Renzolli: If I Only Had a Gun

I watched ABC’s 20/20 news report If I Only Had a Gun on Saturday and, as I suspected, it was nothing more than a tirade to try to debunk the idea that a regular person bearing arms can stop a wrong-doer from killing or doing harm to others in a shootout situation.

In the first segment, select college students are trained by police fire arm instructors on the usage of firearms and then put one of the students in a situation where an armed intruder comes in to shoot up the class. This segment had two holes in it that I will punch through as well as rebutt other points brought up in the report.

The classroom shooting scenario assumes that if guns were legal on university, college or school campuses that only one or very few students would possess a gun and would not be effective in stopping a shooter.

It also gave the false impression that a person needs some sort of formal training in order to properly use a firearm and that police training is the way to do it.

Ms. Sawyer and her colleagues did not care to investigate Front Sight in Nevada that specializes in training people in the usage of guns that exceeds police training standards.

Neither does she or her colleagues take into account the ease in which to use a gun. After buying my first pistol a friend of mine showed me how to handle it, fire it and clean it.

In a situation where students could legally carry guns on school property there would be more than one student armed in every classroom and, consequently, would increase the likelyhood a shooter would be stopped.

Also, with students being able to carry guns openly or concealed on campus, in a scenario with a shooter opening fire in a classroom, there is also the high likelyhood that armed students and faculty outside the classroom would respond and address the situation. The armed students and faculty would either hold him or her at gun point for the police to apprend or kill or maim the suspect if they tried to continue their shooting spree.

David Rittgers of The Cato Institute has also done an excellent response to the 20/20 report and details instances, many that took place at schools, where just one person halted a shooter from committing mass murder on campus.

There was also the profile of Omar Samaha who is working to close the so-called gun show loophole in Virginia. Mr. Samaha’s sister was one of the victims of the shooting spree at Virginia Tech in 2007.

What happened to this gentleman’s sister, like other victims of shooting incidents, is tragic beyond description. Samaha has a right to lobby for the policies he wants to see enacted. However, like Sawyer, he needs to be reminded that in a free society like ours, no one (including him) has the right to take away the rights of another by a majority vote.

In this case, it is wrong for him and anti-gun groups he maybe affiliated with to work to force his or their views on gun owners like myself.

Its a fact that the Virginia Tech shooter, Seung Hui Cho, was a disturbed individual since childhood and legally bought his firearms at a gun store. Not a gun show.

Cho, like many of the other people who shot up public establishments, was under the care of a psychiatrist and was prescribed anti-depressants.

Not surprisingly, reporters, like Dianne Sawyer, either will not or do not take the possibility that the psychiatrically-prescribed meds Cho and other shooters took prior to committing their heinous acts could have helped influence their decisions to go on shooting rampages.

What was entirely disgusting was Omar Samaha was made out to be a hero yet no mention of how gun restrictions, like the one he is lobbying for, contribute to, and does not deter, crime.

Laws regulating or banning the owning or usage of guns by people are an infringement on their ability to preserve their lives from others who would do innocent people harm. News reports, like Ms Sawyer’s, leaves many people with the impression that gun ownership is not effective to preserve a person’s life.

Shame on ABC, Dianne Sawyer and her colleagues for doing an extremely biased report slanted to demean gun owners and gun ownership.


Coons: Earmarks

With the massive increases in the federal budget, there’s been a lot of talk about earmarks, or “pork-barrel spending.”  One of the recent bailout bills included an estimated 8,500 earmarks.  And with any call to decrease government spending, accompanying pleas to get rid of the pork soon follow.

But what is an earmark?  Does it really increase spending?  If all the pork-barrel earmarks were removed, would the budget go down?

An earmark is a congressional provision that directs approved funds to be spent on specific projects.  Congress decides that it’s going to spend some amount of money on some vague list of projects, the specifics of which it delegates to bureaucrats.  Individual congressmen can then insert an earmark, which takes a portion of those funds and directs them to something more specific.  So an earmark doesn’t actually change the level of spending, it just provides instructions on how previously-approved funds are to be spent.

So if the 8,500 earmarks didn’t exist in the bailout legislation, it wouldn’t have changed the dollar amount at all.  Instead, it would have increased the funds headed straight to the Executive branch without oversight, where unelected individuals get to decide how it’s spent, instead of those we elect to Congress.

One has to wonder — Would it be better if all of the funds were earmarked?  Instead of giving the Executive branch $1 trillion dollars and saying “Have fun!”, Congress could instead say, “Here’s $1 trillion, and here’s how you’re going to use it.”  While it would be better to not spend the $1 trillion in the first place; if it is to be spent, it should be spent by the people we elect.

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