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12:12 AM Sat, Feb. 16th

Organic Matter: Firearms no match for terrorists

Terrorism is on the minds of many people nowadays.

We certainly need to be more aware of people and their actions around us.

But I don't advocate going out and getting a gun.

An Associated Press story out of Tucson last Wednesday stated there has been an upsurge in the number of people taking firearms training and applying for concealed weapons permits.

Several training programs have seen class sizes double since the terrorist attacks of Sept.


"A lot of (people) have stated they were pacifists their whole life – pretty much anti-gun," Scott Heinemann, a sales representative with Jensen's West Arizona Sportsman, stated in the story.

"Now they feel it is time to buy a gun."

Aside from the obvious danger of keeping a gun in any house with young children, who are inquisitive by nature, the question to ask is, "Will having a gun truly keep me safe from a terrorist?"

I think not.

Terrorists can smile and speak politely, thus not drawing attention to themselves as they prepare to strike.

Our intelligence community failed miserably Sept.

11 and we saw the results played over and over again on television.

The hunt for Osama bin Laden and his followers in Afghanistan continues and no one can say when it may end.

Terrorists are shadowy figures at best that will hide in caves or anywhere out of the spotlight we are now trying to shine on them.

Let's face it.

A terrorist plans his move carefully and covertly.

He may plant an explosive, send bioterrorism agents through the mail or hijack a plane and crash it.

The point is terrorists don't make themselves targets in the case of explosives or mailed substances.

After hijacking a plane, they are in control and it's usually too late to do anything.

I think it most unlikely a terrorist will invade one's home or openly confront an individual, giving that person a target at which to shoot.

The hit-and-run tactics of a terrorist suggest he is more likely to shoot you in the back than walk up and declare his intention of killing you.

Under those conditions, of what use is a firearm?

On the other hand, a person who obtains a gun for protection may use it at the drop of a hat because he or she does not like how someone looks at him or her.

Can you see a probability that an innocent individual may be mistakenly shot?

Proclaiming it was a mistake after shooting someone is of little consolation to the victim and in our legal system.

The shooter will be arrested and charged with a crime.

Heightened awareness of our surroundings and of mail or packages we receive is a better defense than arming oneself.

Another AP story out of Mesa reported Scottsdale-based Saf-T-Hammer, a manufacturer of gun safety locks that bought out Smith & Wesson last May, had $7.6 million in October sales, which meant a profit of $663,000.

Company officials said a significant jump in gun purchases since the Sept.

11 attacks was partially responsible for the numbers, but that operating changes had a bigger impact on profits.

* * *

Last Thursday, I was reminded of the unpredictability of young children and how they can convey a thought without speaking during a visit to Hualapai Elementary School where children ate a pre-Thanksgiving meal on "Grandparents Day."

I took a photo of Rony and Norma Harshman and their great granddaughter, Tanna Mullenax, who is in kindergarten.

Tanna's tray contained turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes with gravy, broccoli, pumpkin pie and milk.

I asked her which item she liked best, fully expecting the pie to be her answer.

To my surprise, she pointed to the potatoes.

I then pointed at the broccoli and asked her what she thought about it.

Tanna scrunched up her face and stuck out her tongue.

She didn't have to say, "Yuck." The message was clear without any spoken words.

I wonder what the percentage is of children in local schools that truly like broccoli.

Forget percentages.

I'll bet you can count them on one hand.

Terry Organ is the Miner's education, health and weather reporter.