[Sayma-Discuss] NY Times letter on guns

Mike Shell bright_crow at mindspring.com
Fri Jan 18 13:33:53 EST 2013

Thanks, Friend Charles.

I agree with you about the necessity of regulating types of guns.  However, my observation is that--as with many controversial issues--Americans and their governmental representatives are masters at avoiding core moral and legal issue of human accountability by displacing the argument onto secondary issues such as of what kinds of guns should be allowed and who should be allowed to own them.

Our nation has a powerful knack for misdefining and mislabeling the "sides" of the argument.  Look at abortion, for example.  The core moral issues are (1) the responsibility of both potential mothers and fathers NOT to cause conception if they do not intend or are not able to bear and raise a child, and (2) society's responsibility to care for every child who is born, as well helpinhg those parents who have conceived a child they are challenged to care for.  Instead we get the sloppy, ill-defined and not mutually exclusive ideological slogans of "pro-life" versus "pro-choice."

My leading is that "reverence for life" means just that, and yet that there are no simply, unambivalent ways to draw moral or legal boundaries.  The closest we can get to this under the rule of law is to define human accountability for every behavior very explicitly.


From: Charles Schade 
Sent: Friday, January 18, 2013 12:45 PM
To: 'Mike Shell' 
Subject: RE: [Sayma-Discuss] NY Times letter on guns

Interesting idea, which I support.  However, the model of automobiles also includes regulations of cars.  We require cars to have certain safety features and to be duly registered or they aren't allowed on the road.  I would reckon the analogy would apply to guns.  We don't, for example, allow submachine guns at all, and that is both appropriate and consistent with your model.

Let us know if your letter is published.


From: Sayma-Discuss [mailto:sayma-discuss-bounces at kitenet.net] On Behalf Of Mike Shell
Sent: Friday, January 18, 2013 11:02 AM
To: SAYMA-Discuss
Subject: [Sayma-Discuss] NY Times letter on guns


I have just submitted a letter to The New York Times in response to this letter from Theodore S. Voelker:

  To the Editor:
  "Gun Reform for a Generation" (editorial, Jan. 17) holds out hope for an attempt at sanity in the effort to control gun violence. 

  I would happily register as a non-gun-owning citizen who is qualified to use a weapon accurately and safely. This would be no intrusion on my civil liberties. It would simply note that I have been trained in the safe use of firearms (in my military days). If there were a reasonably accurate and functioning national database, it might catch some mentally ill people who applied for or had already registered for their guns. 

  No one is trying to take guns away from those who feel they are needed. But government has every right to know who has what guns and to what use the guns and ammunition may be put. 

  As a veteran, I trust our military and our civilian police to intelligently and openly protect me from "all enemies, foreign and domestic." They have guns, have gone through security checks and know how to use them safely. It's past time for "gun reform for a generation." 

  New York, Jan. 17, 2013

Here is my letter:

  To the Editor:

  Theodore S. Voelker's willingness to be registered as "qualified to use a weapon accurately and safely" (Letters, 1/18/2013) helps us properly redirect our focus from guns to people.

  Rather than debate types of guns or gun owners, adapt our national model for the legal and financial accountability of car drivers and car owners. License qualified gun users and gun owners, making them legally liable for injuries or damage caused by accidental or deliberate misuse of guns.

  Gun owners would then have legal and financial incentive to control who has access to their guns. Gun users would face penalties similar to those of vehicle drivers, if their use of these tools caused harm.

  Make human accountability for guns, not gun control, the focus of government intervention.

  Assurance of accountability is why we consent to be governed.

  Michael Austin Shell
  Jacksonville, FL Jan. 18, 2013
I will also send a version of this message to my Congressional representatives.

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