The image of the average American gun owner has been under assault by the
anti-gun lobby and their media lapdogs for approximately forty years. Gun owners
have been stereotyped as ignorant rednecks, heartless hunters and disturbed gun
Few people realize that many who favor gun rights are highly educated
professionals who meet none of those criteria. Some could even be called
intellectuals. The war over the right to bear arms has produced more than its
share of false propaganda, mostly on the anti-gun side. Fortunately, some of
those intellectuals who support the right to arms have produced an array of
excellent essays and books that counteract the stream of media misinformation.
"The Seven Myths of Gun Control", by bestselling author Richard Poe
is being published by Prima Publishing and due out in late June, 2001. Poe
states that he is not a hunter, gun hobbyist, or gun enthusiast. He is a writer
and web site editor who does not fit the gun owner stereotype in any way. Poe
lays out the arguments in a manner that anyone can understand. One by one, he
slays the seven most prevalent myths that sustain the gun haters in their
misguided, utopian crusade.
Before attacking the myths, Poe begins with the most detailed and dramatic
recounting of the Carpenter family massacre that I've seen anywhere. Have some
tissues or a stiff drink handy before you read his account.
Briefly, the four Carpenter children, age 7 to 13, were attacked by a
pitchfork-wielding madman in their Merced, California home after their parents
had left for work. The two older children had the will and knowledge to use
their father's firearm, but in deference to state laws it was stored so
"safely" that it was of no use to them. The two youngest children were
condemned to a gruesome death by the legislative success of the California
The first myth attacked by Poe is: "Guns increase violent crime."
Since this is the core argument of the gun haters, it gets the most attention.
The concept of crime deterrence through civilian gun ownership is well explained
and documented. Ironically, rabid gun prohibitionist Rosie O'Donnell becomes the
poster girl for this principle. When the media found out about the armed
bodyguard who was protecting her child, her initial reaction was to claim that
the guard was unarmed. However, she quickly realized that this would make her
child a target and conveniently changed her tune to approve of guns for those
who meet her personal standards.
Poe covers almost every aspect of the debate. A former journalist at the New
York Post, he offers an interesting perspective on the anti-gun bias of the
media. Good use is made of historical accounts of genocide, from the Warsaw
Ghetto to the Kishinev Pogrom. The vulnerability of unarmed populations is
clearly shown. The sneaky way in which governments disarm their people is
documented with examples from Britain, Japan, Australia and elsewhere.
After dealing with the seven myths, Poe drifts into what seems like an
off-topic discussion of feminism. Keep reading, as it turns out to be a
fascinating explanation of why our culture has abandoned the masculine role of
warrior and produced a confused cohort of young men who disdain the traditional
warrior principles of honor, duty, and discipline. These ideals are the glue
that have held families and communities together through the ages, so their
abandonment has significant consequences.
Poe ties this in nicely with many serious problems facing our society, such
as the proliferation of deadbeat dads, school shootings, and the growing use of
psychiatric medication to sedate boisterous schoolboys. Fascinating inside
details are offered about the life of feminist Betty Friedan and the influence
of Marxism on the founders of the feminist movement. Copious footnotes are
offered to facilitate further exploration.
This book will be an informative and enjoyable read for anyone who is already
versed in the basics of the gun debate. I believe that the real value of this
book will be when it is given to friends who haven't thought about the issue
beyond the garbage that is spewed by the mainstream
media. Buy a couple of extra
copies and give them to people you care about.
Dr. Michael S. Brown is an optometrist and member of Doctors for Sensible
Gun Laws. http://www.keepandbeararms.com/dsgl