Of all the issues …

I find it fascinating that in just one week’s time, I have become one of the targets of those that oppose any regulation on guns, gun safety, and gun ownership in America. I am actually ok with all that — the statement I drafted that was signed by over 300 other college and university presidents is hardly a radical manifesto. In short, all we are asking for is that before private citizens can acquire a gun, that they go through some reasonable background check, that some rational limits be placed on what kinds of guns can be acquired, and that we be allowed to keep these deadly weapons off our campuses. I think we all find it hard to believe that people could take major issue with any of this, but we certainly know that’s the case. The NRA response, though, is just mind-boggling to me. In the 62 mass murder cases over 30 years examined by Mother Jones magazine, not one was stopped by an armed civilian. There was a sheriff’s deputy at Columbine who fired (and missed) four shots while 11 of the 13 victims were still alive. In August, NYC police officers opened fire on a gunman outside the Empire State Building and wounded nine bystanders. Then we have our self-anointed guardians in Florida who shoot unarmed youth because they felt “threatened”. And by the way, when was the last time you saw an armed security guard in your branch bank, as LaPierre claimed in his speech on Friday?
The simple truth, as expressed by columnist Charles Blow this morning in the New York Times, is that more guns equals more deaths. States with low gun ownership rates and reasonable regulations have lower deaths from guns. That, of course, is also true of nations. And from 2009 to 2012, states led by many of the same folks now pushing the more gun solution have cut public mental health services by over four billion dollars. I suppose they will now argue those funds out to be restored and re-directed to the NRA-backed “cop in every school” program. Brilliant.
Before last week, one could certainly have counted me on the pro-regulation side of the gun debate, but this issue of public policy was probably not among the ones on which I felt most passionate. It still probably isn’t, although it certainly has ascended. Most of what I have written about before addresses less glitzy things like the millions of American children living in poverty today, or the millions of young men locked up in prison for drug-related offenses at great cost to all of us, or the millions of students enrolled in failed schools. There is no outrage there. None at all. I just hope that the outrage almost of us feel right now on the gun safety issue ends up mattering.

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2 Responses to Of all the issues …

  1. Mike says:

    I must say to be the President of College as well known in Atlanta and the southeast as Ogelthorpe is; I expected a little more out of you than the words of ignorance I read.
    Of the 2.5 million times citizens use their guns to defend themselves every year the overwhelming majority merely brandish their gun or fire warning shots to scare off their attackers.
    As many as 200,000 women use a gun every year to defend themselves against sexual abuse. Even anti-gun Clinton researchers concede that guns are used 1.5 million times annually for self-defense.
    Your statement that states with low gun ownership and reasonable laws have lower death rates from guns is just flat-out incorrect.
    Let’s consider just a couple of examples Vermont one of the five safest states in the country. In Vermont, citizens can carry a weapon without getting permission without paying a fee or without going through any kind of government imposed waiting period. And yet for 10 years In a row, Vermont has remained one of the top five, safest states in the union – having three times received the “Safest State Award.”
    Then there’s Florida during the 15 year. After it’s concealed carry law was enacted in 1987 Florida’s homicide rate dropped 52% from above the national average to below the national average. The fact is criminals avoid armed citizens. Consider Kennesaw, Georgia. In 1982 this suburb of Atlanta passed a law requiring heads of households to keep at least one firearm in the house. The residential burglary rate dropped 89% in Kennesaw, compared to the modest 10.4% drop in Georgia as a whole.
    And one more statistic 74% of felons polled agreed that one reason burglars avoid houses when people are home is that they fear being shot during the crime. 57% of felons polled agreed that criminals are more worried about meeting an armed victim then they are about running into the police.
    And Let me provide you with one poignant quote from Gen. Yamamoto of Japan when the Emperor ask his generals to draw up plans for invading the United States. Gen. Yamamoto’s reply was; that it would be a huge mistake that there would be a gun behind every blade of grass. Seems interesting that even a General from Japan understands our Constitution better than our own leadership.
    I hope this has given you are a little bit to think on rather than the regular Liberal party line that most people hear. It seems very interesting to me that the media never reports on the flipside of gun control and how it and law abiding gun owners save lives every day.

    Merry Christmas

    • petrelwords says:

      Mike, I am not sure ignorant is really the word you want to use in trying to make a cogent argument and, to be freak, I am not sure what your argument is exactly. More guns make us all safer? If that’s the case, why isn’t 300 million enough? As for the liberal party line, even Fox News and many Republican leaders have come around on the need for rationality here. When I read a letter that resorts to name calling and attacks the liberal press (like Fox News?), I have to say I am inclined not to respond, but I made one exception. I won’t make another.

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