, with guns playing a major roll in terms of protection and hunting. The rifles were always kept unloaded, clean, and locked in cabinets in between use, with the occasional hand gun kept in a bedside drawer or under the mattress. Back in those days, you seldom heard of mass killings, domestic violence, or gang-related killing. But it was always there, if only in smaller degrees.

I have no problem with this, or with people like yourself who seems to have experience and a responsible attitude. But the phobia you speak of is directed at the intense escalation in the last few decades or so, of gun violence and gun deaths, including suicides; the morphing of the NRA from a rifle-promoting educational association to a major lobbying group for gun manufacturers that has extreme and unwarranted power, control, and influence on politicians that promotes guns counter to the opinions of the majority of the public; and the increasingly militant mind-set of some who want lots of guns, and to legally open carry in public for no other reason than to show off.

And then there is the fear of a gun fanatic who has severe mental and personal issues who goes automatically to a gun to express their displeasure with the world.

My problem is also with people who immediately respond to gun discussions with a chip on their shoulder, crying about the infringement of their 2nd amendment rights, with no understanding of why many people do not want so many guns in society. I am not aware of any action, nor have I heard of any rhetoric, advocating for the banning of all guns from decent, law-abiding citizens. This is a ridiculous argument, and I have now been conditioned to immediately pigeon-hole people who argue based on this fallacy as crank-pots.

I do appreciate and respect your reasoned and reasonable comment.

Tri-cities realist

I appreciate your views on the proper role of guns in your life and that of your family. But everyone doesn't always feel the same way. I think the real issue is keeping the guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally deranged. But then there are the "common sense" gun control measures which would prohibit anyone who ever saw a doctor for mild depression from owning a gun. I agree its a fine line determining whether someone is criminally deranged or just having a down spell in their life but with no criminal intent. And like our legal system we tend to err on the side of trying not to convict the innocent, while realizing that the guilty will sometimes go unpunished. I hope that we could fix it, but we as humans are imperfect.

Perhaps you think I'm less of a "gun nut" than you did before, but I don't really care either way. I know I'm a law abiding gun owner and would only use it as a last resort to protect myself, my family, or the innocent from some criminal.


I've never thought of you as a "gun nut". I think that, in numerous posts, I've expressed my thoughts as reasonably and succinctly as possible as to what I do think constitutes a "gun nut" - and you aren't it.

My hope is that you will never be in a position to have to fire your gun to protect yourself, your family, or an innocent.

deuce liti

"Pro gun vs anti gun is a battle that will never be won"

I assure you that it will end: "Nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither will they learn war anymore. " ~Isaiah 2:4 this is a prophesy that will come true just as many other prophecies in the bible have come true and have been proven historically.

Never say never.


Caring a gun in public, in plain sight of others. Is not about protection, it's about egos.
Look at me, I've got a gun I'm somebody. If a person is really caring a gun for protection why do they think it's important for others to see it. Did they ever stop to think that if something does go wrong. They may be the first one's to take a bullet from the bad guys who saw your gun. I have no problem with some carrying guns. But I do not need to see it and I don't want to see it. I don't know you. And the fact that you have chosen to walk around showing your gun would make me wonder what kind of person you are. And why your feel the need to let others know you have a gun on you.
Just my perspective.


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