I read the New Times’ letters to the editor of Jan. 3; some of those opinions sadly prove and reinforce the malignant misinterpretation of facts that infest the thinking and actions of the N.R.A. and too many gun rights activists today.
“… to disarm the people is the best and most effective way to enslave them.”—George Mason. This is an out-of-context quote, very popular today, used as a poor attempt to defend the right to bear arms. At the time of his quote and our new Republic, Mason (as a Virginia statesman and delegate) understood people had to be able to defend and protect themselves against government tyranny. In almost every European kingdom, most citizens had been disarmed by their armies.
Over two centuries later, in 2009 alone, U.S. gun sales totaled 14 million. Today, the threat of U.S. domestic tyranny has vanished, and so should the Second Amendment.
“A list of mass killings that did not involve guns would be very long” (“We don’t need guns to kill”). Your list is brief: four in the past 46 years, the most recent in 1995. Here is another list for the past 30 years, reported by Mother Jones on Dec. 15, 2012: “Since 1982, there have been at least 62 mass shootings across the country, with the killings unfolding in 30 states from Massachusetts to Hawaii. Twenty-five of these mass shootings have occurred since 2006, and seven of them have taken place in 2012. … The weapons used: 68 semi-automatic handguns, 35 assault weapons, 20 revolvers, and 19 shotguns.”
“Violence is in our nature—not in the instruments we use.” For decades, this type of thinking (regarding the consequence-free manufacture and sale of guns) by the gun lobby is still pushed upon all U.S. citizens.
“Human nature and ingenuity will always find a way to kill and destroy.” Especially the easy way in the U.S.A., by purchasing assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines at gun shows! Unfortunately, violence is in our nature—and in the violent instruments we use.
I have now joined the conversation.