Interesting response to my letter…

November 30, 2017

To the Editor-

I read Mr. Grigg’s response to my previous letter to the editor with great interest.  One thing that heartens me is that both Mr. Griggs and I are in agreement as to the point of the letter- we need to get better information to gun and ammunition dealers to reduce or prevent sales of these items to those currently not allowed to own them.  What was disappointing was his effort to turn this into a discussion of ending private gun ownership and a defense of the second amendment (the straw man logical fallacy).

Though I don’t feel the original letter requires any clarification, I think it needs to be restated that in no way was private gun ownership (which I support) or the second amendment (which I also support) at question.  The actual subject of the letter was that we need better reporting of disqualifying conditions so the dealers of firearms and ammunition can properly follow  current law.  What was surprising is that he went through the trouble of trying to turn this into something it wasn›t, yet went on to agree with the very point I made.

In addition to the straw man Mr. Grigg employed another common logical fallacy we see every day on Facebook.  That is the fallacy of conformational bias- where you pour through thousands of pieces of evidence to find the one that agrees with you.  Finding a single politician or justice that expresses a view against guns does not mean all (or even a significant number) of politicians or justices feel the same way.  Individuals do not make policy in this country, and to assume that such a proposal would gain traction and survive a constitutional challenge in the courts is a rather long shot.

We are having trouble getting more than ‹thoughts and prayers› from our leaders in the face of multiple shootings.  I find it hard to believe we have to take our shoes off to get on an airplane because of ONE incident, yet a killer goes on a rampage in California and it barely makes the news because “only” half a dozen people are killed. It is going to be a struggle, politically, to even take the common sense measure of sharing mental health information with the database to enforce the laws already on the books. We aren’t being asked to give up our guns.  We are being asked to be responsible gun owners.

I can accept your assertion that an armed population may deter some crime as valid and reasonable.  While you are correct in that many attacks are directed against presumed helpless and unarmed groups, you neglect to mention the downside of the same argument.  If you are going to rob someone that may be armed, you are going to start the gunfight rather than wait for the victim to start it. There is an equally valid side of your argument that says an armed population will actually increase gun violence and crime.  Situational awareness is far more effective than a gun in deterring crime, and unless you know how to use it and practice constantly it may simply serve to provide your attacker with a weapon.

Furthermore, do you feel this deterrent is worth the price of accidental and criminal shootings or gun suicides?  Given the statistics of 108 gun deaths for every justifiable homicide, you seem willing to pay quite a price to pack a weapon.  I am not sure what is more dangerous- an untrained person with a gun in a crowded area, or two untrained people with guns shooting it out in a crowded area.  My point is that the average CPL holder has a higher chance of shooting a bystander, their spouse or ending their own lives with their personal protection firearm than stopping an act of violence on themselves or others.  That›s just the facts of it.
A final note is your examples of Nazi Germany and the treatment of Native Americans. as examples of governments taking guns.  I believe in an armed population, this country has a long and active history of owning firearms to deter this kind of abuse by government.  That is not going to change in America, in my opinion.  Could it? Sure.  But this is NOT nazi Germany, and the treatment of Native Americans was shameful.  We still have guns.  We restricted machine guns years ago.  Yet we still have guns. Obama was going to take your guns, yet we still have guns. This was not because of the threat from an armed population against an overreaching government.  It is because there is no desire to take your guns.  If there was, not only would it be too unpopular to pass congress, it would never make it through the courts. In fact, the court case you cited overturned the outright ban on firearms in Washington, it said regulations were allowed, but not outright bans.  The system did was it was designed to do.

The point I was clearly making, and will restate, is that a 22 or a shotgun are quite effective in dealing with an invader or out of control government.  That is why we have a right to own firearms in general.  We don’t have a right to own any firearm we want, nor do we need to do so.  We just need to find a sentry and use our firearm to take his.  When we get low on ammo, we just find another sentry.  His ammunition will fit the gun we took from the first sentry, and now we have TWO guns.

Dr. Robert Townsend
Denali Healthcare, PLLC.


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