Re: Online comments

The replies to my previous editorial (Guns: License to skill, Sept. 26) excellent, and would like to thank everyone who commented on last week’s gun debate. To reconcile some points with readers, much of the “European” implementations (as implied by posted comments) are somewhat overblown in comparison to my feelings, (I couldn’t find the word “European” in my piece). However, we could we learn from European models (relatively similar lifestyle, development, etc.). Those of Switzerland (whose government operates with a militia, and trains most citizens to know how to properly operate guns) and New Zealand (not exactly European, but it has British ties and is mentioned in my selection), where close acquaintances are questioned to see if the behavior is abnormal.

Growing up in a rural culture, I’ve had life-long exposure to firearms. I personally own firearms, and think that it’s fine for anyone who doesn’t pose a danger to society to own one. I was merely trying to imply stricter licensing. Firearms should be treated with the utmost respect.

Yet it’s possible for Americans to purchase firearms without any knowledge of how to use them, or without those who know you best being consulted (two potentially hazardous situations that seem to be reasonably avoidable).

Simply put, my goal was to try and encourage readers to think for themselves. Where do we draw the line between an invasion of civil liberties and a potential danger to the health of society?

One pervasive issue was addressed by a commentator who denoted, “If you give the government the final say on who will be allowed arms, one day you just might get a government that will allow no one arms, but itself or its cronies. That is Tyranny Sir!” My intentions were only to imply that we should learn from other’s failures. Domestic failure in Washington, D.C., was a strong theme of my editorial, and my intentions were to use it, coupled with the NRA’s political and financial strong-hold as examples that government repeal of the Second Amendment was highly unlikely, which would seem to call the idea of government disarmament into question on at least some levels, and contradict my beliefs that an American government trying to disarm its citizens would likely refrain from such actions given the likelihood of civil backlash, and the strong possibility of militia formation.

Also, I certainly didn’t intend to imply that eliminating guns would stop crime, murder, etc, as evidenced by my Chris Benoit example. An avenue posed for further debate was, “Our problem in America is not with ‘guns’ it is with criminals. Those who would murder and rob will not desist simply because such actions are illegal,” a quote I found eloquently put. However, it would be unfair to insist that guns are more like ancient weapons given that one individual with a gun can control a large crowd, while it is unlikely they do the same with a lesser feared weapon such as a club or knife.

As one reader pointed out, even a club can be a weapon, but I only chose to write on guns because of their mass-violence capabilities. Americans haven’t heard of mass school clubbings or drive-by knifings. As the “extremely pro-gun” character of Bobby Bliss (David Koechner, “Champ Kind” role in Anchorman) points out in “Thank You For Smoking”: “I ask the reporter if she calls General Motors when someone gets drunk and wrecks one of their cars and hurts someone?”

The point is, we really can’t classify weapons solely on their most vicious usage, and I can certainly understand how guns can be perceived solely as a perpetrator of evil. However, I think that in a country where we take driving privileges for insubordinations, we should be able to do the same for easily concealable handguns, and comparable deadly weaponry, as well. The original intent of my article was to pose the question of, “As a society, are we doing this well enough?”