Letter: Without guns, evil-doers will still find a way

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I am a gun owner and competition shooter of some 67 years. State Rep. Janice Cooper’s recent Forecaster Forum (“Mass shootings: Is there a tipping point?”) could just as easily been titled “Motor vehicle rage: Is there a tipping point?” Just last week a terrorist killed eight and injured a dozen more with a rental truck. Carnage can be done with many different tools and guns are only one of many.

If Cooper had her way and every gun was taken from us, these mass killing would continue by some other method. The gun she so obviously dislikes is simply a tool, just as is a vehicle, a bomb or other similar device. Does she want to eliminate all such tools?

Cooper is the typical liberal who only sees her view of guns and not that guns are just one of dozens of ways to cause mass violence. The problem is the evil intent of people who do not have a moral code.

I question her statement that she learned about guns. Her “I did” is devoid of any specifics and raises many questions. I have been around guns for almost 70 years and taught hunter safety in Maine for many years. I have yet to shoot anyone or be shot at, but my credentials are huge compared to hers on this issue, so believe me when I say she is very wrong about her philosophy regarding firearms.

George Fogg
North Yarmouth

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  • Just Sayin’

    It is true that anyone truly determined to cause harm to others can find a method to do so, but that doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with trying to damage the harm they can do.

    Yes, absent guns, we may see more tragic incidents of vehicular murder and other violence. But let’s try to look at things with perspective.

    The loss of eight lives and the suffering of a dozen more injured is a horrific tragedy, and nobody will deny that. But let’s look at a more recent bout of public violence with firearms, in which over 50 people died and roughly 500 were wounded in the attacks in Las Vegas. This was a far more devastating tragedy, with much more death and misery inflicted on innocent people, all because the perpetrator had tools that empowered him to take human lives more quickly and efficiently.

    Why don’t we take this argument to it’s conclusion? If it makes no sense to restrict the legality of firearms because people are going to permit mass murder whether or not they can legally buy them, why limit any tools that could be used to kill. Why not sell missiles, bombs and nukes to any American citizen who wants them?

    Well, we all know exactly why that would be a terrible idea and what a terrible, bloody cost such a decision would have.

    Just like those weapons of war, Guns are force multipliers, and we need to seriously consider just how readily we, as a society, let just about anyone have access to that kind of force and stop pretending that they’re completely harmless when they’re so readily available.

    • Chew H Bird

      If we further reduce the ability of law abiding citizens to own firearms the long term impact will be a reduction of firearms among law abiding citizens. People with intent to harm, but less ability to obtain firearms will migrate to more efficient ways to hurt innocent people with vehicles, chemical and biological agents, and will use methods more difficult to detect such as compromising our water systems.

      We need to reduce the root causes that inspire people to commit mass harm to others. I suspect some of the issues, beyond basic criminal behavior, mental illness, drug addition, PTSD, and other serious problems are rooted in our societal enforced “safety bubble” where kids are no longer able to be kids without being supervised 24×7, and parents hover, and day care replaces a stay at home parent, and “everything” is structured. Sometimes children simply need to be kids and do stupid things.

      When I was a kid we were limited to 10 minutes of talk time on the one land line in our house that was in a central location. Today we give kids cell phones with internet access and cameras and penalize them when they do stupid things. What ever happened to riding bikes on side streets with friends, and playing informal sports with our neighbors without being under surveillance.

      Being a “big kid” used to have the payoff of waiting for the school bus without parental supervision. Many of these things add up to kids being inadequate to grow up and assume responsibility for their actions. We, and the regulations we have constructed, are contributing to the problem of mass violence (in my uneducated opinion).

  • Little Crow

    This letter is well stated by someone who knows what he is talking about. We have plenty of laws in existence that are not being enforced. The Obama administration’s justice department under AG Eric Holder refused to enforce federal firearms laws against Actual Criminals who committed Real Crimes with Real Guns, and we were told by these same people that the problem was the law-abiding citizens of the NRA, who have never harmed anyone and teach responsible firearm safety. In fact, a regular feature of their monthly magazine lists numerous cases where good guys with guns have saved lives and prevented tragedy.

    • Just Sayin’

      There are a few things this letter fails to fully address. First off, there’s no question that there are people who can be responsible, good gun owners. Gun control laws are not written to ‘go after these people’, they’re written to improve public safety. It’s unfortunate when public safety stops us from doing the things we like to do. I’m not allowed to drive over the speed limit as a public safety law, it doesn’t take into account my responsible driving record or my skill behind the wheel as compared to other drivers. Gun regulations are written in the same spirit.

      The other big issue here is how the writer immediately jumps from ‘gun control laws’, to ‘taking all our guns away’. This is a false argument that is repeated over and over and over by gun enthusiasts. There are many steps that can be taken to try to ensure that guns only end up in the hands of responsible people, one such step would be gun registration. To track the ownership and sales of guns in a comprehensive way would give much stronger tools to enforce current gun laws and crack down on illegal sales.

      Unfortunately, the knee jerk habit of the pro-gun crowd to conflate registration with impending confiscation means that such measures get opposed at every step and block a lot of common-sense methods to stop criminals from getting their hands on guns. The absolute refusal of many to accept such a system makes it difficult for law enforcement to crack down on illegal distribution and to judge risk in a great number of cases.

      There are countries out there who have never had a mass shooting, and it wasn’t because they had more guns with less regulations.

      • Little crow

        You raise some good points about how gun registration seems to be conflated with confiscation. The reason that happens is that there are people who are actually looking for a solution to a problem, which you seem to be; but there is also a large contingent who really do want to disarm the law abiding citizens while saying their intentions are otherwise. In fact, gun registration gives the government the means to disarm its citizens, and that’s exactly what has happened in Australia, England, and in a large degree in Canada. These nations are most like ours in many ways, and it is reasonable for gun owners to suspect that registration would lead to confiscation, even though many like you are only looking for a way to keep guns out of the wrong hands. We also have the examples of nations not like ours where tyrants confiscate firearms and take over the television stations as a way of seizing power.

        To someone looking to solve a problem, gun registration may seem reasonable, the way we register cars. In the first place, it won’t work because criminals aren’t going to register guns. they will steal them or buy them illegally. But more importantly guns are not like cars, because firearm ownership is a civil right based on natural law, just like your rights to free speech and religious freedom. The U.S. Is the only country where the people are sovreign, and the government, which we created to serve us, exists at our pleasure. To register guns would be tantamount to asking the government for permission to exercise a civil right we were born with and did not receive from the government. Our rights belong to us and are not subject to government review or infringement.

        In short, the 2nd amandment is our Constitution’s insurance policy against government tyranny, where the sovereign people maintain the last word on their destiny.

  • EdBeem
  • mainereason

    This line of reasoning ignores the basic premise of the issue. Are guns inherently designed to kill/maim/incapacitate others? Yes. As other forms of assault and mass-murder are employed, cities, towns, agencies etc are mobilizing to address weaknesses in the current system and improvements for public safety. Hiding behind the guns don’t kill people, people do is a lame argument that attempts to completely absolve gun owners from having to share in the responsibility of responsible gun ownership. More than 60% of NRA members support increased background checks, but apparently in your view and in the view of the NRA there is no sense in doing this because the person will find another way. As long as the gun lobby and those speaking on these issues fail to acknowledge that guns (and the ease of access) is a real issue then change will continue to be put forth by those who oppose you on the issue. If you don’t want to be part of the solution that’s your loss. Claiming in essence in this letter that there is no problem therefore no solution needed places you squarely in the not wanting to be part of the solution. Its like voting. If you don’t vote don’t complain about the results.

  • Cathy Merritt

    Mr. Fogg appears to believe that any attempt at gun control will result in the government confiscating all guns. This will never happen; the people with all the guns won’t let them. However, if a reasonable step was taken to reduce the carnage by banning assault weapons, the Texas shooter would likely not have killed all of those people in the church, and the man who ran after him and shot him with what was described as a “rifle” would still have had his gun to try and stop him.

    • Little crow

      The man who shot the Texas shooter used what you are calling an “assault rifle”. The shooter in the church was also using what you call an “assault rifle”, which he obtained illegally, as he is a convicted felon. Both weapons were ordinary semi-automatics. Had you had your way, and these were banned, the shooter in the church would have killed all 50 people in the church, because he would still have his gun. He doesn’t care about the law. The man who stopped him, however, would have had no means to do so, because you would have disarmed him.

      • EdBeem

        Not true. There are plenty of other firearms that could have stopped the mass murderer.

        • Little crow

          But the one he used was an ordinary AR-15, which is what Ms. Merritt wants to ban. It is called an “assault weapon” by people who are ignorant about firearms. It is the most common hunting rifle in the U.S., and is only called an “assault rifle” by gun control advocates to make it sound scary. It is no different from any other semi-automatic rifle except for cosmetic differences such as the hand grip.

          But my point is that to ban it would have no effect on criminals; it would only place burdens on the law abiding citizens. How about focusing on the actual problem: criminals are not being prosecuted.

          • EdBeem

            You can’t prosecute a corpse.

          • Little crow

            But you can prosecute the roughly 45,000 federal gun crimes that go unprosecuted every year since Barak Obama took office, and get some of the violent felons off the street. But he and his Attorney General Eric Holder were more interested in blaming the NRA. One can hope the new administration will turn this around, but it remains to be seen.

            By the way, the man who stopped the carnage in Texas is a former NRA instructor.