Don't Anti-Gun Knee Jerk

Published 3:58 pm Thursday, December 27, 2012

Editor, The Herald:

The media keeps regurgitating the phrase “America's gun culture” as if there is something pernicious about possessing a firearm. They never seem to question why there is an increasing number of people buying guns and seeking a “right to carry” permit. The reason as I see it is that many citizens feel unsafe in an increasingly violent society from threats from Islamic terrorists, ethnic and racial gangs, drug gangs, deranged and aberrant individuals acting out on encouraged rancor caused by real or imagined aspects racial, ethnic, religious and sexual prejudice, class warfare, and even where the agencies of government are suspect. Considering the government's fiascos at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, Waco, Texas, and the recent debacle Operation Fast and Furious, and with the increasing encouraged militancy since the 60's of ethnic, racial, social and even sexual separatist groups, is it any wonder why people feel the need for personal self-defense?

Ruby Ridge was the site of a deadly confrontation because a man refused to be an informant for the federal government. It resulted in the death of the man's son, his wife, and a deputy US Marshal; and there were accusations of “criminal wrongdoing” against every agency involved in the incident: the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the United States Marshal Service, and the United States Attorney's Office (USAO) for Idaho. A task force report raised questions about the conduct and policy of all the agencies.

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The infamous “Waco Siege” ended violently after accompanied by several members of the media, attempted to execute a search warrant at a property of the religious sect's ranch community. After the attempt to serve the warrant, an intense gun battle erupted in which four agents and six “Branch Davidians” were killed. A siege was initiated by the FBI and ended when a fire destroyed the compound when a second assault was launched. Seventy-six men, women and children, including the sect leader, died in the fire. The Waco siege also has been described by many as the “Waco massacre.”

Operation Fast and Furious was the recent bungled ignominy where 2,000 guns made available to Mexican drug lords under the watch of the ATF have been found at crime scenes in Mexico involving the death or wounding of at least 150 Mexican civilians and, on the border, the scene of the death of at least one U.S. federal agent.

The perceived threat from deteriorating economic, social, and political infrastructure has encouraged the growth of the militia movement of which the narrow-minded liberal media and proselytizers would describe as “gun wielding kooks” rather than frightened fellow Americans seeking a security they don't see in more government restrictions on their right of self-defense. Militias can be found in all 50 states with membership estimated at between 20,000 and 60,000.

Now in the aftermath of the recent tragedy, there will be knee-jerk legislative activity by patronizing politicians encouraged by liberals who believe more laws to deal with the symptoms of the problem can create the best of all possible worlds. I believe these efforts will only exacerbate the problem by widening the gulf between gun owners and those espousing dismantling the conservative view of the Second Amendment. I would remind those liberals who believe that only the police and the military should have firearms that it was the People's Liberation Army that violently cracked down on Tiananmen Square and squelched democratic reform in China.

While the true problem lies somewhere between better mental health administration, more thorough firearm background checks, and more social control on media violence, a more rational and less divisive approach should be generated. Knee-jerk anti-gun legislation will not ameliorate the problem.

David R. Torrence