Join Date: January 9, 2007
Location: SE Nebraska
E.J. Dionne Jr.: President must take aim and stand up to gun lobby
Here is my letter to the editor for an editorial published in The Washington Post
and The Omaha World Herald
I am writing in response to the editorial written by E.J. Dionne Jr, “Who Will Face Down the Gun Lobby?”. It is disheartening, to say the least, when an individual such as Mr. Dionne is granted national exposure to speak of something he knows nothing about. Moreover, his lack of research on the subject is made painfully apparent by the misinformation he has presented in the article. In lieu of being a responsible journalist and studying the subject matter he attempts to address, please allow me to enlighten Mr. Dionne and his readers.
First and foremost, the legal ownership of firearms in the United States is an individual right recognized by the Bill of Rights and recently confirmed by the Supreme Court. Mr. Dionne and anyone willing to blindly follow him can twist the words of the Second Amendment all they want, but they can not dispute one simple truth. This truth is that the Bill of Rights was written to recognize individual rights of the people, not of the government. In fact, the government has never had rights, only responsibilities. Any argument to the contrary only shows a waning knowledge of the war for independence and the armed civilians who fought and died for our victory.
If anyone doubts this interpretation of the Second Amendment, maybe they would be more accepting should they read the multitude of quotes from the founding fathers which specifically reference an individual's right to bear arms. There are many transparent and potent quotes to choose from, and here is one gleaming example. Maybe Mr. Dionne has heard of the author.
"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."
With regard to the situation in Mexico. How is it even plausible to any American that the solution to problems in another country is to deny the rights of their own citizens? Please don't confuse my stance on the Second Amendment to be a lack of compassion for the Mexican people. There is no doubt that their situation is dire. However, the lack of control by the Mexican government can be traced to one ongoing issue; the absence of a secure border. Tighten up the border control and we can significantly slow the flow of illegal drugs and weapons. Why has this not been discussed as a solution? To see how this is equally pertinent to the United States, let's play the same word game that Mr. Dionne dabbled in at the beginning of his misinformed editorial.
Try to imagine that hundreds or thousands of illegal immigrants, including violent criminals, were pouring across the Mexican border into Arizona, New Mexico and Southern California, overextending the social system set in place for tax paying legal residents and severely straining American law enforcement officials while U.S. Citizens foot the bill.
Playing devil's advocate, let us imagine that we somehow came up with legislation that made it nearly impossible, or at the very least prohibitively expensive, for the criminals to obtain firearms in the United States. Will this keep firearms out of the hands of those with intent to do harm when our southern border so freely allows the movement of illegal people, drugs, and firearms? Is this the ingenious plan of the anti-gun lobby? Smuggling firearms north across the border would be the new, high revenue endeavor of the Mexican cartels. Maybe then, once our rights have been taken away, will we finally wise up and decide to secure our borders.
Mr. Dionne would like us to feel ashamed of our gun laws by comparing the United States to other democratic countries. While this may be a simple leap in logic for him, the rest of us must consider the apple to orange comparison he is making. Every democratic country he can reference does not, despite countless historical examples of oppression under tyrannical rule, recognized the rights of its citizens to bear arms. How can Mr. Dionne state that our gun laws are ineffectual and call for further restrictive legislation when the government fails to enforce the current laws already in place? Before we trample on the Bill of Rights, we need to demand that the government exact strict punishment for the laws that currently exist. Take criminals off the street and keep them off.
The tragic mass shootings that have been highlighted in the media over the last ten years have become the war cry of the anti-gun crowd. Though I do not believe that further restrictions on firearms are the answer, I believe Mr. Dionne may be on to something as he contemplates limiting rights. These killers have all had one thing in common. They all ad a desire to display their superiority and share their pain with the world. Instead of attacking the Second Amendment, why don't we call for the restrictive application of the First Amendment? After all, the media was the vehicle these individuals intended to use to reach their goal. I consider the irresponsible use of free speech by the media to be the cause of the copy cat crimes perpetrated since Columbine. As sure as a criminal wields a knife or pulls a trigger, the media has provided these assailants with the real weapon they desire. If you are unwilling to limit the use of the First Amendment, how can you call for restricting the Second?
Mr. Dionne continues on to address the imaginary “gun show loophole” that the public has been brainwashed into believing exists. Once again, if Mr. Dionne had the slightest understanding of the laws pertaining to firearms, he would be ashamed to use such a baseless term intended to strike fear in the ignorant. The private sale of firearms between individuals is allowed in most of the United States. The fact that it may take place at a gun show is irrelevant.
Any loss of human life, especially a death caused by the heinous act of another, is undoubtedly a sad event. It is human nature to seek a person or object to blame for the loss. After the death of a loved one on the operating table, a grief stricken family will often try to find closure by taking legal action against the medical professionals, regardless of circumstances. Though the simple truth is that modern medicine, for all its miracles, can not cure every ailment. For the families who have suffered a loss due to a criminal's use of a firearm, the reaction is much the same; blame the gun instead of the miscreant individual who pulled the trigger.
I will agree with one of Mr. Dionne's statements. It was not the gun lobby that elected President Obama. Regardless of how he arrived at his present position, he has sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America. Is it possible that the “petrified” members of Congress that Mr. Dionne speaks of are simply not willing to lay waste to what our forefathers fought so hard to found?
I know it is too long to be published as a letter to the editor, but I just had to vent. What do you think?
If anyone else would like to give these editors their two cents, please join in and feel free to reference my letter if you so desire.
I told my wife I was scheduling a mid-life crisis. It was either a Harley or guns. Secretly, I've already decided on guns. :-)