Feb 132013

Dear Editor,

When the Founders (mostly Thomas Jefferson) wrote the Declaration of Independence, they made two statements:

  • The basic principles of existence for a free people, and
  • A list of grievances against the British Government for attempting to abrogate those principles, which they expressed in very economical language: “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness… ”

They went on to speak of free men establishing their government, and the right of the people to alter or abolish their government if it became destructive of the original purposes. In reading the writings of the Fathers, it becomes rapidly apparent they had no qualms about using force of arms to do the altering and abolishing, if more peaceful means failed. As we know, they had to fight in order to attain their freedom from England….

After the failed experiment of the Articles of Confederation, the founders wrote the Constitution that we live under today, and they were almost immediately moved to amend that Constitution with the first ten amendments that we know as “The Bill of Rights.” It is hard to say –- and scholars and pundits all have their differing opinions -– which of the Amendments is most important: the First Amendment, securing freedom of (political) speech and freedom of religion, and the Second Amendment, guaranteeing the right to keep and bear arms, are probably in the top of the list. It has been said, that the Second Amendment protects all the others.

It needs to be said, that these rights are not granted by the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights merely acknowledges pre-existing rights of human beings – most granted by God, some based on long-held traditions of English Common Law. Consider the Second Amendment: it guarantees that the citizens may be armed. Why? Certainly not for hunting or skeet shooting. The Declaration states that we have God-given rights to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. What good are these rights if we are not in a position to defend them against those who would take them away from us?

The very proposition of a right to Life implies a right –- even a duty ­-– to defend that life, and thus the right to possess weapons for that purpose. The right to Liberty carries with it a duty to defend that liberty from those who would usurp it. Ultimately, this could mean armed rebellion. At the least, it means an armed populace that will give pause to any overly ambitious politicians or bureaucrats.

The faint of heart, Tom Paine”s “Summer Soldiers, and Sunshine Patriots,” those who trust in the police to protect them from harm –- something that the police are neither able nor required to do (there have been court cases on this subject, where people unsuccessfully attempted to sue the police because of failure to respond in a timely fashion to a 911 call) – may cower down and lick the hand that feeds –- or beats –- them. That is their privilege as free human beings. What is not their privilege is to attempt to force their status and their mindset on the rest of us.

If you don”t like guns, or object to the “evil, scary” cosmetics of Modern Sporting Rifles­ –- so-called “assault weapons” ­–- nobody is forcing you to buy one. If you only want to own one or two guns, that is your personal, free choice. Please don”t try to force it on the rest of us. We don”t tell you what to speak and write or how to worship God; similarly, we don”t tell you how many or how few guns of what sort you may own. Please return the favor.

On practical matters, please note that:

  1. Mass murders like Newtown are actually quite rare, and a very small part of the total murders in this country.
  2. While the number of guns and gun-owners has been increasing, the crime rate (including gun crime) has been decreasing – do you suppose that there might be a connection between an armed population and lower crime rates?
  3. Have you noticed that almost all the mass murders have been committed by political liberals/leftists who are either insane or on some drug like Ritalin (or “off their meds”)?
  4. Have you noticed that what liberal/progressive gun-control proponents apparently consider to be the safest places – “Gun-Free Zones” such as schools, some shopping malls and theaters – seem to be the targets of these insane mass murderers (apparently, they are not so insane that they can”t figure out where they can most successfully get away with their crimes).

As the old saw goes, “when seconds count, the police will be there in minutes.” A former Groton Police Chief once told me that the typical Groton 911 response time was three to five minutes. For three to five minutes you are on your own, and while we don”t have much of a criminal element here in Groton, we are surrounded on all sides by cities that do have large criminal populations, most of whom can figure out how to drive to Groton….

Sincerely yours,

Brooks Lyman