Misfire?

More disappointing than the cheap sarcasm in Ed Spivey Jr.’s column, “One Man, One Clip” (“H’rumphs,” June 2008), was his ignorance of gun owners, evidenced by his statement referring to “any bunch of fun-loving guys with a few beers and a machine gun.” Spivey has obviously never been to a machine-gun shoot. The characteristic common to all of them is the complete absence of alcohol. The people at these events are friendly and hospitable, there because they enjoy the technology and the camaraderie. However, any­one acting irresponsibly is immediately ejected from the event and never al­lowed to return. I wonder if Spivey is aware that since the registering of machine guns began in 1934, only two crimes have ever been committed with a legally registered weapon, and one of those was committed by a policeman.

Spivey, however, didn’t bother to learn about this culture. Instead he relied on a negative stereotype fueled by his personal prejudice. Unfor­tunately, gun owners have not been proactive enough in educating their fellow citizens. Sadly, because of political correctness, most gun defenders have retreated to arguing for hunting and self-defense. These are quite valid reasons to allow guns, but the predominant reason people shoot guns is because they enjoy it. That argument is enough to keep alcohol legal. Despite all the death and harm caused by alcohol—drunk drivers, fights, shootings, domestic violence—no one dares to outlaw alcohol because so many people enjoy it.

The problem is not the gun. A gun is merely a tool. Ironically, the only people who obey gun laws are law-abiding citizens. Criminals don’t care. For a magazine that usually explores the true root causes of social conditions, this commentary was sadly below standard.

Richard Tillinger

Dayton, Ohio

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Sojourners Magazine September/October 2008
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