FACTS UNDER FIRE
This letter is in response to Jim Hibbett’s letter titled “Gun Issues” (Jan. 31). I am all for anyone expressing their opinions on any issue. But, when you express your opinions and use so called “statistics” to back up your opinions, make sure your “statistics” are verifiable. Otherwise, your opinion doesn’t seem to carry that much weight. I quote a line from Mr. Hibbett’s article: “All our families are significantly more at risk of being maimed and killed in a massacre accomplished with high powered, semi-automatic weapons than by someone breaking into our home with an intent to kill, or our being mugged with lethal force on the street or the U.S. government turning its arsenal of weapons against us.” I had to read this quote several times to make sure I was reading what I thought I was reading. There were nine mass shootings in the entire United States in 2012 and eight of these were carried out by mentally ill individuals. Now compare this number to the number of armed home invasions and muggings with weapons in the entire United States. The numbers speak for themselves and prove that Mr. Hibbett does not rely on facts when stating his opinions, rather on emotions. I find this is the case a majority of the time when anti-gun advocates try to make their case.
CALL TO ARMS
My neighbor Mary evidently harbors an untoward fear of encroachment on her well-being, having acquired a military-style weapon in addition to the revolver she already owns. “The pistol is for protection against the usual thug,” she once offered. “The assault rifle is in case we as a nation are invaded. It’s also to defend against our own government should it become tyrannical.”
Then there’s Bill, a gruff “don’t tread on me” sort. He owns rapid-fire arms and bristles at any hint of what he considers government intrusion in his life. And yet this self-professed Libertarian depends on that very government for clean water, to maintain the nation’s highways, and to keep that toxic waste dump out of his backyard.
While the majority who own such weapons, or merely support the right to do so, may very well be decent, law-abiding citizens, as long as these arms and their enhancements are commercially manufactured and available to the public, it is inevitable some will find their way into the hands of those with nefarious intentions.
An inherent challenge for any democratic society is when it has to reconcile individual rights with the common good. Thus, even though “Congress shall make no law’abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble”, one cannot resort to libel or call for the violent overthrow of government, and gatherings may be subject to the granting of a permit and regulations on their time and place. The Second Amendment is no more immune to restraints than is the pre-eminent First. Only alarmists believe that the impetus behind a ban on private ownership of weapons and magazines whose sole purpose is to kill human beings en masse is a cynical opening to banning private ownership of all firearms.
Please, let our elected officials know that we are demanding the most stringent measures be taken to abolish the commercial manufacture and private ownership of automatic and semi-automatic weapons and their magazines. We can reduce the casualties, we can reduce the odds, and we can make this a safer society for all.
James Krohe’s column about eggcorns (“What was that again? Hearing sometimes shouldn’t be believing,” Feb. 7) reminded me of something a high school English teacher once told me. As she graded papers, she found that students often take what they hear for granite.
The Illinois Legislature needs to be revamped and run by younger politicians. We need to retire guys like Madigan and Poe. I know that they have good intentions but if you look at what’s happening you can see that they may be helping others but they are really pulling a Ponzi for themselves at the same time. It’s fun to think that making good for all is the goal but they are really just playing a good hand of poker for themselves.
Erik N. Welch