Editor’s Note: This was my first effort at writing a letter to the Editor. It was printed by The Stamford Advocate on 8/7/91. At the time, I was proud to see that they deemed it worthy of printing, but I later found that everything I sent them got printed, so it’s my guess that they don’t get enough mail and are forced to print everything that anyone sends them, regardless of the quality. It’s probably not a good idea to write to the local newspaper too often, because you’ll end up being looked upon as one of those nuts who writes to the paper all the time. Besides, you can also end up getting unpleasant and often scary responses from readers who find your opinions offensive. By the way, the photo below was taken from the window of my Paris hotel room in 1991, one of the few decent pictures I’ve ever shot.
Having recently returned from Paris, I was struck by the fact that I could travel that city, and London as well, secure in the knowledge that I was unlikely to be murdered. The Underground and the Metro (the British and French subways, respectively) can be used day or night, without fear of being shot at or mugged at gunpoint. The French are some of the most aggressive (and some would say inept) drivers in the world. Yet, unlike their California counterparts, they merely shake their fists and curse at one another. The French take comfort from the fact that no matter how often they cut each other off, it will not result in their being fired upon by some Dirty Harry fan packing a 44 Magnum.
Most Europeans seem contemptuous of Americans’ desire to be armed to the teeth. They are genuinely mystified by the fact that we consider the safety of our physical bodies to be less important than our Constitutional right to carry a loaded Uzi into the Stop and Shop. Well, my answer to their sneering superiority is that we Americans saved their sorry French asses during two World Wars, and one of the reasons for this is that we have something they don’t — that most patriotic and manly organization: the National Rifle Association
Think where our society would be without the NRA. Imagine yourself going out to bag a flock of mallards without Ol’ Betsy, your trusty assault rifle. And the next time you want to remember Aunt Sadie on her birthday with a box of Teflon-coated ammunition (guaranteed to pierce the bullet-proof vests of your local SWAT teams), remember it was the NRA that fought to keep bleeding-heart liberals from banning this useful form of ordnance.
Don’t those pinkos, those Democrats understand that the Reagan Revolution that they hated so much was actually set back by the efforts of the NRA? After all, the gun lobby battled for years to guarantee people like John Hinkley the right to own a handgun. Don’t these so-called civil liberties types realize that the Constitution is for everyone? If paranoid schizophrenics and psychopaths like Hinkley are prevented from buying weapons, the next thing you know rapists and child molesters will be denied their God-given Second Amendment rights.
Without the NRA, who will stand up for the average citizen against the dreaded Brady Bill. If that do-gooder Jim Brady has his way, you’ll have to wait up to a week to buy the pistol of your choice. Imagine how inconvenient and unfair this could be if you need that nine-millimeter Glock right away. What are you supposed to do about that loudmouth neighbor or freeloading brother-in-law . . . go after him with your bare hands? Seven days later could be seven days too late.
If those crazies that support Brady have their way, crime will, in many subtle ways, actually get worse. That waiting period they’re always going on about would make it harder for serial killers to get humane weaponry. Without the NRA to protect his rights, the Son of Sam probably would have had to commit his bloody deeds with a two-by-four or one of those disgusting little escargot forks that the French are so fond of.
Without the NRA we’d have to wait for reruns of Ben Hur or The Ten Commandments to see Charlton Heston on TV. I, for one, would feel deprived if I didn’t get to hear from Him personally how the NRA is working to fight crime — “making it all a reality.” Without his public service ads, impressionable youths might get the idea that the main purpose of the NRA is to raise money to intimidate politicians. Little do most of us realize how hard they’ve worked to give us a murder rate only 10 or 12 times higher than that of the British or the French, where those poor souls have no NRA to protect them.
How, you ask, does the NRA work to reduce crime? For one thing, they’ve helped the criminals to keep up with the times. Back in the days of Capone, primitive weaponry only allowed these vermin to kill each other two or three at a time. For all its notoriety, the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre resulted in fewer than 12 casualties. Nowadays, a squad of hit men with AK-47s can wipe out a roomful of competitors without breaking a sweat. Now that’s what I call getting criminals off the streets. Every shot fired in a gang war is a vote cast for a safer neighborhood. Mark my words — one of these days, the gun control nuts are going to introduce a bill to prohibit Bridgeport street gangs from buying TOW anti-tank missiles. These fanatics are looking to take an inch now, so they can take a mile later on.
Without the NRA, one thing leads to another. There are efforts afoot at this very moment to prohibit the possession of guns in certain high-crime housing projects. Would you live in a housing project that didn’t allow armaments? Try suggesting that in Beirut and see what kind of reaction you’d get. Of course, the Lebanese have more sense than that. They’re real men who don’t even need the NRA’s help.
Without the NRA, Democrats pushing their crime bills could pass legislation banning the domestic production of assault rifles. What insanity! We may not be able to build a stereo or a TV set that anyone will buy, but if the Gulf War proved anything it’s that we can produce weapons that are the envy of the world. If some punk blows out your kneecap, think how bad you’re going to feel if he does it with an Uzi or an AK-47, instead of a product that was “Made in America.” As the NRA understands, we are the armsmakers to the world. Guns mean jobs, and every round of ammunition fired in our city streets helps get Americans off the unemployment roles ... in more ways than one.
And finally, without the NRA, politicians would have to resort to dirty tricks to fill their election coffers, rather than having their votes bought honestly by NRA lobbyists. Every NRA dollar is a bullet (hopefully Teflon-coated) aimed straight at the heart of political corruption.
So support your National Rifle Association chapter. It was the gun that won the West. It was the gun that made Dodge City a safer place to live. And, if we’re vigilant, it will be the gun that makes Stamford another Dodge City, right here in Connecticut.
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