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Friday, January 25, 2013

Letter to Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL)


Letter to Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL)

Last week I heard a sound byte in which you expressed apprehension over having to go after a huge python while being armed with only a machete. You then went on to say that you'd much prefer to be equipped with a shotgun. I also viewed a video clip depicting you embarking on a hunt for pythons in the Florida Everglades. Thus having learned that you are a hunter, I was moderately encouraged to the point of hoping that you might approach the issue of gun control with more rationality and less hysteria than many of your colleagues in the Senate are presently doing.

I have never owned a gun of any sort (except for a water-pistol which I occasionally used to extinguish cigarettes in the mouths of students who were openly violating a rule against smoking in the hallways at a foreign university where I taught for a while). However, well before the tragic shootings in Newtown, CT, on Dec 14, 2012, I had already been seriously considering purchasing one gun (only one) and taking instruction in its proper use for self-defense. I'm a 66-year-old never-married old-maid, only 5 feet tall and weighing only 100 pounds. I live alone with my Boston terrier (a dependable barker but an incapable protector) out in the boonies of [Redacted] County, [xx] miles from the county seat and about [x] miles from the nearest sheriff's department sub-station. If a hostile intruder should threaten me, even a prompt response to a 911 call would not be soon enough to prevent violence being done to me. In fact, my home was burglarized in [spring] 2003 while I was overseas for an extended period. My neighbor, knowing that I was away, called the sheriff's office when she noticed that my front door was open. When I subsequently obtained a copy of the official report on the incident, I was told that evidence of marijuana smoking had been found on the premises.

My father COULD have given me all the firearms instruction I would have ever needed, but I was not interested in learning such skills during my youth. I gave up after the first (and only) time that I pinched my finger while holding a gun under the careful supervision of my father, who was the most careful gun owner that I've ever known. He was meticulously careful with his large collection of assorted firearms, and he had very strict rules concerning handling them. If any visitor violated any of his rules, that person was firmly ordered to leave the premises. Furthermore, there was NEVER any gun-related accident in my parents' home where I lived for the first 22 years of my life, nor was there ever any such incident, even until the time my father died when I was 38 years old. I treasure his belt-buckle which says, "They'll take my guns from me when they pry them from my dead fingers."

Of course  Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) would patronizingly point to my father as a prime example for his [Rangel's] recent remark on MSNBC in endorsement of New York's new hastily legislated restrictions on private ownership of guns: "New York is a little different and more progressive in a lot of areas than some other states," he said. "Some of the southern areas have cultures that we have to overcome." Whose culture would he impose on us? Would it be one like that of New York City, which reportedly had  400+ murders, 1400+ rapes, 20000+ robberies, 19300+ felonious assaults, 19000+ burglaries and 42300+ grand larcenies last year alone?

Rep. Rangel and other like-minded members of both houses of Congress would do well to heed former President Bill Clinton's remarks to the Obama National Finance Committee on Jan 19 with regard to gun issues: Do not patronize the passionate supporters of your opponents by looking down your nose at them.” [http://www.politico.com/story/2013/01/bill-clinton-to-democrats-dont-trivialize-gun-culture-86443.html]

Sen. Nelson, the USA does NOT need any more gun-control laws! Criminals know where to go on the black market to obtain all the weapons they desire. Requiring nationwide registration of all firearms will eventually lead to nationwide confiscation from law-abiding citizens. "Confiscation could never happen in the USA"??? German citizens who elected Adolph Hitler in 1933 didn't think confiscation would ever occur there, either. 

Dr. David Healy, an internationally renowned psychiatrist, psychopharmacologist, professor of psychiatry in Wales, founder & CEO of Data Based Medicine Limited [https://www.rxisk.org], and former Secretary of the British Association for Psychopharmacology, is the author of more than 150 peer-reviewed articles, 200 miscellaneous articles, and 20 books. His research focuses on clinical trials in psychopharmacology, psychopharmacological history, and the impact of both trials and psychotropic drugs on Western culture. He has served as an expert witness in homicide and suicide trials involving psychotropic drugs, and has endeavored to bring problems with such drugs to the attention of both American and British regulatory agencies [http://davidhealy.org/david-healy-bio/ ; http://davidhealy.org/articles/#journalpublications ; http://davidhealy.org/books/]

In a recent interview with WorldNetDaily, Dr. Healy unequivocally stated that psychotropic drugs, widely used as antidepressants, “prescribed for school children cause violent behavior...." Moreover, such drugs can make children “aggressive and hostile” and possibly suicidal. He also warned concerning a very high correlation between mass shootings and the use of SSRI [selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor] drugs: “When roughly nine out of every 10 cases in these school shootings and mass shootings involve these drugs being prescribed, then at least a significant proportion of these cases were either caused by the drugs or the drugs made a significant contribution to the problem.” [http://www.wnd.com/2013/01/top-psychiatrist-meds-behind-school-massacres/]

Also, please consider the actual outcome of Australia's enactment of very strict gun laws in response to a mass shooting in 1996. Although former Prime Minister John Howard wrote in an Op-Ed published in the New York Times on Jan 17, "Few Australians would deny that their country is safer today as a consequence of gun control” [http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/17/opinion/australia-banned-assault-weapons-america-can-too.html?_r=1&], it should, nevertheless, be noted that the homicide rate in Australia had already been falling prior to 1996 and that mass shootings in fact constitute only a small percentage of all homicides.

A study published by the Brookings Institution in 2003, "Australia: A Massive Buy back of Low-Risk Guns,” observed that

. . .the interventions had modest effects on the extent of suicide and violent crime. Suicide rates did not fall, though there was a shift toward less use of guns, continuing a very long-term decline. Homicides continued a modest decline; taking into account die [sic] one-time effect of the Port Arthur massacre itself, the share of murders committed with firearms declined sharply. Other violent crime, such as armed robbery, continued to increase, but again with fewer incidents that involved firearms. This relatively small effect is hardly surprising given that the type of firearms prohibited had not previously been used frequently in crime or suicide, as well as the low power of the potential tests, with less than five years of postban data. However, the principal goal of the intervention was ending the mass murders; in the five years since the buyback, there has been a modest reduction in the severity of these murders, and none have involved firearms, though the frequency of these events is so low that not much can be inferred from this occurrence. [http://www.popcenter.org/problems/gun_violence/PDFs/Reuter_Mouzos_2003.pdf]

Moreover, researchers at the University of Melborne in 2008, after re-analyzing the same data used in earlier studies, concluded that "the NFA [National Firearms Agreement] did not have any large effects on reducing firearm homicide or suicide rates.”  [http://www.melbourneinstitute.com/miaesr/publications/working-paper-series/abstract-178.html]

Before any member of Congress votes to enact even one additional restriction on the Second Amendment rights of Americans, each should carefully study the Genocide Chart compiled by Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, available for download at http://jpfo.org/pdf02/genocide-chart.pdf. It is a historical fact that, in the 20th Century alone, evil governments in nations such as Ottoman Turkey, the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, China, Guatemala, Uganda, Cambodia, and Rwanda eliminated 170,000,000 lives by execution after disarming their respective civilian populations.

Sen. Nelson, I agree with Corporal Joshua Boston, USMC (2004-2012), who recently wrote in an open letter to Sen. Diane Feinstein: "I will not register my weapons should this bill [the one introduced in the Senate on Jan 24] be passed, as I do not believe it is the government’s right to know what I own. Nor do I think it prudent to tell you what I own so that it may be taken from me by a group of people who enjoy armed protection yet decry me having the same a crime....” [http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=UR3IshaCZyY]

Sen. Nelson, please remember your oath of office: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic...." The US Constitution is currently under attack from domestic enemies of the Second Amendment, some of whom even claim to believe in it. I will be closely following this issue.

Cheryl J. Rutledge, Ph.D.
Musician, Educator, Editor
www.AcademicEnglishEditing-DrRutledge.com




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