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Thread: More letter writing, this time re the Mumbai attacks

  1. #1
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    More letter writing, this time re the Mumbai attacks

    Letter I sent to the Indianapolis Star (my local paper) today

    Dear Editor:

    After the Mumbai terrorist attacks, there has been talk about how to prepare for an attack here. One item that is frequently missed is that the choice of when and where to attack lies with the terrorists and, therefore, the police can do little to prevent them. The terrorists will simply attack where the police are not. If you put guards on Chase Tower, the terrorists will attack the Marriott. Put guards on the Marriott, and they will attack a shopping mall. Put armed guards on the malls and they'll attack the next Pacers home game. There simply are not enough police to be everywhere so they'll simply go where the police are not. And since these terrorists are willing to die for their cause, the thought that the police will eventually arrive and stop them will not deter them. And if India with its highly restrictive gun control could not stop the terrorists from getting the weapons they used to kill, no such gun control legislation in the US could stop similar attacks here.

    Fortunately, however, Indiana has a second line of defense against these terrorists. According to a 2004 article in the Indianapolis Star, there were then 300,000 residents of Indiana who were licensed to carry handguns. That's one in twenty people in Indiana, and the number has likely only gone up since then. In most large crowds there will be some who are licensed to carry. Not all will be carrying at any given time and not all will have the fortitude to stand up to the terrorists and stop them from killing the people around them, but some will. And so we are guarded even where the police are not--by our own citizens.

    Unfortunately, there are areas where those guards, provided without charge to the State or to the people so guarded, cannot go. There remain soft targets where terrorists like those in Mumbai could find fertile killing fields. Those targets are our schools, our universities, and our day cares. The threat is to our children and youth who are the very future of our nation. The very one's to whom we should be giving the greatest protection are instead the most vulnerable.

    It is vitally important that our schools and universities be protected from terrorists such as those who struck Mumbai. One way would be to hire and train armed security personnel for every school and university in the country, enough to have several in every building whenever children are present. This would be a costly undertaking and would take considerable time to implement. The other solution is far less expensive and that is to allow individuals who have a clean criminal record and no serious mental health issues--people, in fact, who can successfully obtain an Indiana handgun license--to be armed in such places and to encourage teachers and facility in such places to do so. This will provide the same, free, armed security that the rest of our State enjoys.

  2. #2
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    Well, the letter to the editor seems to have sunk without a trace. Not an unexpected outcome.

    So now it's on to phase two, copies of the letter (paper copies, sent snail mail) to pretty much everyone in my "representative" list at every level:

    Federal:
    Congressman Andre Carson
    Senator Richard Lugar
    Senator Evan Bayh

    State:
    Governor Mitch Daniels
    Lieutenant Governor Becky Stillman
    State Senator Mike Delph
    State Representative Cherrish Pryor

    Local:
    Mayor Gregory Ballard
    Councilor Jose Evans (representative for my district)
    Councilor-at-large Ed Coleman
    Councilor-at-large Barbara Malone
    Councilor-at-large Joanne Sanders
    Councilor-at-large Kent Smith

    In addition, created a topic at the Indianapolis Star (local paper) we forums with the content of the letter.

    That's a lot of letters. And probably it all falls on deaf ears, so to speak, but we try.

  3. #3
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    i like this letter. im gonna copy it and send to my reps if you will allow.
    The Big Bang came from the muzzle blast of God's Colt BP revolver. He wanted to test out the gun that made all men equal before he created man in the first place.

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    Great letter. I'd like to join ccsniper in sending it on to my reps, etc. also with your permission.

  5. #5
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    Absolutely you have my permission to send it on.

    Incidentally, Andre Carson's office was the first to respond to my Mumbai Letter and it was about what I expected: Lip service to "supporting the second amendment" while arguing in support of "strong restrictions" to "protect the 2nd Amendment" (in a "we had to destroy the village to save it" kind of way, I guess).

    I crafted the following reply (although I probably won't send it--written in the heat of anger and unlikely to serve any purpose whatsoever):

    Thank you very much for your thoughts concerning gun control. I will keep your thoughts in mind when I vote in 2010.

    You see, a person in your position cannot be ignorant of the facts unless he is willfully so.

    A person in your position cannot help but know that there is a strong positive correlation between "gun control" and violent crime--the more "gun control," the more violent crime.

    A person in your position cannot help but know that the foreign examples of low crime or low gun crime had their low crime even before they enacted gun control legislation, and the trend has been for crime to increase after gun control is enacted.

    A person in your position cannot help but know that India's severe gun control, amounting to an outright ban for all practical purposes, did not stop the terrorists from obtaining guns and killing large numbers of people with them. That "gun control" only ensured that the victims could not fight back.

    A person in your position cannot help but know that every time easing the infringement on the right to keep and bear arms is proposed (as, for instance, when a State proposes "shall issue" on handgun licenses) the predictions of "blood in the streets" are made, but every time the easing actually happens, the predictions fail to come true.

    A person in your position cannot help but know that, for stated purpose of reducing individual risk of violent crime, gun control does not work.

    Since you cannot help but know these things, I have to presume that there are other reasons for your stated position in favor of "strong restrictions."

  6. #6
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    I think your reply was quite well-worded. You may have written in the heat of anger, but you make perfect sense. Further, you make your points very clearly and pointedly but without being offensive, except insofar as the truth offends.

    I'd consider sending it.
    Diversity: Owning both a Glock and a Mossberg!

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    And I received a reply from Senator Lugar:

    Thank you for contacting me to share your continuing support for gun ownership rights, especially following the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai. I took note of your suggestion that those who lawfully carry firearms could assist with the protection of our communities.

    As I mentioned in my previous correspondence, I support the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens to possess firearms for sporting, collecting, and defensive purposes, and I support Indiana law related to the purchase and ownership of firearms. As legislation affecting these rights comes before the Senate for consideration, I will examine it carefully with your thoughts in mind.

    Protecting Americans from harm is the federal government's most imprtant responsibility. As the senate continues to consider policies concerning the protection of our communities from terrorist attacks, I will have your thoughts in mind.

    Again, thank you for contacting me.
    On the one hand it's much of the same mealy-mouthed non answer we usually get: "I will keep your thoughts in mind." On the other, the response addresses specific comments that I made in my letter which means that somebody in his office read it and thought about it enough to craft a specific response. So I guess that's progress.

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    I'd die right then...

    if I ever got that supportive a letter from my senator,regarding the 2am.
    Which do you think would be first to sign, Durbin or Burress*.?

    *(not really a senator but playing one on TV.)

    When I joined, I swore to protect and defend the Constitution. No one ever said I was relieved of that oath.

  9. #9
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    Oh, the letter is fine. It's his voting record that makes me a tad skeptical that he actually means what he says.

  10. #10
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    With respect, I modified this letter and added to it to make it relevant to my current state of residence. I'm sending it to all my representatives. Thanks very much to the OP for giving me the start.

    Honorable Senator Dodd,

    After the Mumbai terrorist attacks, there has been talk about how to prepare for an attack here. One item that is frequently missed is that the choice of when and where to attack lies with the terrorists and, therefore, the police can do little to prevent them. The terrorists will simply attack where the police are not. If you put guards on the XL Center, the terrorists will attack the Arena at Harbor Yard. Put guards on the Arena, and they will attack a shopping mall. Put armed guards on the malls and they'll attack the next Huskies home game. There simply are not enough police to be everywhere so they'll simply go where the police are not. And since these terrorists are willing to die for their cause, the thought that the police will eventually arrive and stop them will not deter them. If India with its highly restrictive gun control could not stop the terrorists from getting the weapons they used to kill, no such gun control legislation in the US could stop similar attacks here.

    Fortunately, however, Connecticut has a second line of defense against these terrorists. According to a 2004 article in the Indianapolis Star, there were then 125,000 residents of Connecticut who were licensed to carry handguns. The number has likely only gone up since then, considering the current backlog in processing and the lines I saw when I went in for my renewal. In most large crowds there will be some who are licensed to carry. Not all will be carrying at any given time and not all will have the fortitude to stand up to the terrorists and stop them from killing the people around them, but some will. And so we are guarded even where the police are not--by our own citizens.

    Unfortunately, there are areas where those guards, provided without charge to the State or to the people so guarded, cannot go. There remain soft targets where terrorists like those in Mumbai could find fertile killing fields. Those targets are our schools, our state buildings, and many of our public areas. The threat is to our children and youth who are the very future of our nation. The very ones to whom we should be giving the greatest protection are instead the most vulnerable.

    It is vitally important that our schools and universities be protected from terrorists such as those who struck Mumbai. One way would be to hire and train armed security personnel for every school and university in the country, enough to have several in every building whenever children are present. This would be a costly undertaking and would take considerable time to implement. The other solution is far less expensive and that is to allow individuals who have a clean criminal record and no serious mental health issues--people, in fact, who can successfully obtain an Connecticut handgun license--to be armed in such places and to encourage teachers and facility in such places to do so. This will provide the same, free, armed security that the rest of our State enjoys.

    It is frightening to consider that 8 men armed with cheap and popular rifles were able to hold the entire city of Mumbai hostage for nearly a week because that society had gone so far to remove weapons from its populace that the only defense was the police, and they were woefully unprepared. I would like to think this sort of thing could never happen in this country, because of our proud heritage of individual rights and defense of our ideals. While Connecticut is one of the better states in the Northeast when it comes to firearm ownership, many of our gun control laws and policies have gone too far, robbing constituents like myself of their ability to own basic arms for recreation, sport, and when it comes down to it, defense.

    Senator, please consider very carefully the chilling effects of existing and upcoming legislation. If the kind of restrictions that are applied to our right to own and bear arms were levied against any other God-given right in the constitution that defines this great country, there would be a great uproar from more than just those of us who have carefully considered the social contract and our role in society. Firearms regulation only effects those good souls likely to obey it, leaving them defenseless in the face of common criminals who are not, and other enemies foreign and domestic.

    Thank you for your time. I would like to close by linking you to this invaluable gun control fact sheet, in case you would like to see some well cited facts regarding the deterrent effect privately owned firearms have on crime: http://www.gunfacts.info
    "[The 2nd Amendment's] free exercise is the antithesis of serfdom and the only meaningful form of holocaust insurance known to man." -- Gus Cotey, Jr.
    NRA, SAF, and JPFO Life Member. USCCA annual member.
    Public Relations Coordinator, Connecticut Citizens Defense League, Inc.

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    Great. Love it.

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    I just got a call from "Joe" at Senator Lieberman's office. He wanted to let me know they'd gotten my letter, and that Senator Lieberman "supports the current regulations and does not believe more are necessary". I let him know I was pleased that the senator did not intend to erode my rights any further :/

    From Senator Chris Dodd's office:
    Dear Mr. Prescott:

    Thank you for contacting me regarding gun control legislation. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.

    I understand your concerns regarding gun control. I recognize that responsible gun ownership has long been part of America's heritage. However, I also firmly believe that it is the obligation of government to pursue responsible policies that protect innocent Americans, particularly children, from gun violence. In my view, far too many people are killed or seriously injured by guns each year. Data from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control indicate that in 2005, there were 30,694 deaths resulting from gun-related incidents, including 4,714 deaths of persons who were under the age of 21 and 209 deaths of children under 12 years of age. Throughout my career in public service, I have chosen to support gun safety legislation that balances the need to keep our communities safe with the legitimate interests of law-abiding gun owners.

    Thank you again for contacting me. If you would like to stay in touch with me on this and other issues of importance, please visit my website at http://dodd.senate.gov and subscribe to receive my regular e-mail issue alerts. Please do not hesitate to contact me again if I can be of assistance to you in any way.
    And my reply:
    Senator,

    Thank you for your reply. It was certainly more in depth than the disappointing one from Senator Lieberman's office.

    I urge you to look further into the data you have been presented that indicates such a high number of deaths in the home, due to firearms, of children and young adults. These numbers have been widely reported, but as someone with an undergraduate minor in statistics I was skeptical that the impressive numbers may have been hiding something.

    As it turns out, 70 percent of these reported deaths are due to individuals caught up in gang warfare. Fully half those youths are directly involved in illegal activity, often drug related, at the time of their deaths. The remainder are victims of a violent household. That information may be found in a study from the National Center for Health Statistics, “Rates of Homicide, Suicide, and Firearm-Related Death Among Children - 26 Industrialized Countries”, 1997.

    Unfortunately, far more children are killed each year as a result of parental negligence (four per day, in fact) or are teenagers killed behind the wheel of a car (13 per day). If you believe the CDC's WISQARS Injury Mortality Reports from 1998, only 1.3 children die in the home each day due to their discovery and accidental discharge of a firearm. While this is tragic, it is hardly the stuff to drive legislation in a country of over 300 million people.

    If you leave the children out of it, you will also find that at least 50% of firearms related deaths in the United States are a result of suicide. This comes from the Center for Disease Control's "National Vital Statistics Report - Deaths: Final Data for 1998". Also unfortunate, but hardly something the government can be expected to protect against.

    Meanwhile, 15 people are murdered every day by convicted felons in government supervised probation (1998 US Bureau of Justice Statistics). Perhaps if more dangerous felons were kept out of society, free Americans like myself would have to spend less time proving we're not one of them?

    Senator, I understand you feel an obligation to pass well-meaning legislation that attempts to prevent unnecessary deaths of our nation's most treasured assets, our children. Please pay very close attention to the unintended consequences of your intentions, however. Yes, firearms are dangerous and should be treated with respect. However, they are the only tool I know of that allows the small of stature or outnumbered to defend themselves. It is every American's duty to ensure that the "good guys" prevail against the "bad guys". I read every day of a situation in which the police showed up too late, and a "bad guy" prevailed. Laws that restrict the legal ownership and transport of small arms deter only those intent on obeying the law. Let me assure you it is an enormous inconvenience, but as I am a good guy and not playing for the other team, I must follow the letter of the law.

    In an era when civil rights have made a strong enough comeback to allow a black man to be President, gays to marry, and women to have control of their bodies and destinies... I think it is about time to remember that the 2nd amendment protection against criminals and other tyranny was written into the constitution for a very good reason. Detailed research into the effects of stringent gun control has shown time and time again that it is a recipe for more deaths of innocent Americans and an equation for chaos and out of control spending on civil defense that could be handled easily and freely by a well informed and armed populace (which, fortunately, we already have in many ways).
    I would like to thank http://www.gunfacts.info for making this possible. I could never undertake this kind of research on my own.
    Last edited by Bennett Prescott; January 23rd, 2009 at 06:29 PM.
    "[The 2nd Amendment's] free exercise is the antithesis of serfdom and the only meaningful form of holocaust insurance known to man." -- Gus Cotey, Jr.
    NRA, SAF, and JPFO Life Member. USCCA annual member.
    Public Relations Coordinator, Connecticut Citizens Defense League, Inc.

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    These are some of the best worded letters I've seen (dburkhead's original and replies, and Mr. Prescott's additions). Thank you for sharing them. I've saved them to modify and send to my selected officials, if you have no objection. I've also subscribed to this thread so I won't miss any of the followups that are sure to come.

    I often wish I were as eloquent. Thanks again!

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    Bennett Prescott,

    Good job on getting a reply from either Dodd or Lieberman. I often wonder what happens to email and letters that I send to them. My letters probably get read and then round filed because the return address is not in CT, even though I state that I am a CT resident serving in the military.

    dburkhead,

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with your second letter, you should send it in.
    I repeat - some people are just itching to get their panties in a wad about something. And this is why I normally stay out of Legal. <sigh>
    Don't think we are going to take your handguns from you, were just going to limit the number of rounds they will hold. orchidhunter

  15. #15
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    Thanks for the support, guys. PLEASE feel free to take my words and use them for letters to your own representatives. I really think that nobody has ever taken the time to really argue points with Dodd, and just one person saying the right thing at the right time could make enough of a difference that, when the vote to "ban" whatever comes up, our reps will not be so quick to vote against us.

    I wish I could take my rep shooting, I will offer next time I hear back from them. Two of them live in my town.
    "[The 2nd Amendment's] free exercise is the antithesis of serfdom and the only meaningful form of holocaust insurance known to man." -- Gus Cotey, Jr.
    NRA, SAF, and JPFO Life Member. USCCA annual member.
    Public Relations Coordinator, Connecticut Citizens Defense League, Inc.

  16. #16
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    Here's what I got back from Lieberman. I'm going to sleep on it before coming up with a reply. Needless to say, I will not vote for him.
    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Lieberman
    Dear Mr. Prescott:

    Thank you for contacting me to express your opposition to additional gun control laws. I am sorry that we see this issue from different points of view.

    I have long believed the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States guarantees law-abiding Americans the right to own a gun. The Supreme Court recently said the same; but, like every other constitutional right, it is not unlimited in all circumstances.

    Current federal law (the Gun Control Act of 1968; P.L. 90-618) bans the possession of a firearm by persons convicted of any non-business related felony, minors, users of illegal drugs, and persons found to be mentally incompetent. I supported the Brady Law, which mandates background checks to ensure that those seeking to buy guns are lawfully allowed to do so; and I have cosponsored legislation that would close the gun show loophole - which allows convicted felons and people on terrorist watch lists, among others, to evade the Brady background checks. You will also be interested to know that I have voted to reauthorize the assault weapons ban.

    Gun crime remains a critical public safety problem. For too long, it has unnecessarily divided the Congress; and the American people have been left to suffer the consequences. However, the reality is that many Americans agree on most of the critical questions: that the laws on the books should be enforced, the rights of law-abiding gun owners should be protected but unnecessarily dangerous weapons banned, and guns should be kept out of the hands of those who cannot use them responsibly.

    Thank you again for sharing your views and concerns with me. I hope you will continue to visit my web site at <a href="http://lieberman.senate.gov/">http://lieberman.senate.gov</a> for updated news about my work on behalf of Connecticut and the nation. Please contact me if you have any additional questions or comments about our work in Congress.

    Sincerely,


    Joseph I. Lieberman
    UNITED STATES SENATOR
    "[The 2nd Amendment's] free exercise is the antithesis of serfdom and the only meaningful form of holocaust insurance known to man." -- Gus Cotey, Jr.
    NRA, SAF, and JPFO Life Member. USCCA annual member.
    Public Relations Coordinator, Connecticut Citizens Defense League, Inc.

  17. #17
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    Sounds like Mr. Lieberman needs a copy of my "A person in your position cannot help but know...." letter.

  18. #18
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    dburkhead, I am too annoyed to write my own reply, but yours represents my anger perfectly. I'm going to send it to him immediately, thank you!

    I made a few changes at the end:
    Honorable senator Lieberman,

    Thank you very much for your thoughts concerning gun control. I will keep your thoughts in mind when I vote.

    You see, a person in your position cannot be ignorant of the facts unless he is willfully so.

    A person in your position cannot help but know that there is a strong positive correlation between "gun control" and violent crime--the more "gun control," the more violent crime.

    A person in your position cannot help but know that the foreign examples of low crime or low gun crime had their low crime even before they enacted gun control legislation, and the trend has been for crime to increase after gun control is enacted.

    A person in your position cannot help but know that India's severe gun control, amounting to an outright ban for all practical purposes, did not stop the terrorists from obtaining guns and killing large numbers of people with them. That "gun control" only ensured that the victims could not fight back.

    A person in your position cannot help but know that every time easing the infringement on the right to keep and bear arms is proposed (as, for instance, when a State proposes "shall issue" on handgun licenses) the predictions of "blood in the streets" are made, but every time the easing actually happens, the predictions fail to come true.

    A person in your position cannot help but know that, for stated purpose of reducing individual risk of violent crime, gun control does not work.

    Since you cannot help but know these things, I have to presume that there are other reasons for your stated position in favor of strong restrictions. I certainly hope you know, at least, and haven't taken these strong views against my civil liberties on the basis of emotional feeling, and without even a glance at the detailed research done every year by the FBI, CDC, and private citizens here in our own country. If that is the case, you have failed in your responsibility as a representative in the United States of America.

    Keep this in mind: If criminals do not obey the law, and the vast majority of gun crime is committed by known criminals with stolen or illegal guns, what will passing laws that only the law abiding have the inclination to obey accomplish but preventing their ability to defend themselves and creating a society of victims?
    "[The 2nd Amendment's] free exercise is the antithesis of serfdom and the only meaningful form of holocaust insurance known to man." -- Gus Cotey, Jr.
    NRA, SAF, and JPFO Life Member. USCCA annual member.
    Public Relations Coordinator, Connecticut Citizens Defense League, Inc.

  19. #19
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    Glad to help. I've sent versions of that letter to Senator Andre Carson when he wrote of the need for "strong restrictions" on guns, and to State Representative Cherrish Pryor (who, as vice chair of the Indiana House Judiciary Committee has even more reason than most to be aware of those things) when she said she'd "try to keep an open mind" if Indiana Senate Bill 12 (Forbid universities that receive state funding from regulating or prohibiting guns) comes before her.

    Of course, that probably put me in both of those individuals "kook file" but I was probably going to end up there anyway so....

  20. #20
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    I have no qualms about being on Lieberman's crazy list, the man isn't likely to listen anyway.
    "[The 2nd Amendment's] free exercise is the antithesis of serfdom and the only meaningful form of holocaust insurance known to man." -- Gus Cotey, Jr.
    NRA, SAF, and JPFO Life Member. USCCA annual member.
    Public Relations Coordinator, Connecticut Citizens Defense League, Inc.

  21. #21
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    One thing that Hoosiers need to remember about Dick Lugar is that he voted in favor of the AWB the first time around.

    Secondly, whenever I have called his staff to inquire about his stance on ANY issue, I am always told that "the senator has not made his mind up yet." I told one of his staffers that this has been the answer every time that I have called. Not being a believer in this degree of coincidence, I told him that this could only mean three things:

    1. He truly doesn't know, implying lack of knowledge on a basic topic that he should already be informed on.

    2. He DOES know, and doesn't want you to know.

    3. He DOES know, and has shared this with you, but has given instructions that constituents should be be informed of his position.

    The staffer was so silent I could have heard crickets chirping on their phone if the window had been open at their office.

    Bottom line, we need to ship him out and get someone else in ASAP.

    FWIW,

    emc
    "The best defense is still a good offense, for both combat and politics"
    emc - 2009

    TFL Alumnus

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