- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
I think it is time to look at the causes for events like the school shootings in Connecticut and elsewhere. To blame events like this on guns completely avoids issues that should be considered by our elected officials.
I have spent my adult life in association with guns and have yet to see one on its own kill anyone. I spent 20 years in the U.S. Army, retiring after 20 years as a lieutenant colonel. I then spent 20 years in federal law enforcement with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and have for the last 18 years worked as a consultant in these same areas.
While my position in the Army was as an explosive ordnance disposal officer and my position in ATF was as an explosives enforcement officer, guns and other dangerous weapons were in my area of expertise. Bombs and explosives are benign if left on their own; they are most dangerous when being handled or otherwise manipulated by a person.
It is not guns that cause violence. Regulating guns has little or no effect on the level of violence. One only needs to look at the areas of the U.S. with the strongest gun laws to see that they have the highest level of the use of guns in crime. Washington, D.C., Chicago and California come readily to mind. The statistics in those areas would seem to prove the exact opposite.
A look at the statistics in Florida and Texas with concealed carry laws seems to indicate that possession of guns by law-abiding citizens tends to reduce the level of gun violence.
If one looks at the rise in violence, it appears as a rising line starting in the 1960s on a smooth upward slope. It would do our study groups good to look at what changes to our society occurred with that same slope. It would not take anyone much research to notice that the abuse of the First Amendment rights by the entertainment industry increased on that same slope.
Violence in the movies, violence in our music and the decline in discipline in our homes with schools, parents and teachers forbidden to immediately punish wrongs as they occurred would seem to me to be at the root of society’s problems, not inanimate guns. If gangster rap is the standard for the street, why are we surprised that the majority of guns crimes occur in those same areas? Movies of the 1940s and ’50s had the good characters prevail over evil; the music had lyrics and pleasant sounds, not shouting obscenities and noisy unpleasant instruments, and children obeyed parents and other authorities.
The 1960s also saw the start of the computer game industry. These games from the days of Pac-Man in store-front game rooms have evolved to today’s Xbox, PlayStation and DS games that thrive on violence.
I started hunting by going with my Dad when I was as young as 6. I got my first gun, a .22-caliber rifle, with a 4,000 rounds of ammunition for my 10th birthday. At 14, I hunted nearly every evening after school during hunting season. I have had guns ever since. I have taught my children and grandchildren gun and hunting safety. I believe that the Second Amendment gives me the right to own guns.
It is my opinion that before anyone intrudes on my right to own guns, they should make an effort to restrain the First Amendment rights of the entertainment industries abusive use of violence to make money.
Warren L. “Roy” Parker, La Plata