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Blog: An Open Letter On Guns To My Liberal Friends

Can you accept that people with a different perspective and experience can have the same goal?

Dear Friends:

Believe it or not, I don’t love “blastin’ away” (to quote a Facebook post from one of you) more than I do my own son. I don't pride myself on being a "bad ass," as one of your friends called me. I have this crazy idea that I should be able to defend Christopher and Maribel from an intruder in the night or a mob in a riot.

President Obama disappointed me on this.  Though I did not vote for him, I truly hoped he'd use this moment of national grief to unite all sides in finding a real solution to this problem.  I thought he'd at least like the "optics" of building consensus and seeking the best input from all sides.  Instead, he opted to shove a partisan mandate down our throats.  That’s neither hopeful nor a change.

Don’t get me wrong.  The NRA was stunningly tone-deaf and equally hard-line. But they’re advocates, not the supposed leader of the whole country.  So, at the end of the day, the guns in this country will essentially be left status quo, with a relatively meaningless assault weapons ban.

If you are serious about the problem of mass shootings, isn't it logical to engage people who know about firearms? Instead, you’ve chosen to portray your  neighbors as blood-thirsty ghouls, unmoved by a parade of tiny caskets.

If you were trying to end drunk driving in this country, would you align as many teetotalers as you could find, then shun the bar owners, brewers and drinking public to the corners?  Of course not.

Yet, when you guys talk about guns, you talk about "clips" and "machine guns," making it obvious to us that you’re clueless and emotional.  And then you want me to trust you with my family's protection?

I’ve qualified on POST and STRAC standards, shooting rings, pop-ups and ALT-C.  I’ve shot everything from .22LRs to the M2 and Barrett.  I’ve been on CQB and KD ranges.  I’ve used iron, CCO and ACOG on deployment, and Leupolds at a school.  I’ve gone both hot and black in real fire fights. I’ve fired bolt action, semi-auto, burst and automatic.

And I’m guessing few of you know what any of those terms mean. Yet you want to dictate gun policy.

These things are relevant because those of us who know guns react in horror when clueless liberals spout terms and ideas they picked up from Rambo movies and episodes of Law & Order.  This pushes gun-owners further into defensive mode.  You may not care about us, but since roughly half of American households own guns, Congress does.

The other problem, of course, is that you’ll waste effort and create dissent in doing things that are pointless and ineffective. Take, for instance, the 100-round "drum" magazine issue.

I’ve read about these allegedly unconscionable things in a couple of places since last week, citing the Aurora theater shooter's use of one.  His also jammed after about 30 rounds.  They’re stupid toys and gun owners might well trade a ban on them for loosening counter-productive rules.  But, of course, you’d never know that.

If you want a real solution, consider some things that responsible gun owners can get behind:  Mandatory gun safes.  Trigger locks are a poor theft deterrent because they can be drilled out. Gun owners hate them because they encumber home defense when it counts.  So, why not mandate safes? Most gun owners would not be terribly bothered by it (a lot would say “I’ve been wanting to buy one, anyway”).  Here's the kicker: a safe might have prevented Sandyhook.

I’ve seen proposals for mental health reviews for gun purchases.  That’s something we’d have a very hard time supporting, because Sen. Chuck Schumer cannot be trusted.  “Question 1:  Do you need a gun for home defense?”  Answer "yes," and you’re obviously paranoid: “No gun for you!”

But, here’s a creative idea:  Have the NRA set the standards?  They absolutely would not want the PR nightmare of having an applicant it approved go nutty, so you can have great confidence the standard will be solid. That's a win-win.

Most of the gun bans that gun-know-nothings espouse will be inconvenient and an affront to liberty.  More importantly, they won't accomplish what you're Rambo-based perceptions make you think.

Both Virgina Tech (the country’s worst massacre) and Luby’s Diner (now #3 on the list) were committed with common home defense pistols and magazines generally in compliance with the proposed bans.  They were purchased in full compliance with both existing and most proposed laws.

And, while you demonize the Bushmaster .223 of Sandyhook infamy, the killer also had two pistols that would have been just as grotesquely efficient - perhaps more so.  Both would remain perfectly legal, because they are very appropriate home defense weapons.

And, somehow you guys don't seem all that bothered about the exponential growth of violent media in society. Having a conversation about guns (which have not changed in the last 25 years) while ignoring motivational influences (which have) only fuels our suspicions of ulterior motives. We don't need laws (there's a Constitutional Amendment about that), but why not a Presidential "teachable moment" about kids practicing random killing at a bodies-per-minute rate?

If you really want to solve this problem and unify the country, not just grab guns, a package of ideas like those above, combined with a loosening of concealed-carry laws and an elimination of “gun-free zones” (AKA “protection-free zones) will go a long way with gun owners. If you ask for modestly onerous measures that will truly limit whackos' access to guns and offer to let us protect ourselves (and you) in exchange, you'll quickly and easily gain consensus.

Here's a secret: loosening CCW laws is the key to gun-owners' hearts.

More importantly, it'll work. Imagine how last Friday would have been if just one staff member at the front door had reacted with a pistol, not bare hands.

You don't need pistol-packin' bad ass teachers in every classroom or patrons in every theater.  You just need to make the Adam Lanzas of the world worry about it.  

There are 300 million guns in American, most of which can do grievous harm in seconds in the wrong hands.  You'll never get rid of them. Rapid suppression by superior force is the only method of ending such a horror once it starts. 

We can solve this problem together, if you accept that people with a different perspective and experience can have the same goal.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Chris Ziegler December 27, 2012 at 05:17 PM
(pt II) John: My reference to Benghazi was not disrespect to the former SEAL security team but just the opposite; I was holding them up on a pedestal as an example of the most accomplished and professional of warriors yet they fell by fire – a tool that even inmates in the highest security of environments can acquire. (I'll share a story about their fall later) If I were to re-write that comment again I would have placed that statement in its own paragraph and given it separation from my frustrated, snide remark to RP’s (IMHO) extreme concern to physical security. Back to Robert: Also, I apologize for appearing to personally attack you, that wasn’t my intention. I merely wanted to bring to light that you are a firearms expert and which is different than being an expert in matters of “security” – a broader topic. Remember folks, this a friendly exchange of ideas - not a battle. None of us knows the exact formula for the future....
Jill Pyeatt December 27, 2012 at 08:43 PM
"You don't need pistol-packin' bad ass teachers in every classroom or patrons in every theater. You just need to make the Adam Lanzas of the world worry about it." I agree with you here, Mr. Parry. There's no way this country can afford to have armed guards at each school, but if a few strategic adults are armed at each school, a potential shooter might think twice about opening fire. I'm glad to see people pointing out that Sandy Hook school was in a "gun-free zone". Clearly, disarming people isn't the answer. I predict the Powers That Be will be shocked at how difficult it will be to disarm Americans. Too many of us simply won't allow our second-amendment rights to be taken away, even though we're otherwise losing rights by leaps and bounds in this country.
Chris Ziegler December 27, 2012 at 09:41 PM
Jill: Many of these killers take their own life when the killing is done so the idea of scaring them off with the threat of bodily harm seems illogical. Additionally, conceal carry states still have have problems gun related homocides. Better to focus on making sure the citizens recongnize the warning signs of the Adam Lanzas of the world so they can ensure their weapons are secure and the mentally ill get treatment.
David Tyner December 27, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Gayle M. Montgomery Gayle, The neither the Constitution nor the Bill of Rights grants the American Citizen "Rights". These documents put down on paper what "Rights" we as Americans are entitled to, Not by the government, not by votes, but by what ever supreme being (God) is out there. Neither man, elected official, or political party can dispute that authority. As for the 2nd Amendment. Look at the wording of it. "A well Regulated militia" Definitions at the time the constitution was written "Well Regulated is who the military was described., regulated, rules govening equiping, training rank structure. Title 10 US code defines who is in the militia. The 2nd Amendment was for the citizen to be equally armed as the standing army with regards to individual firearms. (No Virginia, There was no Nuke in 1776). If you decide you do not want to be a perticipant in the process of this country, then by all means leave; or vote to change the rules. The rights however granted by Nature and natures God are not for you to change. You have the choise to acknowledge them or not. Thank You for your time.
Gayle M. Montgomery December 27, 2012 at 10:53 PM
David, I recognize what the Constitution said when written. But is that Constitution the same document today that it was when created or has it been modified, more specifically, amended through time? Fact of the matter is there have been several amendments to the foresaid document since its inception, things like abolishing slavery and granting women and other heretofore disenfranchised people the right to vote. Congress has, within its powers, the ability to modify the Constitution through time, though it cannot do so willy nilly. A task force is being convened to make recommendations for implementation, and they are supposed to be done post-haste. My belief in originally entering this discussion, is that we all have opinions about weaponry, but that now may be the time to consider refinement of the law to exclude certain types of weapons from lay possession. That still lies within the realm of possibilities despite any caterwauling to the contrary. However, as to your suggestion that I leave the country if I do not agree with your interpretation, I find that disingenuous and insulting. I offered more types of weaponry than just nukes. Are you allowed to have grenades and switchblades? What about tanks? If your weaponry is to be on a par with a well armed military, what about battleships and drones? If you can draw the line on these, why not on rapid-fire assult weapons? Thank you for your answers.
Gayle M. Montgomery December 27, 2012 at 11:09 PM
You know, let's take this one step further, David. If we strictly adhere to the tennets of the Constitution as written in 1791 and by your interpretation, where in the Constitution does it say that neither a felon, nor a person who is mentally incompetent, can own a weapon. There is no language of which I am aware in the Bill of Rights so, by doing in a number of states, if your argument holds valid, are we not jeopardizing their Constitutional RIGHTS not privileges. We have then effectively stripped them of something we are not otherwise entitled to do if your logic holds. Further, I encourage you to read this offering that includes former Republican Chief Justice Warren Berger's interpretation of the 2nd Amendment and the position you proffer. http://www.startribune.com/opinion/commentaries/184019231.html?refer=y
Erin Thorn December 27, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Many people recognize "the warning signs of the Adam Lanzas of the world" and even point them out to those in a position to do something about it. Unfortunately, those people are not taken seriously or are seen as over reacting, so nothing is done for the children who grow up to become "monsters" as Adam Lanza and others are labeled after these atrocities occur. I hate guns in general but have to agree that these random violent acts would occur less often if there were more of a chance of an armed citizen getting involved. Maybe Adam Lanza and the other shooters have killed themselves in the end, but if someone had been armed there may have been less victims in the end. These mass shootings cannot be blamed on any one thing. Changing gun laws, taking away guns, taking away violent video games, making judgements about a person's mental health, media spotlighting of these crimes. - all of these have been blamed. Bottom line is something is changing in our society to make these mostly young people react in such a violent way. I often wonder if it's a lack of hope for the future in a country that isn't what it used to be. How many of our youth are paying attention right now to the "fiscal cliff" fiasco? What kind of affect does this kind of constant negative news have on them?
Robert Parry December 28, 2012 at 01:42 AM
Great observations, Erin. Thanks. That really is the issue. Guns and gun ownership haven't increased in power or prevalence much over the last 50 years. Why are the shootings growing exponentially?
Robert Parry December 28, 2012 at 01:43 AM
Gayle: It is broadly accepted the felons and the mentally ill forfeit all kinds of rights: speech, movement, voting, etc. etc. etc.
Dan Crandell December 28, 2012 at 01:47 AM
@Jill Please view the NRA's news conference wherein they outline a proposal they term "School Shield" This proposal is inline with your thoughts and may be of interest to you. Please VIEW THE ENTIRE news conference and followup with a comment here. Thank You
Jill Pyeatt December 28, 2012 at 03:57 AM
I keep reading inferences that Adam Lanza was mentally ill, but there has been no proof that he was. I've heard that he was in the "autism spectrum", but that isn't a mental illness. If Adam Lanza committed the killings (we really don't know fore sure, since there were many confirmed eyewitness accounts of a man arrested at the scene),then I agree with Erin that someone should have spotted the signs. I've heard no credible accounts that he gave any of those indications, however.
Dan Crandell December 28, 2012 at 04:25 AM
@Jill The body with the self-infected bullet hole was the killer. That body was, after some understandable confusion, ID' to be Adam Lanza. Prior to finding that body the first responders were detaining, but not arresting, many people pending a code 4 all clear. SOP
Jill Pyeatt December 28, 2012 at 04:55 AM
Gayle--I do not think our Constitution is a fluid document. We should adhere as closely as we can to the straightforward and clear principles in it. . David Tyner said: "neither the Constitution nor the Bill of Rights grants the American Citizen "Rights". These documents put down on paper what "Rights" we as Americans are entitled to, Not by the government, not by votes, but by what ever supreme being (God) is out there". We as human beings were all born with the same right to life and opportunity for safety and happiness. The way our government wants to dole things out to certain people is absurd.
Jill Pyeatt December 28, 2012 at 05:02 AM
Robert Parry asks: "Why are the shootings growing exponentially?" Well, this is certainly the big question. I think people are living in unnatural conditions. I don't think human beings were meant to live as close together as we do. Most of our lives are so regulated: we get up at a certain time, work all ,day (or go to school) and go home, only to do the same thing the next day. We don't/can't take the time to deal with family issues and pressing personal needs, and some people just can't handle it. As far as what happened in Sandy Hook, I'd love to know how and why,and we all need to keep asking questions.,
Jill Pyeatt December 28, 2012 at 05:16 AM
http://www.veteranstoday.com/2012/12/20/sandy-hook-massacre-official-story-spins-out-of-control/ There is video in the middle of the article of a helicopter filming a man being chased in the woods,behind the school and of an eyewitness talking about a man being arrested there. Seriously, do all of you really believe all the news reports? Don't you think it's possible they might be withholding some things? It's as silly as people thinking "It's on the internet, so it must be true."
Dan Crandell December 28, 2012 at 06:44 AM
@Jill We may never know who that running man is nor why he was running. It's possible that many people ran for their lives that day. There is nothing at this point to believe a conspiracy to withhold information is taking place here simply based on a running man and some early reports of arrests which were never explained. That entire event ran wild with misinformation.
Jill Pyeatt December 28, 2012 at 09:18 AM
Here is more video: http://www.businessinsider.com/sandy-hook-man-in-the-woods-video-2012-12?0=law Also: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=400605793351124 I don't like the title of this You-tube video, but it contains important information. The media story we're hearing is from the same media who told us about Benghazi. Further up on this thread, it appears some of you don't believe that story, So, why do you think the media telling the truth about Sandy Hook? I think that so many eyewitnesses telling the same story about someone arrested at the scene is newsworthy. What if there is another shooter, or shooters, and he he got away? ,
Dan Crandell December 28, 2012 at 05:41 PM
@Jill The people of the USA embrace the LIE. Lies are now the lesser of the TWO evils and maintain the status quo. The four Americans murdered in Benghazi were sacrificial. The President has written them out of his memory. Those 26 dead Americans at Sandy Hook School will never be written off because it hit us where it hurts the most.
Jill Pyeatt December 28, 2012 at 05:50 PM
I agree the deaths at Benghazi were sacrificial, and I 100 % agree we won't and shouldn't forget Sandy Hook. There's no argument from me there at all. Children are just too precious.
Gayle M. Montgomery December 28, 2012 at 05:58 PM
Robert, it is broadly accepted, and I will stipulate that. However, the argument I am rebutting is the RIGHT vs. PRIVILEGE where the person I was responding to said that owning a gun is a right and driving is a privilege so that we could revoke a driver's license but not a gun and yet we do revoke "the right" of persons who commit felonies and those who are found to be lacking mental capacity the right to have a gun although there is no such proviso of revocation in the 2nd Amendment as written. If we are going with the letter of the law as interpreted by the person to whom I responded, then we are out of line to deny these rights to a certain sector of the populace and, if we are alright in limiting who can own, why can we not limit what they can own? It is a slippery slope for sure. Further, did you read Chief Justice Berger's opinion with respect to the 2nd Amendment?
Chris Ziegler December 28, 2012 at 08:30 PM
Benghazi Team: On one hand clearly something was clearly not planned correctly and as a consequence, at least 3 people were fired from the state department. I know that’s not very satisfying to some but the reality in many professions, when the professional screws-up it’s the client that gets clobbered: same with medical Dr./attorney/money manger. Simply put, that’s life. As for the rescue operation that didn’t happen: In short, and being consistent with my military experiences; it was either too risky to send in the additional troops or there were other, higher priority operations requiring the attention of the available assets. Please never forget: Black Hawk Down. An old wise person once told me, “Believe nothing of what you hear and only half of what you see”. So if that doesn’t work for you, then tell me, why the government would kill their own ambassador and his security team in such a manner, especially, when you could ‘take them out’ in a plane crash and it would look so much more accidental.
Jill Pyeatt December 28, 2012 at 09:19 PM
I don't know if your question was pointed to me, Chris, but I don't think the government killed their ambassador in Behghazi. My reason for agreeing with Dan that those killed were sacrificial is that the whole story is being used for political purposes by the Obama administration, and also by conservatives, in my view. However, I am always leery of what the media tells us, as I believe there is a lot of propaganda out there to keep Americans hating and at war. That's why I check a half dozen sources at least on all major stories, from conservative to liberal. Only then do I feel I have enough information to form an opinion.
Robert Parry December 29, 2012 at 12:26 AM
Have we gone far-enough afield with the comments? :-)
Erin Thorn December 29, 2012 at 12:48 AM
That's exactly what happens on an open forum.
Robert Parry December 29, 2012 at 01:25 AM
Very true, Erin. Very, very true.
Bill C. December 29, 2012 at 06:53 AM
You could be a nice guy Robert and see if you could swing Chris a copy of the show your friend Brian did on Benghazi, it was amazingly informative to me.
sayitisntso January 02, 2013 at 07:28 PM
Despite calling in the same year for an outright ban on all firearms, Senator Dianne Feinstein, who is set to introduce legislation that would gut the second amendment, said in 1995 that she carried a concealed gun in order to protect herself against terrorists. Speaking at a US Senate hearing on terrorism one week after the Oklahoma City Bombing, Feinstein spoke about how she responded to an attempt by terrorists from the New World Liberation Army to bomb her home. “I know the sense of helplessness that people feel. I know the urge to arm yourself because that’s what I did. I was trained in firearms. I walked to the hospital when my husband was sick. I carried a concealed weapon and I made the determination if somebody was going to try and take me out, I was going to take them with me,” said Feinstein. The hypocrisy of Feinstein choosing to arm herself in self-defense while in the very same year calling for an “outright ban” on all guns is another reminder of rampant hypocrisy on behalf of would-be gun grabbers that has prevailed in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook school shooting.
sayitisntso January 02, 2013 at 07:30 PM
Michael Moore immediately went public to exploit the Newtown shooting in calling for draconian gun control legislation, yet his own bodyguard was arrested for carrying an unlicensed weapon at in New York’s JFK airport back in 2005. President Obama also seized upon the tragedy to push his agenda to disarm Americans, conveniently leaving out the fact that the school which his daughters attend in Washington D.C. has no less than 11 armed security guards on duty at all times. During an ABC Nightline interview which was broadcast on December 26 yet was recorded before the Sandy Hook shooting, Obama said one of the benefits of his re-election was the ability “to have men with guns around at all times,” in order to protect his daughters. Other prominent gun control advocates such as Mayor Michael Bloomberg have also aggressively pushed to disarm Americans while themselves employing armed bodyguards at all times.
sayitisntso January 02, 2013 at 08:13 PM
I don’t see any legislators screaming for a ban on Alcohol or a limit on the number of drinks that can be served at a bar or restaurant or mandatory breathalyzers in all vehicles. Drinking alcohol is not a Second Amendment Right but kills more innocent people the legal gun owners in the USA do. CHILDREN: In 2010, 211 children were killed in drunk driving crashes. Out of those 211 deaths, 131 (62 percent) were riding with the drunk driver. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “Traffic Safety Facts 2010: Alcohol Impaired Driving” Washington DC:National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2011.) In 2011, 9,878 people died in drunk driving crashes - one every 53 minutes National Highway Traffic Safety Administration FARS data, 2012. Drunk driving costs the United States $132 billion a year. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration FARS data, 2010 Every day in America, another 27 people die as a result of drunk driving crashes. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration FARS data, 2012.
not Carl Peterson lll January 02, 2013 at 09:13 PM
Gayle. ..... "Men who have problems at home"..."get a grip"...Gayle, there you go again with those .double entrendtre's again.And quite talking about me!!! LOL

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