Shhhh…Be Vewy Vewy Quiet, I’m hunting wabbit. As you may recall, this is an old familiar Elmer Fudd line from Bugs Bunny cartoons of yesterday. Yes, those were simpler times and certainly less stressful.
I put pen to paper this week as a flood of legislation erupts over gun control. The motivation for more stringent firearms legislation is of course the gun related massacre of children at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newton, Connecticut.
Not one day had passed since this tragic event unfolded when a rash of well meaning, but misguided opinions filled the media like a swarm of angry locusts. The first verbal salvo heard was from my neighbor who proclaimed that: “We live in different times than the past. There is no need to kill INNOCENT animals. Hunting should be abolished altogether.” Upon hearing these words while driving my car I remained silently calm. Shortly afterwards, we arrived at a local restaurant, sat down and placed our order from the menu. My neighbor ordered a nice 12 OZ portion of veal smothered in brown gravy. Another poor animal slaughtered I thought to myself. I am not sure what crime the INNOCENT little beef calf committed, but viewing the tender piece of veal on a plate I knew with certainty the poor animal found itself in a meat packing plant last fall without legal representation. My point is that most Americans, at least 90 percent are carnivores. Yes, we eat red meat and we like it. I’m not sure what difference it makes if one is hunting for wild game or killing domestic animals in the “out of sight stockyard” but the net result is the same. That being food on the table. I only mention this as an entry point into my main discussion of pending legislative gun control initiatives. Let’s take a deeper look into Sandy Hook, unpleasant as it may be.
Bullet Size At Least Does Matter
The mentally challenged individual who took away 26 innocent lives at Sandy Hook Elementary used a Bushmaster assault rifle. A bushmaster rifle uses .223 caliber ammunition. For those not well acquainted with ballistics, a caliber is one-one hundredth of an inch. The bullets used in the classroom shooting are slightly less than one quarter inch in diameter. For reference, .223 ammunition was developed by the U.S. military for use in Vietnam. The caliber of choice in World War I, World War II and Korea was .30 caliber, a much larger and heavier bullet. The concept behind .223 ammunition is that a soldier could carry more of these smaller bullets in a jungle warfare environment, The soldier could in theory be less accurate in firing rounds while still being effective in killing the enemy. One or more of the bullets fired would hit the enemy target. Precision aiming is not absolutely required.
The smaller .223 round to this day continues to possess a reputation as being somewhat less lethal or effective. In combat situations, wounding the enemy and devoting resources to the wounded is sometimes preferred to an outright kill. Many professional soldiers do prefer the larger caliber .30 caliber ammunition. I raise this point to show the pro-longed negativity surrounding .223 ammunition, not the weapon. The children and school employees killed last month were not shot once, but shot two to three times- more of a massacre than a simple one shot killing. Hence, I point out with a sense of clarity the ugliness of the .223 caliber ammunition.
The .223 ammunition along with the M-16 rifle both developed for Vietnam possess lingering negative reputations concerning reliability. The M-16 often jammed, the ammo considered inadequate in stopping power. Most western states require a minimum caliber size of .25 for large game hunting. I strongly suggest that .223 ammunition has no widespread patronage or robust acceptance in either war or peacetime usage. Others I’m sure will disagree.
The Sandy Hook perpetrator who took his own life the day of the shooting realized law enforcement was closing in. I only regret that someone like Inspector Callaghan AKA Dirty Harry wasn’t there to take care of the situation. Clint’s words are familiar to many- “Go Ahead PUNK, make my day. Harry’s weapon of choice was the Smith and Wesson.44 magnum. A six shot capacity revolver. Dirty Harry knew how to aim a gun; no 30 round clips were needed.
Both Congress and the NRA Have it Wrong When It Comes to Gun Control
In the preceding paragraphs, I strived to convey that ammunition beyond the weapon itself (delivery platform) must be considered in the gun control debate. In my humble opinion, ammunition from caliber .223 to .257 should be removed from the U.S. marketplace. All newly manufactured rifles should be 36 inches or more in length. I advocate this for the sole purpose of avoiding weapon concealment. As a historical reference point, the M1 Garand rifle of WW II was 43.6 inches in length. We need to ask ourselves why the need for compact semi-automatic rifles in the marketplace.
How many bullets should a weapon hold in a clip or magazine? This old debate may never end, but I submit that the victorious American soldiers of World War II and Korea outfitted with M1 Garand rifles used only eight round clips. They were fighting other soldiers in trenches, in the sand, in jungles and in the snow. The eight round en bloc clip worked for them. Why is it necessary to have a 30 round clip to defend one’s house from illegal intrusion? Most analysis of homicides involving robbery or home invasion reveal the shoot out is over when only two to four rounds are fired. One of the two parties or both ends up deceased or wounded. This implies it is best to be proficient at marksmanship. The extra bullets, the larger clip will not be of any use.
Why the Second Amendment Matters
There are many who would be quite pleased to see the second amendment disappear. There are others who have no problem in seeing the Bill of Rights disappear as well. The beauty of our Constitution is that we cannot simply pick and choose what “rights” citizens should or should not have as a matter of convenience or political expediency. Yes, there are people who should not own firearms, just as there are people who should not be allowed to drive automobiles or be parents. The difficulty is in how to pick and choose without trampling over individual freedoms. Do you know the difference between a concentration camp, prison, detention center, ghetto or holding facility for political prisoners? The variance might not be much. For those who feel I pontificate on a meaningless topic, I offer the solemn reminder that U.S, and citizens of Japanese descent were interned in camps during World War II and U.S. citizens have been deported without trial. As citizens, we should concern ourselves with infringements on our Constitutional rights. Is there truly freedom of the press or do we here the same news messages daily, the only difference being network news personalities? Does security trump invasion of privacy at public airports. Should we not care if our phones or e-mail is monitored or tapped-simply because we speak or type the wrong words? Freedom dissipates quickly when not defended.
Truth be told, thousands of U.S. citizens are victimized by violent crime each year. FREE people do possess the right to defend themselves and their homes. In times of civic unrest, natural disasters, political upheaval, bankrupt or insolvent government (another topic for another time) there might not be anyone readily available to take your 911 call. A little self reliance goes a long way. The NRA is still fighting the American Revolution war. Congress is striving to emulate the Kremlin. The war of words on gun control should center on cleaning up the tool box, not throwing out all the tools.
I sincerely share in the sorrow and loss of innocent life at Sandy Hook Elementary School as do most if not all Americans. The tragedy left emptiness in the hearts of many before the observance of Christmas. Changing the Constitution won’t bring the twenty children and six adults back nor make amends for the criminal transgression. If the U.S. Constitution is victimized, personal freedoms of millions will evaporate. Don’t worry about voting, deciding which newspaper to read, where to work or what to eat. Red meat, sorry it is not on the menu. All aspects of your life will all be decided for you. Not a believer yet? Just read the history books. Do be wery, wery careful of what you wish for and legislate.
Atantic Highlands, NJ