DeWitt D. Smith (Open Forum, 8/5/10-BDC ‘Guns protect us from our government) took exception to my guest Commentary ‘More guns not answer to nation’s gun problem’ (BDC-7-24-10).
Mr. Smith states that one accidental shooting does not equate to ‘a gun problem’. I would agree, however, later in my commentary, I noted gun related ‘accidents’ were a ‘daily occurrence’ in this country. The annual gun inflicted death rate in the U.S. is approximately 31,000 or 85 per day. To argue that 31,000 deaths per year is not a ‘problem’ is naïve. Just think of the hand wringing caused by the deaths of approximately 2800 at the hands of terrorists on 9/11/01! Few would conclude terrorism is not a ‘problem’.
I admittedly used a literal interpretation of the 2nd Amendment and will not argue with Mr. Smith’s apparent knowledge of what Jefferson was thinking when Madison penned the ‘Bill of Rights’. The main point is that things have changed since 1789. At that time an armed populace could overthrow their government through an insurrection, which we had just done. That would not be possible today. We have gone from citizen militias to an incredibly well armed and trained standing army. Mr. Smith and ‘like minded people’ would be hard pressed to protect themselves ‘from tyranny at the force of arms’ because the government has a lot more force, much deadlier arms and know how to use both. By the way, none of the 31,000 deaths cited above were due to citizens protecting themselves from government tyranny.
Some may take exception to Smith’s statement that ‘One cannot be a true man of peace unless he is capable of being a man of war.’ While I don’t adhere to any religion it seems those who believe in Jesus or Buddha would argue that neither ascribed to war and that at least the first one is alternately referred to as ‘the prince of peace’.
Guns are, by design, not ‘safe’…they are meant to kill. We need a reasonable debate on how to make the ‘gun problem’ less deadly in this country. The 2nd Amendment, while supported ardently by the gun manufactures and their paid and non-paid supporters, is archaic (I doubt the founders contemplated automatic weapons, nuclear bombs, fighter jets or scud missiles…all ‘arms’ by definition) and not relevant to our current situation so should be excluded from this much needed discussion.
James C. Bailey, Jr.