By Bradley Harrington
“Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined …” — Patrick Henry, “Virginia Ratifying Convention,” 1788 —
It isn’t often that one comes across a piece that so neatly summarizes the major errors of gun control proponents, yet letter-writer Janet Cunningham accomplishes that and more with her recent anti-gun submission, “America needs to work to reduce gun fatalities,” WTE Letter to the Editor, Nov. 15). Errors in strong need of being challenged.
For instance, in discussing recent mass shootings, Cunningham states: “It is time (and way past time) to talk about and to act upon the rampant gun violence in our country.” Which means — gun control, in a nutshell: “… the president and our legislators won’t stand up to the National Rifle Association and enact some common-sense gun regulations.”
And how, I wonder, will such laws work?
We all know that gun-control laws, by definition, keep guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens. But how is it, exactly, that such laws will prevent the thugs from obtaining them? After all, by definition, don’t criminals violate the laws? Isn’t that what they do, isn’t that that what makes them criminals?
So, since criminals will still be able to get and use guns whenever they feel like it, but now there’s no more good guys, other than police, who are armed any longer, doesn’t that put the law-abiding citizens at an ever greater disadvantage? Aren’t such citizens, in effect, now stripped of their right to self-defense? Haven’t THEY, at that point, had THEIR rights legislated out of existence? While the thugs, who violate such laws with impunity, are all armed to the teeth?
To see this principle in practice, one need merely observe the streets of Chicago — where, just yesterday as of this writing, “A man killed Tuesday — marking the city’s 600th homicide this year — was among five people shot in a 7-hour span of gun violence on the South and West sides.” (“Man killed in year’s 600th homicide shot Tuesday in Chicago,” “CBS Chicago,” Nov. 15.)
And, last year in Chicago: “The year, so far, has been steeped in blood. Shootings — 1,177 as of the Friday morning before Memorial Day — are up by 50 percent for the year. Two hundred and thirty-three people are dead.” (“A weekend in Chicago,” “The New York Times,” June 4, 2016.)
Yet, in both Chicago as a city and Illinois as a state, a concealed-carry permit entails: “a valid Firearm Owner’s Identification card”; “16 hours of Concealed Carry firearms training provided by an Illinois State Police-approved instructor”; “must have not been convicted or found guilty of a misdemeanor involving the threat of physical force or violence to any person within the past five years”; and “must not have not been in a residential or court-ordered treatment for alcoholism, alcohol detoxification, or drug treatment within the past five years,” to name a few of the stipulations.
Plus $150.00, of course, to allow you to exercise your “right” to own and carry a gun. Oh yeah, provided that “no objections are filed by law enforcement.” (“Checklist: Illinois concealed carry license requirements,” “The Chicago Tribune,” Feb. 28, 2014.)
Yet, somehow, the thugs of Chicago have plenty of guns; there’s something out there shooting all those bullets, at any rate. I wonder how many of those thugs bothered to tramp downtown and cough up the $150.00 for that privilege? Meanwhile, the law-abiding citizens who are foolish enough to frequent such areas of attack are limited to dodging the bullet streams when it comes to “self-defense.”
So, Ms. Cunningham, you can talk all you like about how your “common-sense laws” are “meant to lower gun fatalities in our country,” but the facts of reality make it clear that it’s THE EXACT OPPOSITE which is the case. “Gun-free zones” actually ATTRACT crime.
Oblivious to such facts, however, Cunningham goes on to claim that “no other country in the world kills its citizens at the rate we do in the United States. SHAME on us.”
Actually, according to the “United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime” statistics, we don’t even come close: Our murder rate per 100,000 of population is 4.88, while El Salvador tops the list at 108.64. Honduras rates a distant second at 63.75, and the socialist paradise of Venezuela rates third at 57.15 murders per 100,000. We’re not even in the top 25.
So … “Shame on US,” Ms. Cunningham? Or shame on YOU? I’d suggest you go down to the gun shop and buy at least one or two weapons of your own while you still can.
Bradley Harrington is a computer technician and a writer who lives in Cheyenne. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTE: This column was originally published in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle on November 19, 2017.