From The Orange Leader:
By Erik Onstott
Mr. Onstott begins his editorial describing Virginia Tech's "Gun Free School Zone" rules and commenting on an article published in a British newspaper, The Daily Mail. Next he takes on Australia's Prime Minister, John Howard:
As for the infuriation, we can look to Australia, as Prime Minister John Howard said that after a killing spree in his country in 1996, “We showed a national resolve that the gun culture that is such a negative in the United States would never become a negative in our country.”This is just a short excerpt from Mr. Onstott's editorial. I highly recommend that you head on over and read the rest.
Every time I see such sentiments expressed, the only thing I can do is shake my head and grind my teeth — because as a member of the “gun culture” Howard so cluelessly derides, I take such statements personally. People who make such asinine statements don’t have the first accurate idea as to what the American “gun culture” is really like. To a man and woman we’re some of the kindest, most hospitable people you could ever hope to meet. And as a member of that “gun culture,” I find it profoundly offensive that a man of John Howard’s stature — who should know better — would level such a disgusting slander at me and my people.
It’s quite comforting to know, however, that Howard is proven wrong countless times every day by the actions of millions of people who carry and/or own guns in the United States. It’s estimated that between 50 million and 80 million people in the U.S. own guns; when compared to the approximately 11,000 murders committed each year with firearms in this nation, it puts into stark relief the law-abiding nature of American gun owners. The murder statistic is a tragedy indeed — but it’s not the fault of the American gun culture, Howard’s shamefully distorted view of said culture notwithstanding.
And here’s why. In the words of libertarian essayist Eric S. Raymond,“There is a 3 percent or so of psychotics, drug addicts and criminal deviants who are incapable of the dignity of free men....But for the other 97 percent, the bearing of arms functions not merely as an assertion of power but as a fierce and redemptive discipline. When sudden death hangs inches from your right hand, you become much more careful, more mindful, and much more peaceful in your heart — because you know that if you are thoughtless or sloppy in your actions or succumb to bad temper, people will die.”