In response to the editorial on guns in The Sun ("The missing issue: guns," Nov. 5) and a recent show on gun control on WYPR with Dan Rodricks interviewing Johns Hopkins professor Daniel Webster about a report by the Center for Gun Policy and research at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at the Johns Hopkins University:
Kudos to The Sun, Mr. Rodricks, WYPR and Mr. Webster for bringing forth this discussion, one that is rarely heard in our society, clearly because so many are afraid of the gun lobby or are themselves gun owners and oppose forms of gun control. People seem to tippy toe around this issue, but it is fairly clear why: fear. Fear of causing a stir, which always seems to outweigh in adult males any real commitment to getting something done about weapons in America, clearly the most weaponized culture in the world (and exporter of weapons to the rest of the world). To me, it adds up to a betrayal of normal humans who love life and like to live life to the end, let alone the poor Bambis killed in the woods. A betrayal pure and simple, an attack by adult American males upon women and children..
Gun control, like climate change, is not discussed by presidential candidates, nor is it discussed by major media.
That said, we should give credit to even those who "raise a peep." Mr. Webster clearly does in his reasoned, scholarly, analytic dissection of myths and misinformation. Both Messrs. Rodricks and Webster seemed to lean over backwards to be dispassionate, to raise logical solutions to the problem. Mr. Webster, for example, doesn't think a ban on assault weapons to be that important, although I don't think he argued very well why. Or he pooh poohs focusing on the gun and says there is some merit to the saying "Guns don't kill people, people do," but then he does go on to explain why it is so much easier to kill with a gun.
I don't think focus on the gun is misplaced in this society of shoot-em-up Westerns. With the gun history that we have. It is warranted.
Solutions such as: licensing gun owners in a strict way and at older ages, closing gun show and private deal transactions, and more closely scrutinizing those who are trying to get a gun — alcoholics for example. Mr. Webster points out that the patchwork of law variations from state to state allow states like Virginia to flood New York City with guns, or the rest of Illinois to flood Chicago. Clearly federal legislation is needed.
Such obvious solutions as support for the Brady Handgun Control Group or the Coalition on Gun Violence are glaringly not mentioned.
Nor was there time to discuss ridiculous interpretations of the 2nd Amendment, which clearly authorizes only militia men to be armed!
Nor did the pair have time to discuss the specifics of good legislation needed, nor bad legislation pending, such as Maryland's becoming a "shall Issue" rather than a "may Issue" state, as regards carrying concealed weapons.
I think it's fine to be scientific about all of it, and that's needed, but there should also be humane, emotional concern expressed about the murder and mayhem that every day occurs in the culture.
The Sun concludes that the only thing lacking is "political will." Yes, but also lacking is will from we the people, including sane gun owners, who will agree to put pressure on the politicians. That means the media.
David Eberhardt, BaltimoreCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun