A SierraTimes Editorial - © 2000 SierraTimes.com

Gun Rights: Power to the People

Jeff Dantré

Posted 11.30.00

Why don't the politicians want us to own weapons? What are the politicians afraid of? That we're all going to kill each other? I don't think so. The politicians are afraid of an armed populace. And they're supposed to be. The tension created by an armed populace is a method of keeping the politicians honest. Some people theorize that in an age of nuclear weapons and technological warfare, an armed citizenry poses no threat to the force of the military. This is an erroneous conclusion. The purpose of any military takeover would be to takeover what makes America America. The infrastructure and at least some of the people must survive. And the military, with as much high tech weaponry as it has, could not win a street fight with millions of armed Americans. That's pretty powerful stuff.

The sick proponents of gun control want each of us to turn our lives over to an all-knowing government that will protect us and provide for all of our needs. But what is the cost of relinquishing the control of our lives over to that government. We have to bow to its demands. We have to allow whatever demoralizing and social mandates it offers. We will have succumbed to that disgusting intellectual elite that wants to rule us all. These are the people of the world that know what's best for us. These are the Feinsteins, the Clintons, the Boxers and the Kofi Annans. These are the Rockefellers and the Ted Turners. These are the smug professors at the elite schools. These are the feminists, the technologists and the sociologists. Each of these groups thinks they know more about what we want in life that we do ourselves. THEY know what's best for us. Are we really sheep?

If you are a woman or a minority I find it impossible to fathom how you could be for gun control. The only thing that equalizes a fight between a man and a woman is a firearm. You can learn all of the defensive techniques you want but if an assailant has their own gun, you lose. Even if the assailant does not have a gun, most women can't successfully fight a 200-pound man in reasonably good shape. You put your life in the hands of chance, the chance that someone will hear you screaming (if you can) or that a police officer just happens to be passing by.

Face the facts: Police cannot protect everyone. If they could arrive at the scene of each crime in 30 seconds, maybe they could. And courts have determined many times that police are not liable in cases where they have unable to provide protection to citizens. Suppose you are an older black woman or black man living in a bad part of town. How can you protect yourself against an attack? The only (somewhat) sure way is to brandish a gun. Otherwise, you're at the mercy of a sick person that has no mercy. The thought that you, the minority or the woman, would give up your right to protect yourself is one of the most disconcerting things I have ever conceived.

Recently I was reporting on a story in a particularly bad part of town. Many of you have probably seen places like this, at least on TV- burned out cars, closed stores, trash everywhere, and bars on the windows. A woman had been strangled in her apartment. I arrived on a sunny day with police cars and the media everywhere to be seen. I watched the residents of the federal project watching the police. Many stood near their doors with their kids. I thought to myself - what if you could arm these people, at least the law abiding ones? What would happen the next time someone is attacked and a whole community responds brandishing guns? Would the hoods and thugs look for a "safer" place to hit? That is power!

This country was founded on violence. I would never wish the conflict of any of our wars on this country but it is important that each and every law-abiding citizen owns a weapon and is trained in its use. It is important that each of you teach your children a rudimentary knowledge of firearms. For those of you who don't own weapons, ask a gun owning friend to teach you. Give yourself a chance to get used to the idea of a firearm.

Like anything empowering in our lives, the power of a weapon and the responsibility of owning one are something to get used to. But a gun is something to be respected but not something to be afraid of (unless you're on the wrong side of one). Let's remember that most of our forefathers owned guns, many for hunting. Guns were a part of most rural families. I remember going to my grandmother's house for Thanksgiving each year. My uncle had a case of guns in the den area where we all congregated. The case was never locked. But believe me, I would never have touched it and none of us youngins ever did.

The closest many Americans have come to a firearm is on a passing police officer. For most people, guns are only a part of the violence they see on television each day. If you grew up and have spent your entire life in a big city, as a growing number of Americans unfortunately have, this is the most likely scenario. How are you ever to have an understanding of firearms if you have never been around them? You can't. All you know is what the media is feeding you — that kids are shooting up schools, citizens of the middle east are killing each other, drug dealers are shooting up the ghettos and an occasional police officer is shot. This is a distorted picture of the life we live that is being perpetuated by forces that want to ultimately control our destiny. Read the facts about gun rights and gun control. Run a search on the topic. Investigate the sites. Educate yourself. Learn beyond the established media. Then make your call.

I will buy guns. I will encourage my friends to buy guns and learn to use them responsibly. And let's not forget about loading up on the ammo.

I will never, never let the politicians take away my right for self-determination. I will never let them take away my right to defend my family, my friends, and myself. I now know that I am one of millions that feel this way. We're not just military, ex-military or hunters. We are simply Americans; Americans like the family down the street or the guy who owns the hardware store or the woman who's a teller at the local bank. We must let our voices be proudly heard throughout America again and again and again. We must never stop defending our rights. Never.

The phrase "power to the people' conjures up thoughts of hippies protesting the Vietnam War or Black Panthers holding a fist to the sky. I hope the phrase can now be repurposed as our call for Second Amendment Rights.

"The right of citizens to bear arms is just one guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safeguard against the tyranny which now appears remote in America, but which historically has proved to be always possible."
— Senator Hubert H. Humphrey (D-Minnesota)

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
— John Stewart Mills

"Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest."
— Mahatma Ghandi

"Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense? ... If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?"
— Patrick Henry

Jeff Dantre’ is a 25 year veteran of the broadcast business involved in both radio and television journalism. He is a winner of the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award for his production of the CNN special "Coup d’etat: Seven Days that Shook the World", about the Soviet Coup in 1991. He is also the winner of numerous Associated Press and Georgia Press Association Awards. Jeff is currently a news anchor-reporter for a major radio station in the Southeast, where he resides with his wife Anne and their dog and cat, Raleigh and Oscar. He was born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina

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3 dec 2000