Articles & Responses


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coyote_jr
August 8, 2007, 04:38 PM
I would like this thread to deal entirely with firearms related articles in the media, and responses to those articles. This is pure activism, no discussion. My hope is that by having a thread devoted to posting articles from the web, both pro and anti, it will become a resource for members here, and will encourage members to respond to the articles. Another goal is that by seeing other members post their responses, they too are compelled to respond, and by seeing how several members respond to the same article, we learn more about how people think, learn ways to better organize and explain our arguments, etc.

Also, I would like to see any responses from the original authors if they happen. The ideal set up would be this:

Original article-THR member response (usually email)-response from original author (if any)

It would be most effective when posting to include either all or most of the original article followed by a member's response.

My hope is that there will be as little side discussions as possible in order to focus on the content of article/response. If you wanted to tell someone "nice job" or "excellent response" maybe you could just pm them.

I think this will be effective in getting our voice heard a little louder because I know me personally, if I saw 20-30 members post their responses to a particular article, I would be less hesitant to do so. I would probably read through most of the responses to see if I could use anything in my own.

Here's my example:

http://www.thesunchronicle.com/articles/2007/08/07/columns/columns44.txt
A weekend in Las Vegas! The lights, the casinos, the shows, the glitz, the noise, the - guns?

"This here's the easiest to start with. It's got less kick so it's easier to control."

Into my hand he plops a Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum revolver. It's only the second time in my life I've actually touched a gun (the first being during a Boy Scout trip). My hand droops under the surprising weight of the pistol. He chuckles. What am I doing here?

It's Saturday afternoon, and having lost too much money all too quickly at the poker tables, my buddy and I are seeking refuge from the dry Nevada heat at a gun club a few miles off the Strip. We can't remember whose idea it was, but neither of us thought we'd actually go through with it.

"That's a great little gun there," the other salesguy chimes in. "I'm giving one to my niece for her 21st birthday. She's a fine shot." I'm not sure whether he's boasting or poking fun at me - probably both. Apparently, I'm holding a girl's gun.

"Guns are great to have around," he continues. "Just like seat belts and fire extinguishers - you don't know when you're going to need one, but when there's an intruder in my house I'll be glad to have it." I look around and watch a dozen or so gun-toting, plaid-wearing bearded guys nod in agreement. I decide now's not the time to mention that children can't accidentally kill themselves by playing with seat belts and a fire can't steal your fire extinguisher and use it against you.

Having completed my eight-second firearm tutorial, I don my safety goggles and large red earmuffs and head for the shooting range. Carefully cradling my pistol and a box of 50 .38 Specials to my chest, I ease my way down to lane number six. Every few seconds I violently twitch as another gun is fired; even with ear protection the noise is deafening. I'll be glad to get out of here without soiling my undergarments.

I take my target - a large off-white sheet featuring a potential intruder's head and torso - and clip it to the metal pole above me. A flick of a switch sends it flying backward into space. I load my pistol and take aim, briefly wondering how much it hurts to accidentally shoot oneself in the foot.

I squeeze off shot after shot, jumping at the sound of each one. Some people feel powerful with a pistol in their hand; I feel terror. I reload rapidly, hoping I run out of rounds before I run out of luck and end up with nine fingers.

It's not until I leave that I relax enough to take a look at my target. Though I aimed at my intruder's heart on every shot, most sailed wide, past his right shoulder. When I find an intruder in my house, I'll just throw a fire extinguisher at him.

BILL ZUCK, a former Foxboro resident, is relieved to still have all of his digits. You can reach him at wcz78@yahoo.com.

Mr. Zuck,
It is unfortunate that your experience at the range in Las Vegas went the way it did. Could you possibly let me know what the name of the establishment was so I can avoid it in the future when I am in Las Vegas visiting family? I also find it unfortunate that in your article you felt the need to advance certain stereotypes of gun owners and the gun culture. I am not quite sure what the point of your article was other than to reveal your own fear of weapons to others. If you would like to have an enjoyable shooting experience, unlike your Las Vegas area experience, there are plenty of other indoor and outdoor ranges you could go to, including several right there in Southern Mass. Again, too bad about your experience in Vegas. That shop and the gentlemen you encountered by no means is a reflection of all gun owners and gun ranges.

Respectfully,

Mr. XXXXXXXXX

(That was my personal email reply)

If any response from his side came back I would edit to add.

Also, if other members in kind responded to this article with an email of their own to the author, please add all or part of the original article to your post to not get responses mixed up.

I hope this catches on, I think it will encourage others to make their voices heard by seeing several members show that they responded. Again: article/response/response(if any) Try not to engage in discussion. I don't think this Activism forum is serving its intended purpose well and this is my attempt to get more active.

If you enjoyed reading about "Articles & Responses" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
coyote_jr
August 8, 2007, 05:06 PM
http://calsun.canoe.ca/News/Columnists/Robinson_Ian/2007/07/29/4377333-sun.html
Sun, July 29, 2007
Real roots of crime
Don't blame legal handguns for epidemic of violence By IAN ROBINSON
A boy named Ephraim Brown was killed recently in Toronto, caught in a crossfire between the vicious thugs who populate large cities.

It is a wicked and sad thing.

I have known parents who have lost a child -- to cancer, to auto accidents -- and despite their indescribable courage, they were never the same again, carrying with them a hole in their hearts that never healed.

But at least they were spared having politicians circle their children's corpses, making political points before the bodies were buried.

Ephraim Brown was killed with a gun. So, predictably, Toronto Mayor David Miller, called for a ban on legally owned handguns, not knowing where the firearm that took this boy's life originated.

Because sometimes criminals steal guns from legal owners and use them for illegal purposes.

This is like calling for a ban on cars because sometimes people hotwire them, drive them through red lights, and take out an entire family.

And this call came despite the fact that to own a legal firearm in this country, let alone a handgun, requires jumping through legislative hoops that beggar the imagination. Occasionally, some nut slips through, but it is so rare as to rival the odds of winning a major lottery prize.

As Sun Media reported in the aftermath of this tragedy, of the nation's 2 million licensed gun owners, between 1997 and 2005, 111 of them used their firearms to murder someone. That's 0.00555%.

At that rate, legal firearms owners pose less danger to society than over-the-counter pain medications, physician malpractice, and indulging in potato chips.

Sssh. Don't tell Miller. I like driving, aspirin, regular check-ups and those chips with ripples that really scoop up the dip.

Less predictable was the viewpoint of ex-politician -- if one can ever be an ex-politician; I think it's like the IRA, once in, never out -- and now Sun columnist, Sheila Copps.

She put the blame for this tragedy squarely on the absence of sports funding.

Yep. Turns out poor families don't spend as much as richer families on enrolling their kids in soccer and hockey. No surprise. Those things cost money. As Copps wrote: "We say we want alternatives to the lure of gangs? Sports teams could provide those alternatives."

And, of course, Copps wants government to pay for it, choosing to ignore the real roots of poverty and crime.

It is understandable why she does this, because Sheila is a feminist, and feminist theory forbids examination of the true roots of crime because it makes them uncomfortable and violates the sacred tenet of their creed, which says men are essentially disposable.

The real roots of poverty for women in single-parent households that foster criminal male youth are simple: Divorce or failure to marry in the first place. The real roots -- which erase race and economic status from the equation-- is the absence of a male in the household.

Michael Tanner of the libertarian Cato Institute, testifying before the U.S. Senate, cited the work of Dr. June O'Neill and Anne Hill for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services who found welfare programs for young, unmarried pregnant women led to an increase in the number of babies born out of wedlock. And that increases in those welfare rates resulted in a lower marriage rate for those pregnant women.

O'Neil also found black kids from single-parent homes were twice as likely to be arrested for crimes as those from black families where the father is present. U.S. figures showed 70% of young offenders of all colours in custody came from fatherless homes as do 43% of prison inmates.

And further, the more single-parent families in a neighbourhood, the more crime.

Truth is, I'm not sure how to fix this. Maybe we shouldn't be paying young women who are dumb enough to get knocked up to have their babies.

Maybe if they didn't have that safety net, they'd remember to take that little pill, or be more discriminating about who they bump uglies with.

Maybe married couples with one income-earner should get a tax break to encourage the essential building block of society.

One thing I'm sure of: Buying a kid a glove and getting him on a team where a coach may have five minutes of one-on-one time with him twice a week is no substitute for throwing the ball around in the backyard every night after school ... with his dad.

Mr. Robinson,
I wanted to say that I very much enjoyed your article title, "Real Roots of Crime". I thought it was very well argued and well reasoned. The Mayor of Toronto is reacting in knee-jerk fashion and kudos to you for calling him out on it. Keep up the excellent work.

Sincerely,

Mr. XXXXXXXXX
Providence, RI

Gord
August 8, 2007, 05:19 PM
Was asked to post my response, and so I shall.

Original article:
http://www.thesunchronicle.com/articles/2007/08/07/columns/columns44.txt
ZUCK: Have gun, will tremble


Sunday, August 5, 2007 10:50 PM EDT


A weekend in Las Vegas! The lights, the casinos, the shows, the glitz, the noise, the - guns?

"This here's the easiest to start with. It's got less kick so it's easier to control."

Into my hand he plops a Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum revolver. It's only the second time in my life I've actually touched a gun (the first being during a Boy Scout trip). My hand droops under the surprising weight of the pistol. He chuckles. What am I doing here?

It's Saturday afternoon, and having lost too much money all too quickly at the poker tables, my buddy and I are seeking refuge from the dry Nevada heat at a gun club a few miles off the Strip. We can't remember whose idea it was, but neither of us thought we'd actually go through with it.

"That's a great little gun there," the other salesguy chimes in. "I'm giving one to my niece for her 21st birthday. She's a fine shot." I'm not sure whether he's boasting or poking fun at me - probably both. Apparently, I'm holding a girl's gun.

"Guns are great to have around," he continues. "Just like seat belts and fire extinguishers - you don't know when you're going to need one, but when there's an intruder in my house I'll be glad to have it." I look around and watch a dozen or so gun-toting, plaid-wearing bearded guys nod in agreement. I decide now's not the time to mention that children can't accidentally kill themselves by playing with seat belts and a fire can't steal your fire extinguisher and use it against you.

Having completed my eight-second firearm tutorial, I don my safety goggles and large red earmuffs and head for the shooting range. Carefully cradling my pistol and a box of 50 .38 Specials to my chest, I ease my way down to lane number six. Every few seconds I violently twitch as another gun is fired; even with ear protection the noise is deafening. I'll be glad to get out of here without soiling my undergarments.

I take my target - a large off-white sheet featuring a potential intruder's head and torso - and clip it to the metal pole above me. A flick of a switch sends it flying backward into space. I load my pistol and take aim, briefly wondering how much it hurts to accidentally shoot oneself in the foot.

I squeeze off shot after shot, jumping at the sound of each one. Some people feel powerful with a pistol in their hand; I feel terror. I reload rapidly, hoping I run out of rounds before I run out of luck and end up with nine fingers.

It's not until I leave that I relax enough to take a look at my target. Though I aimed at my intruder's heart on every shot, most sailed wide, past his right shoulder. When I find an intruder in my house, I'll just throw a fire extinguisher at him.

BILL ZUCK, a former Foxboro resident, is relieved to still have all of his digits. You can reach him at wcz78@yahoo.com.

Response:
Mr. Zuck,

Interesting that your first choice of venue for "escaping the heat" was a shooting range, and not a nice little diner for some iced tea (of the Long Island variant or otherwise, being in Vegas and all). A deliberate search for, and criticism of, something you don't personally agree with? Nah, couldn't be...

Your argument with regards to children is valid only if a gun owner chooses to forsake his or her obligation to personal responsibility and stores the gun without a trigger lock, outside of a safe, or away from his or her immediate person (i.e., in a holster) - which is strongly discouraged, if not outright illegal, whether or not children are present in one's household. While common sense is, sadly, not a prerequisite to owning a firearm, the great majority of gun-totin' types possess it in quantity. It is unfortunate that the collective reputation of responsible firearm owners everywhere continues to be blemished by those who, either through ignorance or apathy, do not seek out the proper instruction for handling and care of their firearms.

One of these people could be you - you should not have to "wonder how much it hurts to accidentally shoot oneself in the foot" if proper handling is observed.

The late Colonel Jeff Cooper scribed a set of four simple rules that the responsible gun owner considers law (explanations mine):

1. ALL GUNS ARE ALWAYS LOADED.
Meaning that any firearm one picks up should be considered "ready to go" and checked, then re-checked, by sight and touch, to verify that they are, in fact, unloaded and safe to handle; the solution to the "cleaning accidents" that pop up every now and then in the news.
2. NEVER AIM A GUN AT ANYTHING YOU ARE UNWILLING TO DESTROY.
Being self-explanatory: any firearm should be pointed in a safe direction, usually at the ground or into the air, such that an accidental firing of the gun would not harm anything or anyone surrounding the handler; though that risk is all but nullified given the next rule,
3. KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL YOU ARE READY TO FIRE.
Being once again self-explanatory; the most common way to do this is to "index" the, well, index finger along the gun above the trigger and outside the trigger guard - the loop around the trigger - such that stumbling or being startled will not cause one to reflexively pull the trigger.
4. BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET AND WHAT IS BEHIND IT.
One should place one's finger on the trigger and prepare to fire only after ascertaining beyond all doubt the identity of the target, and having full knowledge of what is beyond it, should a bullet fully penetrate the target and keep going - a possibility with any firearm, and a certainty when shooting smiley faces in paper targets.

These rules, or something approximating them, should have been related to you upon your rental of the gun at the range. If they were not, it was most likely assumed that you were familiar with the handling and operation of firearms; had you asked for further instruction and perhaps a few "hands-on" shots (it takes practice, as with anything else, to be consistent in aim - it's not as easy as it seems, especially with a handgun!) I imagine you would have been happily obliged. Any other response would have been a good reason to effect an escape - careless attitudes have no place around guns.

I am sorry that your experience at this Vegas range was a bad one, but should you still be interested in helping defend America against its teeming hordes of paper targets and old tin cans, I hope that you will consider trying again. No group is immune to the occasional jerk, gun owners included - but I hope that in time, you will find that most of "us" are just normal, friendly guys with jobs all over the spectrum, college degrees ranging all the way up to doctorates, and an understanding that the police do not always arrive in time to prevent bad men from taking lives. Take a few trips to the ranges or gun clubs close to you, or try requesting a lesson or two on one of the firearms-centric forums on the Web. I recommend www.thehighroad.org - a civil forum for the promotion and discussion of responsible gun ownership for hobby and personal protection. Discussion between differing points of view is always encouraged - make a post to introduce yourself and I am sure you will receive a friendly welcome from the High Road community.

A few tips for your next (I hope!) outing:

- Double up! Gunfire is loud, takes getting used to, and does cause hearing loss over time; use earplugs under your earmuffs, make sure both fit you well, and consider a set of electronic earmuffs, which muffle louder noise while still allowing one to hear normal speech.

- Start small! Calling a .357 Magnum a "beginner's gun" is sort of like calling a Corvette a "beginner's car" - it most certainly is not! The .22 Long Rifle cartridge, commonly abbreviated .22LR, is a very small cartridge that produces very little noise or recoil, as well as being extremely cheap (about $15 for a "brick" of 500 rounds). Recoil is another thing that takes getting used to - and, eventually, you will find your limit, which has nothing to do with your physical stature. Plenty of men find any given caliber to be "too much," while a petite woman may be able to shoot the same caliber all day long comfortably.

- Rifles first! Handguns are more difficult to aim accurately and consistently because of their light weight, short distance between the front and rear sights, and the fact that one usually fires them unsupported - whereas rifles, by contrast, are usually heavier and more stable, are inherently more accurate due to their longer barrels and longer distance between the front and back sights, and their ability to be fired from a bench or using sandbags or other supports.

- Don't be too proud! Everyone's a beginner at some point, and you shouldn't be expected - or expect yourself - to know what all the buttons and levers on a gun do, or be able to produce one ragged hole on a target with ten shots, any more than you should be expected to be able to reproduce a van Gogh painting with no prior experience. With practice you will be able to punch a hole in a soda can from 300 feet away, or shoot your initials in a paper target, but it takes time - and that's okay.

- Remember the rules! Do your best to memorize Cooper's Four Rules above, and for the first few times you go shooting, make a conscious effort to watch where your finger goes when you handle a gun - it will soon become habit to keep your finger off the trigger and correctly indexed.

- And most of all... have fun! Relax and breathe normally - shooting holes in paper with a gun is just like woodworking with a hammer and chisel - you're enjoying a hobby, facilitated by a tool that isn't a deadly weapon unless your action and intent make it one. It's not going to "go off by itself." You're not going to feel an urge to run off and kill someone. Holding it doesn't make you an anti-government nut, and no one's going to try and make you shoot Bambi. Take a deep breath, relax, and oblige the ten-year-old boy inside of you: producing loud bangs and little puffs of dust can be pretty darn fun. It's as simple - and innocent - as that.

Thank you for reading, sir. I hope I've done my small part to reinforce the reality - that "we" aren't all "like that."


With regards,

Xxxxxx X. Xxxxxx
Cedar City, Utah

Hopefully he'll respond, but I have a feeling he won't bother. :(

AndyC
August 8, 2007, 08:27 PM
Very nice reply there, Ninja - you did the shooting-community proud with that letter :D

springmom
August 8, 2007, 08:55 PM
Since Coyote asked, I'll add my response to the Las Vegas episode:

Hello:

I am really sorry to read that you had such a miserable experience at the shooting range you all went to. I’m a 52 year old mom of four who shoots pistols and revolvers, shotguns and rifles, and I wanted to write and tell you that you had the bad time you did for reasons not at all related to YOU.

Well, mostly not related to you.

Did you tell the guy you were a new shooter? (Childhood doesn’t count unless you did it all the time J) If he knew that, he should have started you with a .22lr pistol or revolver. NO recoil. TINY noise. Tons of fun. Second, what kind of ears were you wearing? “Ears” means hearing protection. Most of us who shoot regularly wear “double ears”…that is, we wear foam plugs inside our ears AND a set of muffs designed for shooting over our ears. If you do that, you’ll have a much easier time. Now, granted, there are guns whose concussion wave you will feel anyway (big bore guns, or very, very fast-moving rounds from smaller guns). But you were talking about noise, and you can deal with noise.

Finally, you should have someone to show you HOW to shoot. Would you go drive a car the first time without someone teaching you? (With or without seat belts, LOL). An experienced shooter could have answered questions, allayed concerns, and shown you how to shoot accurately.

If you’re ever down in the Houston area, please email me. My husband and I would be pleased to take you out and let you shoot our pistols or rifles or whatever you’d like. And I don’t think you’ll end up unhappy at the end of the day.

Blackbeard
August 8, 2007, 09:26 PM
Here's my response to Mr. Zuck:

Dear Mr. Zuck,



I’m sure you’ve gotten a lot of hate mail in response to your editorial on the trip to the gun club. We gun owners can be a feisty lot if we perceive that someone wants to take away our rights. I’m sure you can understand how that might upset us. Let me apologize for any personal insults or threats that came your way from my fellow owners. Understand they don’t represent the majority.



I’m disappointed that you didn’t enjoy your first trip to the gun range. I know it can be a frightening thing being handed a powerful tool with no instruction. I’d be soiling myself too if someone strapped me into a hang glider and told me to jump off a cliff. I highly recommend you sign up for the NRA basic handgun safety course. I took the course as my introduction to firearms and it may allay some of your fears. It is a ten hour course over four days – much more than the “8 minute tutorial” that you got at your range. Knowledge dispels fear.



As far as guns being dangerous to have in the house, I believe they are no more dangerous than any number of other things in a typical house (cleaning chemicals, power tools, etc.). Responsible parents childproof their homes against these sorts of dangers and teach their children how to use them when they’re old enough. It is no different with firearms. No one has ever been killed with a locked gun, and never will be.

coyote_jr
August 13, 2007, 02:25 PM
http://www.suntimes.com/news/washington/507772,CST-EDT-LAURA13.article
Why aren't others joining the call for gun control?

August 13, 2007
LAURA WASHINGTON
It's summertime, and the livin' sure ain't easy. The temps are sizzling and the guns ubiquitous. It's a toxic and combustible mixture. Throw in the preachers, politicians and some cops and a whole lot of guns. Just don't throw in a match.
We anguish over school shootings like the massacres at Virginia Tech and in Red Lake, Colo. Every single day, dozens of shootings take down urbanites across America.

We have become blithely dulled by the headlines. A 10-year-old girl in Englewood shot to death at her own birthday party. During the last academic year, 34 Chicago schoolchildren were lost to gun violence. Early this month, three college students were shot to death in a Newark, N.J., schoolyard.

A few know the clock is ticking and they are doing what they can. Mayor Daley knows. Daley may be the Evil Enemy of Black People to some, but he is doing more than just about anyone to get guns off the streets. He has made gun control a signature issue and has vainly pushed to get anti-gun state legislation through the intractable and juvenile Illinois General Assembly.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson and a Catholic priest, Father Michael Pfleger, the Evil Enemies of White People to some, are awaiting trial for mounting a protest outside Chuck's Gun Shop in south suburban Riverdale.

Now comes a report that nearly half of people murdered in the United States in 2005 were black. Most were ages 17 to 29, according to numbers released last week by the U.S. Justice Department.

While blacks make up about 13 percent of the nation's population, they comprise 49 percent of all murder victims. And the vast majority -- 93 percent -- were killed by African Americans. Most likely wielding firearms.

We have succumbed to what the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence calls "a culture of death." We are playing with fire.

The lefties and black radicals whine about the disproportionate number of black men in prison. Yet the jails are not big enough for all the trigger-happy crazies who are out on the street, like the gang-bangers warring over their corner crack franchises. The social justice types should instead aim their ire at the storefront merchants and dealers who push death in the name of the U.S. Constitution and the National Rifle Association.

The guns are aimed at all of us, and there's nowhere to hide. The child caught in the crossfire. The family argument that turns deadly because dad's got a pistol in the drawer. The drug dealer who's packing heat. The road rage that goes too far. The depressed high-schooler looking for revenge in the classroom. It all comes back to too many guns.

Jackson, Pfleger and Daley are doing their part. Where is everyone else?

Where are our elected officials? Where are our presidential wannabes?

During the last presidential election cycle, the Democrats shamelessly pandered to the deer hunters of Pennsylvania and Northern Michigan.

Gun control has rarely been mentioned during the interminable slew of debates in the run-up to the 2008 presidential election. It should be a signature issue.

Gun fever has ravaged our communities. We need a prescription, not a home remedy.


Ms. Washington,

In regards to your article today titled, "Why aren't others joining the call for gun control", did you notice that the violent incidents you used to prove your point, Chicago, IL and Newark, NJ, already have some of the strictest gun control laws in the country?

Most firearms are already banned from the city of Chicago. How do you explain the gun violence epidemic in the city then? Are the bans and strict rules already in place having a positive effect? Can you explain it?

May I ask what you suggest be done? Can you come up with one practical, workable solution to the problem you see?

Please let me know if you come up with anything.

Respectfully,

Mr. XXXXXXXX
Providence, RI

Dear Mr. XXXXXXX,



Thanks for sharing your thoughts about my column on gun control. I appreciate you taking the time to write.



Best, Laura Washington




=================================================================
Laura S. Washington
Ida B. Wells-Barnett University Professor
DePaul University
Contributing Columnist, Chicago Sun-Times
Senior Editor, In These Times
DePaul Humanities Center
2347 N. Racine Ave.
Chicago, Ill. 60614
773-325-4675

I guess she couldn't come up with a solution?

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