to the Editor
August 25, 1999
Side Of Gun Control
This is in response to the Op-ed titled "Gun Controls Must
Be Enforced, Strengthened" in The Commerce News dated August
You were correct in your statement that our schools are a reflection
of our society. Failures in society are played out in actions
by those in the schools and work-places as in the Columbine shootings
and the day trader tragedy in Atlanta. Contrary to your assumption
that more gun control would have prevented these incidents or
that guns somehow caused these incidents, the individuals that
did the killing were the ones responsible, and no gun law would
have stopped them. A criminal mind is not created just because
guns are readily available. If that were the case, we would all
be criminals. The criminal mind is created by some failure to
instill in it the basic principles of morality and virtue. Perish
the thought that one must bear the consequences of one's actions.
It is much easier to blame an object for these actions.
Guns by themselves do not kill people. People kill people with
guns, knives, hammers, bricks, rocks, automobiles, and whatever
other objects may be at their disposal when their warped minds
direct them to kill. Any number of objects can be used to perpetrate
death on another person.
Are we going to legislate the purchase of bricks, automobiles,
hammers, or anything that might possibly be used to harm someone?
Where do we draw the line, or is that the whole objective: to
control every facet of the public's lives?
The assumption that taking guns away, or making it as difficult
as possible for law abiding citizens to purchase them, is going
to stop criminals, loners, and other mentally unstable outcasts
from committing whatever acts of violence they can dream up is
This country (and our Constitution and Bill of Rights) was founded
on principles of freedom in response to the tyranny and oppression
that our forefathers had experienced. We must question the ultimate
motives of those who would seek to remove the freedoms and rights
(not privileges as you stated) such as the right to keep and
bear arms. It was for these rights that our forefathers fought
and died. It was the possession and use of firearms by our forefathers
which gave them the power to fight and overthrow their oppressors.
It is the possession, and use if necessary, which gives law-abiding
citizens the power to protect themselves against tyrants (criminals
and other misfits of society) today. Ask the hardened criminal
what is his greatest fear, and he won't tell you "getting
caught" or "the new ten-day waiting period." What
he fears most is that the citizen whose car he is going to "jack"
or whose house he is going to burglarize might have the firepower
to stop him from succeeding. Had one of the employees at All-Tech
Securities in Atlanta been in possession of a firearm, Mark Barton's
rampage might have been stopped as soon as it started. Some ask,
"What do you want to do, go back to the 'Wild West?'"
Well, if they mean the relatively low-crime era of the late 1800s,
yes, that would be nice. Any lowlife who came into town with
the idea of shooting the place up knew that nearly all the citizens
were armed and were well-schooled in how to use their weapons.
Please explain how the registration of firearms stops a criminal
from doing whatever ill he so desires. Do the "Mark Bartons"
care one bit whether the weapon that they are about to use is
registered and can be traced back to them? What then is the purpose
of registering firearms if not to make it easier for the government
at some future time to round up all those registered and therefore
take away what resistance could be offered in the event of some
tyrant attempting to take control of our great nation? "That's
outrageous!" some say. Tell that to the survivors and descendants
of the Holocaust. Thomas Jefferson said, "The strongest
reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms
is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against the tyranny
Some laws have been passed to limit the production and/or sale
of certain types of firearms. They say "semi-automatic so-called
'assault weapons' and handguns with high capacity are not necessary
for hunting or target practice." As quoted by Walter Williams,
"The farmers gave us the Second Amendment not so we could
go deer or duck hunting but to give us a modicum of protection
against congressional tyranny." These laws are the "whittling
away" of the rights of gun owners. As the rights become
narrower and narrower, it becomes easier to label an ordinary
law-abiding citizen as a criminal or fanatic.
I am neither a "gun fanatic" nor a "right wing
extremist," but merely a citizen who is concerned when he
reads an editorial opinion that goes so much against the principles
of freedom. It is so easy for the "blind public" to
be lulled into acceptance as fact of the rhetoric presented by
gun control advocates. I would merely like to present the "citizens'
rights" side of the issue.
Editor's Note: The editorial
to which Mr. Coleman responds made no assumption that better
gun control would have prevented the tragedies in Colombine or
Atlanta. And, for the record, there have been no known mass murders
with bricks, hammers or rocks. Also, how do you define Congressional
tyranny and who exactly do you shoot when it occurs?
The Commerce News
August 25, 1999
Christian Coalition President Pat Robertson
attracted a lot of derision recently for suggesting that America
should employ assassination as part of its foreign policy.
I hate to even appear to agree with the Rev. Robertson on much
of anything, but in America's dealings with the late Ayatollah
Khomeini, with Saddam Hussein and with Slobodan Milosevic, admit
it, didn't you long for the days when the CIA would quietly bump
off some Third-World dictator running amok?
And it does make more sense to rub out Milosevic than to bomb
Kosovo for months, killing the innocent, while the leader is
safely hidden away.
But you don't talk about assassinations. You just do them. That
is the rub, too, because if assassination is the tool for eliminating
a despot, there can be no public debate as to the appropriateness
of the action. Who decides who is to die? Imagine that Milosevic
had been murdered by the CIA, but the belief of the public was
that someone in Serbia had done the deed. NATO's intervention
might well have been avoided and countless lives saved.
Tempting, isn't it?
Then again, wasn't it a timely assassination that helped America
get more deeply involved in Vietnam? It is a difficult tool to
manage. The murder of an individual is criminal, whereas the
multitude of deaths that occur in military action seems to have
legitimacy attached. Targeting Milosevic with a cruise missile
during the NATO bombing is "acceptable" to much of
the public in the West, whereas targeting him with a single bullet
or a car bomb smacks of terrorism and criminality and would be
met with protest.
My son and I once played a board game where the object was to
conquer the world, country by country. The battles were fought
with a roll of five dice, and you removed characters from the
board as the "battles" progressed. It was so easy to
commit inferior numbers to a lost cause, or to start a battle
to conquer a new country in a game. In real war, generals do
the same thing. They commit troops to the hell of battle while
sitting safely out of harm's way. They have to be able to sacrifice
their men to be successful. If they cannot send men to their
death, they cannot do their job.
Robertson's suggestion is that we can reduce the casualties by
assassinating the few people responsible for conditions that
have led or could lead to war. From a purely military standpoint,
that is just good business. But from a moral and ethical standpoint,
there is no good way to wage war. Killing one person or committing
thousands to be killed is a matter of scale.
Robertson suggested it was more efficient to kill a leader "than
to spend billions of dollars in a war that harms innocent people
and destroys the infrastructure of a country." Cost savings
aside, it is an interesting issue to debate. It is hard to justify
the harm caused to civilians in war, but it's equally hard to
say that the murder of a leader who in our eyes misbehaves is
Still, how much tragedy would have been averted if someone had
killed Milosevic 15 months ago? Had that someone been the CIA,
would it seem less moral than our war against the Serbs?
The Commerce News
August 25, 1999
City Must Try
Massive Trailer Park
The city of Commerce should do all it legally can to discourage
development of a massive mobile home park whose impact on the
city could be devastating.
The Commerce Planning Commission tabled action on a request for
a development off U.S. 441 North that could hold 500 trailers.
What's more, the developer's attorney intimates that if the city
does not rezone the property, he will go to court to contest
the implementation of the city's zoning ordinance under which
his client lost his R-4 (mobile home) classification in the old
zoning ordinance. If that move proves successful, the developer
could put 910 trailers on the same property.
One of the criteria under which the city can turn down the zoning
request is a negative effect of the change upon the city's infrastructure.
Certainly this development applies. It would virtually use up
the capacity at the sewage treatment plant, would require the
hiring of two more police officers, would severely affect the
school system and would probably create traffic hazards at the
entrance points. It would also upset the balance between stick-built
houses and mobile homes, a balance that is crucial to the well-being
of the community.
The city could accept a mobile home park on a much smaller scale,
but any development proposing 500 to 900 new housing units is
too much at one time. Officials should be in consultation with
their attorney; if he is confident the city can withstand the
court challenge, Commerce should reject the pending zoning request
because of its massive and negative effect on the city.