Day by Day Cartoon by Chris Muir

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Letter to the Editor

I just submitted this to the Janesville Gazette, in response to their article by Leonard Pitts, Jr., titled  "Freedom to live in fear in this nation under the gun"

Dear Mr. Angus,

Not a part of my letter, just a comment. You allowed Leonard Pitts over 600 words to make specious, snarky comments about a basic human right and a vitally important subject, but in your letters policy, you limit the public to 250 words. I urge you to make an exception for this response. The subject matter is much too important to be subject to arbitrary limits. The following is 710 words.

Before you tell me that page space is expensive, let me ask how much Mr. Pitts or the Miami Herald paid for you to print his opinion.

OK - here's my letter:

Mr. Leonard Pitts, Jr. evidently has never studied history or read and understood the Constitution.

In Sunday's paper, he tells us that the NRA is pushing to have everyone armed all the time, in order to prevent more tragedies like Sandy Hook.

Sir, tragedy will always be with us. In all of human history, no man-made law has ever prevented evil people from performing evil acts. Advocating passing yet more un-Constitutional gun control laws on top of the 20,000-odd ineffective laws already on the books is a useless and dangerous waste of time.

The Sandy Hook attacker violated dozens of "gun laws", as well as several long-standing laws against theft and murder. The laws would allow the courts to administer punishment, but could never prevent the incident. The only possible way to prevent acts like this is for the potential victims to have easy and quick access to the tools that have been designed to deal with violent attackers.

This in no way says that all persons must carry a gun all the time any more than the risk of fire forces everyone to carry a fire extinguisher everywhere out of fear. The fire extinguisher is there for the use of those people trained to use it and willing to step up in an emergency, to hold off the threat until the professional firefighters arrive to douse the flames. If the extinguisher suffices to end the threat, that's fine - but if it is not available, all the victims can do is wait for help.

Guns are exactly the same thing as fire extinguishers - they are safety equipment designed to slow or stop the threat of a human or animal attacker, useable by anyone with a bit of training, regardless of physical strength, age, or disability.

Before anyone engages in hyperbole and says I want guns mounted in glass cases in every school hall, let me say two things. First, the Second Amendment says nothing about hunting or sport shooting. Second, the right to self-defense is not a right granted by any law or even by the Constitution - it is inherent in every living creature from birth. Having said that, carrying a defensive weapon is not for everyone - it is only for those who are willing to take on the responsibility for the power a gun confers on its' holder, and are willing to take the time to learn to use it properly.

In particular, Mr. Pitts relates several incidents as reasons everyone ought to be forced to either carry a gun or armed guards should be hired. He skips the fact that in several of these incidents, an armed private citizen stopped the attack without firing a shot, or that the attack occurred in a venue where weapons were already banned, leaving the occupants totally dependent on the good will of the attacker and the response time of the police. Soon after this article was published, we saw where a mother and her children hid in the attic from a home invader, who went on a search for them. The mother had a revolver, and defended her family - and the only person injured was the criminal. Stories like that unfortunately don't make good fodder for banning guns.

When you get right down to the bottom of the matter, the Second Amendment to our Constitution is there to prevent our government from growing out of control and becoming a threat to our freedom. The fact that American citizens have neglected to control their elected Representatives and Senators from enacting un-Constitutional laws and creating invasive bureaucracies does not alter this fact. America is a nation of laws and our Constitution is the basic law of the land. We as Americans need to tell our people in Washington to follow the law as written, or propose amendments to change it, and stop trying to prevent tragedy by disarming the innocent and defenseless. We also need to tell them to study history, in particular the history of the world since 1860, and how governments have grown into tyrannies. We also need to insist that all Americans and everyone visiting our country follow our basic laws and most importantly, take responsibility for their own safety and actions in all matters.

Chuck Kuecker
2511 W. Creedy Road
Beloit, WI 53511

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