Gun-Violence In North America
Tom-Joseph: Kennedy & Sarah-Jeannine-Marie Kennedy

Note: During the fall of 2000, my daughter Sarah requested me to help her do some research for and assignment entitled "Gun-Violence In North America." We used the Interent to search for articles about gun-violence and we both have input into this article.

Consider the evidence of violence and tragedies involving guns in recent years and you will be motivated to ask a lot of questions and question a lot of answers. At first observation it seems to be trendy to demand government interfere which invites further infringement on our diminishing freedoms. Families, friends and neighbours of both the victims and the accused often protest for more stringent gun laws and expensive gun registration programs.

To present the arguments fairly in the "gun-violence" issue one must carefully examine the facts of the events where people have beeb either wounded or killed. This means one must extend the research beyond the daily newspapers and the electronic media (radio and television).

Communicating with people who live in the area of the event, researching books, periodicals, magazines and the internet often uncovers information not published by the mainstream media.

Without a doubt it is true that violence has been on the increase in the media industry in recent years. All methods of entertainment sich as movies, music, video games and sports events are influencing people in general and the youth in particular. One might ask what motive are behind those who promote violence within the entertainment industry?

Let's examine the gruesome crimes at the Columbine High School massacre in Littleton, Colorado on April 20, 1999 when Daryl Klebold and Eric Harris killed 12 students and a teacher and wounded 23 others in the worst school shooting in U.S. history, then killed themselves. The cultural, political and media elite predictably blamed "access to guns." Consider what Handgun Control, Inc. wrote:

"While some would say that the topic of violence and youth is a cultural one, this focus distracts from the real issue. Although it is true that the culture that our children have been exposed to has become increasingly violent, it is access to guns that are making these crimes possible."

On the same day, Hillary Clinton spoke these words at a White House Press Conference:

"We also know that we have to do everything possible to ensure that young people do not have easy access to weapons. It is criminal how easy it is for children in America to obtain guns.... Guns and children are two words that should never be put together in the same sentence."

Shortly after President Bill Clinton spoke these carefully crafted words as he too echoed the HCI mantra:

"We have a huge hunting and sport shooting culture in America.... And everybody tells me I’ve got a constitutional right to keep and bear arms, so don’t fool with me; and every reasonable restriction is just the camel’s nose in the tent, and pretty soon they’ll come after my shotgun, and I’ll miss the next duck hunting season."

All of of these statements were highly publicized in the mainstream media. The first is an opinion from a lobby group and the second has the status of a White House Declaration.

Regretably, most ordinary citizens are conditioned to believe what they see and hear in the mainstream media without pursuing further research and thinking - yes just plain thinking...

"If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you; but if  you really make them think they'll hate you." Why is this so?

Rather than being influenced by the above-mentioned manipulative clich├ęs which claim "access to firearms" is responsible for the hideous actions of Dylan Kleybolds and Eric Harris one could ask what has changed since the 1900's?

Millions of Americans grew up in the mid-1900's in the families of farmers, hunters and war veterans where there were several rifles, shotguns and pistols. The youth of these families were educated by their parents. They learned of gun safety and maintenance and respected these weapons. They were not negatively influenced by playing cops and robbers or watching Bonanza.

In fact, there were no mass murderings by youth with guns in the mid-1900's. Those who were not interested in guns were not relied upon to be an authority about guns. Why in the year 2001 do ordinary citizens permit themselves to be influenced by those who have no knowledge or experience with guns? Why do ordinary people not ask more questions and questions more answers? Have we lost the ability to "think" an original thought?

When one researches the background of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold one finds that they may have been influenced to become young killers by the lyrics in the music of Marilyn Manson. One of them, Eric Harris has been taking the drug luvox, an anti-depressant clone to prozac which is used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder. They were also obsessed by the ultra-violent video games, "Doom." "Quake" and "Postal."

In the video game "Postal" the winner ended the game by committing suicide. Both of these boys were fans of movies such as: The Baseball Dairies, Natural Born Killers and the Matrix - all of which glorify murder.

In summary, the two boys who perpetrated the Columbine massacre were themselves victims of a decadent culture devoid of any spiritual or religious influence. The question must be raised:  Should God, prayer and the Bible not be re-instated in our schools instead of protesting about "access to guns?"

Politicians and media and entertainment leaders aided by apathy on the part of ordinary citizens have allowed society to fall into moral decay. President George Washington warned of this possibility in his farewell address delivered on September 17, 1796:

"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labour to subvert these great pillars of human happiness — these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."

Throughout history, there is no record of mass-murdering and suicide rampages (except when war was created). People were armed with morals and with guns. In the smaller towns and villages and rural areas of the western United States and Canada the majority of citizens are still armed with guns and peace prevails.

One must ask why the spokesperson for the HCI lobby and the first lady did not direct any portion of their comments at Time Warner - the parent movie company which is leading the way in producing "violent and negative" entertainment? Why did they not target the Sony Corporation for inciting violence with this ad for a video game?

"Get in touch with your gun-toting, testosterone-pumping, cold-blooded murdering side."

After April 1999, President Bill Clinton put forth a sweeping gun control plan with many restrictive provisions. One mother, Mrs. Gail Keasling whose child was murdered by another wrote an open letter to Congress which every parent and child ought to read:

"As the mother of a murdered child, and as an intelligent person, I find the President’s exploiting of the school shootings highly offensive. My child was murdered with a fence post by a recidivist juvenile on probation. I see no one calling for a ban on fence posts. Eight-year-old Cary Medlin, of Greenfield, TN, after being raped and sodomized, was murdered with a knife. Eight-year-old Niki Read of Millington, TN, after being raped, was murdered with her own shoelace. I see no one calling for a ban on those items, yet they were used to murder small children....

We have more gun laws on the books than Carter has liver pills, yet people of all ages continue to murder others. First-degree murderers serve on average 5.6 years in prison. It takes 15-20 years to get a convicted killer executed.... Then you have the child shrinks who keep telling us we will damage our children if we tell them no, or dare to impose restraints on them. The government then backs the shrinks up by tying the hands of parents behind their backs. If we dare to spank, or impose restrictions on a child we are considered child abusers...."

Imposing restrictive gun laws will not deter the criminals who rely on guns to commit crime. Neither will it deter murders in domestic violence as any object can be used to inflict violence on another person.

Violence control on the entertainment industry might help and teaching about spirituality will surely help !!!

Lessons From Columbine High School By William F. Jasper
HOPE Columbine Healing of People Everywhere
The Truth Sometimes Hurts By Daryl Scott
Columbine High School Tributes Columbine Tribute Centre
Tragedy At Columbine (Archives) Rocky Mountain News
After Columbine Salon.com
Tragedy & Recovery Bouldernews.com
The Truth Sometimes Hurts By Daryl Scott
Saying It The Way It Is At Harvard By Charleton Heston

When making public policy decisions about new technologies for the government, I think one should ask oneself which technologies would best strengthen the hand of a police state. Then, do not allow the government to deploy those technologies. This is simply a matter of good civic hygiene. Philip R. Zimmermann, Cryptographer

Rule 12: Know your enemy. Always bear in mind John Stuart Mill's observation that he who knows only his own position knows little of that. The use of the classic Jesuit tactic of accepting your opponent's premises and turning them against him is both highly effective and particularly enjoyable.

Some even blame the proliferation of weapons for the actions of criminals and call for restrictions and bans upon these tools. The masses scream for "those politicians in Washington and elsewhere" to solve these problems through legislation. While laws may be enacted prohibiting this and restricting that, by definition, it is the habit of criminals to ignore these laws and perpetrate crimes.

But there is no practical reason than any adult responsible enough to operate a motor vehicle can't safely handle and possess a firearm. (Certain caveats exist; it may be impractical to safely keep a firearm in a home with someone who is clinically suicidal or suffers from other mental trauma, but in the vast majority of situations, including a household with children, there are enough products and safeguards to make firearms, when stored properly, statistically less dangerous than cleaning solutions or the bathtub.) "Don't draw it unless you intend to use it. Don't use it unless you intend to kill. Don't kill unless you are prepared for the consequences."--

All guns are always loaded. (Note that it does not say to pretend the gun is loaded. It *IS* loaded.)-- Never let the muzzle point at anything you are not willing to destroy.-- Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target. -- Be sure of your target (and what is behind it.) It is often quoted by many people that the average gunfight lasts less than three shots. While the truth of this statement cannot be denied, it is also true that it is a statistic, and you are not.

Fortunately, most people find that when they carry a concealed weapon with an understanding of the effects and the civil liabilities, they tend to behave less aggressively so as to avoid engaging in a confrontation, giving meaning to the truism, "An armed society is a polite society.

"This isn't true in all states, though; certain states, such as Massachusettes, require the home owner to retreat from the home, if *at all* possible, before using force in defense, and such laws are enforced to the point of absurdity. However, as many gun owners point out, "It is better to be tried by twelve than carried by six."

"Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence. From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences and tendencies prove that to ensure peace, security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable. The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honour with all that's good".- George Washington

Justice Louis Brandeis put it well: "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficent. . . . The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.''

"Those now possessing weapons and ammunition are at once to turn them over to the local police authority. Firearms and ammunition found in a Jew's possession will be forfeited to the government without compensation. ... Whoever wilfully or negligently violates the provisions... will be punished with imprisonment and a fine. In especially severe cases of deliberate violations, the punishment is imprisonment in a penitentiary for up to five years." -- German Minister of the Interior, "Regulations Against Jews' Possession of Weapons", 11 November 1938

"Gun bans don't disarm criminals, gun bans attract them." - Walter Mondale, U.S. Ambassador to Japan, April 20, 1994