Day by Day Cartoon by Chris Muir

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Response to an editorial

William Barth, editor of the Beloit Daily News, writes:

William R. Barth: Gun politics-as-usual — no longer tolerable

Posted: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 4:00 pm | Updated: 11:12 am, Wed Dec 19, 2012.
IN THE WAKE of the murderous rampage in Newtown, I found a longtime friend’s post on Facebook gripping. He is a retired career military officer, and a wounded Marine combat veteran of Vietnam — hardly the stuff of bleeding-hearts. He wrote:
“I’m a gun owner. That said, mass murder is generally not committed using a ball bat, a car, a bow and arrow, knife or ax. The hunting rifle, 6-shot revolver, shotgun or the crossbow are not weapons of choice for someone intent on making an evermore spectacular exit from life. In the face of repeated massacres of shoppers and school children, arguments for easy public access to assault weapons or high capacity handguns are wearing thinner every day.”

JOE SCARBOROUGH is a former four-term conservative Republican congressman from Florida — a man who received 100% approval from the National Rifle Association while in office — who now makes his living with the “Morning Joe” talkfest on MSNBC. Scarborough chats it up from a right-center perspective, but doesn’t do long-form commentary.
Until Monday morning, when he called for a reassessment of America’s paralysis on the issues of guns, mental illness and our violence-glorifying culture. One of the most powerful moments in his dissertation came when he quoted Lincoln, from an 1838 speech delivered in Springfield.
Lincoln said: “Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant to step the ocean and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest, with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years. At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer. If it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide.”

I, TOO, AM a gun owner, as are my sons. I grew up in rural America and learned by my father’s hand how to properly handle firearms. I’m a firm believer in Second Amendment rights for sport, to protect my family, for peace of mind, for American heritage and tradition.
But no one needs military-style assault weapons. No one needs ammo magazines that can hold 30 or more cartridges. No one needs armor piercing bullets.
Those who defend such firepower will find themselves increasingly isolated. Consider the stance of Wisconsin state Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, one of the leading majority legislators, who told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel part of the problem is that Wisconsin’s new concealed carry law banned possession of weapons at schoolhouses.
“When you single out that schools will not have that option, that signals to perpetrators and that is an issue. I think we need to talk about it, advertising where people aren’t able to protect themselves.”
Seriously? How did that work out for Jared Loughner’s victims outside a Safeway in Arizona? Or James Holmes’ victims at a movie theater in Colorado? Or Radcliffe Haughton’s victims at the Azana Spa in Brookfield?
 Read the whole thing at the link.

My response:


Dear Mr. Barth,

In the wake of last week's atrocity in Newtown, CT. comes the predictable liberal dance in the blood of innocents, the ritual blaming of the inanimate objects, and the instant demands that we do SOMETHING to prevent a similar tragedy from ever happening again.

The liberals never waste a good crisis. They instantly begin beating the drums for their pet programs designed, in their minds, to "fix" the problem. Unfortunately, they never take the time to let the emotions settle down before proposing their solutions.

A sober look at mass murders will show that the overwhelming majority - according to a recent article by National Review Online, only one mass killing since 1950 occurred in an area where the public was not prohibited from carrying a defensive weapon.

"(John) Lott offers a final damning statistic: “With just one single exception, the attack on congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson in 2011, every public shooting since at least 1950 in the U.S. in which more than three people have been killed has taken place where citizens are not allowed to carry guns.”"

The shooter in Aurora, Colorado had his choice of several theaters closer to his home than the one he chose - one that prominently posted its' "no weapons" policy. Setting up designated weapons-free zones simply ensures that when an individual bent on mayhem wants to act out, he will easily find a suitable venue.

I recently heard the police spokesman for Janesville state that Janesville schools were "safe" because the police there practice for such occurrences as a school shooting. This is good, for them to be prepared. The fact remains that if someone DOES get into a school with murder on his mind, he will have free run of a weapons-free zone until someone can call those trained officers, and they can get to the school. During the response time, how many lives will be lost that possibly could have been saved by one teacher, maintenance person, or school official with a defensive weapon?

Arguments against large-capacity magazines miss the mark. A maniac with ten 10-round magazines can cause as much mayhem as one with a 100-round magazine. In the case of the Aurora shooting, the presence of a 100-round magazine probably helped hold down the body count, as it jammed, preventing further use of that rifle. Ten 10-round magazines are also easier to conceal than one big magazine.

"Assault rifles" are a manufactured threat. A "true" assault rifle is a fully-automatic or select-fire weapon that can only be owned by a person with the proper BATFE paperwork and the $200 tax paid to the Treasury. No rifle sold at any Wal-mart was ever an "assault" rifle, no matter how "scary" it looks. Any bolt-action deer rifle has much more powerful cartridges.

I don't quite understand what your point was with the Lincoln quote. I never have heard anything about him advocating limits on the public's access to or possession of weapons, up to and including warships. Indeed, many of the divisions in the Union Army were raised and supplied by private citizens who pulled together their own people and arms.

To quote Oliver Wendell Holmes that one cannot yell "fire!" in a crowded theater misses the point entirely. One is completely free to cause panic in a public place, and no law will ever prevent someone bent on doing so from his desire. The quote is meant to imply that one cannot expect the First Amendment to shield him from the consequences of such an action. The similar application to the Second Amendment is that yes, you are allowed to keep and bear - carry - "arms" in public - and that you must be prepared to suffer the consequences of their misuse. No law can ever prevent misuse of inanimate objects or substances - if laws alone worked, there is no drug problem today in America.

I am disturbed by the number of otherwise intelligent persons who fall for the left-liberal propaganda that the Second Amendment is somehow coupled to "hunting" and "sport shooting". The Second Amendment says noting about either - it is there to ensure that Americans will never be subject to the kind of totalitarian government that too many countries on Earth have suffered under. To buy into the argument that gun ownership and availability of "military style" weapons is somehow outdated and a relic of less sophisticated times is what is truly absurd.

The true discussions must first be about mental illness and how to protect the public from persons who may be suffering from disorders that may cause violent outbursts, and second, how to eliminate the risks to our schools posed by their "weapons free" designation.

 To argue for more "gun control" when it has been proven the world over that "gun control" is worse than useless, is truly intolerable. Remember that every case of genocide in more than the last 100 years was preceded by disarmament of the public - and THAT is why we need to have access to those evil "assault" rifles. To assume it could never happen here is unthinkable - just as unthinkable the Newtown shooting were.


Chuck Kuecker

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