WILTSE: Disregard the NRA and weapons makers

Most Americans hold the Founding Fathers in awe. They regard them almost with the same reverence as the Gospels.
Dec 27, 2012

Yet, they are fallible, for they were only men.

I think they made two mistakes, one by their inaction and one by their actions. 

The first mistake they made was one of inaction. The fact that they failed to say anything about slavery was a grave mistake. Of course, half of them were slave owners, including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson even fathered at least one child by one of his slaves, and then failed to recognize her in his legacy.

They left the question to fester for 80 years before Abraham Lincoln had the courage to do something about it. The result was the Civil War, which claimed about 620,000 dead and over 1 million casualties in all.

The second mistake they made was to create the Second Amendment to the Constitution.

The country would be better off if they had made no mention of it at all. The fact that it is an amendment makes it an afterthought after all.

The result is firearms laws that left over 11,000 dead in this country last year alone. That is 11,000 killed by firearms, a record of dubious distinction. No other country comes anywhere near it.

The Second Amendment gives the National Rifle Association something to hide behind.

I don’t believe the rank and file of the NRA is behind this defense of military-style automatic weapons and automatic weapons. The average hunter would be happy with a bolt-action rifle and a shotgun, and perhaps a revolver. He doesn’t need a bazooka or a 30-round automatic to kill a deer from 300 yards or more. After all, they do call themselves sportsmen.

It is the multi-billion dollar munitions industry that is behind it all. It has the leadership of the NRA in their back pocket.

The outrageous statement that Wayne LaPierre, the president of the NRA, made nearly a week after the Newtown massacre is outrageous, hideous, cruel, awful, heartless and vile. I cannot think of enough vile adjectives to describe it. 

We have enough problems funding police forces than to fund special officers to guard all the schools in the country, let alone arming teachers to protect kids. Besides, what is to prevent us from the so-called guards from going berserk and killing their charges?

How many teachers would want to be armed? I have a vision of the teacher behaving like Wonder Woman — with her magic bracelets fending off bullets of attackers, and with guns ablazing and killing the bad guys. If the teacher is male, then he must become John Wayne, in which the only justice out here is another bullet. How many teachers can imagine themselves in such a role?

Teachers have enough responsibilities and don’t have to take on combat training in addition to the training they already receive. As a matter of fact, combat training should be the furthest thing from their minds.

Moreover, if teachers had loaded pistols hidden in their desks, it follows that they would be found by the students and then they would accidentally be used to shoot their classmates. I heard recently that, for every person shot in self-defense, 43 people are murdered or accidentally killed. I believe that is true in light of the 11,000 people killed by firearms last year.

Arming crossing guards and teachers is certainly not the answer.

I hope the politicians have the gumption to defy the manufacturers of weapons and the leaders of the NRA, and limit the firepower available to the public. I hope the Newtown tragedy will not be forgotten and has created enough despair so as to produce legislation that will eliminate the manufacture of automatic weapons — and, more importantly, the manufacture of ammunition for such weapons. I don’t believe it will have any affect at all on hunting or target shooting.

I fully believe that the rank and file of the NRA will support such a ban and that the politicians have nothing to fear of their wrath.

By the way, I’m glad to see that the majority of us made it through to the 22nd of December, and I wish you a happy new year. I hope the coming year will be better than the one we are finishing, and will contain no college scandals or massacres.

— By Ralph Wiltse, Tribune community columnist

Comments

pike84

Why in the world is there an ad for signing a petition of support for the 2nd amendment on this page......a little too ironic I think! Good article and most hunters would support it. The leader of the NRA showed what a true turd he is and how wacked out his organization is. I only hope NRA supporters hold back their dues.

ride2tires

I too, was a little set back by NRA Exec. Vice President LaPierres statement. Please note, this is one man's opinion. I personnally agree more with Mr. Keene's(NRA Assoc. President) option.
Though, if I may add, your askewed tossing of numbers and facts concerning "11,000 killed by firearms" is as confusing as your earlier statement, "claimed about 620,000 dead and over 1 million casualties in all.". Sir... the guns killed no one. Those with their finger on the trigger did. This is a fact, not banter.
I hope WE ALL point the finger in the correct direction, see the problem for what it is, and no longer blame inanimate objects. Otherwise, this will only be the beginning of a long list for those who will not accept reality and take ownership and proper measure against those putting others in harms way.

Sound Judgement

There really needs to be better control and accountability on people store and keep their firearms. It is far more rare that a gun crime is committed by a responsible and registered gun owner, but by someone stealing their weapons and committing a crime. There needs to be better laws on firearms possession and the up front requirements. High caliber auto weapons and huge magazines etc...why? We truly need a little common sense to prevail...guns in classrooms??? NOT a good idea. I cherish my right to own a firearm and have fought for my country and earned and protected that right. Perhaps our forefathers had not been perfect as the only man who ever was was nailed to a cross, but we could use some level heads in the updating of of all weapons laws and regulations without throwing the baby out with the bath water.

Ghpeytonfan

Are you tribune writers really that dumb?!?? This debate isn't about AUTOMATIC weapons. The ones used in these and many shootings are regular Semi-auto weapons. The problem is yours and many people's ignorance to the fact. As a hunter most guns I use are semi auto including rifles and shotguns just not with 30rd magazines. Now you wont acknowledge that but a standard hand gun or a 5 shot shotgun or 6-10 shot rifle all used at the same time results in nearly the same body count as all of the "massacre" type shootings not to mention reloading another full clip into any of those weapons can be done in less than a second. The issue here isn't about guns or laws. It's about educating people on the guns themselves so idiots like you can understand the various types and education on mental health and identifying risk factors upon purchase of ANY fire arm.

ghborn

how many of the 11,000 killed were killed by a legally owned gun belonging to the person who commited the crime? i bet you a majority of the people that were shooting people were not legally in possession of the gun. gun laws will not stop criminals from getting them. how bout we ban drugs and see how hard they are to get

Whiskey_Tango_F...

This is laughable,nothing like a fear mongering left leaning propaganda machine. Your job is to report the news, not to skewer it with your opinion,Where are your facts? Do a little research and understand what the Second amendment was intended for, it has nothing to do with hunting.

How about the millions of deaths related to prescription drugs that the big Pharm companies keep Americans addicted to?

How about the millions of deaths related to alcohol?

How about the millions of deaths related to tobacco?

How about the millions of deaths related to motor vehicles?

What about the all the childrens lives that were ruined because of rape by Catholic Priests.

Where is your outrage for all of these Ralph Wiltse? I must have missed those articles.

Back to the Wall

Mr. Wiltse,

I suggest you revisit your American history. You are wrong - The second amendment to the constitution has nothing to do with sporting arms or hunting - NOTHING!

The second amendment to the constitution is included in the Bill of Rights to provide teeth to the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence.
I invite you to read that on your own time. Based on your emotional outburst above, I suggest you take a few deep breaths and read it sitting down.

So in difference to your assertion, I propose that the second amendment in fact allows the citizenry to possess any and all weaponry that is available to the military. I agree it is absurd to assume it is right and correct for John Q. Public to legally own a nuclear warhead, however I don't consider myself a second amendment zealot.

The rest of your diatribe is nothing more than your emotionally fueled opinion that I do not share. But you know what Mr. Wiltse? If there is ever a move to silence you or your opinion, I'll be there to do my civic duty as outlined in the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence.

Godspeed to you.

Back to the Wall

Mr. Wiltse,

I suggest you revisit your American history. You are wrong - The second amendment to the constitution has nothing to do with sporting arms or hunting - NOTHING!

The second amendment to the constitution is included in the Bill of Rights to provide teeth to the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence.
I invite you to read that on your own time. Based on your emotional outburst above, I suggest you take a few deep breaths and read it sitting down.

So in difference to your assertion, I propose that the second amendment in fact allows the citizenry to possess any and all weaponry that is available to the military. I agree it is absurd to assume it is right and correct for John Q. Public to legally own a nuclear warhead, however I don't consider myself a second amendment zealot.

The rest of your diatribe is nothing more than your emotionally fueled opinion that I do not share. But you know what Mr. Wiltse? If there is ever a move to silence you or your opinion, I'll be there to do my civic duty as outlined in the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence.

Godspeed to you.

Walking Alive

let me get this right...you will be there to "silence you or your opinion" (shoot him)? Shows the mentality of some gun owners right here. They obviously should have done a more thorough mental check on you before selling you guns BTTW.

LessThanAmused

I think if you actually read that second paragraph you'd understand that what was meant was he'd be right there to protect Wiltse's right to speak even if he doesn't agree with what Wiltse says......I don't think he's promoting murder.

Back to the Wall

No.
I will not be going anywhere to silence any opinions.

For you, Walking Alive, and any others who are unwilling or unable to understand the foundations of democracy, allow me to paraphrase -
The second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence explicitly directs us that our duty as citizens of a free country is to be on guard against those who would abuse and usurp our freedoms and to throw off such despots and provide for our future security.

I've seen a lot of crusaders pointing their fingers trying to convince me there are despots hiding behind very bush. Some of us have fallen for the ruse. Despotic tactics include divide and conquer.

I am advocating standing beside Mr. Wiltse and using our (according to the document) god given birthrights to insure a free future. I am offering to support Mr. Wiltse.

While I don't agree with his opinion, it is my duty to insure he retains his right to express it.

Hapless Student

Guns don not kill people, people kill people. Cars do not kill people, drunk people kill other people when they get behind the wheel. Yes accidental shootings doo happen, but most of the time it is a well thought out act.

retired DOC

It is very clear that Mr. Wiltse ddoes not know firearms laws of the country. He should haved checked the laws that were passed in the 1930's and 1960's about AUTOmatic guns and SEMI-automatic guns. We have not been allowed to have full auto guns for close to 80 years. I am left handed. I do not want a right handed bolt-action gun. The police changed from 6 shot revolvers to semi-auto pistols 40 years ago to better themselves. I also want to be able to protect myself the best possible. We have enough laws, it is just that crooks do not follow the laws. When is Mr. Wiltse going to learn?

Vladtheimp

VLADTHEIMP: DISREGARD WILTSE!

As his progressive little mind churned about an anti-gun community column, Wiltse of course first turned to . . . .slavery! Of course, he never put together the fact that the first thing totalitarians do when they gain power to enslave the population, is to seize guns. Facts 1 Wiltse 0

He next turns his prodigious intellect to the Second Amendment – that which ensures our freedom from tyranny- and proclaims with an apparently straight face that it was only an afterthought since it was only an amendment. Huh? Doesn't he know that the only reason we got a constitution was because the Anti-Federalists insisted on adding the first ten amendments in order to get their vote for the constitution – Wiltse might have heard of some of them – Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, George Mason (just old dead white men, I guess). Facts 2 Wiltse 0

Professor Wiltse may not realize it, but by discounting the Second Amendment as an “afterthought” he has discounted the entire Bill of Rights (1st 10 Amendments) so lets see what other “afterthoughts” should be done away with, like the Second Amendment: Maybe Freedom of Speech? How about Freedom of the Press (careful there, Ralph – you're messing with the folks that made you “Community Columnist). Let's go further with these silly afterthoughts – should we axe Freedom of Religion? What about protections regarding search and seizure, or the right to a Jury Trial? How about powers reserved to the States and to the People?

Since all of the amendments are “Afterthoughts” what about the amendment that did away with slavery? Want to do away with that one, Mr. Wiltse.

The whole article is so silly that it is not worth time dissecting. I would point out that the venom Mr. Wiltse reserves to the National Rifle Association generally, and Wayne LaPierre personally, because he dared suggest that armed police officers be stationed in schools was really a repetition of the same suggestion made by – ready – President William Jefferson Clinton. (http://articles.latimes.com/2000...). Was Clinton's idea, and actual funding of the program after Columbine so“outrageous, hideous, cruel, awful, heartless and vile” that Mr. Wiltse cannot think of enough vile adjectives to describe it? But guess who eliminated this program, professor: why, none other than President Obama! Facts 3 Wiltse 0

“Government officials told the Washington Guardian on Friday night that two Justice Department programs that had provided more than $200 million to schools for training, security equipment and police resources over the last decade weren't renewed in 2011 and 2012, and that a separate program that provided $800 million to put police officers inside the schools was ended a few years earlier. “ (http://www.washingtonguardian.co...).

The Second Amendment is not about duck hunting, it is about self defense, including defense from a tyrannical government. It states very simply:

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Whether Mr. Wiltse or MSNBC and the New York Times like it or not, the Supreme Court has held that it provides a right to gun ownership. And yes, the Constitution does describe the “Militia” and not as an afterthought”

10 United States Code 311:

(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.
(b) The classes of the militia are—
(1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and
(2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia

While Mr. Wiltse may not think much of the Bill of Rights, it does permit both he and I to communicate our drivel as part of Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press. However, the ignorance displayed in this particular column, particularly as regards the founding document of our great Nation, is unconscionable. That it has been proffered by someone who has been anointed “Community Columnist” by the Grand Haven Tribune, is disturbing.

The Stevens Family

VERY VERY WELL SAID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Many, and I mean MANY will agree fully with your response.

People really do need to research their "facts" before they try to share them. This column was totally off base and factually WRONG on many levels. Not to mention, he may want to use spell check before posting next time. ;)

VLAD, on the otherhand, posted actual facts with links to back them. TRUE FACTS! VLAD, WELL DONE SIR, WELL DONE! ;)

winggirl

Thank you!!! Very, very well said.

Walking Alive

For this Holiday Season's dose of "Guns don't kill", see DJANGO UNCHAINED.

LessThanAmused

That is the crappiest movie review I've ever read! :) Hahahahahahahahaha

Walking Alive

Not a review. Did you see it? You think if they only had Dundee knives, there would have been as much meat and blood flying in that movie? Guns don't kill people my butt. Go get your fill of gun killing, go see the movie. LOL

LessThanAmused

No, based on the ads I've seen on the tube I wouldn't waste my time. Not really into gratuitous violence, there's enough of that in the real world, don't need to see it on the silver screen too. When I go to the movies I prefer to escape from reality for awhile.

theQuin

Is it not reassuring that this "community columnist" is soooo much smarter than our Founding Fathers? And for this kind of arrogance, the Tribune gave up printing candidate support letters to the editor at election time?

winggirl

Don't worry. They're so willing to give up the second amendment, they'll likely give up the first (without the second to protect it) and they won't have this problem (a free press) in the future.

rukidding

Wow Vladtheimp, wow! You da man!

rukidding

Opps, sorry for the "You da Man" statement, probably shouldn't take anything for granted here. You da bomb that went off in Wiltse face; again, great job.

AprilMayJune

Thank you Mr. Wiltse. I always enjoy your take on the issues of the day. Especially pleased to see Vladtheimp all riled up. Good one on you Wiltse.

pdk67

"Most Americans hold the Founding Fathers in awe". "Yet, they are fallible, for they were only men.

I think they made two mistakes, one by their inaction and one by their actions."

Mr. Wiltse, While you seem to take pleasure in pointing out our founding fathers "faults". At least try to recall some facts that should have been taught to you in grade school. They were a group of men that 1. Built a nation from the ground up with no blueprint to follow as there was no other nation on earth that had the kind of goverment that they sought to build. Think of the compexities involved in outlining 3 excutive branches and how they were to function while setting up the guaranteed rights and freedoms of the people of this new nation. Now, if this challenge wasn't difficult enouph, lets add the fact that even back then (like today) there were 2 types of philosophies, strong central gov't / strong State gov't. both of these groups had to come together to common ground on every aspect of the new gov't. NOW, Again if this was not a big enough challenge lets add A war being fought in their backyards, The loss of family and friends in this war, Bounties placed on their heads as traitors to the royal crown, Because of these bounties they had to meet in secret.

They had no computers, e-mails, telephones, They traveled by horse, and ships. Crude printing tech, no std currency, etc.

AND YET THEY MANAGED TO BUILD A NATION IN 5 YEARS!!!

By contrast, today our polititions can't plan a balanced budget in 4 years..

Am I in awe of these men?..... YOU BET I AM!!!! and so should every American including yourself..

AprilMayJune

Oh yes, and let's not forget that some of them were slave owners. Terrible hardship, that was.
AND YET THEY MANAGED TO BUILD A NATION IN 5 YEARS!!! With the help of thousands of slaves....

pdk67

You also seemed to forget most of them were not slave owners. And yes what a terrible hardship it was. Just a side note for you AprilMayJune, racism is not a solution to answeres, its an excuse for failure. To solve a problem,You should stop being racist and and using race as an excuse and take the lessons that are tought to us through history any apply them to future endeavors.

Lanivan

Would the following ideas make everybody happy?

1.) For the 2nd Amendment/Switzerland argument folks - allow anyone to have a muzzle-loaded musket, based on existing requirements, and require every person between the ages of 20-30 has one.

2.) For hunters and people looking for self-protection, sell hunting rifles/hand guns through gun stores only, with strict enforcement of all existing requirements.

3) For military assault-weapon affionados, only specified, regulated and certified gun clubs would have them available for members only, using these weapons of mass destruction all they want, paying for each use and using only at the gun club.

4.) All guns must be insured for liability, just like our cars.

5.) Buy-back programs should be held annually for all those people who spent $1,000's on assault weapons and who now find they need money for things like food, clothing, paying bills, etc.

6.) Strict enforcement of any rule infractions. For those who fear government might invade your home - should that ever happen, you will have a bigger problem than self-defense.

Vladtheimp

Lanivan - welcome to the discussion and Happy New Year.

I will gladly grant you the restrictions you suggest should be placed on the exercise of Second Amendment rights if you will grant me the right to make similar restrictions on the exercise of the rights granted in all of the other Amendments.

This seems eminently fair in that there is nothing that makes the exercise of rights under one provision of the Constitution less sacrosanct than rights under other provisions.

I can promise you that I can suggest limitations that would be agreed to by a large majority of the population.

Slainte!

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