Firearms make us safer

April 03, 2011

A recent op-ed piece by Frimin DeBrabander ("America: armed and dangerous," March 28) cannot go without response. Mr. DeBrabander bewails the Arizona bill that would permit people to carry firearms on college campuses and asks, "Feeling safer yet?" I respond, "absolutely."

In Mr. DeBrabander's world, gun control laws, currently woefully unsuccessful in preventing criminals from obtaining and using guns in the commission of a crime but denying law-abiding citizens their constitutional right to do so, simply need to be multiplied rather than enforced. He describes as "the law of averages" his assertion than "the more widely guns are available, the more likely ... bad decisions [by good people] are to occur." He is incapable of seeing that those who commit crimes with illegal guns are not "good people," and those who violate current gun laws will not be deterred by additional controls.

Mr. DeBrabander has made clear the position of those opposed to citizens exercising their rights under the Second Amendment. Since current gun control laws are not working, and criminals are still using guns, why, we simply must add more laws! This will completely disarm the law-abiding citizens so that the criminals will have no fear of a citizen on the scene being armed and stopping the criminal before the police can respond, as happened in the New Life Church In Colorado Springs, Appalachian Law School, or the Westfield shopping center in Annapolis in 2006 — or what could have happened at Fort Hood, Texas, with Major Nidal Hasan, and the shooting of Representative Giffords and others in Tucson. It is exactly that personal right of self-defense — and defense of others — that made the Supreme Court determine the Second Amendment's right to bear arms is an individual, not a collective, right.

Mr. DeBrabander's bottom line is that "good people sometimes do bad things," so government should prevent such people from having the choice to do good or bad things. This is the nanny-state's mantra and is reflected not only in gun control but in recent government attempts to ban plastic grocery bags, trans-fats, Happy Meals and other choices that people can make. To Mr. DeBrabander and his type, people lack the intelligence or care to act properly (as he determines "properly") and require government to remove from free choice those things that could result in good people sometimes doing bad things.

Freedom to choose is what makes America what it is. Our forefathers fought a war for that freedom, while Mr. DeBrabander desires to remove the freedom because he believes, hubris aside, his option is the only correct one.

We agree on one thing: "No civil society worthy of the name should need armed teachers." So, I end with his beginning: "An armed society is a polite society."

Douglas A. Dribben, Woodstock

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