People with guns get protection

February 05, 2000|By GREGORY KANE

AS SURE as night follows day, the letters from the anti-gun crowd were sure to come in the wake of my Jan. 30 column expressing my disgust over the state of Maryland's gleeful evisceration of the Second Amendment.

Merrill E. Milham of Baldwin wrote:

"Gregory Kane uses the robbery of his son's jacket to launch an emotional and irresponsible verbal attack on gun laws, various political figures and the State of Maryland.

"Mr. Kane makes the far-fetched claim that his son was victimized by the State of Maryland: He says that Maryland was responsible for disarming his son, who as a result was surprised by a criminal wielding a 12-gauge shotgun and robbed of his jacket. Suppose Mr. Kane's desires had been met and his son had possessed a handgun with which he had attempted to defend himself. Surely, this is the scenario of a tragedy in the making.

"Is a life not worth more than a leather jacket? Even a $600 jacket? Would Mr. Kane jeopardize his son's life merely to hold on to his own ideological straitjacket? Mr. Kane should be grateful that his son was `victimized' by the State of Maryland and avoided the ultimate victimization of a misguided attempt to defend himself with a handgun.

"Mr. Kane also advocates vigilantism by suggesting that he could have `a shotgun-to-shotgun chat' with his son's robbers. There is no indication that the police were ever notified of this robbery. Mr. Kane would apparently like nothing better than to bring anarchic and violent vigilante action to the streets of Baltimore. An attitude of contemptuous disregard for the law permeates this entire column. Mr. Kane has much to answer for and many apologies to make for his intemperate personal attacks and outlandish statements."

Dear Mr. Milham: I do apologize -- to my son for not getting him out of this state and into one -- like Florida -- that gives its citizens the right to carry handguns and has less crime than Maryland as a result. And oh yes, Mr. Milham, the police were contacted. They took a report. As of this writing, no robbery detective has taken my son to view mug-shots so he can attempt to identify the thug whose visage must be slipping from his memory with each passing day. For all your talk about my "contemptuous disregard for the law," the fact is solving the robberies of young black men is not, never has been and never will be a priority in this city.

This came from Guy Beck of Sparks:

"Gregory Kane in his obvious pro-gun stance seeks to legitimize his argument by giving us an example of `theft' whereupon his son was robbed of a prize jacket. Mr. Kane states `it was a beautiful $600 leather jacket and how the guy was a punk and so on. So let's look at the flip side of this scenario. Suppose the police did not seize his son's illegal handgun. Suppose his son in a state of anger and humiliation decides to teach this punk a lesson. Guns are drawn, guns are fired. So now Gregory Kane no longer mourns the loss of his son's $600 leather jacket, rather he mourns the death of a beautiful son. Guns have their place, but Mr. Kane's example was poorly chosen. If this same scenario played again and his son was armed would Mr. Kane really encourage his son to draw his gun?"

Dear Mr. Beck: You're damned right I would. What you and Mr. Milham forget -- you both seem to have casually glossed over this part of the column -- is that my son said the thugs drove off after robbing him but then stopped. The shotgun toter was about to get out and, in fact, shoot him. Only my son's swiftness of foot saved his life. What I advocate for my son and all potential crime victims -- and what you and Mr. Milham would deny them -- is what Florida has: the choice to either go unarmed and take your chances or go armed and have the option of deciding to resist criminal attackers with a firearm.

And I remind you gentlemen that the deadly scenarios you depict do not happen in states with right to carry laws. What does happen -- and John Lott, author of "More Guns, Less Violence" has the data to prove it -- is that criminals assume citizens are packing and refrain from attacking them.

Anti-gun folks, who can neither refute nor explain Lott's study, resort to their usual bleating about how "irresponsible" Second Amendment advocates are. But what's more irresponsible than to criminalize a group of young men who have been robbed multiple times and only seek to do what the state of Maryland can't do: protect them?

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