By Jonathan Safran Foer
Knives also cut bread and carve wood and aid surgery, but guns only shoot bullets. That's what they are designed to do, and that's what they do.His ignorance of proper terminology indicates an ignorance of firearms in general. As we shall see, this ignorance continues throughout his dissertation on why firearms are not necessary in American society.
When we talk about protecting our right to have guns, we are talking about protecting our right to shoot bullets. So what is it that's so important to shoot at?
The principal defense of guns is constitutional. The Second Amendment ensures, "a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."Until changed, the Second Amendment is the final authority. That is just the way it is, and no amount of whining and hand wringing will change that one fact. Our Founding Fathers may not have been infallible, but they did construct the foundation of the best form of government the world has yet to experience.
It's used as the final authority, to be deferred to even if not agreed with or understood. But the Constitution isn't the Bible. (The Second Amendment, being an amendment, is a testament to the Constitution's ability to correct itself.) And the Founding Fathers were neither infallible nor divine.
And times change.
No, the Constitution is not the Bible, but Mr. Foer may be surprised to learn that the Bible does give man not only the authority, but the responsibility to protect himself and his family.
"And times change" - Times may change, but people do not. Rogues and highwaymen and corrupt, power hungry politicians are as dangerous today as they were more than 200 years ago.
The editorial continues:
Does anyone any longer believe that a well-regulated militia is necessary for a free state? Why do those who fall back on the constitutional defense so often avoid the terms "militia" and "state"?I honestly do not know about Senator McCain, he has authored and supported legislation in the past that would lead one to believe that he is not an ardent supporter of liberty and individual rights, but I do know many who are.
And why, after the massacre at Virginia Tech -- hours after -- did Sen. John McCain proclaim, "I do believe in the constitutional right that everyone has, in the Second Amendment to the Constitution, to carry a weapon"?
Just what is it, precisely, that he believes in? Is it the Constitution itself? (But surely he thinks it was wise to change the Constitution to abolish slavery, give women the vote, end Prohibition and so on?) Or is it the guns themselves that he believes in?
It would be refreshing to have a politician try to defend guns without any reference to the Second Amendment, but on the merits of guns. What if, hours after the killings, McCain had stood at the podium and said instead, "Guns are good because ... "
Those of us who are vocal supporters of the Second Amendment do not just support an individuals right to keep and bear arms, we support all unalienable rights. Mr. Foer, we support your right to freely express yourself and disagree with all we hold dear. We also support your right to be secure in your own home, free from unwarranted invasions of your privacy by the government. We believe that we can not pick and choose, that for liberty to prevail, freedom must be supported.
I will stand at my podium and complete your challenge "Guns are good because..."
Guns are good because they allow the weak to defend themselves from the strong and the few to defend against the many. Tools are what set humans apart from the creatures. We do not have fangs, claws, speed or an exoskeleton to protects us from violence. What we do have is our ability to create and use tools. For most folks, a firearm is the most efficient and effective tool for this purpose. A firearm will allow my daughters to protect themselves from rapist or violent thugs, as well as my getting old (Dad, just be glad I didn't call you "elderly") father from muggers and thieves. Oh wait... Dad lives in CA, a state that protects muggers and thieves by disarming it's free citizens, so scratch that.
Mr. Foer does not agree with the "self defense" argument:
But what would have followed? Guns are good because they provide the ultimate self-defense? While I'm sure some people believe that having a gun at their bedside will make them safer, they are wrong. This is not my opinion, and it's not a political or controversial statement. It is a fact. Guns kept in the home for self-protection are 43 times more likely to kill a family member, friend or acquaintance than to kill an intruder, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Guns on the street make us less safe. For every justifiable handgun homicide, there are more than 50 handgun murders, according to the FBI. The expanding right to carry concealed guns makes us even less safe.Well Sir, your numbers are not factual. As a matter of fact they are pretty much fictitious. The study that you quote has been discredited. The fact of the matter is that accidental firearm related fatalities are at almost a 92% decrease in accidental/negligent firearm-related fatalities since 1930. You also failed to mention the more than 1,000,000 times each year that firearms are used by free citizens to protect themselves from violence.
Next, Mr. Foer takes on the hunters. I'll not spend any time on that, as the "right to hunt" is not constitutionally affirmed. I will post one quick quote for those hunters who feel they are on the side of the anti's:
But something else is going on. Something that sounds as bad as it is. Hunters love death. Can someone explain to me why that's acceptable, or why that love of death should be more important than the safety of the 94 percent of us who don't have hunting licenses and don't hunt?And then the final quote, bringing in the children and more fractured facts:
In 2004, more preschoolers than law enforcement officers were killed by firearms, according to the Children's Defense Fund. The number of children killed by guns in the United States each year is about three times greater than the number of servicemen and women killed annually in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, more children have been killed by guns in the past 25 years than the total number of American fatalities in all wars of the past five decades. It's possible that the upcoming election will be decided by the war in Iraq. But what about the far deadlier war at home?I will have to admit that I did not go over to the CDF to check out their "facts" but I understand that these are also padded with the inclusion of gang bangers up to the age of 21 and rely heavily upon inner city gang related homicide.
If Mr. Foer were truly interested in saving the lives of children, he would be spending much more time editorializing about the dangers of swimming pools than firearms.
They're pulled from backyard pools and bathtubs each year, tiny limp bodies, blue and not breathing.At it's heart, the gun control debate is not just a debate about our right to keep and bear arms, it is a debate about individual freedoms and liberty. Are we free citizens, grabbing our piece of the American Dream and making our own destinies? Or are we becoming subjects to the State, living how we are told to live and trading freedom for a fleeting feeling of safety? An abstract feeling of safety is indeed fleeting and will evaporate during the next natural or man-made disaster. It will be proven false when a goblin decides he wants your wallet, or car, or to rape and defile you. As proven at Virginia Tech, the facade of safety is just that, a facade.
A young life can vanish quickly under water. A survivor can endure a lifetime of disabilities. Either way, families are torn apart by an almost always preventable tragedy.
Standard summer companions in our desert climate, swimming pools can be deadlier for children than guns. A child is 100 times more likely to die in a swimming accident than in gunplay, writes Steven D. Levitt, University of Chicago economics professor and best-selling author.
Levitt analyzed child deaths from residential swimming pools and guns and found one child under 10 drowns annually for every 11,000 pools. By comparison, one child under 10 each year is killed by a gun for every 1 million guns, according to his research, outlined in a new book "Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side to Everything," which he co-wrote with journalist Stephen J. Dubner.
I would email the author of this editorial, but can not find an address. Even his website has no contact information. Well Mr. Foer, if you happen to be the sort that does a search for your name, you will find your way here. I welcome any comments you may have.