I will take up Bitter’s challenge on dealing with Ms. Heller of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Rather than a fisking, I think a nicely worded letter is in order. Something that will hopefully at least make her think a little. Here goes:
I read your article entitled “Where’s the Outrage About Gun Violence” in Sunday’s online edition of The Philadelphia Inquirer. I would like you to know that we’re all outraged by the gun violence that’s plaguing the City of Philadelphia, and I believe it a bit unfair of you to insinuate that those of us who enjoy the shooting sports, gun collecting, hunting, and those of us who own firearms for lawful self-defense, simply don’t care about the problem. This is not true. We simply have a difference of opinion about effective ways to deal with violence.
You support gun control, no doubt. We believe that is ineffective, and instead suggest that the focus be on putting more police on the streets, and getting violent individuals off the street. The City of Philadelphia does not have a gun problem, the City of Philadelphia has a criminal problem, and focusing your attention on inanimate objects, which can be used for good or ill, depending on what’s in the heart of the person possessing it, will not help make things better.
I ask you to think for a minute about how laws restricting firearms will affect people who have such callous disregard for human life that they will murder and terrorize their fellow citizens. Will such a person be any more willing to obey a gun control law, when they refuse to obey even the most sacrosanct laws of a civilized society? Would we be able to keep criminals from obtaining guns on the black market any more effectively than we currently keep people from obtaining drugs on the black market? What effect can gun laws have other than preventing people, who are just trying to enjoy a sport or protect their families, from obtaining them? I don’t think we are unreasonable people for asking these kinds of questions of those demanding our constitutional rights be trampled on.
I know we will probably never see eye to eye on this issue, but I would hope that you can at least afford us a little more respect and dignity than was displayed in your article this Sunday. We are not uncaring monsters. We are not irresponsible people. We are ordinary folks who get up, go to work, raise families, and try to make ends meet. Because we choose to exercise our constitutional right to own firearms for sport and self-defense, and jealously guard that right, does not mean we don’t care about the four hundred and six victims of crime this year in the city, and doesn’t mean we’re not also suggesting solutions. We just want to be treated fairly.
Bucks County, PA
You can always get farther with honey than you can with vinegar, and always do better making someone regret their anger, rather than writing something that will help them justify it. I hope this makes Ms. Heller think. I doubt it will change her mind, but at the very least think. Thinking is a start.