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Mon, Feb. 17

Guest Column: Guns and violence in a secular society

I must say that I'm surprised that I actually agree with many points of the letter written by Lori Gabriel-Dane in the Dec. 25 Miner. Yes, television, movies, video games and certain music do nothing but glorify violence and disrespect for basic human dignity. Yes, it can't do anything but have a negative effect on our society. But let's face it, we brought a lot of it upon ourselves when we took God out of the schools, public places and out of much of our homes. In our desire for secularism, we have also invited the moral decay that we see every day.

Are you or were you a part of that politically correct movement, Ms. Gabriel-Dane? Or do you at least agree that we must have a secular society void of any holy influence so as not to offend other religions? Do you at least pray every day? Or do you see no correlation to the removal of religion from our society and it's replacement by pure acts of evil?

But I'm not responding to get up on that soap box. That will be for another day and another letter. What I'd like to respond to is your statement about "fanatical gun owners." My question to you is: what makes a "fanatical gun owner"? I personally carry a side arm any time I leave my front door. I have a couple of different state-issued permits that allow me to do this in many states legally. But does that mean that I go out looking for a fight or am in some way a violent situation waiting to happen?

Truth be known, I detest violence in any form and am more apt to try to disengage from any situation where violence may be an outcome. I carry because there are dangerous people out there who are illegally carrying a weapon and couldn't give a rat's patoot whom they harm when they decide to do whatever it is they want to do. I carry because it's my moral obligation to protect myself and family from those types of people and if I have to I will also protect a third party who is in imminent physical danger.

Yes, I will use deadly force and no, I will not hesitate to do so. This decision causes me great pause every time I strap my sidearm on and leave my house. Because this decision is one that will have consequences for me for the rest of my life if I ever have to exercise this obligation. I pray every day for my safety and the safety of those around me. But I don't live in a fantasy world and I know that there is always a chance that my safety will be compromised every time I leave my house. It could even happen inside my house.

As a matter of fact, I would even act to save your life, Ms. Lori Gabriel-Dane. This is because you obviously would need saving if you were confronted by an armed assailant who meant to do you harm. Indeed, your decision to leave your home unprotected actually puts me and others at risk if one of us ever has to act to save your life.

So again, I ask, what is your definition of a "fanatical gun owner"? Is it my complete reluctance to give up my firearms if directed knowing that those who choose not to will be able to hide their weapons and then use them for illicit purposes later? Wouldn't that make me just another defenseless victim in waiting? You cannot unring that bell, Ms. Gabriel-Dane. You yourself stated that there are several hundred million guns out there in this country. Just how do you propose to dispose of them all if "true" gun control were to be the law of the land?

So then what to do? Do we only now make the sale of certain weapons illegal, knowing that there are several thousand of them already out there? The only way to reliably remove all of them would be a house to house search. How practical and likely is that scenario?

So what are we left with? We can stick our heads in the sand and continue to have "gun free" zones which are nothing more than target rich environments for some nut job looking for their 15 minutes. Do you really think that a "No guns allowed" sign is gonna stop someone who is bent on violence? As if all of their blood lust is going to be curbed by the threat of arrest and conviction on a gun charge when they're bent on taking lives? Really?

Are we gonna get rid of the violence in our society tomorrow? Are we gonna stop the neglect of our children until it develops into behavior that begets violence tomorrow? Are we gonna legislate away violent movies, songs and video games tomorrow? I think I can safely say that the answer to these questions is a loud resounding no!

So what can we do tomorrow? The answer is to ensure that there is an adequate number of qualified individuals who can counter the threat of gun violence. Yes, I use the word qualified. That would mean making the concealed carry laws more stringent based on more training hours required before you are allowed to leave your house armed. All schools should have a policy that allows teachers and staff to by choice arm themselves if they prove qualified and are able to pass a background check, which they already have to do.

My gut feeling is that there isn't a school in the entire country that wouldn't have at least one if not more teachers or staff willing to carry a weapon in the defense of the children under their care. And I'd be willing to bet that there are already several hundred or thousand teachers in America who're already carrying because they know the odds and want to be on the winning side of an armed confrontation and are willing to risk jail time to do so. Utah has already passed this law.

As for "insulting" our police officers? They already know and aren't afraid to admit that when seconds count, law enforcement is only minutes away. No, concealed carriers are NOT law enforcement but they can and have saved countless lives because they weren't afraid to act and had the means to act when the time came. You just don't see it much in the press.

And since you mentioned the military, just when is the military supposed to be involved in domestic matters? This shows a very ignorant and dangerous mind set. The U.S. military is supposed to protect us from enemies abroad and are supposed to never be used in domestic situations. I hope that was just a slip on your part.

As far as the "scared, trembling teacher" goes, ask any law enforcement officer if they experience fear when they are in the same situation. You'll be surprised by the answer.

So here we are at a standoff, so to speak. Our society will continue to glorify violence. There are several hundred million guns out there which won't go away overnight. And as much as we would all like to have a country full of love and sing Kumbaya all day, that's not likely to ever happen, either. We can either wring our hands and live in a fantasy world or we can deal with reality and answer these nut jobs with something they will actually hear, which is return fire. Most of them are cowards and will do us all a favor and dispose of themselves when they are confronted by armed response, which is what happened recently in Oregon.

I certainly don't have the answer to gun control, but pointing your finger at law abiding gun owners and calling us names isn't helping either. And for all of you who are using the tragic events in Connecticut as a platform for your political agenda, I have one word for your ilk: despicable!

So rather than labeling us realists as "fanatical gun owners," maybe you should look in the mirror and see the "hysterical victim in waiting" that is looking back at you.

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