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Those who pull the gun ploy do so to avoid facing up to truth

By Charley Reese

Published in The Orlando Sentinel, May 19, 1998

Orange County Chairman Linda Chapin, who seems to think she was elected County Mother, has finally pulled the gun ploy.

The gun ploy is a tactic politicians who are not doing the job they were elected to do often use to distract voters. Chapin's job is being the top administrator of Orange County government. Judging from the problems at the jail and from the results of all the referenda, she's not doing a good job.

So she comes out with the gun ploy, professing to be outraged and concerned about the rest of us allegedly having disinterest in saving children's lives. And she plays the ploy according to the script.

First she exaggerates the problem. Accidental firearm deaths are dead last, even counting adults, as a cause of accidental deaths in the United States. The big killers of children are automobile accidents and, especially in Florida, drowning. In 1993, of the 90,523 Americans who died from accidents, 1,521 died in firearms accidents, and that includes both adults (by far the majority) and children. By contrast, 3,800 people drowned; 13,000 died in falls; 7,300 died from poisoning; and 41,000 died in motor-vehicle accidents.

Second she trashes the National Rifle Association, accusing it of not being interested in keeping guns out of the hands of children and criminals. That is pure ignorance, at best, or a big, fat fib, at worst. The National Rifle Association is the premier teacher of gun safety and has been teaching gun safety and promoting stiff penalties for criminal use of firearms since long before Chapin even was born.

She includes 19-year-olds as ``children'' and lumps together three separate, unrelated categories of accidents, homicides and suicides. She resorts to falsehood to rap the National Rifle Association and its members, and ends up advocating mandatory trigger locks.

Now that's a stupid sugges-tion for two reasons. One, it is unenforceable unless she plans to declare martial law and conduct a house-to-house search on a daily basis. Two, someone stupid or careless enough to leave a loaded gun within reach of children would be stupid or careless enough to remove the trigger lock. You can't solve human problems with laws regulating inanimate objects.

Finally, by blaming an inanimate object for the pathological behavior of human beings she reveals herself as irrational and superstitious. Yes, Mrs. Chapin, just put on your witch-doctor suit, shake your rattles and murmur at this inanimate object, the gun, and suddenly, by magic, it will give everyone a high intelligence quotient, high morals, a sense of responsibility and a healthy mind.

Guns no more cause crimes or suicides than bricks cause buildings. A constant can never be the cause of a variable. In America, the constants are private ownership and ready access to firearms. The variable is the crime rate.

As a matter of fact, firearms are less available and less accessible today than they have been at any other time in American history.

But what liberals are really trying to do with the gun ploy is avoid facing the truth. The violent and brutish society they complain about is precisely the society they created. Everything liberals wanted they got.

They wanted sexual promiscuity, dope, disregard for the law, no censorship of pornography, no laws against sodomy or public profanity, abortion on demand (the single biggest killer of children), easy divorces, acceptance of homosexuality, civilian review boards to second-guess police, Miranda warnings and public defenders, a welfare system that paid women to have illegitimate children and a tax system that penalized marriage, work, savings and investments and subsidized non-work and immorality. And they got every darn bit of it.

It's called reaping what you sow, and it has nothing to do with firearms.

[Posted 05/18/98 8:05 PM EST]


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