Vail Daily letter: Sees dangerous world
Vail, CO, Colorado
The letter you published on Wednesday, “Taking a shot at NRA,” reflects a common but naive perspective.
While not all that frequent, mortal danger still exists. Nobody needs to be paranoid (and nobody I know that is proficient with firearms gained this skill to be macho – armed citizens are quiet and polite), but some people like to be prepared. They don’t want their loved ones to be helpless victims.
The Second Amendment and the mission of the NRA isn’t about hunting. Both are fundamentally about individuals’ right to protect themselves and their families.
The letter writer, David Le Vine, says that the “Wild West is ancient history” and “our law enforcement folks are totally capable.” The Wild West may have faded, but there are still bad people in the modern world.
As I type this (in a very nice and generally safe neighborhood), I am looking out the window at the house of a family that were the victims of an armed invader who molested two young girls and their grandmother. This same criminal raped and killed another young women the next day. The police weren’t around. Not the first day. Not the second day.
In fact, it is very well established law that the police do not have a duty to protect citizens – they are law enforcement. They try to capture and prosecute criminals after the crime.
Our family members are ranchers. All the women in the family ride horses and hike by themselves in isolated areas. They drive remote gravel roads at night. And they all carry firearms, and they all know how to use them effectively. Most police officers only have minimal firearm training, and most don’t practice nearly as much as we do.
Civilian self-defense incidents don’t get a lot of press because it is not politically correct or part of the agenda of most of the media, but there are incidents every day in which armed civilians save lives. A simple Web search will show that lives are saved every day.
Besides anecdotal evidence, a well-regarded academic researcher, John Lott, in his books “More Guns, Less Crime” and “The Bias Against Guns,” presents a valid statistical argument for the claim that allowing adults to carry concealed weapons significantly reduces crime in America.
He supports this position by an exhaustive tabulation of various social and economic data from census and other population surveys of individual U.S. counties in different years, which he fits into a large multifactorial mathematical model of crime rate.
His published results generally show a reduction in violent crime associated with the adoption by states of laws allowing the general adult population to freely carry concealed weapons.
There has never been an increase in violence resulting from an increase in armed civilians.
John Lott is not a lightweight researcher. Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman said that “John Lott has few equals as a perceptive analyst of controversial public policy issues.”
National surveys suggested that “98 percent of the time that people use guns defensively, they merely have to brandish a weapon to break off an attack.” The higher the rate of defensive gun uses that do not end in the attacker being killed or wounded, the easier it is to explain why defensive gun uses are not covered by the media. It is estimated that civilians use firearms 2.5 million times each year in self-defense.