To the editors:
Please spare us from any more "victim as crusading spokesman" stories. Philip Andrew [Neighborhood News, May 8] got shot because Laurie Dann's parents had the money and clout to subvert normal police process and because he was too dumb to know the difference between real and toy guns. Letting an armed maniac into your home and then trying to reason with her for 90 minutes without calling police was even dumber. That may explain the shallowness of his so-called "research." Had he bothered to read studies by scholars and the Justice Department he would have found that over 600,000 people a year use firearms against criminal threats; that so-called assault weapons are just normal long guns with cosmetic changes; that assault weapons are used in just one half of 1 percent of crimes and are not considered a significant problem by criminologists; that in spite of his vivid descriptions automatic weapons are not legal to buy or own except those already federally registered; that since 1933, a federally registered automatic weapon has never been used in a crime; that guns actually are easy to make with basic machine tools, that sanctioned shooting sports (including handgun events) are the fastest growing sport in the U.S.; and that the NRA with three million members (including many police officers) has more than 20 times the members of all handgun control organizations combined.
He might also have found that states, rather than banning guns, are passing laws permitting concealed carry of handguns. After one year, Oregon had a 23 percent reduction in violent crime statewide and 29 percent in Portland. Texas is now considering a similar law--thanks to lobbying by victims of the drive-in massacre.
Mr. Andrew like Sarah Brady will tell any lie in support of his cause. They don't want to ban guns just make them impossible to manufacture. We can look back to so-called undetectable plastic guns (never existed), or cop-killer bullets (never for sale to the public) as examples. Most versions of these proposed laws would actually allow the government to confiscate any firearm on any pretext. Do we really need laws that instantly make millions of law abiding citizens into felons? We can't even keep violent criminals in jail because of overcrowding. Will we then need a "Gun Police" to knock down doors?
I have been a community organizer and block club president in the inner city for over ten years. My wife and daughter were hit by shotgun pellets during a gang assassination and a neighbor's teenage son was murdered by gangs. Explain to me how disarming the good makes the bad weaker. Gangs have been caught with automatic weapons, grenades, and explosives; all of which are illegal and not available in gun stores. Having the means and determination to protect one's family, property and community are the basis for the second amendment--and they work. Do-gooder social engineering schemes and useless laws don't.
Mr. Andrew should spend his time on more useful endeavors. How about banning dangerous, psychoactive, prescription drugs which have been implicated in Laurie Dann's case? Or spend some time lobbying the media against glorification of violence and improper firearm usage. Better yet, bring your North Shore sensibilities to West Humboldt and do something useful for those who don't have all your benefits.
Casey J. Korolenko