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From: William Scarbrough
Received: Sept. 13
“If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.” A sound bite invented by Wayne LaPierre of the NRA in its relentless pursuit of extending the proliferation of guns in the U.S. and the world? No.
This slogan is based on the writings of an 18th-century philosopher named Cesare Beccaria, whose work arguing against gun control and types of punishment significantly influenced the Founding Fathers when composing the Second and Eighth amendments.
To suggest otherwise is misleading. Which leads me to Mr. Macklin’s letter (Sept. 13) advocating for gun rights. Two paragraphs are titled “Two quotes from Jefferson.” The first paragraph quote is deceptive in that it is Jefferson quoting Beccaria’s words. To his credit Mr. Macklin notes this at the end of the paragraph, but in such a way that the reader might misunderstand.
Mr. Macklin says John Vanderbur (letter Sept. 9), who supports new gun regulations, lacks understanding of the Bill of Rights because he received an election flier containing a statement about possessing guns being crucial to the survival of the republic. Oh, my.
Further he tells us and Mr. Vanderbur we cannot advocate for gun control on the basis of emotion. Why not? Is it possible not to feel empathy for the victims of guns in Colorado, Virginia Tech and at Sandy Hook? No.
So instead of these kinds of accusations, let’s talk about some current facts supporting the need for regulating access to guns.
Gun injuries and deaths cost the United States more than $174 billion ($546 per person) in 2010, according to PIRE (disclosure: my son works for them). That expense is the result of unpaid hospital stays, ambulance runs, related police work, court costs, juror costs, public defender costs ... an endless chain of events occurring after gun violence.
A staggering loss of human life and treasure by gun violence in this country.
Possession of a gun leads to violence. Shooting someone by accident, shooting someone purposefully (whether premeditated or not), self-inflicted violence or escalating a confrontational situation are all possible with a gun in hand.
These are facts. Guns and violence have a symbiotic relationship.
Recently, we had a week of celebration for the Rev. Martin Luther King and the 50th anniversary of his 1963 dream speech. With regard to violence, King wrote the following:
“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. ... Returning violence for violence multiples violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.”
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