January 16, 2013

Another View: Self-defense anecdotes distract from the real danger of guns

A columnist wants us to ignore events close to home that show that guns don’t make us safe.


I’d like to thank M.D. Harmon for taking us all on a long trip to warmer climes in his recent column about a mom in Georgia who managed to defend herself and her children from a burglar, using a handgun (“Tale of two terrorized women shows value of being armed,” Jan. 11).

Maybe next time, Mr. Harmon can save on gas and keep us a little closer to home when he wants to talk about guns and their impact.

How about a stop in Biddeford, where, in December, a diminutive elderly man allegedly used his gun to execute two teenagers over a parking dispute?

From there we can jaunt up to Waterville where, also in December, a young man allegedly used his gun to escalate a barroom scuffle to a needless homicide.

We can ride a bit farther upstate to the tiny, rural town of Lamoine, which, unbelievably, had more homicides last year than the entirety of metropolitan Portland in multiple shooting incidents.

Just a few examples in recent months here in comparatively crime-free, bucolic Maine of lives lost and countless lives ruined by Americans using guns for purposes other than home defense, target practice and hunting. Instead, using a gun to simplify the act of murder.

Of course I’ll be accused of “cherry-picking” the above tragedies to prove a point. If I am, then Harmon and others are doing the very same thing when they focus laser-like on the Georgia incident as irrefutable evidence of the good guns do.

We have evidence much closer to home than Georgia. Reasonable people know that this is not a black-and-white issue. Neither side is completely right or completely wrong. We just can’t allow Mr. Harmon and his friends at the National Rifle Association to keep taking us on these rides any longer.

Jeremy Smith is a resident of Old Orchard Beach.

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