Reader American Spirit writes:

The Denver Post has been one of my local sources for news and information since I was old enough to read (and while I’m still young, those heady days seem farther and farther away all the time). But it both saddens and angers me that they’re willing to publish  a column by William Saletan equating gun owners with snake handlers. And at the same time, it’s very hard to find pro-RKBA opinions published by this same paper which operates under the mission statement of “Transparency is won through accuracy, compassion, intellectual honesty and an introspective mission to convey complete, contextual views of our world” . . .

After two examples of the worst that people can do to other people in America during the last two decades locally (these should be obvious; I prefer not to pander to the shrill finger-pointing hysterics who insist on ignoring the minuscule overall odds of death or injury in such an event in any individuals’ life, and to avoid yet more posthumous and post-arrest attention to those extreme deviants, some of whom are inevitably present in any society, with a necessary exception below) it’s imperative that both sides of the “gun control”* argument receive equal attention in the dead-tree and online press and in the media in general.

It seems that one side of this argument is providing mostly thoughtless hyperbole devoid of real, scientific and rational analysis of the myriad data available. At the same time, they get the majority of both column inches and airtime not just locally, but nationwide. This is, plainly put, not just bad for both my state as well as for the country, but also dangerous to We the People and our freedom.

The profession of journalism and the right to free speech exist to provide Truth (capitalized to show absolute and factual Truth rather than relative or opinionated ‘truth’) so as to allow informed decisions on behalf of the citizenry. The Editorial section of any newspaper is an important tool allowing those citizens to examine thoughts and opinions other than their own on that Truth. As such, it’s simultaneously necessary and extremely important that the op-ed pages in any newspaper carry truly varied opinions rather than simply variations on a theme. Here’s my contribution:

Guns are dangerous, true. Snakes are also dangerous. I won’t argue that. One was invented by man for the express purpose of being both useful and dangerous (as were swords, spears, and indeed the first knapped flint blades some tens of thousands of years ago). The other evolved as a result of hundreds of millions of years of evolution via natural selection. The author of the aforementioned essay comparing ownership of a poisonous animal to a valuable tool is, plainly put, irrational.

Irrational and hyperbolic arguments have no place in reasonable and rational discussions of those inalienable rights that we, first as humans, then as Americans, ought cherish and hold dear.

The sheer absurdity of asking people to pray for my safety and for that of my family as a result of being a gun (snake) owner shows a paternalism on behalf of William Saletan that may only be equalled by the social paternalism on behalf of regimes behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War. After all, he (the state) can’t be wrong – guns and snakes (dissidence) are dangerous. Therefore, guns and snakes must be restricted for the good of society. Neither Mr. Saletan nor any state have the right to determine what is fundamentally best for me. As a free individual, I shall make those decisions, just as I must accept the consequences attendant to those decisions.

Firearms serve an immeasurably greater purpose in our society than only for hunting or personal safety. They provide an invaluable deterrent against tyranny, the only reason that the Right to Keep and Bear Arms was enumerated and included in our Constitution. The Founding Fathers were wise men indeed.

History has proven repeatedly that disarmed and disadvantaged citizens worldwide (those with less material goods, social and political power, or access to information) receive the short end of the stick at the hands of those who are not similarly disadvantaged. I should not need to list those many examples, for the study of history, after all, is still a mandatory portion of public education.

The social cost of ensuring the general population the right to firearms pales in comparison to that of prohibiting them as those dictators and sociopaths of the 1930s and 1940s proved so effectively. In the last decade in the United States of America, perhaps 200,000 have been killed by guns, including suicides (which could arguably be counted separately). But in Europe alone, in a single decade slightly more than a half-century ago, more than 35,000,000 died as a direct result of tyranny.

I do not attempt to argue that we currently face the looming threat of a similar tyranny, nor do I dismiss the mostly preventable deaths here in our own country – I simply argue that the incomprehensibly enormous difference in social cost between an armed populace and a disarmed populace should provide evidence enough to any rational and thoughtful human being in favor of citizens’ Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

An armed, well-educated populace need not fear tyranny – but tyrants around the world should fear those same groups of people.

My childhood best friends’ mother was a teacher at Columbine High School. A male acquaintance of mine was in the very Aurora theatre viewing the midnight showing of the Batman movie. The teacher struggled with PTSD and significant depression after that day in April. I vividly recall being at my friends’ house for a sleepover and hearing her wake up screaming from a recurring nightmare. My acquaintance felt he had to move away from what had been his home city in an attempt to reduce the influence of those traumatic memories. He is currently undergoing intensive therapy.

The experiences of those two people in my life affected me profoundly, but did not motivate me to aim for either the banning of or significant curtailment of the availability of firearms locally or nationally.

Any tool can be misused to do harm. These one-degree-of-separation, highly unusual events that touched my life instead provided a motivation to treat my fellow human beings better. It is those unbalanced, disaffected and socially isolated humans that are the root of the problem behind needless, wanton violence, not guns. The first and most necessary collective step to reducing gun violence in our nation is to treat the people in our lives as well as we are able, certainly better than we do now.

I’m not perfect at it – I know that there are times that I have failed to treat those around me with the respect that they deserved. But that provides me with more reason to try harder rather than an excuse to withdraw from working hard to be a positive influence to all I interact with on a day-to-day basis, whether it’s the waiter at a restaurant yesterday, the little girl learning to read National Geographic at the dentist today or my closest friends in the future.

The Second Amendment to the Constitution protects the rights of all citizens to armed self defense. Wanton gun violence is a symptom of persons in our society under duress rather than the availability of firearms. It’s our personal and collective duty to protect the former as well as reduce to every extent possible the latter with our actions every single day.

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37 Responses to Pray for Gun Owners and Snake Handlers? Bite This

      • True story. Thanks Vasquez.

        First published piece of writing, ever. Not great (somewhat edited by I assume Dan for too much punctuation and being overly verbose), but acceptable.

        “Onward, ever onward, to fight the good fight!”
        -AmericanSpirit

  1. FIrearms ownership is like an iceberg. The negative aspects of owning a gun are like the tip and are most visible due to a biased and lazy media. The positives are treated like the part that is below the waterline. There is a lot of iceberg down there but people are unable or unwilling to see it unless they stick their head under water and take a look and what else is there.

  2. Firearms are like fire extinguishers. Empty they are fairly useless. Most people hope to never have to use one for its intended purposes. If used improperly they can make things worse, and even cause unintended harm or death (try a face full of halon, it will take your breath away). The biggest difference is that most people understand that owning and knowing how to use a fire extinguisher can be a life-saver.

  3. Well said indeed. Unfortunately, the benefits of defense from tyranny isn’t something you can quantify; it’s a theoretical value (and one that the antis, with their complete and utter trust in the government, fail to even understand). Plus, our short history has been free of anything that could be considered tyranny enough to justify a bloody revolution (I’m talking about the time since we’ve been a country, so I’m not counting the War for Independence). This has, unfortunately, fueled the idea that,”it can’t happen here”, and you are simply not going to convince a statist otherwise.

    I always avoid mentioning tyranny when discussing the issue with antis. I want to persuade them to join our side. Unfortunately, talking about a violent revolution makes you look insane to them (not because you’re wrong, but because your views are so different from their that they can’t see anything other than insanity with them), and fuels their negative image of gun owners as OFWGs who desperately want an excuse to kill someone.

    Far better to cite the insane amount of information and logic indicating that, no, gun control does not reduce crime. On a slightly unrelated note, the double standard the antis use with regard to accidents is infuriating. When there’s a car accident, people bemoan the carelessness of the driver who caused it and leave it at that. When a child drowns in a public pool, people call for better systems for kids to learn to swim. When there is an accidental discharge resulting in someone’s death, they want to ban guns. But they never talk about banning swimming pools or cars because of accidents. They apply “if it saves one life” pretty selectively.

    • As a student of history, it’s difficult for me to understand why grabbers tend to go wide-eyed when tyranny is mentioned in terms of the Second Amendment. It was not included simply because the British attempted to confiscate musket, ball and powder from the colonists – it was enumerated because our forefathers understood the necessity of free men (and women) everywhere having access to the tools to resist tyranny if it appeared in the future.

      I think it’s important that we put our heads together and figure out a way to communicate this point to soccer moms and liberal dads alike without sounding like we’re vampires, lusting for blood. The last thing that I’d want to see in our great nation is civil conflict. The second-to-last thing I’d want to see would be tyranny.

      And here I thought a liberal arts education was supposed to broaden points of view while encouraging critical thinking as well as significant study of both history and philosophy. Guess giving a go at starting a business instead of going to college straight out of high school wasn’t such a bad idea.

  4. Just as we berate people for incorrect terminology eg. clip/magazine

    There is a significant semantic difference between poisonous and venomous.

    Poisonous means it will have ill effects from consumption. Venomous critters on the other hand inject the bad stuff usually through a bite.

    So poisonous you bite it. Venomous it bites you.

  5. “Transparency is won through accuracy, compassion, intellectual honesty and an introspective mission to convey complete, contextual views of our world” . . . Do people still really buy into that kind of absolute BS from the MSM? Suckers….

    • +1.

      Sadly, professional journalism is dead and those who claim to be them today are the murderers. It’s not just unintentional bias these days, but willful misrepresentation of information to misinform the public. My local big city daily absolutely loves to withhold pertinent facts in order to lead the reader to an incorrect conclusion. I used to believe that when the papers went bankrupt and closed, it might be a bad thing. Now it can’t come quick enough because people will not be getting misleading or false information.

      • The internet is largely composed of misleading and false information.

        But at least the truth is out there to be found if you can sift through the chaff — and unlike traditional news media, the internet isn’t the sole domain of the journalistic maggots that inhabit the painted corpse of Edward R. Murrow’s ideals.

    • Does that sentence even parse in English? Is there any actual meaning in it?

      Reading it makes me feel like Hugh, the lonely Borg after they put that puzzle in my head to infect the collective.

  6. “Transparency is won through accuracy, compassion, intellectual honesty and an introspective mission to convey complete, contextual views of our world” . . .

    That’s not a mission statement. That’s an internally conflicted first sentence in a confused freshmen Philosophy 101 term paper.

    • I agree that it isn’t a mission statement. It looks to me to be more like hand-selected random buzzwords joined together in a confusing manner. Just like the rest of the Post that I remember from years past.

  7. “I shall make those decisions, just as I must accept the consequences attendant to those decisions”

    But the left doesn’t believe that there should be consequences for decisions. You may as well be speaking Greek at them.

    • Maybe they need to go take a physics class and review Newton’s 3rd law.

      Physics: It’s not just a good idea – it’s the law.

      • We must pass gravitational amnesty. All these innocent children who have done nothing wrong should be able to fly like superman. Their parents lead them to believe that they can be whatever they want. And these sweet babies chose ‘superhero.’ Not allowing them flight is bigotry!

    • No, they just believe consequences should be dictated by ideology rather than natural cause and effect. And if you insist on allowing the natural consequences of ones actions to occur then it is a sign of bigotry or racism.

  8. Actually it’s an apt comparison if you (briefly) put yourself in the mind of some of these people who freak out upon seeing a gun, even if it’s sitting on a table. To them, guns are like (an overblown fear of) snakes… creatures with agency that at a moment’s notice can decide to strike with or without a reason. To even be near one invites disaster.

  9. Excellent retort to Saletan’s dreck. It never ceases to amaze me the lengths those of his ilk will go to tar the average gun owner for societal problems that we have nothing to do with.

  10. Nicely done A.S.

    Wouldn’t waste too much worry on Denver Post – they have to throw some meat to the dogs in the prog-libtard echo chamber there, and in Boulder, after all.

    Remember this was William Saletan from Slate, writing as he admits from a collection of post Sandy Hook articles there. You only have to scan his bio and range of work at Slate to get an idea of his “voice” and “perspective”.

    Just another example of the self-referential and apparently unconscious pomposity of the left-
    “We need to change our culture” and the insecurity that comes from a deep need to be seen as smarter than the rest of us.

    • We do need to change our culture – IMO to promote significantly: responsibility, respect for others and non-interference in their lives (even if I happen to disagree with them or their choices), and most importantly critical thinking skills.

      It’s hard to make informed decisions when nobody ever sat down and taught you how to make informed decisions.

      How can we as a society shift away from the dole and encourage thoughtful, involved living again?

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