Guest Editorial


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Dear Mr. President, you missed three major causes of gun deaths

mencken's ghostYour Jan. 16 speech, about gun control, was a political masterpiece, because it was an emotional masterpiece.  Republicans and the NRA could learn from you and your fellow Democrats on the power of appealing to emotions, but they rarely do.

The only dog I have in this fight is a tiny one, about the size and ferocity of a miniature Chihuahua.  Unlike many of my friends, I’m more concerned about property rights than gun rights – that is, I’m more concerned about federal agents, backed by force and guns, taking my property, particularly the fruits of my labor, and giving the loot to those who don’t deserve it.

Even if I owned a true assault weapon, either an illegal fully-automatic rifle or one of the canons that I fired in the Army, I wouldn’t be able to stop the taking of my property, unless there were a revolution and enough fellow Americans wanted to join me.  Given the fact that the majority of Americans are now on the take, and given that my courage (and testosterone) has diminished with age, there is zero chance of that happening.

Still, I was struck by what you left out of your remarks. 

First, you didn’t say anything about the hundreds of millions of people killed by governments just in the twentieth century – more by communist governments than fascist ones.  Even our democratic government has killed thousands this century, including hundreds of innocent children in Iraq and Afghanistan, some by rifles, some by rockets, some by drones, some by jets, some by artillery, and some by rifles.  We can debate whether these killings were justified to defend the United States and in keeping with just-war philosophy.   But there is no denying that they happened.  Nor is there no denying that our arms industry has sold assault weapons of every variety around the world, including to bad guys.

Perhaps the world would be safer if there were a ban on government.

Second, you didn’t say anything about the war on drugs.  Credible law enforcement experts have said that about 75 percent of crime in America is due the war on drugs, a result similar to what occurred during Prohibition.  Case in point:  My former college roommate is federal district judge.  He is disillusioned with what should be one of the most prestigious and honorable professions in government, because he spends most of his time on drug cases and has to sentence Americans to long prison terms for crimes that wouldn’t have happened if it were not for the war on drugs.

Third, you didn’t say anything about the marked decline in two-parent families, largely due to misguided welfare programs that provide an incentive for men to abandon their children.  Only a leftist ideologue would deny the established link between welfare and the fragmentation of the family and the fragmentation of communities, all of which combine to produce a higher incidence of violence among young men without positive male role models.  This, coupled with the war on drugs, explains why there were 500 homicides last year in your adopted hometown of Chicago.

Granted, most of the mass killings have been committed by anti-social young white men, including those from two-parent families, probably due to psychotropic drugs.  But that doesn’t obviate the fact that, as horrific as such killings are, they are a tiny fraction of total killings.

I understand why you didn’t address the killings by government, the killings due to the war on drugs, and the killings due to welfare.  It would have been political suicide to do so.  Lucky for you, the media and the masses have been so dumbed down and brainwashed that they will let you get by with your silence on these issues.

Mencken’s Ghost is the nom de plume of an Arizona writer who can be reached at