May 20, 2013
May 12, 2013
May 15, 2013
May 13, 2013
May 20, 2013
March 7, 2013
May 1, 2013
April 26, 2013
Featured Letter: Nothing ‘useless’ about keeping Americans safe
To the Editor:
I would please like to submit my letter of response to Mr. David Sabal’s letter “Useless Laws” featured in the Shelter Island Reporter from the 16th of August, 2012.
I would like to state, with no personal disrespect, that the gentleman’s statements are flawed and inaccurate. There is nothing “useless” about the attempt to keep America’s citizens safe. While I am not claiming that all weapons should be banned outright, I think there is the need to at least take a more careful look at the way weapons are viewed and handled in America currently.
Firstly, Mr. Sabal’s comment that “criminals could obtain one of those weapons any time they wanted, whether it is legal or not” almost supports the opposing view just as much as it does his view that gun laws would not have stopped James Holmes from shooting and killing 12 people. The fact that people could obtain weapons “any time they want,” even legally, points out exactly what is wrong with the system.
Just because people will find a way to commit evil, does that mean we don’t try to stop them? Do we stand idly by and watch innocent people shot and killed while they enjoy going about their day — shopping, going to school, seeing a movie? Do we leave our houses and cars unlocked because “a burglar would rob us anyway, even if we locked the doors?”
Do we not scold our children for their bad behavior, because “they’ll do it anyway” even when we do scold them? Do we not give our money to try to feed those living in poverty, because “people will be poor anyway”? Do we not treat cancer, even though cancer could inevitably win out and take the lives of our loved ones?
The lack of concern about the accessibility of weapons in America is a dangerous issue that needs to be treated. No, we may not be able to stop every single gun crime — the world is a broken and ugly place but why not try to stop something? If we stopped even one gun crime from occurring, would it not be a victory?
Mr. Sabal mentions “God-given” rights, in reference to James Holmes’ right to own 6,000 rounds of ammunition, without even a scrap of an ID check on the purchase. He mentions this was Holmes’ “right” under the Constitutional phrase, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”: his right to freedom. Mr. Sabal says we need to take a “remedial lesson on what the Constitution really stands for.”
Firstly, murder is not a “God-given” right. Find me one piece of religious scripture that condones James Holmes’ deadly acts. Secondly, what about the victims’ rights to life? What about our freedom to be safe when we go out with our families to enjoy a movie? Did James Holmes not infringe upon their rights with his supposed “right?”
It does not say you have a right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of violence.” When looking at what the Constitution stands for, I’d say it was built to protect America’s citizens, not to grant a murderer the right to his unnecessary weapons. The Second Amendment was written to grant the people safety, in form of a militia, from the British empire they had just fought to break away from, and to give this country a continuing defense against any who may try to attack it. It was an attempt at protection, not violence.
Mr. Sabal states that “more guns in the hands of law abiding citizens equals less crime.” This argument is deeply flawed, both logically, and statistically. The United States has the highest number of shootings, murders committed by gun, accidental shootings and suicides by gun per year (average of 100,000 a year — the Brady Campaign). In countries like Canada and Australia, where guns are more closely regulated, you will find the numbers are much lower. In one year, 9,484 people will be killed by a gun in America but only 35 in Australia, 39 in England, 200 in Canada. I could go on with statistic after statistic but the numbers ar\e already clearly speaking for themselves.
Mr. Sabal states that “more people are killed by cars” but there is no debate about controlling cars. Might that be because cars are not created as weapons?
They are created as modes of transportation and sometimes things go wrong. Their purpose is not to shoot or kill. Also, the “cars kill people” argument, which I have heard many times, is deeply flawed in that cars are more heavily regulated than guns already. Do we not make people take driving lessons and driving tests to afford them their license and right to drive? Do we not have speed limits, signs and laws to regulate and control the way in which we drive?
There are also consequences for breaking these laws: tickets, fines, revoking of a license, etc. We don’t just let people walk into a car yard, purchase a car and drive it away in any manner they please. We regulate cars and driving because it provides safety. Will car accidents still happen? Yes. Will people still get guns and commit violent crimes? Yes. But does that mean we let everyone have free rein with no consequences? No.
Am I proposing that all weapons be taken away and banned and anyone who fails to comply be imprisoned? No. However, I think there should be an effort made to at least try to end some of the senseless killing. There are loopholes in the already-existing laws that need to be closed. There are freedoms that truly do need protecting — not the right to bear arms but the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, which are not found in violence or death.
Bronte Hughes, Shelter Island