Readers Write: Does gun ownership kill or preserve life?
Letters to the Editor for the weekly print issue of May 28, 2012: Armed defense is effective when talking isn't. Don't stereotype gun owners. Time to end the devastation from America's 'gun culture.'
Fielding blame for US gun culture
Regarding Walter Rodgers's April 30 commentary, "Florida-style gun laws sub impulse for thought," I suggest that when faced with a threat or act of violence, the armed citizen does not first reflect upon the support of these laws. Furthermore, numerous news articles attest to the efficacy of armed defense. Mr. Rodgers's bias against guns disallows recognition of such events.
While a quick wit and glib tongue may suffice for those so endowed, such assets are not silver bullets. A few personal anecdotes do not a whole truth make. And to characterize those who legally carry concealed weapons as likely to encourage a "shoot first" policy is disingenuous and factually wrong.
While I don't necessarily disagree with Rodgers relative to his very selective examples, his examples are not entirely normal, and his conclusions are somewhat naive. What happens when an armed, irrational person on drugs breaks into your home? What happens when you find yourself in an active shooter situation? Could you talk your way out of these conflicts?
Rodgers also needs to be careful not to stereotype people who own or carry guns. Not all are bullies and cowards or use guns as a first resort to resolving a confrontation. Most people never want to shoot another person. It's an absolute last resort before serious injury or death.
How can a nation that prides itself on its humanity and compassion continue policies that promote ready access to firearms? When are we going to end the devastation and grief caused by this "gun culture" – justifying the proliferation of weapons whose sole purpose is to kill?
Roughly 9,000 of the almost 13,000 murders in the United States in 2010 were committed with firearms. Britain, Australia, and Canada combined have had fewer than 350 gun-related murders annually. Recent data show an American youth is killed with a firearm every 4-1/2 hours, and one commits suicide with a gun every eight hours.
Stand Your Ground Laws are just the latest example of America's fascination with guns. Let's start moving these laws off the books.