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Letter to Gun Control Advocates

Letter to Gun Control Advocates

by Jack Harbinger

April 8, 2002

This is an email I sent to the Violence Policy Center.

I have just been browsing

I'd like to say that the views expressed there mirror many of my own -- when I was an uninformed teenager. I concluded, based on war stories and the news, that guns were evil or at best deadly accidents waiting to happen.

Then I went shooting with a friend. Handgun shooting. It was a pleasant outdoor exercise in eye-hand coordination. It was a sport I could participate in even though I was overweight, nonaggressive and nearsighted.

I bought a gun of my own, legally but nervously, as if I were doing something somehow suspect and dirty. I had been conditioned, you see, to regard guns as the accoutrement of the criminal and the lowlife and the tyrant's soldier.

As a gun owner, I felt obligated to learn about gun laws, so as not to break any. I've never had so much as a parking ticket.

I was shocked by what my research showed me, learning as I did about how many rights have been eroded in our lifetime, yours and mine and our parents'. We have lost so much while gaining little, but we are not being taught about it in school.

That is why I am writing to you. You have your opinion and a right to it, but when you publish it in any kind of media for public consumption, I believe you have the obligation to back it up with some kind of legitimate research. That's just good journalism and good sense.

For every outrageous claim you make about the evil nature of handguns and small arms in general, there's impartial research concluding just the opposite, that guns decrease crime and save lives. The research of John Lott and Gary Kleck, both anti-gun or indifferent at the beginning, convinced them that guns are a valuable tool of self-defense. I urge you to visit and and learn about the history of gun control and its hideous consequences.

As a student of history and of psychology, I have learned that human nature hasn't changed much in thousands of years, let alone the two-hundred-plus since our Constitution was dreamed up, or the six decades since World War II.

You know about that unpleasantness originating in Germany in the 1930s and soon exported throughout Europe. Minorities were blamed for societal ills, harassed and made official targets of government-sanctioned violence. Soon Henry Ford's mass production techniques were adapted to the systematic killing and disposal of innocent human beings.

But first, these innocents were convinced that personal weapons were the tool of the criminal and the terrorist, and convinced or threatened into surrendering them in the name of crime prevention and in exchange for promises of protection. Sound familiar?

They died by the millions.

Stalin, a Russian, managed a similar program on an even larger scale. As did Pol Pot of Cambodia, Idi Amin of Uganda, Saddam Hussein against his Kurdish countrymen...

One reason the Nazis failed to conquer a mostly-disarmed Europe was the Liberator pistol. It was cheaply mass-produced, crude and had no safety devices, and was air-dropped by the thousands to civilians. I'm sure it would be on your "junk guns" list for banning. It was very deadly to invading Nazi soldiers at close range. It allowed Resistance fighters to acquire well-made German firearms and help secure the freedom you take for granted and even work against.

Great Britain benefited from Lend-Lease rifles and handguns shipped by sympathetic Americans. You see, after World War I, the War to End All Wars, England severely regulated gun ownership, confiscating and destroying many, just as they have done recently. They were fresh out when the Germans came knocking. Churchill's famous speech promising to fight them in the hedgerows and back yards was said to have concluded, after the microphone was turned off, "but I do not know what we shall use."

I imagine you are of the "It could never happen here" school of thought. It almost did. I speak of the American internment camps where Japanese-Americans were imprisoned after the attack on Pearl Harbor. U.S. citizens unconstitutionally held prisoner indefinitely without trial because of their ethnic background, in the 20th century. And mid-19th Century Americans virtually wiped out the American Indians because of a Hitlerian-sounding idea called "Manifest Destiny," the belief that descendants of Europeans should occupy North America from sea to shining sea.

That the Indians were able to obtain guns let them last fifty years longer as a race. Only when their major food source, the buffalo, was hunted to near-extinction to drive them to submit did the Plains Indians surrender and assimilate to survive. The White Eyes would have been just as happy to see them extinct too. Only when they learned to act like "real people" were they allowed to live. By our great-grandparents. Yours and mine.

That's why I am armed, and will remain so, regardless of any law that well-meaning but misinformed people support. Human nature can be brutal, and often feel perfectly justified in being so.

I will not go, neither me nor my family, to the camps or killing fields or lonely clearing in the woods like a good Jew or Gypsy or homosexual or Catholic or "nonessential worker" or random robbery victim in the wrong place at the wrong time. We refuse to be at the mercy of someone who has no mercy, someone with a gun or knife or tire iron or baseball bat or sharp stick or merely bigger and stronger, who sees us as subhuman or a source of some quick cash or sex or sadistic power trip and then as an inconvenient object to be disposed of, not as a human being. No.

One of the most heartbreaking photos I ever saw was of a robbery and murder victim in his last hour of life. It was taken by the camera of an automated teller machine.

The athletic-looking young man is trapped between his killers in the front seat of his own car. They are using his bank card to withdraw $200 to buy drugs. He is about to be taken to a lonely piece of woods a half-hour away and killed and buried under some leaves because he is a witness. (These particular murderers have been in prison a dozen times because they left witnesses.)

The look on his face is one of hopeless, helpless, tragic sorrow. (I've seen it before, at the First Million Mom March, in Poland in 1936, on the faces of naked women and little girls just before policemen machine-gunned them and left them in mass graves. For the crime of being different. It is not a look one is likely to see on an armed person. The Nazi policemen look bored, as if they are performing some routine task. As indeed it became.)

The ATM robbers and murderers look like they are merely ordering Big Macs for three to take to their kids' soccer game. Their victim looks like he is being taken to his execution, which indeed he is.

It was the 26th violent felony conviction for one of the killers. He was the mentally-retarded one, the one the Supreme Court is trying to decide whether it is morally right to execute, though he had no compunction about executing someone who never hurt anybody, without benefit of trial, or appeal, or a last meal or last goodbye.

A handgun could have, would have, saved this victim of selfish, brutal, casual evil.

His killers had a gun (breaking laws by doing so, not to mention the laws forbidding kidnapping, robbery and murder. But you think more laws are the answer).

We'll never know why the victim didn't have one.

Maybe he couldn't afford a gun. Maybe he believed in the goodness of people and thought he'd never need one. Maybe he wanted to carry one but he thought the laws regulating concealed carry were too strict for him to bother getting a permit so he wouldn't be arrested for the crime of being prepared for self-defense without government permission. Maybe he had one but it was safely locked up at home, as you suggest.

The killers didn't worry about the laws or the concealed carry requirements. Criminals are by definition law-breakers.

But you still think more laws are the answer.

The killers, and all criminals, have the advantage of surprise, youth, strength, speed and numbers.

A handgun can give the helpless a fighting chance.

You say a gun would be taken away and used against me.

With minimal practice, I can now draw from concealment and fire two center-chest or head hits in about a second. If I can do it, most people could. I'll never be a helpless, cooperative victim. Neither will my children or grandchildren. Ban Handguns Now? Go ahead. We'll still have ours. They will last, and work, for hundreds of years.

If a law is ever passed that sends someone to my door to collect my guns, I'll know it's time to use them, because any other rights I might have had are then equally not worth the parchment they're inscribed upon.

I hope you won't volunteer for victimhood either.

I hope you will do some research as I have suggested. As they say on "The X-Files," the truth is out there, if you're interested in the truth.

Then, when you buy your first gun, write and tell me all about it.

To see other messages designed to help anti-gun people wake up, click here.