Dick Jones: Peace on Earth, goodwill toward men
BY DICK JONES
As a person who’s spent his adult life immersed in the firearms culture, this has been a sad week. A little over a week ago, a disturbed young man took the lives of 20 small children and six adults who tried to protect them and he used the legally purchased firearm that belonged to his mother. Before this mass murder, the killer used his mother’s gun to kill her and eventually, he turned it on himself. All this, came just before a time when we should be thinking peaceful, loving thoughts, Christmas. I have two six-year-old grandchildren and this hit me hard.
How has the United States, the model nation for the world, the shining beacon of freedom and opportunity, gotten to this sorry point? God have mercy on us.
We have become polarized within our culture. About half of us fear guns and believe they are the main cause and instrument of evil. The other half believes they are the only solution to safety in a world that’s becoming difficult to understand. The fact is that neither group is right. It is true that lives are lost every year because of the availability of a firearm. This is also true of availability of cars, alcohol, drugs, sporting events, and poor eating habits. Statistics can be generated to prove any point but to do so, requires careful wording. Here are two simple statistics; both come from the Federal Bureau of Investigation:
• Crime in the United States, including violent crime, has decreased in the last 10 years.
• Gun sales in the last 10 years have doubled, and the biggest segment of the market is the modern sporting rifle, the guns called assault weapons by anti-gun proponents.
According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, concealed Carry permits have also skyrocketed and Concealed Carry Defenders are less likely to wrongly shoot than sworn law officers. If there is a correlation between gun ownership and crime, it is that the presence of firearms reduces crime. This is also supported when you look at the areas of the country with the tightest gun laws. Washington, D.C., Chicago, New York City, and Los Angeles, all have highly restrictive gun laws, yet they have crime rates similar to some of the worst places in the world. Rural areas, where guns abound, have the lowest crime rates in our nation. So where do we turn to end this?
The proponents of the First Amendment are not being nearly as responsible as the proponents of the Second Amendment. Submitting programing that glorifies evil and makes these Evil Pseudo Ninjas famous is like a gun owner leaving a loaded gun on the table of a public restaurant. Shows like CBS’ Criminal Minds feed the monster in two ways. They glorify evil in the eyes of a disturbed person and they create fear among everyone else. Fear is what drives the passion in the gun debate. Some people think guns are the cause of the crime problem. Others believe guns are the only defense an ordinary citizen has. Politicians are out of the loop because they have armed security protecting them. They are above the fear and they tend to react to emotional constituents.
While the media generates endless copy and video about events like Newtown, where evil prevailed, there is hardly any coverage at all in places like the New Life Church in Colorado Springs. In 2007, Jeanne Assam, a concealed carry defender, successfully stopped an armed Evil Pseudo Ninja, shooting him fatally in the halls of the church after he had killed two people. Two days earlier, he had killed two other people and was still at large and unidentified. Since only three people died at New Life Church, this wasn’t much of a news story but, had Jeanne Assam, the concealed carry defender, not been there, it would have been a big story and generated anti-gun emotion. Guns save people’s lives every day, but when it happens, it’s not a big news story.
Whether it’s a fear of a gun or a fear of being attacked by a demented murder like the demented young man at Newtown, fear is emotion. Emotion is not rational and it generates a passion for the cause. This feeds the flames of the disagreement.
This is a complex issue. No one can say the numbers generated by the FBI indicate guns cause the problem, so the driving force in a rush to legislation is passion from those who fear guns. They are vocal and most of those folks don’t hear stories about people like concealed carry defender, Jeanne Assam. Laws that affect the primary amendments to our Constitution deserve careful consideration.
This is a complex issue. It is an emotional issue. When our Founding Fathers amended our Constitution, they carefully considered the issues and didn’t rush to a decision based on emotion. Last year, the Supreme Court upheld the Second Amendment as it is currently interpreted. Their decision was carefully considered and not rushed though on emotion. I think we should expect the same sensible approach by our elected representatives and I question anyone who says we should rush to a decision on such an important issue. This should be considered without shouting, screaming or calling names. After all, doing the right thing and respect and love for our fellow man is, regardless of that man’s opinion, what this season is all about.
Dick Jones is an award winning freelance writer living in High Point. He writes a weekly outdoors column published in the Enterprise’s Sports section on Sundays, and he writes on outdoors topics for a number of other North Carolina and national publications. He’s also a certified instructor for concealed carry permit classes.