Column - More guns are not the answerI want to thank all of the readers who responded to my recent column about assault weapons. Some e-mail messages and letters were written in wholehearted agreement. Others were downright nasty and, as is so typical, mostly unsigned.
By: Dennis Dalman, Alexandria Echo Press
(Dear readers: Please, while reading the following, note my frequent use of the word “some.” As I’ve said before, the vast majority of NRA members and gun owners are good, responsible, kind and caring people. However, that said, there are the “some” that I refer to below.)
I want to thank all of the readers who responded to my recent column about assault weapons. Some e-mail messages and letters were written in wholehearted agreement. Others were downright nasty and, as is so typical, mostly unsigned.
All of the letters of disagreement, whether vicious or thoughtful, did not change my mind. Nothing will convince me there is a need for assault weapons. And no one will ever persuade me the Second Amendment is an absolute right. Like other rights in the U.S. Constitution, it is subject to restrictions, just as the First Amendment comes with some restrictions (i.e. hate speech that sparks a riot).
The belligerent NRA leadership, at the very least, should do itself a favor by agreeing to mandatory gun registration in all cases.
One thing I did learn from the letters is this: There are some adherents of the Second Amendment who are nearly rabid in their insistence that it is sacred, as if it is God-given holy writ handed down by Moses himself. A couple letter writers kept equating “God” and “Guns” as if you can’t have one without the other.
Some of these gun people harbor the most far-flung paranoid notions, not to mention a toxic hatred of the American government. It is also obvious, based on their letters, that they derive their ideas almost entirely from slogans ranted by ultra-right-wing extremists. Their letters were filled with one parroted phrase after another. These people despise the government and the media, and yet they dote daily on the rantings of hate-radio “personalities.” You see, some media’s OK, as long as it’s hate-filled ultra-right bombast.
What’s alarming is how some of these gun-worshippers actually think that one day federal agents sent by Dictator Obama will pound on their doors and demand they turn over all their guns. When that happens, some of these gun huggers, including one man who wrote me, actually boast about how they will blow the agents away. Some of these people have seen too many Rambo movies, fancying themselves as heroes in their own violent dreamplays. And some of them apparently never read a book in their lives other than maybe The Turner Diaries, that “classic” paranoid bedtime story so favored by armed survivalists.
A couple letters I received are proof-positive, in my opinion, that there should be a ban on assault weapons. Some of these angry gun-lovers sound so riled up I wouldn’t trust them even with a Red Ryder BB gun. For example, one especially livid writer shares with many of his gun-crazed brethren a drooling hatred of President Obama.
“Today,” he wrote, “we have the most corrupt president in the history of the nation, ditto for the attorney general. Just think how refreshing it would be if we had senators and congressmen and women that would stand up to those two (expletives deleted) and just say, ‘NO!’ “
If ingrown toenails could talk, they would sound like the man who wrote that letter. His hatreds, besides media “morons,” include public education and college. He claims I flunked history and civics class “as a product of a public education system” and that I’m “probably a college boy, at that.” Then, with sarcastic condescension, he proceeds to “enlighten” me on the Second Amendment. He concluded with the assertion that the Second Amendment is the only thing that protects the First Amendment.
“God,” he states, “didn’t give you a brain for you to turn it into a vegetable.”
I laughed out loud at his closing word: “Respectfully.” I expected to see “Broccoli” as his signature.
What disturbs me about these poisonous letters is that their writers seem to be examples of what I was trying to express about the “gun culture” in my recent columns. These people give up their reasoning power in exchange for every paranoid conspiracy theory that comes down the pike so that they can shout their call to arms, “Guns, guns and more guns!”
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Dennis Dalman, a former reporter for the Echo Press, is a regular contributing columnist to the Opinion page. He is currently the editor of the St. Joseph Newsleader. He can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.