LETTER TO THE EDITOR: The hypocrisy of gun control

Dear Editor:

For all intents and purposes, I am a liberal. And, unless some remarkable event occurs, I in all likelihood will vote for Hillary Clinton. But I have a bone to pick with my fellow liberals and it’s about gun control. 

The last thing in the world I want to do is agree with radical right wing conservative types. But I find myself caught between political rhetorics and a hard place. So, not so long ago there was a mass killer in Virginia, the reporter who killed his colleagues. And of course this incident once again conjured the liberal anti-gun radicals into a frenzy of hastily put together new legislation about guns. Forget the fact that cars kill more people annually. Or that obesity-related diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease kill over 300,000 people annually. Mass murders, as horrific as they seem, comprise less than 2% of all gun related crimes. 

Nevertheless, guns are vilified as the culprit in some great conspiracy. It really is a tiresome thing for me to revisit over and over as these stories are sensationalized in the popular media. I am bit of a layman on the subject of psychopaths. But I’ve read enough works on forensic psychology to know that the kind of people who commit these heinous crimes don’t need a gun to carry it out. It’s not the medium. Or the tool, as it were. It is the mind. 

An Israeli Arab attacked 13 on a bus with a knife. The Boston bombers used crockpots. Al-Quada terrorists used IEDs and car bombs in Iraq. Timothy McVeigh, the federal building bomber in Oklahoma, used a truck bomb filled with fertilizer, oxygen tanks, etc. Where there is an evil will, there is a way. It all begins in the mind and has little to do with how the action is carried out. 

And that is why I find the discussion of gun control abhorrent. Because it is never really about the weapon more than the person and the profile of that person. People lose themselves in these rhetorical discussions. And politicians always try to appeal to popular consensus. They, politicians, are salesmen by nature and care more about what appeals to popular opinion. They are about playing it safe and not what makes sense. 

I do not currently own a gun, though I have in the past. But I can’t help but feel a tinge of angst from the growing movement of anti gun crackpots. It makes me want buy a gun, just to make sure these crazies don’t get their way. I find it peculiar to be in agreement with the likes of Sarah Palin, but I guess politics makes for strange bedfellows after all.

I would leave the reader with this last and final thought. Remember the story told by Ken Burns, the great American documentary filmmaker, in his film about Prohibition. The story entails the true life events leading up to and through prohibition in America in the early 20th century. The lesson learned from that film is that, though something like a vice or another might be bad for you, it isn’t the business of any overseeing government body to take it upon themselves to dictate to the American people how a citizen should live their life. Not in a democracy! 

We are not children in need of a government overseer to treat us as obstinate difficult people that must be cautioned at every potentially hazardous instance. In a democracy citizens must choose for themselves what is their fate. I own no gun, but like a commentator in the Burns documentary, who stated that he didn’t drink alcohol, but if some government authority should tell him he can’t, he would take up drinking immediately as an act of defiance against a tyrannical state.

I wholly agree.

Greta Campbell