Letter to Gun Control Advocates
Letter to Gun Control
by Jack Harbinger
April 8, 2002
This is an email I sent to the Violence Policy Center.
I have just been browsing www.BanHandgunsNow.org.
I'd like to say that the views expressed there mirror many of my own -- when
I was an uninformed teenager. I concluded, based on war stories and the news,
that guns were evil or at best deadly accidents waiting to happen.
Then I went shooting with a friend. Handgun shooting. It was a pleasant
outdoor exercise in eye-hand coordination. It was a sport I could participate in
even though I was overweight, nonaggressive and nearsighted.
I bought a gun of my own, legally but nervously, as if I were doing something
somehow suspect and dirty. I had been conditioned, you see, to regard guns as
the accoutrement of the criminal and the lowlife and the tyrant's soldier.
As a gun owner, I felt obligated to learn about gun
laws, so as not to break any. I've never had so much as a parking ticket.
I was shocked by what my research showed me, learning as I did about how many
rights have been eroded in our lifetime, yours and mine and our parents'. We
have lost so much while gaining little, but we are not being taught about it in school.
That is why I am writing to you. You have your opinion and a right to it, but
when you publish it in any kind of media
for public consumption, I believe you have the obligation to back it up with
some kind of legitimate research.
That's just good journalism and good sense.
For every outrageous claim you make about the evil nature of handguns and
small arms in general, there's impartial research concluding just the opposite,
that guns decrease crime and save lives. The research of
John Lott and Gary Kleck, both anti-gun or indifferent at the beginning,
convinced them that guns are a valuable tool of self-defense. I urge you to
visit www.jpfo.org and www.KeepAndBearArms.com
and learn about the history of gun control and its hideous consequences.
As a student of history and of psychology, I have learned that human nature
hasn't changed much in thousands of years, let alone the two-hundred-plus since
was dreamed up, or the six decades since World War II.
You know about that unpleasantness originating in Germany in the 1930s and
soon exported throughout Europe. Minorities were blamed for societal ills,
harassed and made official targets of government-sanctioned violence. Soon Henry
Ford's mass production techniques were adapted to the systematic killing and
disposal of innocent human beings.
But first, these innocents were convinced that personal weapons were the tool
of the criminal and the terrorist, and convinced or threatened into surrendering
them in the name of crime prevention and in exchange for promises of protection.
They died by the millions.
Stalin, a Russian, managed a similar program on an even larger scale. As did
Pol Pot of Cambodia, Idi Amin of Uganda, Saddam Hussein against his Kurdish
One reason the Nazis failed to conquer a mostly-disarmed Europe was the
Liberator pistol. It was cheaply mass-produced, crude and had no safety devices,
and was air-dropped by the thousands to civilians. I'm sure it would be on your
"junk guns" list for banning. It was very deadly to invading Nazi
soldiers at close range. It allowed Resistance fighters to acquire well-made
German firearms and help secure the freedom you take for granted and even work
Britain benefited from Lend-Lease rifles and handguns shipped by sympathetic
Americans. You see, after World War I, the War to End All Wars, England severely
regulated gun ownership, confiscating and destroying many, just as they have
done recently. They were fresh out when the Germans came knocking. Churchill's
famous speech promising to fight them in the hedgerows and back yards was said
to have concluded, after the microphone was turned off, "but I do not know
what we shall use."
I imagine you are of the "It could never happen here" school of
thought. It almost did. I speak of the American internment camps where
Japanese-Americans were imprisoned after the attack on Pearl Harbor. U.S.
citizens unconstitutionally held prisoner indefinitely without trial because of
their ethnic background, in the 20th century. And mid-19th Century Americans
virtually wiped out the American Indians because of a Hitlerian-sounding idea
called "Manifest Destiny," the belief that descendants of Europeans
should occupy North America from sea to shining sea.
That the Indians were able to obtain guns let them last fifty years longer as
a race. Only when their major food source, the buffalo, was hunted to
near-extinction to drive them to submit did the Plains Indians surrender and
assimilate to survive. The White Eyes would have been just as happy to see them
extinct too. Only when they learned to act like "real people" were
they allowed to live. By our great-grandparents. Yours and mine.
That's why I am armed, and will remain so, regardless of any law that
well-meaning but misinformed people support. Human nature can be brutal, and
often feel perfectly justified in being so.
I will not go, neither me nor my family, to the camps or killing fields or
lonely clearing in the woods like a good Jew or Gypsy or homosexual or Catholic
or "nonessential worker" or random robbery victim in the wrong place
at the wrong time. We refuse to be at the mercy of someone who has no mercy,
someone with a gun or knife or tire iron or baseball bat or sharp stick or
merely bigger and stronger, who sees us as subhuman or a source of some quick
cash or sex or sadistic power trip and then as an inconvenient object to be
disposed of, not as a human being. No.
One of the most heartbreaking photos I ever saw was of a robbery and murder
victim in his last hour of life. It was taken by the camera of an automated
The athletic-looking young man is trapped between his killers in the front
seat of his own car. They are using his bank card to withdraw $200 to buy drugs.
He is about to be taken to a lonely piece of woods a half-hour away and killed
and buried under some leaves because he is a witness. (These particular
murderers have been in prison a dozen times because they left witnesses.)
The look on his face is one of hopeless, helpless, tragic sorrow. (I've seen
it before, at the First
Million Mom March, in Poland in 1936, on the faces of naked women and little
girls just before policemen machine-gunned them and left them in mass graves.
For the crime of being different. It is not a look one is likely to see on an
armed person. The Nazi policemen look bored, as if they are performing some
routine task. As indeed it became.)
The ATM robbers and murderers look like they are merely ordering Big Macs for
three to take to their kids' soccer game. Their victim looks like he is being
taken to his execution, which indeed he is.
It was the 26th violent felony conviction for one of the killers. He was the
mentally-retarded one, the one the Supreme Court is trying to decide whether it
is morally right to execute, though he had no compunction about executing
someone who never hurt anybody, without benefit of trial, or appeal, or a last
meal or last goodbye.
A handgun could have, would have, saved this victim of selfish, brutal,
His killers had a gun (breaking laws by doing so, not to mention the laws
forbidding kidnapping, robbery and murder. But you think more laws are the
We'll never know why the victim didn't have one.
Maybe he couldn't afford a gun. Maybe he believed in the goodness of people
and thought he'd never need one. Maybe he wanted to carry one but he thought the
laws regulating concealed carry were too strict for him to bother getting a
permit so he wouldn't be arrested for the crime of being prepared for
self-defense without government permission. Maybe he had one but it was safely locked
up at home, as you suggest.
The killers didn't worry about the laws or the concealed carry requirements.
Criminals are by definition law-breakers.
But you still think more laws are the answer.
The killers, and all criminals, have the advantage of surprise, youth,
strength, speed and numbers.
A handgun can give the helpless a fighting
You say a gun would be taken away and used against me.
With minimal practice, I can now draw from concealment and fire two
center-chest or head hits in about a second. If I can do it, most people could.
I'll never be a helpless, cooperative victim. Neither will my children or
grandchildren. Ban Handguns Now? Go ahead. We'll still have ours. They will
last, and work, for hundreds of years.
If a law is ever passed that sends someone to my door to collect my guns,
I'll know it's time to use them, because any other rights I might have had are
then equally not worth the parchment they're inscribed upon.
I hope you won't volunteer for victimhood either.
I hope you will do some research as I have suggested. As they say on
"The X-Files," the truth is out there, if you're interested in the
Then, when you buy your first gun, write and tell me all about it.
To see other messages designed to help anti-gun people wake up, click