A gun ban won't save innocent livesLetter writer Fred...

the Forum

December 03, 1992

A gun ban won't save innocent lives

Letter writer Fred Davis, in his continued romance with Bill Clinton's gun control garbage, has again missed the facts (Forum, Nov. 27).

Criminals who use firearms do not and will not have any form of "gun control." They don't respect the law and they certainly are not about to start obeying gun bans or waiting periods. They can't kill, however, if they are in jail.

So far as assault weapons are concerned, the rousing cry of the "Brady Bunch" and the zealous gun grabbers is a breath in a hurricane. The hard statistics indicate that, although assault-type firearms are ugly and intimidating, they are anything but the weapon of choice for most criminals who use guns.

Whenever these maligned weapons are used in some horrible massacre, those who would disarm all the legitimate gun owners certainly have a field day. They are so busy pointing that they forget what they were pointing at.

Davis' incident with the .44 magnum, although a tragic situation, was completely oversimplified. As I understand it, the person who was shot did not understand a simple warning because of lack of English language skills. He attempted to force his way into the man's house and this was misread as a threat. Personally, I am a bit sensitive about costumed strangers barging into my abode after being told to stop.

Also not addressed was the probability that the man who shot someone he took to be an intruder would still have owned and used his weapon under the proposed waiting period. Certainly the .44 magnum is not classified as an assault weapon and would still be available.

Are we to believe that we will be safer and less afraid if disarmed? All this while the violence-prone continue to operate with impunity and no sure punishment.

Ronald L. Dowling

Baltimore

Let Mel Fisher finally reel in his rightful catch

The story of Mel Fisher's decade-long attempt to locate the Spanish galleons Margarita and Atocha is the stuff of legend -- but it is all too true. Prevailing against odds, he privately financed and led the most successful maritime galleon search in history, losing a son and a daughter-in-law to the cruel sea in the historic discoveries which illuminate the average life aboard a Spanish ship of the line in the 1600s.

Since his discovery, Mel Fisher has been faced with arbitrary seizure of his artifacts by the state of Florida: tax seizure attempts; post-facto laws to extend boundary lines around the wrecks (thus removing the wrecks from admiralty law); and other governmental attempts to steal what rightly belongs to Mr. Fisher's private enterprise.

Aided by the view of liberal academics (who view the privately discovered wrecks as owned by the all people), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has trumped up an outrage by claiming coral reef damage by Mr. Fisher's "mailbox" device. This device blows away sand by re-directing the ship's propeller swirl downward. Experts on reef biology have privately surveyed the craters in the sand and have pronounced them harmless to the coral reefs.

Academics who favor nationalizing (stealing) the wrecks loudly bellow about small historical relics also being blasted away. Where were these lovers of history before the wrecks were found?

No, their view is specious and post-facto: those wrecks would have rotted away before government or academic surveys ever got to them. They are not dinosaur fossils, and will not last that long. No, only private enterprise could have and did find these wrecks -- a historic bonanza.

Now Mel Fisher's wrecks are about to be seized again, under these cynical and transparent charges by NOAA. NOAA is not engaged in a sincere effort to protect the marine environment -- it is going after a man's good name and his rightful discoveries for symbolic purposes.

If Mel Fisher's wrecks can be stolen in the name of reef protection, then private search and salvage in the marine environment can be throttled. Then only government and academic survey teams can search for shipwrecks and other artifacts. And, of course, any environmental damage done by these government-sponsored operations would be protected by the legal umbrella afforded by sovereign immunity (look at our beaches today).

Where is NOAA when we really need them?

Lee Clark

Millersville

Outlaw guns

It's a wonder my newspaper isn't deliveried full of bullet holes.

"Guns don't kill people. People kill people."

The big flaw in that outrageous argument is that people, killers, almost always require a weapon with which to do the killing, and guns are the weapon of choice.

Strangling, beating, stabbing, all require very close encounter with the victim, and some degree of strength, skill and nerve. But a gunman need not be quite so talented. The gun allows him to keep a good bit of distance between himself and his target. Any limp-legged, clumsy coward can easily purchase and use a gun.

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