Barlow | Indy Week

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Re: “One nation under guns

After seeing all the cool graphics for this article Id at least hoped it would shed a new light on the gun control debate. I was quickly disappointed somewhere around the argument that introducing young people to shooting sports is a guise for training them to become the next mass murderers and labeling all gun owners/enthusiasts as crazy paranoid people. "The sports enthusiast's dry, practical defense of his tool of choice attempts to mask the core pathology of the gun cult, a religion so saturated with paranoia, fetishism, castration fear, curdled testosterone and blood sacrifice that the ancient Aztecs would have found it congenial." Ewww Shame on the Indy for promoting this inflammatory drivel on the front page. For someone who claims to want a debate, the author leaves little to work with in this rambling rant.

There are too many extremists in both the anti- and pro-gunner camps. Why does someone need to be scared witless to own a firearm? Its nonsensical to me. Guns really are used for more than just self defense. Trap, skeet, sporting clays, silhouette matches really are sports just as much as golf, bowling, basketball and soccer. There are several facilities in Raleigh and RTP where you can try these out. You might even have a lot of fun, relieve some stress and acquire new skills.

But what's wrong with self-defense? We live in a world where risk is present so please don't be so nave. How many anti-gunners lock their doors, have a monitored security system installed in their house, keep a baseball bat under their bed, carry pepper spray? I would argue those are responsible actions of responsibility and preparation instead of crippling paranoia.

We, as creative human beings, have access to countless means and methods for offing ourselves and others: cars, cigarettes, sleeping pills, bicycles, alcohol, cigarettes, food and yes, guns. Violence is, has and always will be a problem in the world - not specifically just the United States. I really wish that we could pass a law that would end violence and crime in general but I know that we cant. In my opinion, additional legislation to prevent law-abiding citizens from purchasing guns is not going to reduce the amount of violence and crime. It may feel good but it wont be effective. Criminals simply disregard laws. We can immediately shut down Smith & Wesson, Ruger and the rest of the gun manufacturers but that will only increase the demand for gun factories in Latin America and Europe. What will we do about the billion guns that already exist? A large black market of illegal guns already exists and its difficult to imagine how exponentially large it would become if handguns were banned.

Since your wife won't let you purchase a handgun, you can take my word that its not that easy to purchase a legal handgun in Durham. The process requires copious amounts of paperwork, character references, money, several trips to the court house and weeks worth of patience. Its much easier and 10x cheaper to walk 3 blocks past the courthouse and purchase an illegal gun on the street. Did you know that Durham is the only NC county that requires handgun registration? Does that make us safer? I'm guessing that very few of the gun-related deaths in Durham stem from legally owned firearms.

Pro-gunner extremists argue that more guns would reduce crime. I have seen no evidence of this. I do think that if an individual practices gun safety and practices regularly then he/she can use a firearm as a very effective self-defense tool in the unlikely case that he/she is the target of a violent crime. Individuals who are uncomfortable with firearms or dont practice regularly should probably not own or handle guns.

We must come together, get involved and focus on the root causes of violence in our society. A gun is an inanimate object. It doesnt feel, forgive, make decisions or fire by itself. It is no more deadly than the set of Henkel knives that are probably sitting openly in your kitchen. Why do we narrow the focus on guns as the problem or the answer? Neither the removal nor the addition of guns from/to our society will reduce or eliminate crime. Theres no quick fix. A little less emotion and a little more logic and education will help us get there.

And if it's any consolation, future wife probably wont allow me to own a motorcycle (even though they are legal to own).

Posted by Barlow on 04/18/2008 at 11:35 AM

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