Letters for the Week of April 18, 2012 

Readers sound off on the shrinking stage, OPD and Occupy, Mary Hayashi, and AC Transit finally buying American.

Page 3 of 4

Ask any self-respecting conservative talk-show host the primary cause of crime and violence, and he or she will tell you, "the bad moral choices of criminals." None of them willingly would acknowledge that a fine, upstanding, successful fellow like Rush might have ended up differently if his father had been an LA Crip and his mother a crackwhore.

Conservatives notwithstanding, crime and violence are caused by sociological conditions: poverty, racism, poor educational and job opportunities, lack of quality health care, illegal drugs and the illegality of those drugs, etc.

It's not hard to figure out that solving those problems by providing poor folks, especially but not only poor children, with such game-changers as high-quality education, beginning with something like Head Start for three- and four-year-olds and excellent K-12 teachers with small class sizes, will cost a lot of money — money that can come from only one place, much higher taxes on the One Percent and others who make more than a million dollars a year. This would not provide equality of outcome, just equality of opportunity.

The rich are not stupid. They figured this out long ago, and they realized that if they did not distract the rest of us, their taxes were going way up right away. About 35 or 40 years ago some rich genius had a brilliant, if corrupt, idea: Blame crime and violence on guns and advocate gun control as the means to a peaceful society. It took some doing to snow the left on this because a century ago, Democratic Socialists recognized gun control for what it was: suppression of the rights of the working class, the poor, and minorities.

Even only fifty years ago, prominent liberals such as Vice President Hubert Humphrey spoke out in favor of the right to keep and bear arms as a private and individual right that benefited all Americans. But the rich were tricky about it. They managed to convince a lot of thoughtless people that the murders of President John F. Kennedy, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, and Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were caused by guns so that if guns had been banned, the murders might not have happened.

The beauty of this from the point of view of the rich is that after each new and stricter law when crime and violence continue to rise, spokespersons for the rich could come forward and say that the problem is that even the new laws are not strict enough and that more, even more draconian laws are necessary to solve the problem. All the while foolish people who bought this nonsense were wasting their time advocating new gun laws instead of advocating higher taxes on the wealthy to pay for the solutions to the causes of our problems. That was the point. It could go on indefinitely protecting the rich from higher taxes because no gun law — even a total ban — would address the conditions that cause crime and violence.

I am not happy to say anything good about a Republican, but Florida State Representative Dennis Baxley, who wrote the Florida law in question, made the best point about this case in an interview on PBS. "This law has nothing to do with what [George] Zimmerman did. Nothing in this law entitles anyone to pursue someone over property, and it certainly does not allow anyone to shoot someone fleeing even if a crime was committed." All the law says is that if you are in a public place where you are entitled to be, and you reasonably fear someone is threatening you with imminent death or grievous bodily injury, you can shoot your assailant in self-defense. If your assailant flees, and you no longer are in danger, you no longer can shoot.

Fools who have bought into the rich peoples' trick of "guns cause crime so let's ban guns" have come to believe that a woman found raped and murdered in an alley is somehow morally superior to a woman sitting in a police station explaining how that serial rapist wound up with two bullets in his chest. That is what this law is about, allowing weaker members of society to defend themselves against stronger attackers.

One very interesting thing is that the laws allowing sane, law-abiding adult citizens to obtain concealed weapons permits after a serious fingerprint and background search as well as classes in the safe, legal, and proficient use of firearms are on the books in forty states, some of them for over thirty years. Anti-gunners have been looking for a case to use to attack these laws from the outset. There are now over six million of these sane, law-abiding adults with concealed-weapons permits carrying handguns daily for personal defense, and this is the first time a case like this has occurred. Over these thirty years, tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people with permits have thwarted serious attacks, most without ever firing a shot. More than a few of them might have died without this means to defend themselves, but because one person may have screwed up, Tom Tomorrow and a vocal minority, a lot of whom are in the media, want us to abandon laws which have protected us for decades because they personally do not like guns. It is their right to dislike guns, but they want to deprive other sane, law-abiding adults of their right to make their own choice about this issue, and it should not be their right to deny people the right to freedom of choice.

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