Cambodia offers instructive history lesson to urban-residing Howard residents [Letter]

On the issue of gun buybacks (March 21), I wonder why the reporter chose the word "still" to characterize those unfortunate benighted souls who continue to possess firearms at home. This word choice seems to reveal the thrust of most of the coverage of the gun control issue. It seems to boil down to rural versus urban, those who might "still" have guns at home are hicks compared to those wiser, more trusting, urbane souls who are more willing to cede the control of lethal violence to the government.

This seems to be what gun control is all about. Rural people and their sympathizers are forced to adopt an on-your–own attitude due to the great distances involved with living in the country. Urban people, who are cheek-to-jowl cede the use of lethal force to the government and hope for the best.

The United States as a whole and certainly Howard County is well into the urban stage and thus more and more people do not comprehend the idea of defending yourself. This was probably the general idea in 1938 when the nation of Cambodia created Royal Ordinance 55, which mandated only hunters could have guns and only one at a time. The population was happy with a benign government keeping them safe and controlling most lethal violence, with only a few atavistic hunter types "still" having one gun at home.

Life was good, but governments change and 37 years later this ceding of control of lethal violence to their government turned on the Cambodians.

The government changed in 1975, the Khmer Rouge controlled the government and the use of lethal violence. They killed upwards of two million people and one of their specific targets were the urbane populations of educators and intellectuals.

Dana Ely


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