A Perspective On Gun Control - And Response (5)

  • Thursday, January 17, 2013

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 11,078 people were murdered with a gun in 2010. 

According to the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) website: “In 2011, 9,878 people died in drunk driving crashes - one every 53 minutes.” This doesn’t include the hundreds more that die each year from alcohol poisoning or other intoxication related deaths.

Some say we should take away guns to stop the killing. Ok, let’s take away cars and alcohol too. Tomorrow, the President should issue an executive order that all citizens must have a breathalyzer installed on their vehicle, and undergo a background check prior to purchasing alcohol. Any previous DUI or public intoxication conviction and your alcohol purchase will be denied. Of course, there will be straw purchases and the “alcohol show” loop hole to outlaw, and the government should offer a buyback program for alcoholics wanting to get rid of their cars and alcohol.

What was it the President said? “If it saves just one life . . .” 

For 20 years, my wonderful mother has taught kindergarten in North Carolina. On weekdays, around 3:30 p.m., I usually call to talk with her after she’s done watching the “car line,” saying goodbye to her students and ensuring they were reunited with their parents. My mother’s school, just like Sandy Hook Elementary, has regular drills for a lockdown and a good policy in place for an active shooter; however, let’s face reality: my mother and her class of 16 five-year-olds are completely defenseless. There are no armed guards; there are no police on campus; and if my mother or any of her co-workers exercise their 2nd Amendment right to protect themselves and their students, they would be committing a criminal act.

Our government has set up “gun free zones” in a failed attempt to make us safe. We have used these laws to give us a false sense of security. We see a sign on a door that says, “No guns allowed,” and we think “It’s safer here.” Nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, a “No guns allowed” sign means you could be more vulnerable there than you are anywhere else, and unless everyone inside the business passed through a metal detector, you might just be the most vulnerable person in the establishment.
I understand the logic- no guns means no one can be shot and killed by a gun, and with most people this theory works. But, this leaves two problems: Criminals don’t care what the law says, and many of these proposed laws violate the 2nd Amendment.

The grand scope of the problem of gun violence is difficult to fathom. My perspective on this issue has been molded and influenced over the past few years working in law enforcement, and my experiences make it difficult for me to believe that the policies of stricter gun control will do anything other than disarm law abiding citizens and infringe upon their 2nd Amendment rights.  I’ve arrested criminals in possession of stolen guns, and I’ve arrested criminals committing crimes with those guns. Criminals scoff at gun control laws and criminals always target someone they believe is unarmed. 

I do not believe tighter gun control laws will stop the crimes we are trying to prevent. To those that disagree, I ask several questions:

Do you really believe a criminal determined to obtain a gun cares that it’s against the law to break into a home and steal that gun? 

Do you really believe an armed robber cares if it’s against the law to take a gun into a bank? 

Do you really believe a mentally deranged criminal cares it’s against the law to take a gun into a school? 

Do you really think there’s a difference between the use of one gun with a 30 round magazine and one gun with three, 10 round magazines? 

Do you not realize that the heinous criminal selecting his target for a mass shooting purposely selects a “gun free zone” where he knows he can inflict the maximum amount of damage before someone with a gun can stop him? 

Frankly, it’s ignorant to believe that new gun laws will keep guns out of the hands of criminals determined to perpetuate violence. 

Many are asking, “Allowing guns in schools? Wouldn't that make a school more dangerous?” In response, I offer several more questions: Is your bank more dangerous because there is an armed guard? Is your sporting event more dangerous because there are extra armed police officers and security staff? Is your airport more dangerous because there are armed guards? Is a jewelry store or gas station more dangerous because the owner is armed? 

Is a bank robber going to rob the bank with an armed guard or the bank without an armed guard? 

Is a mass murderer going to target the school with armed citizens or unarmed citizens?

Laws do not keep a determined criminal from obtaining a firearm. Current laws did not stop the deranged gunmen in any of the tragic mass shootings our country has experienced (and new laws will not either). But, the villains perpetuating these horrific acts were stopped eventually- each one ended their life, surrendered, or were killed as armed responders approached. Someone with a gun, albeit a private citizen or member of law enforcement took action and the violence ended. The answer is right in front of us- armed response is the only effective way to deter and terminate this type of senseless violence. 

We falsely believe that allowing people to exercise their 2nd Amendment right will somehow make us unsafe. We falsely believe that “fewer guns” equals less violence, when in reality our “fewer guns” or “no guns” approach has created “safe zones” for the mass murderer to kill indiscriminately without interference. 

Consider the logistics: There are more than 200 million guns in the United States, and no law can keep determined criminals from obtaining those guns. In addition to that, even if it were possible to rid the United States of every gun, to do so would be a complete repudiation of the Second Amendment. 

The proposed infringements upon the 2nd Amendment by this President, limit the ability of hard working, law abiding citizens to effectively defend themselves. New York and other politicians didn't wait on the President: It’s now illegal in New York to have more than seven rounds in a magazine. (I’m sure all criminals will double check their magazines to make sure they only have seven rounds before using their gun in a crime.) Some people are asking, “Why does somebody need more than seven bullets?” Just last week in Georgia, a young mother home alone with her 9-year-old twins shot an intruder five times- and he survived. What if there had been two intruders? Or three? I’m glad she doesn’t live in New York.

Another question being asked is, “Why does someone need a semi-automatic rifle?” Be very careful when you ask this question. You may not understand the precedent you are setting, and you may not like what follows:  “Why do you need . . .” Fill in the blank, and eventually that question could be asked of you and the government could take whatever it is you “don’t need.”  

We are already on that slippery slope: “Why does someone need a salary of $100,000 a year? Why does someone need a SUV? Why does someone need two houses? Why should a business make a profit?

Do you need two cars? Don’t you know there are people without a car? Do you need two TVs? Don’t you know there are people without a TV? Do you need a laptop, iPad, and a smartphone?  Do you need more than one knife in your kitchen? Do you need five pairs of shoes? Do you need a house with three bedrooms? Don’t you know there are people that have less than you? Don’t you know there are homeless people dying every day because they have no shelter? Do you need a pantry full of food? Don’t you know people are dying every day because of these things?”

A history refresher: 

Why did the Redcoats march to Lexington and Concord? Did they want to have tea and muffins with the farmers and townspeople early in the morning? They marched to those towns to confiscate guns from people who they believed had “too many guns.” Why did one farmer need five muskets, anyway?

Adopting the 2nd Amendment in 1791, the founding fathers remembered they had overthrown a tyrannical British government, and they knew this was only accomplished because they had access to the weapons needed to defend themselves against the British. The 2nd Amendment was included because these men knew that a truly free people must be sufficiently armed with the ability to overthrow any oppressive government. 

Think about it-

These men knew that even the very government they had established (the government they created and were a part of) could become oppressive, and this right to bear arms was essential to ensure history would not repeat itself. By adopting the Bill of Rights, these men were entrusting the people with the power and ability to overthrow the very men voting to adopt it. 

George Orwell said, “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” Some of these “rough men” are common citizens who exercise their right to bear arms, and I find it very troubling when our President and other politicians infringe upon this right in an alarming manner. 

Some people don’t want to acknowledge there is true evil in this world, and most people shouldn’t have to deal with this evil on a regular basis, but I am thankful that there are people who do realize it and are willing to handle it- many are private citizens.  Without them, violence would be visited on us all.

As the 2nd Amendment becomes further violated by the Obama Administration, we must ask- how much more of the Constitution will we disregard? And, when will we demand our priceless children be permitted to have at least the same protection we allow our banks and gas stations? 

Jeremiah Cook

* * * 

Thank you, Mr. Cook!  That's one of the best explanations of the 2nd amendment I've ever read, aside from the original.  It could have been published in one of those yellow and black stripped books you find on the magazine rack… "The 2nd Amendment For Dummies." 

Thank you,
Bob Bogart

* * *

Just want to acknowledge this is one of the best written views I have seen by J. Cook and am proud to call him a friend.  Glad we have him on the streets of Chattanooga.

Phil Dyar

* * * 

This is one of the best, most comprehensive articles on Gun Control I have read. 

"Kudos"  to you Mr. Cook for a job well done. 

Jim Rosenbloom

* * * 

Mr. Cook, thank you for your service to the community. 

I must, however disagree with your interpretation of the 2nd amendment as it is a totally false interpretation, in my opinion, obviously slanted to support your viewpoint on gun control. 
Regardless of what your political affiliation may be, there has been no violation of the 2nd amendment by this President or his predecessors and no one has been or is now advocating taking your guns or limiting access to hunting rifles, shotguns or registered hand guns for personal protection or target practice. I have both a hunting rifle and a shotgun and feel no need to have high capacity magazines to shoot rabbit or deer. There is no conspiracy here. you have been lied to by the gun lobby and the right wing media and entertainment complex trying to fan the flames.  

The second amendment was written and adopted because at that time, the United States had no official standing Army and the Continental Army had been or was being disbanded. It was a requirement that the states maintain a "well regulated militia" for protection from outside forces, not entities trying to take guns away from citizens and certainly not for individuals to overthrow an oppressive government. I have even read accounts where this requirement expanded to so called "slave patrols" in some Southern states.  Again, the intent was for a "well regulated militia." That was a different time and a totally different set of circumstances. 

You refer to criminals many times in your article. I would like to point out, that at the time of the massacres that have taken place in the last few years, none of the shooters had criminal records or backgrounds at the time they committed the atrocities, but they  certainly had mental issues and had access to obtain high capacity automatic weapons legally. 

The U.S. currently has the highest ratio of guns/person than any other civilized modern country in the world. and the 10th highest percentages of gun deaths annually per capita, exceeded only by several central and south american countries. 

Mr. Cook, this not the wild west anymore and citizens should not be walking around with guns strapped to their hips, especially high capacity automatic weapons....I cannot imagine that a police officer would advocate that.  That should be reserved for our trained armed forces and olice. While I am fine with having trained school resource officers at schools, If I knew that staff at a school where my child attended school had guns in their possession, I would immediately pull them out as the chance for accidental shooting is too great. 

John Fricke                                                                                                                                                         Chattanooga 

* * * 

If Mr. Fricke is going to attribute thoughts and words to our nation's founders, maybe he should read what they wrote and transcripts of their speeches back in their day. 

There have been no massacres in recent times using automatic weapons. An automatic weapon fires rounds one after another as long as the trigger is being engaged. The weapons used have been semi-automatic weapons, one squeeze of the trigger discharges one round. The trigger must be squeezed again before another round will be discharged. 

Sure, most perpetrators of these atrocities may not have had criminal records, but neither did they obtain their weapons legally, were they old enough to even own a weapon legally, were they in anything but a "free kill zone" where weapons were specifically not allowed, or a combination of these.  

Personally, I would welcome adults with weapons in every public venue. Whether or not there are persons with weapons is moot. The fact that weapons "might" be there has a deterrent affect in and of itself. Please review the crime rates in communities that require homeowners to own personal firearms versus those that are restrictive. 

I would also go further with weapons in schools. I would require each student over the age of five years of age to take firearms training as part of their curriculum, just like English and math classes. They could directly copy their programs from the Boy Scouts, except it would be required every year as part of every year's classes. 

I would additionally re-institute gym classes in schools. We complain about the epidemic of obesity and eligibility for the fat body platoon of our children. Gym classes would help alleviate that problem. As part of the curriculum I would require, as a no option mandate unless physically unable (which would require a doctor's certificate every month and missed classes would be required to be made up), that each child participate in a variety of self defense training. This would include at the very least boxing, wrestling, jiujitsu, any of the variations of the other oriental arts, grappling in its various forms, and plain old street fighting.

I taught my daughter how to fight when she was just a little girl, right along side of her brother. She learned how to punch, elbow, kick, including "the kick," bite, pull hair, poke eyes, slap ears, and pick up anything that was handy in addition to throwing out "the rules" that others might want to impose when she was being attacked. And the day her brother, two years older, and another boy started picking on her, the day she whipped both of them, is still a source of laughter at family gatherings. I never worried about her being able to take care of herself. I still don't. I don't worry about my grandchildren being able to take care of themselves either. She grew up to be a very prim and proper lady who is pretty like her mother, confident, and perfectly able to defend herself. To this day her brother doesn't mess with her either. 

Some of us teach their children to "be nice" forgetting that there are people out there who don't play by the same rules as regular society. Ignoring those people will not make them go away no matter how much Mr. Fricke and those like him would like them to. Ignoring them, pretending they aren't there, is nothing more than burying their heads in the sand. 

We owe our children an education. Part of that education needs to be how to defend themselves. While they are learning to defend themselves both physically and mentally we have an obligation to defend them, as parents we should defend them, not depending only on government.

Jim Earley
Lancaster, S.C.

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