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Summer Reading: Seven Myths of Gun Control

by Dr. Michael S. Brown

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 fetishists.

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 anti-gun lobby.

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.  email:

Also from Dr. Brown


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The limitation of tyrants is the endurance of those they oppose. Frederick Douglass

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