To the Editor:
First, I’d like to thank Steve Thompson of South Elgin for his service in the Army.
Second, I’d like to thank him for engaging in a conversation regarding the Never Again movement related to gun issues and the Second Amendment, his April 12 letter to the editor a response to my March 8 column.
Mr. Thompson lists his accomplishments as successful businessman, father, and patriot (teaching his children “to respect the flag, stand for the national anthem, and defend our freedom”). Indeed, this self-portrait paints a responsible citizen, showing, as he points out, “people like me and our families” are not dysfunctional, that they are an “in-your-face rebuke to those who choose to stereotype and criticize those of us who own weapons.”
Well said, Mr. Thompson, and maybe I’m to blame for overreaching.
But I wonder what inspires a person to buy a decal featuring several silhouetted black weapons, from assault rifles to carry-and-conceal pistols, with the invitation, “MEET MY FAMILY.”
I visited a web site where they were sold. The variety stunned me. Black background or white? MP5 and shotgun, or AR15 and shotgun? Decisions, decisions!
Excuse me if I assume that people who brandish this decal do, in fact, have a family of guns, from paternal assault rifles to infantile holstered affairs. The question is, beyond target shooting and hunting, does one need all that ordnance to protect one’s home and family?
Apparently Mr. Thompson believes so, because “lawlessness in America has forced” him to train for a conceal and carry permit, and blames people who break the law “the true dysfunctionals in our society, … [who] continue terrorizing society with their aberrant criminal behavior.”
Criminal behavior always exists in any social construct. But to believe America “lawless” is to believe hype over fact, fear-mongering over statistics.
I’d like to reassure Mr. Thompson that “property crime has declined significantly … Like the violent crime rate, the U.S. property crime rate today is far below its peak level. FBI data show the rate fell 48 percent between 1993 and 2016,” Pew Research reports. However, “Americans believe crime is up nationally, even when the data show it is down” (www.pewresearch.org 1/30/2018).
The decal “MEET MY FAMILY” brags multiple firearms and warns “Get off my lawn!” It reflects and fuels unfounded paranoia. Yell “The sky is falling” long enough and loud enough, and eventually you’ll have everyone cowering on the brightest of sunny days.