Missing the point on gun violence

Missing the point on gun violence


Now I get it. I was confused my whole life, but now Michael Wycombe’s letter regarding “sensible gun control” has led me to a state of Nirvana-like enlightenment ("Coincidence or causal?" Aug. 6). I used to think that the U.S. was a republic with a constitution, including a Bill of Rights, and that those documents were the basis of our governance. Now I understand what should really govern us: old “cowboy movies,” by which Wycombe means Westerns.

Westerns on Wycombe’s preferred theme aren’t as typical as he seems to think. Probably the most familiar is “Unforgiven” – Clint Eastwood’s final effort in the genre. Gene Hackman pays a tough lawman who enforces strict gun control in the town he presumes to run. Eastwood plays a former gunman – a criminal – hired by a prostitute to exact vengeance from her abuser. Eastwood and Morgan Freeman enter Hackman’s gun-free zone without disarming. Hackman ends up murdering Freeman and hanging his corpse as a warning outside a saloon – sort of the way the brain-addled Robert Mueller was planning to display a defeated President Trump.

But Eastwood exacts a terrible revenge. “Now I’m going to kill you, Little Bill, for what you did to Ned.” A cinematic moment of excellence.

In case Wycombe saw the movie but missed the point, Hackman is the villain, not the hero. He is an arrogant tyrant, enforcing injustice and disarming people so that they can’t challenge him. Hmmm. Sound familiar?

There were towns that enforced this sort of gun control in the Old West – although they didn’t deprive gun owners of ownership, only of the right to carry in town. Actually, these measures commenced in the antebellum South close to the beginning of the 19th century. You know: the South, run by Democrats, and, according to current historical orthodoxy, built on chattel slavery. There’s no indication that such regulations reduced gun fatalities anywhere they were tried. How does Wycombe suppose that the Wild West got its name?

Finally, Wycombe is just wrong when he repeats his standard bit of leftist agitprop – that “the vast majority of today’s mass shootings are committed by white males.” This is true only of the majority of mass shootings that target strangers and make national news. A far more common pattern involves gang warfare – minorities killing minorities in disputes over drugs and honor. These crimes are usually committed with illegal weapons in cities with strict gun control. The perpetrators are typically African-Americans.

Examples? From this year? July 20: Seven shot in Chicago’s Lincoln Park; three shot in Kansas City, Missouri; three shot, one dead, in Jersey City; July 21: three shot in Flint, Michigan; four shot in Baltimore; three shot, one dead, in Kansas City, Kansas; July 24: three shot in Detroit; three shot in Memphis; July 28: six shot in Philadelphia; four shot in Chicago; three shot in Washington, D.C. That’s 11 mass shootings, just at the end of July, in which the shooter was not a white male. And I’m probably missing many similar crimes in other places. Bam.

As indicated, the victims here (like the perpetrators) were black people. Is that why, in Wycombe’s book, such shootings just don’t count?

Hilary Genevieve



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