Letter To The Editor: ‘Guns – Nation’s Worst Epidemic’ Response

By LARRY FREESTONE
Los Alamos

In reference to Mr. Doug Reilly’s letter, I would like to offer a few comments.

1. Every dictionary I examined (home and online) refers to “Epidemic” as a disease. A disease usually refers to a particular abnormal condition, a disorder of a structure or function, which affects part or all of an organism.A gun is not a disease that would be identified by the CDCor WHO as an epidemic.

2. None of the 174 other countries that have gun rates below the U.S. are places that I would want to live.I cherish the rights we have that are found nowhere else on this planet. I will take this country despite its faults.

3. I am suspect of any national news publication as my source for information since figures can be easily manipulated by authors regardless of political persuasion. Instead, I would rely on the FBI’s “Crime in the United States” annual reports.Looking at their most recent report for 2014, we see that violent crime from 2010 through 2014 has dropped 6.9%; if we go back to 2005, violent crime has dropped 16.2%. Despite this drop in violence, the FBI’s information shows that firearms were used in 68% of the murders, 40% in robberies, and 23%in aggravated assaults. My point? When you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns. That’s a cliché, but disprove it.Additionally, you only have to look at the cities with the toughest gun laws to see they have some of the highest violent gun crime rates.

4. Please note the “construction” and “punctuation” of the Second Amendment: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” This clearly says that a militia is needed for our security AND the right of people to be armed must be protected. This concept is based on American Revolution history. In 1774-75, the British banned and attempted to confiscate firearms and gunpowder in the American colonies. That the British used violence in this process added to other factors that eventually led to our fight for independence. It is not a mistake that some of the British abuses led to Constitutional Amendments by our Founding Fathers.

5. Let’s look at NRA funding. Based on their tax filings with the IRS (yes, available online) from 2004-2013, approximately 60% of NRA funding comes from “member dues”and “personal” contributions. In decreasing order, other income includes: sale of advertising space, “organizational” contributions, sales of NRA merchandise, royalties, and, finally, a combination of returns on securities and investments, revenue from subscriptions, the NRA Cafe, and fundraising events.

6. We do have excellent law enforcement resources to protect the citizenry, and I love the LAPD. But I am reminded of a sign in a sporting goods store: “The average response time of a 911 call is 23 minutes; the response time of a .357 is 1,400 feet per second.” The police cannot be everywhere 24/7. By the time the police do arrive, death or violence to persons will likely be over. Further, we have police departments that have become passive in light of criticisms and legal charges. Are some of these justified—yes. But where is the hue and cry to fund and support our good police officers?

7. If it’s the sheer numbers of deaths and injuries from guns that is the concern, why are we not looking at motor vehicle violence?There are more deaths and injuries from motor vehicles than guns. We could easily alleviate that malady in the U.S. by banning motor vehicles. That should be really easy to do since there is no Bill of Rights protecting vehicle ownership.

Doug, I am not ambivalent to your concern! But you and others who have taken similar positions only go after the low hanging fruit. So, do we go after knives next because that is the second leading instrument of violence? Why are we not talking about why people see violence and crime as a solution to a particular problem? What are the alternatives to violence and crime as a solution? Is there too much violence in movies/TV/games? Why is marriage and raising a family no longer seen as important? (Remember the 1970s song “Cats In The Cradle”?) Why do we not look at strangers as potential new friends? I grew up under the “I am Third” concept: God is first, others are second, I am third. How do we deal with the ills behind substance abuse? How do we overcome an ever-increasing divisive society? These and other similar discussions I would love to see as a way to reduce gun violence!

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