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Bill Moyers & Michael Winship: Why Have We Stopped Talking About Guns?

You know by now that in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, an elderly white supremacist and anti-Semite named James W. von Brunn allegedly walked into the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum with a .22-caliber rifle and killed security guard Stephen T. Johns before being brought down himself. He’s 88 years old, with a long record of hatred and paranoid fantasies about the Illuminati and a Global Zionist state. How bitter the bile that has curdled for so many decades.

You will know, too, of the recent killing, while ushering at his local church, of Dr. George Tiller, one of the few doctors in the country still performing late term abortions. Sadly, this case was proof that fatal violence works. His family has announced that his Wichita, Kansas, clinic will not be reopened.

You may be less familiar with the June 1st shootings in an army recruiting office in Little Rock that killed one soldier and wounded another. The suspect in question is an African-American Muslim convert who says he acted in retaliation for US military activity in the Middle East.

Soon, however, these terrible deeds will be forgotten, as are already the three policemen killed by an assault weapon in Pittsburgh; the four policemen killed in Oakland, California; the 13 people gunned down in Binghamton, New York; the 10 in an Alabama shooting spree; five in Santa Clara, California; the eight dead in a North Carolina, nursing home. All during this year alone.

There is much talk about hate talk; hate crimes against blacks, whites, immigrants, Muslims, Jews; about violence committed in the name of bigotry or religion. But why don’t we talk about guns?

We’re arming ourselves to death. Even as gunshots ricocheted around the country, an amendment allowing concealed weapons in national parks snuck into the popular credit card reform bill. Another victory for the gun lobby, to sounds of silence from the White House.

Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, wrote – just days before the Holocaust Museum incident – that “rather than propose concrete action that makes it harder for dangerous people to get firearms – while still respecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners – all Washington can seem to muster after high-profile shootings are ‘thoughts and prayers’ for the victims and their families.

“For his part, the President has also included sincere expressions of ‘deep sadness’ at these tragic losses – though without any call to change any of our policies to prevent those losses.”

Yet, as a presidential candidate, Obama pledged “our determination to do whatever it takes to eradicate this violence from our streets, from our schools, from our neighborhoods and our cities. That is our duty as Americans.”

The fact is, neither party will stand up to the National Rifle Association, the best known front group for the arms merchants. In Virginia, just across the Potomac River from the Holocaust Museum, this week’s Democratic primary for governor was won by state legislator R. Creigh Deeds, a man who supports allowing concealed weapons in restaurants that serve alcohol and opposes limiting handgun purchases to one a month.

After Wednesday’s shooting, a conservative organization immediately offered those of us in the media a chance to interview the founder of “Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership,” whose expertise, it was said, is in helping people understand why gun control doesn’t belong in a civilized society.

The e-mail went on to say, “Your audience will appreciate [his] non nonsense common sense talk that will make them wonder why anyone wants to ban guns in the first place.”

Thanks, but no thanks. And no thanks to his counterparts among Christians and Muslims who use every violent shedding of blood to try to promote the worship of guns. Guns don’t kill people, they say. People kill people. True. People kill people – with guns.

So let the faithful of every persuasion keep their guns for hunting and skeet, for trap and target practice, for collecting. They can even have a permit for a gun to protect their business or home, even though it’s 22 times more likely to shoot a member of the family (including suicides) than an intruder.

But please, there are already some 200 million, privately owned firearms in America. Every year there are 30,000 gun deaths and in some years more than 400,000 non-fatal, gun-related assaults. The next time someone wades through a pool of blood to sidle up and champion the preservation of firearms, can’t we just say, no thanks? Enough’s enough.


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I can't believe Moyers prefers only criminal civilians to be armed. They aren't supposed to be armed now if they are felons but that has never stopped them. What fear of burlary, rape and murder would there be for them?

Here is one hell of shock! FEMA has announced on their website a nationwide terrorist exercise is planned for July 27-31, 2009 and they will be utilizing foreign troops to police citizens. You have not heard any of this yet on the media but here is a good link with all the information.

It is regrettable (albeit, understandable) that you feel it necessary to remove blog comments that pose tough, sticky questions. So, here's an easy question: does/will the NIH and federal medical research funding come out of health care funding?

I enjoyed your interview with Wendell Potter,former health executive of Cigna Insurance Company. I strongly suggest you read the latest edition of Life Extension Magazine whose lead story is about why and how precription drug costs are allowed to be execessively high and Life Extension's well thought out research and plan to dramatically cut drug costs to the core. Their plan is thought provoking and warrants an airing on your show. Thanks

Well, Bill, you've slipped a very, very big cog on the firearms stuff.

Here's George Orwell/Eric Blair the end of an article on the Home Guard in the Evening Standard, Orwell wrote: THAT RIFLE HANGING ON THE WALL OF THE WORKING-CLASS FLAT OR LABOURER'S COTTAGE IS THE SYMBOL OF DEMOCRACY. IT IS OUR JOB TO SEE THAT IT STAYS THERE.'

I sold my sidearm (that we were authorized to take to Vietnam with us, being ammo storage guys who'd be hard put to sling our inventory clipboards and calculators and unsling our M-14A1s--so handguns made great sense, even for PFCs) because I had children in the house.

But after eight years of Cheney/Bush, presidential decision directives that the president can declare Martial Law whenever the hell he feels like it, WITH NO LEGISLATIVE OR JUDICIAL REVIEW (he'd keep 'em around OUT OF COMITY, the PDD says, but they have no role in "the continuity of government", or "coup" or "regime change" (which the US is pretty well practiced at--it's easier to count the nations whose leaders we have NOT OVERTHROWN rather than the ones we have, as there are fewer we've NOT messed with than all the ones we have.

Posse Comitatus was repealed (1879 law--maybe it's been reinstated but I haven't heard much about it on "the news." or "in the news."

Obama wants to unconstitutionally "modify" the writ of habeas corpus to hold anyone J. Edgar Hoover's ghost is worried about might be "thinking about" or, shudder, even TALKING ABOUT. We'll soon enough have a ban on large public assemblies under the rationale that a conspiracy is "two or more persons who form a maleficent plan and take ONE or more steps in furtherance of that plan."

And the NSA has already, according to Jim Bamford in The Shadow Factory, installed "beam splitter boxes" on ALL THE TELCO TRUNK LINES in the US, coming transoceanic, going transoceanic. So the US Gov't, under the aegis of NSA and squadrons of "outsourced" and "privatized" security services outfits, is COLLECTING EVERY TELECOMMUNICATION THAT OCCURS WITHIN OR TRANSITS THE US.

There's just so much of it that they can't do "real time" eavesdropping on command. BUT THEY'RE WORKING ON THIS PROBLEM with various kinds of clever triage schemes. And the Israelis, with spin-offs from Mossad, is getting a live copy of the whole schmear, 'cus they handle the seconds/megabytes/services billing for the biggies. I wonder if the guys from AIPAC that the FBI caught talking with Rep. Jane Harmon-Kardon was being illegally or legally tapped. I think that's now three AIPACers who've been indicted for spying against the US.

So, Bill, THE LAST OUTFIT ON EARTH I WOULD TRUST TO "HAVE ALL THE GUNS" is the United States Government.

Dunno if you've ever fired a rifle or pistol or bazooka/rocket launcher, or blown up a stack of expired howitzer shells (just a simple IED, if you bury it and the wires in a road w/ intent to kill, but normally, how you deal with expired munitions--= Our military (Rusmfeld--you go with what you've got, not what you'd like to have, stuff happens, and you know what you know, you know some of what you don't know--but there's that you don't know what you don't know area that's kinda hazardous--let the Iraqi army and whoever else, loot the 1,800 or so, maybe less, scattered ammo dumps Saddam had stashed all over in Iraq. He was probably reading about Rommel, the Desert Fox. But they looted enough firecrackers (non-nuclear ammo, my terminology) to kill about 2,800 of our troops so far--and counting. I figure they've got enough IED-making supplies for another 15 years.

So, you want only the government to have guns? Remember Kent State? Howabout the girl in Boston, killed with "a rubber bullet" (hit her in the eye). Howabout "Don't Tase Me, Bro!!!" (these "non=lethal" gadgets actually have killed people already.).

You want to police in their SWAT combat gear, already "up-armored" with millions of "Heimat's Versicherheit Abteilung" bucks (Heil, Officer!), now used to the new "smash & peek" "anticipatory--though illegal, really--searches, to be carrying all the firearms?

If you want to end some of these random killings, we need to empower the people, and arm us all, if necessary. I think it would be a good idea. We could be like Ispretend, yet also Isreal and Palestine--Israel dares Palestinians to make a move -- go ahead, make my quota -- and takes out Palestinians 30 or 40:1.

The only airforce, army, navy, marines the Palestinians have is THE DREAD PEACE PROPOSAL. I recommend the present a new proposal every day for as long as it takes. (Read Noam Chomsky on the topic of "rejectionism"--inasmuch as the US and Israel reject/veto every single proposal, you'd think the rest of the world would wake up and say, "Gee, I think there's a pattern here. They don't EVER intend to sign a treaty until they control every last drop of water, aquifer, water-table, and, as Chomsky quotes in World Orders Old and New, (204) :

"As for the Palestinians, U.S. planners had no reason to doubt the assessment of Israeli government specialists in 1948 that the refugees would either assimilate elsewhere or "would be crushed": "some of them would die and most of them would turn into human dust and the waste of society, and join the most impoverished classes in the Arab countries". Accordingly, there was no need to trouble oneself about them. These basic interpretations have remained stable until today [pubdate, 1994, but he's updated in 2008 pubs--no change], taking concrete form as events unfolded."

The REAL problem (you should up an investigative team to suss out the facts, actually, since it's just down the block, figuratively) is that the stuff that blew out and down towers #1 and #2, and just blew down, in pedestrian controlled demolition mode, WTC #7, was nano-thermate. And so far as I know, only our (and maybe the Israeli) military are manufacturing that stuff. One can make "boutique bombs" out of the stuff, when you get down into the nanometers. Probably waaaaay less heavy than ordinary cutter charges and C-4 or the other high explosive concoctions you can make in your basement.

So it was pretty trivial to take a bunch of that explosive stuff-=it might even have been in the form of thick, syrupy paint--Tom Sawyer could have gotten WTC inhabitants to help paint the stuff on the interior core columns, right from the top of the elevator cabs (and those WTC cabs are HUGE, like cattle cars. Or (oops) WERE huge. One chap with more experience in these matters than I estimates that maybe a dozen aces needed only about a week to wire the three buildings, and even give special attention to the heavily reinforced "services" floors 3/5ths of the way up (you can see the surcingle (or maybe girdle is the better word) of explosives take out the reinforcements in all of the videos when you slow 'em down.

So do I want "my" government to have all the weapons? "My" government, which has no problems killing 3,000 folks at home, to get a "buy in" to kill, what, 300K, 400K Iraqis and Afghans, 4,500 is it now? Americans, dispossessing a mere six or so million Iraqis, taking maybe 3/4ths to 1 million kids under 5 and "killing them softly" with malnutrition, polluted drinking water, bombed out water treatment plants, WITH A 13-YEAR ILLEGAL "COLLECTIVE PUNISHMENT'" regime of the financial and physical barricade, blockade (it was only the US and the UK who ran it--Ramsey Clark prepared a World Court indictment against Clinton for Crimes Against Humanity for continuing the blockade throughout his 8 years in office.
Which has no problem with torturing thousands of POWs (global war plus prisoners equals "prisoners of war"-- unless you happen to be a Unitary Liar-In-Chief, I s'pose). Which has no problem with torturing TO DEATH maybe 125 POWs that we know about, and of course we can almost "know what we don't know" with great certainty with the previous (and now the current) administration, as the working presumption in dealing with government officials now must be "You're lying. Prove to me that you're NOT lying, as you're presumed to be lying unless you can prove, beyond a SHADOW of a doubt, that you're not. (No reasonableness test do these guys get--they're WAAAAY too mendacious.)

You've talked with Bruce Fein on the Journal three, maybe four times. On his last appearance, he noted what I've been blogging about for a couple of years: 18 USCode §2441, the US War Crimes Act, makes it a felony to break our war treaties, UN charter, Geneva Conventions, Hague Conventions, like that. AND a CAPITAL CRIME if someone DIES during the administration of torture--and as Fein said, quoting Wilkerson, some 25 of the known 125 deaths have been ruled HOMICIDES--murders, to use a lay term.

In other words, a prosecution under that statute against Bush, Cheney, Addington, Feith, Rumsfeld, Meyers, Rice, Gonazles, Tenet, Yoo, ByBee, maybe Rove, certainly Libby would probably be successful. And, given what's been revealed as a rather "hands-on" hour-by=hour micro-management, by video-conference (I wonder if they actually watched the torture sessions, waterboarding sessions, from the White House. Inasmuch as we're controlling the Raptor drones killing civilians in Afghanistan from "cramped, hot trailers" in Colorado, it's certainly not a stretch), a good case can be made for criminally negligent homicide, AT THE VERY LEAST, against our top-most leaders--and probably a gaggle of lower-level aiders and abetters after the fact like the four congressional leaders (Pelosi, Reid, can't remember the Republicrats) and the four top intelligence committee members of congress.

As Bruce suggested, when you got all incredulous on him, that Obama would probably commute sentences or dole out pardons, but I'll tell you what: If we were to prosecute these rogue heads of government, find them guilty, sentence them to death--and carry out the executions (I know George would approve; he's a real advocate of the death sentence, as he demonstrated as Tejas governor, I believe, do have any doubt that Obama would try to raise the fraudulent "state secrets" "privilege" (You listed to This American Life's Dupont-winning "Habeas Schmabeus--now listen to the brilliant piece, New Beginnings (yes, a tautology, but, with Ira, you gotta give the guy a little latitude), act II, I think it was. US vs. Reynolds--the B-29 bomber crash that killed RCA engineers working on secret com. gear--and the accident report was said, by OUR GOVERNMENT LAWYERS, to contain "state secrets". Fifty years later, declassification sets in, a webpreneur scans the docs, offers 'em for sale online, daughter of dead RCA dad buys 'em, reads 'em, and, (ohhh, gee, you'll never guess--unless you've gotten STRAC real quick on the presumption of lying) THERE WERE NOT STATE SECRETS IN THE REPORT. AND THE REAL GOOD NEWS IS THAT THE COURTS, INCLUDING THE SUPREMES, SO FAR AS I CAN TELL, NEVER EVEN BOTHERED TO READ THE SUBJECT ACCIDENT REPORT, TO, what's the term?? Ahh, to "exercise judicial oversight" over another branch of government--that, darn, real memory problems here, ahh, that BALANCE OF POWERS notion. (And a pale, fading, wisp of a concept of "Government of laws, not men," fast disappearing into the æther, to be soon lost forever in this nation.)

Really. Absorb this complete picture. Government sends up researchers in a real dog of a plane--a loser out of a batch of losers--the B-29s were put together pretty quickly, and didn't get used long enough to implement the improvements (had we used them in Iraq, the aircraft engineers would have -- let's see, from 1991 to 2050 or so-- had 60 years to perfect the B-29.

This ill-maintained, rushed-into-service dog of a plane crashes. The record shows beaucoup negligence ALL around--that has nothing to do with the dead civilian engineers.

Government lawyers lie to the court (perjury, obstructing a (possibly criminal) investigation, interfering with the administration of justice, they shoulda been disbarred, fined, and served some prison time. Certainly impeached and removed from office (wasn't there a recent president who lied under oath and actually got indicted (impeached) but not "convicted"--so Bill stayed in office, and Monica hitched up her thong and went out into the cold, crewel world.

So the lawyers lie; the judges are too lazy to double-check the liars. AND NOW WE HAVE A PRECEDENT THAT OBAMA IS CLAIMING FOR HIS OWN PURPOSES!!! (OK, maybe the "bangs" are du trop, given the all - caps treatment.)

Remember something else that Bruce Fein (oh, he's a prescient one, is he!) said? That if you don't smack down these abuses, these IMPEACHABLE abuses of power, this law-breaking--these are not misdemeanors, these are capital crimes, How high could be determined by the height of the gallows tree, or the top of the guillotine. (I don't cotton to the death penalty/sentence/retribution, but I could certainly temporize for this gang of crooks and murderers (putatively). The likelihood is great that they've been at least compllicit on, guess what, Mass Murders--just what is produced by Weapons of Mass Destruction. They've used 'em for the past eight years.

And now we're keeping more torture information secret (we know it's only to protect the malefactors' 2nd point of contact, I think it's called.--a VERY abstract euphemism), Obama is saying "I am the President" (ohhh nooo, can "I am the Decider" be far behind? Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts REALLY badly. And with great efficacy and expedition--and it goes real fast, too.) and citing faux precedents based upon fraud in the courtroom.

Not ONE of our three branches--maybe twigs is better?--of government is coming out of any of this very well--war, torture, laws, constitution, the "economy of contributor-class robber barons".

And this is just the predictable denouement of this long, drawn out morality play, put on by the great producer/director in the sky just to deliver one Æsopian moral:
"Evil triumphs when men and women of good will do nothing.

And, to the point: And you want to have it that We the People are unarmed while our Unitary Lying Government keeps all the weapons, keeps the wiretaps on all our activities involving digital communication, has put in place directives to enable the descent into martial law?

They've already practiced their secret "continuity of government" stuff that does not follow the Constitution (else why is it secret?) back on 9/11/2001 (remember all that "undisclosed location" bs--when a bunch of gov't folks got whisked around behind Camp David, Bush is out playing tiddly-winks with ET in New Mexico or Colorado, maybe others are in the tunnels of our own Tora Bora, Iron Mountain (and the Colorado base is also an underground bunker).

As my first wife observed near the final scenes of Dracula, when Johnathan Harker, his vampire elimination kit slung over his shoulder, is workikng his way down the ivy vines to Count Dracula's crypt, the sun is sinking lower in the sky, Harker climbs in the mullioned casement window, unfurls his spike-and-mallet kit, moves the lids off the coffins.

Then hesitates--the Count or the Lady? He chooses Ladies First. He turns, but McCavity's, um, Dracula's not there.

Saith X1: "I fear he's made a grave mistake."

(One of my then colleagues at the Albany T-U liked it so much that he ran it in his column. However, this was many moons ago, and he referred to my ux. as "Bill W.'s wife."

Ohh, deep sneakers. (Right, a good thing I'd sold my Parabellum--except I hadn't, yet.)

So, bottom bottom bottom line: It would be a GRAVE MISTAKE to disarm American Citizens. Right now, we're almost at the point we reached, oh, say 313 years ago, also on July 4th:

You may remember the sentiments:

"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the Powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

"That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

Now, I personally think that we could have a huge renascence of Constitutional awareness if we enabled The Preamble Project--every government meeting (senate, house, state legislatures, city councils, etc) and every school-child's day begins with the recitation of the Preamble to the US Constitution.

It's a pretty powerful 54-word sentence. It establishes "We the People" as the source of power, and the government as our servants (or public servants, if anyone prefers that locution). It reinforces that "WE" are in this together -- unlike the so-called "pledge," which pits the slender "I" against the whole "republic"--and which was ginned up mostly to promote flag sales and Youth's Companion Magazine subscriptions in 1892 for the 400th celebration of genocidalist (genocide? like parricide?) Columbus' discovery of America's winter playground. (Columbus and his merry men exterminated the Arawak Indians--the "indigenous population at the time"--which was estimated at between 2 and 8 million souls (but "the country he came from/had God on its side," to quote Bobby Zimmerman).

So, we recite the Preamble; it encourages the "hey, we're in this space-ship earth together" context. It reminds our public servants that they're the public's servants. Period. No "I'm the Decider." or "I'm the President, [so shut up and stop bothering me with your 24-hour news-cycle idiot questions." But more like, "Yes, Ma'am; no sir. Thank you, Ma'am."

And then, six well-ordered priorities, mission statements, our instructions to our servants:

1) to form a more perfect Union [like, having the municipalities and states stop competing against one another and beging cooperating on our global problems--at least our continent-threatening bits of it);

2) establish Justice [this should be obvious--government of laws, not of men, no lying about WMDS, no torture, no breaking laws, no lying to the court to avoid a huge, and well-deserved, damages settlement, no more overthrowing regimes (I mean, Hawaii, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Haiti--a couple of times--puny Grenada, Panama, Honduras, Guatemala, Columbia, Venezuela, a couple of times, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, the Philippines, Indochina, South Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine (they voted, we rejectionisted--Sorry, wrong result--we do Democracy with a PD--PRE-determined outcome.)

3) insure domestic Tranquility (What makes you most nervous--the collapsing economy, or collapsed economy, or the threat of martial law--or the US becoming the island nation of Kansas, or fewer deaths per year than are caused by smoking, obesity, traffic accidents, poisonings--someone put a list up YouTube--it's pretty good for setting a context.

4) (note well that this is not priority #1, it's priority #4, because without the first three, there's no reason to "provide for the common defense"; and the antinomian heretics in our government have made us far less safe than we ever were. In fact, had they spent less time planning 9/11/2001 and more time planning what they'd do in Iraq after superior firepower reduced the Iraqis to guerrilla warriors (funny how history plays these tricks; weren't we the guerrillas once? Actually we got pretty good at the three-rank musket company our darned selves, after von Steuben imposed a little training--another myth goes pffft.)

5) promote the general Welfare (Welfare? WELfare?! In OUR constitution. The first sentence!!! lawsamercy, Mary, how could that be. George and Jim and Tommy and Ben the rest were learned, wealthy, landed (or propertied, at least) men. But really, doesn't it make sense? General welfare would be served by single-payer health stuff, by not flooding our coasts out of existence, a REAL Atlantic City-is, instead of Atlantis. By getting back to teaching and learning in schools instead of stupid, destructive tests meant to ruin the education system (but then, I have two fingers left, so I can see "two or more persons, who...") And howabout a monetary system that indeed provides for THE GENERAL welfare, not the 0.01% highly-specific welfare for the corporate, oligarchic campaign donors -- by the way, if we set up six or seven channels of OUR airwaves for FREE campaign advertising, pols wouldn't have to beg for bucks and be beholden thereafter.)

And finally, to

6) secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity. We could do art, play basketball, sing, scuba-dive, play bridge, listen to concerts, watch plays, raves...raise children, learn new careers.

So that's why we "did ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Don't you think it would be amazing if every citizen in this representative Republic (it's obviously not a "democracy," if ever there was one in this world) of ours could ask our public servants, what they did today to "promote the general Welfare," or actually "provide for the common defense--like, find that missing $2.3 TRILLION--that's "rillion" with a T--and so on.

Don't you think there would be more of a since of pride (and no more Hitler salutes like the pledge's author, Francis Bellamy, prescribed--and people implemented until Hitler saw it, liked it, and adopted it (supposedly Mussolini saw it first, and he taught it to Hitler.

In this country, we don't do the Worship False Icons thing.

We don't have men and women, before they go off to war, "pledge their allegiance" to a mere flag, beautiful and inspiring though it is.

No indeed. We swear (or affirm) to "support and defend" the US CONSTITUTION. Why not the flag? Because the Constitution IS THE REAL DEAL. Without the Constitution (and people following it), we're in some really deep sneakers, as you may have noticed. You may have noticed, over the course of your life, that EVERY country has a flag.

But not every country has a Constitution. And NONE of them have a United States Constitution. And a Declaration of Independence to back it up--and even an amendment, the Ninth, to remind people that there IS a Declaration of Independence, and several years of debate over that Constitution, unique in its day (although ignoring its provisions, breaking the laws established under its ægis, can tear the Constitution to pieces far faster than the speed at which it was created).

So this Saturday, July 4, 2009 might be a great day to start memorizing the Preamble. And use it with our "public servants" DAILY.

I have a feeling that would be less destructive, and hopefully, equally effective, that chucking out the whole thing, going back to the Declaration, and starting all over again.

But do remember, this day we do not celebrate the Constitution. We are actually celebrating the creation of the Declaration of Independence, the document that started our first long war.

I cannot honestly say I do not own a gun, my brother left 2 of them here, ammo and all. But I've never purchased one. However, let me say this, I live in a lower middle class neightborhood, and I'd guess fully half of my neighbors do own and carry guns. I feel much safer knowing that. Criminals will think twice before invading any home in my neighborhood, because the chances are great they'll be facing a gun when they get inside.

Also, I can't help but feel that there would have been far fewer fatalities at the Virginia university (forgive me if my geography is wrong here) if some of the students or professors had been carrying guns and one of them had taken the shooter out before he went on to subsequent rooms and shot even more people.

If carrying guns is forbidden, I will have to live in perpetual fear. The theives (and worse) will have them. That much is certain.


You said to the JPFO

fter Wednesday’s shooting, a conservative organization immediately offered those of us in the media a chance to interview the founder of “Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership,” whose expertise, it was said, is in helping people understand why gun control doesn’t belong in a civilized society."
And then you denegrate his qualifications...

Thanks, but no thanks. And no thanks to his counterparts among Christians and Muslims who use every violent shedding of blood to try to promote the worship of guns. Guns don’t kill people, they say. People kill people. True. People kill people – with guns."

So his side, our side, and the RIGHT side of this argument doesn't get a say...
How ...How.. open minded and liberal of you...
Feel free to censor people...and be open about it..How brazenly ONE-SIDED can you get... No bias here..

And about "people kill people..WITH GUNS..."

LoL... yeah... murders with knives are through the roof elsewhere in this world...
You like facts?
England outlawed guns along time ago... Guns were confiscated by the tens of thousands... Gun crime has been up 300% since..


Violence (in the innercity or the rustbelt suburbs) many of you blame on "poverty" may be more properly attributable to oppression (by the government, other institutions or racists). Guns are ineffective against structural injustice.

A good alternative to the militias (bad connotation today) of the Second Amendment. might have been the First Amendment religious freedom clause. It would have worked for gun worshipers. But then the parallel rights of redress, peaceful assembly, publishing (broadcasting) and speech have now been narrowed, perverted or greatly abrogated by time and circumstance. It does not seem too queer that the antiquated "right to bear arms" (the most violent and least practical of all) should also cleave to its grave.

May our tyrants enjoy a natural death in their own time, as may this empire.

I respect the rights of law abiding citizens to purchase a gun or guns. I, however, do not like guns so I have not bought one. The marketplace speaks louder than anyone.

Having been reared with and around guns, I think it is the improper education and use of guns that cause the terrible accidents that are somewhat exploited in the media. This tactic is used, I suspect, because the NRA has a powerful lobbying presence. I understand that certain tools are used in certain ways. And, everyone has a right to their respective opinions.

It seems to me that pushing for education in the proper usage of firearms should be mandated for the buyer at the time of learning to drive, if you will. Apply for a license to own a gun, go through a course in the safe handling of firearms, a background check, show proof of completion then get the gun if the requirements are met. That concept is in place for many issues in this society.

One thing that I don't understand is the availability of semi-automatic weapons to the general public. Nonetheless, Good people are good; bad people are bad. The criminal element will always find a way to get guns.

Oh Bill, found the one I wanted

Here Mr. Thomas Paine fan:

Arms discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property... Horrid mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived of the use of them.
Thomas Paine

Could they have seen 9 million people in one city? I really don't know, but some founders dreamed of a country of 300 million...

Things do change... But rights do not.

Bill... I am stunned. As a historian you know well that the 2nd Amendment is not about hunting or gun sports.. You are fond of quoting history and the founders.. "Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence ... (George Washington) "Americans have the right and advantage of being armed - unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms." (James Madison, The Federalist Papers #46 at 243-244) "the ultimate authority ... resides in the people alone," (James Madison, author of the Bill of Rights, in Federalist Paper #46.) "The people are not to be disarmed of their weapons. They are left in full possession of them." (Zachariah Johnson, 3 Elliot, Debates at 646) It is about Freedom and staying free against tyrannical rule. You make a deal about the 30,000 gun deaths... But fail to mention the 33,000 suicides, of which 57% are gun related... Not to mention the gangbangers... I am STUNNED that you are trying to convey this into a legitimate argument for gun confiscation or regulation... Motor vehicles cost 45000 deaths a yr. Poison?? 37000 a yr... Sir, I dare say it is the LEGAL OWNERSHIP of guns that keep American free and that will remain forever, as it should be.

To be able to defend one's life and liberty is a natural right. No one, especially not the State, has any right to take this away.

People may be naturally violent, but only a tiny fraction are so violent that they will kill without either a direct threat to their life, or some kind of external motivation, such as propaganda from the government to fight a war.

Conveniently ignored on this blog is the fact that the majority of violence is not committed by gangs, the mafia, or rednecks, but by the State. State approved murder is the real issue that should be discussed.

And the State is often indirectly responsible for violence it does itself carry out, such as the death and destruction caused by the War On Drugs. And it would be foolish to think that the State's own militarism has no effect on the behavior of the general population.

Gun control is exactly that, another method of control the State wishes to have over the population.

I have been very disappointed in your lack of understanding of the gun issue, Mr. Moyers, both historically and now. One problem with discussing and airing the successful defense cases with personal firearms is that those who speak publicly about owning firewarms are not necessarily wise to do so since the criminal is always seeking a source of guns to steal & too often are going to bushwhack those who hope they have protected themselves sufficiently. Many responsible homeowners who protect their homes with guns let no one know of this. I have seen elderly women with guns who were able to live out their natural lives without being attacked and without having to use said guns. And some successful defenses cannot be documented. So the little old lady shot the burglar and he, merely winged, vanished? Do you think he is going to tell the ER several towns over that that was what he did? IF the little old lady calls the police and tells them, this is still not recorded as the success that it is. The figures of how many people were saved by owning guns cannot be quantified and to the extent that they can the anti-gun lobby stops all efforts. How do you know that having a gun as a young lady goes into her home in a dangerous neighborhood is what saved her from the punk that was stalking her? Those who are armed can merely promise never to protect those of you who don't want guns used by the law abiding with a gun should the need arise.

Dennis, please remember that it is not my intent to sound harsh or disrespectful, although occasionally my irony and sarcasm get the better of me, especially when I get intellectually impatient. Now then, with that in mind, here we go . . . First a general point, then specific replies.

There was this drunkard in the middle of the night searching for something under a streetlamp. Someone stopped by and asked him – are you looking for something? "Yes," the man says, "I lost a quarter." Well, you've been looking for awhile, says the concerned citizen; is it here under that streetlamp that you lost your quarter? "No," replies the drunkard. Then why are you looking for it here? "Because there's light here," he replied.

Again, no offense to you, mind you -- this is metaphorical -- but this exemplifies the attitude and views of the liberal and/or anti-gun crowd. They insist on looking for the problem in a place where it is assured not to reside, because they would like to find it there -- where it's consistent with their preferences and/or prejudices.

Now, on to specifics.

-- " says both the 90% figure and Fix Noise's 17% figure are incorrect. To put it in terms of Rupert Murdoch's article: "There's just one problem with the 17% percent "statistic" and it's a big one: It's just not true." So how's about we split the difference? Factcheck says the true number is not known with precision, but is more than double 17%."

So it looks like nobody knows the exact number for sure, but the exact number is IRRELEVANT – Dennis, please get away from that streetlamp. What's relevant is that Mexico is a violent and unstable country where 100,000 army regulars defected to join the drug cartels; that the drug cartels have a budget in the tens of billions of $$, and that the cartels are armed with machine guns, RPGs, bazookas -- in short, the things that YOU CANNOT buy in the US in the civilian market. In that context, your complaint about semi-auto rifles that are smuggled from the US into Mexico strikes me as capriciously selective and nearly irrational. And again, if that is considered a problem, then let's close the goddamn border – whatever it takes. Most Caucasians in America use guns responsibly – I don’t want to be blamed for the criminality amongst Mexicans in Mexico.

-- "I find references to .50 caliber sniper rifles everywhere, including this video on youtube from the Discovery Channel. As far as I know, the Discovery Channel has no iron in the gun debate fire, but correct me if I'm wrong."

My point was not that there are no 50 cal rifles that can be used for "sniping," but that a number of rifles of different calibers can be used for effective sniping. I noted that this expression "50 caliber sniper rifle" is usually used by the antigunners, such as VPC, Brady, etc., implying that somehow there is something fundamentally different about this one and so it allegedly "needs" to be banned. There isn't. The bullet does carry more energy than other rifles – say, 11000 foot-pounds versus 8600 foot-pounds for 460 Weatherby Magnum (a large-game hunting rifle.) Is that enough of a difference to ban the 50 cal? Not in my opinion – for after this one is banned, there will be another one, the next lower in line, that will become "the meanest" and presumably most "deserving" of getting banned. I know how the anti-gun movement operates – piecemeal and by deceit. And the video in part strikes me as being sensationalist and less than truthful. The narrator describes the advantage of semi-auto over bolt action. He fails to point out that there exist no semi-auto rifles that can match a bolt action in accuracy. (To wit, to achieve their record shot, the Canadians in Afghanistan used not the semi-auto Barrett 82A1 that's shown but the bolt action McMillan. Barrett 82A1 is nowhere near as accurate.)

-- "That was a decent point about Vermont and gun violence. The inner city gun violence is depressing and removed from most of the people likely to be debating it, though it strikes me that poverty is at least as relevant a factor as race."

At least as relevant as race? I don't think so. If it were so, then the poor whites in Appalachia would have made that region the murder capital of the US. Yet the murder rates in Philadelphia, Detroit, Washington DC, and other inner cities (from which whites were driven out – as I felt I was) dwarf the rates of violent crime in the Appalachia, making that rural region an oasis of tranquility in comparison. And as far as I recall, WDC spends more per student in public schools than any other city or State in the US, so this poverty disclaimer / excuse is beginning to wear thin. Again, no offense to you.

Let me put it this way: there is good and bad, smart and not-so-smart, and violent and peaceful, in every race. However, this is one of those little truths that conceal a larger lie – a Marxist claim that the races allegedly are otherwise interchangeable. They aren't. Statistical average IQ differs, temperament differs, impulsiveness, proclivity to violence differs, the average level of testosterone in males differs (it's directly correlatable to impulsiveness and violence) -- and all those differences make Switzerland different from Swaziland & Zimbabwe.

--"I agree better enforcement of immigration policy would benefit everyone, except perhaps for U.S. businesses and individuals looking for cheap labor from down south."

We agree on something. Democrats look for cheap votes; the Wall-Street type Republicans look for cheap labor. Neither one seems to give a damn about the cohesiveness of the society. (I am a Buchananite Republican, except I stay away from the pro-choice / pro-life political battles.)

-- "But that's the real issue, isn't it. A border fence on the scale of the Great Wall of China to keep out the barbarian hordes would be quite the feat. With the governor of Texas talking secession, and Oklahoma's legislature voting for sovereignty, it might be hard to know where to build it. It would be a shame to have to redo it."

Let's not exaggerate. The wall belongs on the Southern border. Borders used to keep apart peoples of different cultures and holding different values; they were more than merely topographic coordinates on a map. Our elites are abolishing those borders, and once abolished they reappear elsewhere in a different form – at airports with KGB-type searches (to which now EVERYONE is subjected to) and cameras on street-corners and mistrust (often justified) in people's hearts. There is a non-$$$ price to be paid for the blind cult of Diversity. Obviously, unlimited diversity is incompatible with liberty. You can see that with ease.

In contrast, the so-called state sovereignty movement is merely aimed at rolling back the jurisdiction of the federal reach that has eroded the 10th Amendment -- not complete secession.

--" What's your concern with gun control, if I may?"

It is often used as a subterfuge to gradually erode gunownership and ban guns or, failing that, to sue the gunmakers out of existence, as was attempted already. And many of the people (politicians and celebrities, newspaper publishers) who publicly push for gun-control are supreme hypocrites – they use their influences to acquire license and carry concealed guns for themselves where no average citizen can (e.g., New York City, San Francisco, etc.) I could cite some public names, but I would rather not. Some come to gun-control rallies surrounded by gun-toting bodyguards. Amazing! I hope you can find this phenomenon didactic. There are few things I find more contemptible than hypocrisy of those who try to deprive others of the measure of safety they insist on securing for themselves.

However, I welcome background checks, both criminal and mental, for those who wish to carry concealed firearms – as it is done in 38 States.

-- "Is it the imbalance of power between you and the state?"

The Founders of the Republic provided the 2nd Amendment at the federal level, and 44 out of 50 State Constitutions recognize the right to bear arms, often in expressly individual terms (as opposed to militia). I see private gunownership more as a psychologically healthy phenomenon for both the state AND the citizenry – more psychologically-healthy than tactical.

-- "Between you and criminals?"

Yes, I see a gun as a good antidote to a hostile criminal, especially if the police are not around to protect me. The courts have ruled that police cannot and will not be held liable for failure to save someone; they are there only to ensure general sense of law and order, not to be anyone's bodyguard.

-- "Or foreign races?"

I'm not really being attacked by "foreign races" (although the FBI Reports do cite disproportionate black-on-white violent crime, like 9 to 1 ratio. But if I am killed by a white criminal, I'll be just as dead -- so this transcends any racial dimension.)

-- "Do you foresee the need to use your gun on a person or multiple persons someday?"

I don’t. However, I don’t expect a fire in my house either, yet I carry house insurance policy.

Anyway, I hope this conversation was useful. Take care.

Panther steak, my favorite!


Then, sir, allow me to retract my rants. Flexibility is the key to peaceful coexistence... ;)

It is so easy to name-call and dehumanize the 'other side.' It is oh so much more civilized to build that social compact and live with it.

You come on over to my cave anytime. I'll put an extra panther steak on the coals and be sure my woh-man has plenty of manioc-root beer fermenting.. ;)

"Live and be well."

You too, man.

Those colorful Wiccans. Keep in mind you used my screen name too, quite a bit, but it's no problemo. Though you don't give your side enough credit; I was getting talked down to middle ground...

"I personally could care less about taking rifles from responsible owners."

No, Dennis, just ridiculing them because you assume - you might be surprised at how wrong you are - they sit on a different side of the ideological fence from you. Your whole schtick about the AK-47 you inherited, the backyard automatic weapons fire., your father in his cave... all an inartful jab at those iggnerant is emblematic of your entire "side's" attitude...and you have the onions to simper as the one attacked. If you had simply raised questions, asked those 'why's' in a simple straightforward manner...I would have been glad to take part in a civil debate. But you hand out mud and expect chocolate in return. Sorry fella.

And when you use my screenname in one of your rants, you invite response, regardless of whom you claim to have been addressing in your smokescreen response. I am now thoroughly bored....I know you can read as you do you write well, please READ what I wrote in my last post. I far prefer to debate than to name-call - way too much of that going on in our society - but attacks in kind are customarily responded to, in kind.

Live and be well.

oldcorps76 - Actually, I was addressing those questions to Eric, not you, which should have been clear from context; I can guess he has something on point and informative to say, and if he doesn't want to talk about his personal interest in the matter, he can just say that. This is just a discussion and I've learned from it. I personally could care less about taking rifles from responsible owners. And I can certainly handle what you throw at me; based on how I've seen you handle anyone who expresses a viewpoint you disapprove of, I expect nothing less from you.

Dennis, Dennis...

I call you fat, you call me a 'violence advocate.' Oh touche'...

You've neen nothing but superior, cynical and abusive of those with whom you don't agree since this whole running screed began. In short, a Good Extremist. You, Al Franken, and Ann Coulter in the same hate stew hot tub.

Ones own medicine can be

I don't feel superior to you because I own guns. Matter of act, I feel little towards or about you at all despite your vaunted BMI (anytime you want to compare..;). And here is my main point, Dennis. S**Tcan your 'why do you' questions...I owe you nothing, no explanations about who I am or why I do what I do, if it doesn't affect you personally. Just as the homosexual couple down the block owes me nothing to justify why they prefer homosexuality. Or why the Wiccans next door don't owe me a 'splanation of why they don't luv Jay-sus. If you feel personally threatened by the rifles in my closet or the permitted revolver in my pocket, I suggest professional therapy would be a more effective path to resolving your issues than attacking those with whom you don't agree.

Bottom line here....leave me alone in my beliefs, and I will not only do likewise, I will go out of my way to be your friend. Or to stay out of your way if that's what you prefer. Attack my beliefs ideologically as you have been doing and I'll respond and escalate. Until I get bored, which is damn close to happening. says both the 90% figure and Fix Noise's 17% figure are incorrect. To put it in terms of Rupert Murdoch's article:

"There's just one problem with the 17% percent "statistic" and it's a big one:

It's just not true."

So how's about we split the difference? Factcheck says the true number is not known with precision, but is more than double 17%. So who knows: 36%? 47.2%? Quite a lot of guns, though not the slam dunk government officials initially thought.

I find references to .50 caliber sniper rifles everywhere, including this video on youtube from the Discovery Channel. As far as I know, the Discovery Channel has no iron in the gun debate fire, but correct me if I'm wrong.

That was a decent point about Vermont and gun violence. The inner city gun violence is depressing and removed from most of the people likely to be debating it, though it strikes me that poverty is at least as relevant a factor as race. I agree better enforcement of immigration policy would benefit everyone, except perhaps for U.S. businesses and individuals looking for cheap labor from down south. But that's the real issue, isn't it. A border fence on the scale of the Great Wall of China to keep out the barbarian hordes would be quite the feat. With the governor of Texas talking secession, and Oklahoma's legislature voting for sovereignty, it might be hard to know where to build it. It would be a shame to have to redo it.

What's your concern with gun control, if I may? Is it the imbalance of power between you and the state? Between you and criminals? Or foreign races? Or are guns a hobby you fear being made to give up? Do you foresee the need to use your gun on a person or multiple persons someday? If so, since other forms of violence are just as menacing as guns in your view, could you not accomplish the same thing without them?

Good discussion Eric, you're thoughtful and we brought up some good points. Can't say the same for the hapless oldcorps76, whose "contribution" was to say I was fat, an observation he made based on some sort of strange free association in his mean spirited mind, and utterly belied by my impressive body mass index. Besides, everyone knows he's the fat one, and his mom wears combat boots. He's evidently a couple of life disappointments shy of perpetrating a shooting rampage, which is never a good sign in a gun violence advocate. Resorting to cheap insults the way some people do suggests they have no clue how to advocate for their cause, and don't know when to pipe down and let the grown ups talk.

Ever since watching the movie "Out of Africa", I have been interested in the continent of Africa.

The story about cell phones and slaughter is mesmerizing.

After digging out the mineral necessary for cell phone operation, the "labor" was rewarded with just enough credit to purchase guns. Once the "jobs" went away, the now-armed gangs took up watch outside of the farms, waited until the harvest was finished, then went in and killed off the farmers and lived off the fruit of their labor for a year. They did the same thing the next year, and the get the point.

Maybe one day the armed gangs of Africa will search Wikipedia to figure out how to be a farmer, but right now, they've decided being a pirate is more fun.

My personal folklore goes like this - after WWI (yes I, not II) the people in an Eastern European country made a grand romantic gesture. All the soldiers, on the same day nationwide, brought their weapons to the town square, piled them up and sent them off to be recycled back into "ploughshares". You can understand why there are jokes about how "stupid" those people are. Being "good", romantic, CIVILIZED - yup, pretty dumb.

Point is this, "globalization" WAS/IS being done at the barrel of the gun. The Brits invented doing "business" with the criminals in every culture they wanted to "free trade" with, and USA adopted that tradition.

Who has NOT felt in the past 6 months that the real plan was always to steal the fruits of YOUR labor - whether as "intellectual property", "contract law", "sacrifice", etc. etc etc.

The first people to be disarmed are those who are "stupid" because they are "good". Don't do it. If it was REALLY about re-establishing "law" and "order", wouldn't they be going after the dealors?

Ah, Grady and Dennis, sitting in Moms basement, stroking their little chin goattees, dining on Ho-Ho's and vying for the Hunter S. Thompson Cynicism in Badly-Cloned Gonzo Journalism Award....

Yep, country is changing. Just means we will become less like Dodge City and the trash-dump-blasting outings of our collective youth and more like the Swiss, who manage to have both a civilized society -in a small - place no less -and their guns, with lovely publicly-funded shooting ranges and a culture that supports same. To reach this place, we as a nation are going to have to do a lot more thinking and focusing locally, and take back some of the power we have ceded to New York (multinational corporations in case you miss my point) and Washington.

Some things Alinsky came up with were not all bad.. ;)

"The "slow-motion race war" in progress since the Civil War is greatly advantageous to the New England arms dealers." from the "Autobiography of
Malcontent X"

"Categoria controlled death squads are "politics continued by other means" in Mexico." Alfonso Cardenas

Have you ever thought how genocidal conspiracy killings are included in gun death statistics?

jon cranor:

It's the tao of gunsmoke. A house divided is ripe for secession. Secession produces variety. From variety, nature selects what reason cannot. Etc.

Does this mean that while our nation is in a dispute, the Chinese are just going to sit back and watch (remember, “nature selects” and “divided we fall”)?

So o’ wise one, just keep letting our globalized Congress and media drive this wedge further and further between us. And then if you or I should happen to survive this globalization movement, we’ll have the pleasure of working for peanuts right next to our great-great-grandchildren (remember our nation's debt with China, thanks to capitalization, they own us).

In the past 10 or 15 years, do you think all these disputed elections (worldwide) have occurred just by accident? This has nothing to do with f**king gun control; this is a God damn hostile takeover (of globalization proportions).

"I have shot... it, black and white!"
The "shot" did not help much! The people did loose $50 billions in a ponzi scheme, and did not help the shot much for the people that lost billions with LBHI, the Washington Mutual, GM and etc.
One must ask how the states and all gun owners provided any protection to these victims? This is under what article of the Constitution...?
CBS news, "A daughter tells her 89 year old father, you can not die now, I do not have funds to bury you!" After the foxes were on ramped corruption, deregulations, clean the chicken coop, now
will "Considers permanent overhaul of regulations" of the
Financial System. Is it to repeat the cycle in the next 10 - 20 years?
The intent, continue to deprive the people of true democracy, to participate in the process to express their "WILL on ALL ISSUES!" It will be "permanent" when the issues are placed on a ballot!
"The right to bear arms is clearly protected by the Constitution!" Was the "K-1000...." "protected by the Constitution?" As the "oligarchy - executioner sets their climate controlled" for comfort, I stood in the seller with a shovel and a pitch fork, hoping - defending the boiler and the pipes to not freeze or spring a leak! The persons - corporations, as were on rampage, now hide under the Judges skirt with the help of the bankruptcy statute. Perhaps, if people bought "k-1000..." before the losses, they could have protected them selfs against corrupt and injustice system and may be have enough funds to "bury the loved one!"

It's the tao of gunsmoke. A house divided is ripe for secession. Secession produces variety. From variety, nature selects what reason cannot. Etc.

-- "Given that that Mexico has stricter gun control laws than we do (as does almost every other country in the world), it would seem to be a puzzling point."

This should not be puzzling at all when you recognize that Mexico's statistical average non-gun-related homicide rate is higher than the US's COMBINED gun-related AND non-gun-related statistical average rate. The folks in some cultures seem to be more violent than other folks in other cultures. That is the answer to your puzzle.

-- "He didn't use the AK-47 in the police standoff, just seven semi-automatic handguns and a .50 caliber sniper rifle, legally purchased in the U.S."

Hmm . . . I didn't think that there were any crimes committed with a .50 caliber rifle, and I don't recall any stand-offs – and I tend to keep track of these things. Of course, I could be mistaken. Btw, what is a "sniper rifle"? This expression ".50 caliber sniper rifle" is used mostly by the anti-gunners, like VPC, the Brady Bunch, etc.. The police can take any good quality mid-size-game rifle chambered for 308 caliber – a deer rifle, if you will -- attach a good quality scope (good glass, decent range of elevation & windage adjustment, good repeatability to hold zero) and they can use it for "sniping." It's the application of the rifle – not its presumably-magic characteristics – that makes it a "sniper rifle."

-- "I will investigate the race issue next, as that seems very interesting. [ . . . ] Should I operate with the premise recently suggested by prominent South Carolinian Republican Rusty Depass, that blacks come from gorillas? I will assume whites are descended from some sort of master race, too."

That's not my kind of deliberations. For all I know, all races have a common ancestor. However, there is no doubt that various races have evolved differently and they have evolved different cultures, and concepts, and institutions. I would never use any unduly incendiary expressions such as "master race" (with or without its toxic Nazi baggage), but there is no doubt that anthropology, history, and sociology have their legitimate story to tell too, and that such story shows that Whites certainly have contributed most to the humankind, have evolved the most advanced civilization, and were the only ones to come up with the concept of universal human rights and universal civil equality. There's no surprise that the rest of the world wants to immigrate to the USA and to Europe – and they will scream bloody murder if you try to deport the illegal ones.

-- "Then I read this: "U.S. gun stores and gun shows are the source of more than 90 percent of the weapons being used by Mexico's ruthless drug cartels, according to U.S. and Mexican law enforcement officials." Bingo! Puzzle solved.

Not so fast. Wherever you've read it, you've been lied to. 90% of the guns THAT THE MEXICAN AUTHORITIES CHOSE TO SUBMIT FOR TRACING TO THE US came from the US. Most of the guns seized by the Mexican authorities HAVE NOT been submitted for tracing to the US, because Mexico knows that the US is not the source of those guns. Only 17% of the guns seized can be claimed to have originated in the US. Here's where their guns come from:

""The predominant source of guns in Mexico is Central and South America. You also have Russian, Chinese and Israeli guns. IT'S ESTIMATED THAT OVER 100,000 SOLDIERS DESERTED THE [MEXICAN] ARMY TO WORK FOR THE DRUG CARTELS, AND THAT IGNORES ALL THE POLICE. HOW MANY OF THEM TOOK THEIR WEAPONS WITH THEM?""

So there you have it. Mexico's problems are of its own making. And if we are the problem, then let's erect a wall along the border. Problem solved.


Oh s**t, I was just watching Olbermann and he was ragging on a conservative blogger for a typo. I guess I should proof my crap a little better. In my defense, my in-laws are visiting and this has caused my allergies to act up (my eyes are all watery). I’m sorry Keith, I’ll a little harder in the future. (Try! Yeah right, once a hack, always a hack.)

Greetings Eric. Sorry we got off on the wrong foot. See, saying sorry isn't that hard, is it? I know sometimes people get a little harsh online which can leave people feeling guarded. It's easy to get antsy talking over issues of the day. But you cast aspersions on my worth as a human being when you said I have "much to be modest about," and I felt it was very insensitive, untrue and not conducive to discussion. However you have made friendly overtures in response to my complaint of your treatment of me, and made reasonable points, so I accept your olive branch. I'm sorry you think I'm wasting your time. I would think a reasonable person like yourself could tolerate a little eccentricity in his fellow man. You don't have to respond if you are busy. I get busy too. If you think I'm crazy and irresponsible, you should see some of the wackjobs my newsletter attracts!

I know about being guarded, too. My Dad was a very difficult man to live with as you might guess given how he met his demise. He didn't use the AK-47 in the police standoff, just seven semi-automatic handguns and a .50 caliber sniper rifle, legally purchased in the U.S. I found the AK in his cave, where he kept a large stash of munitions in preparation for what he called the "uprising." The weapon had a note attached to it that said "Son, avenge me." I think he came up with those dramatic words from the movie "Red Dawn" though.

Now regarding Mexico, I see in the chart you provided that indeed Mexico has a startling 9.88 homicide rate, compared with our still very high (by world standards) rate of 3.72. So Mexico has 2.66 times the rate of firearm homicide as the U.S. Given that that Mexico has stricter gun control laws than we do (as does almost every other country in the world), it would seem to be a puzzling point.

Then I read this: "U.S. gun stores and gun shows are the source of more than 90 percent of the weapons being used by Mexico's ruthless drug cartels, according to U.S. and Mexican law enforcement officials." Bingo! Puzzle solved.

I will investigate the race issue next, as that seems very interesting. Controversial, too! I hear you on our big cities; it's country life for me. Should I operate with the premise recently suggested by prominent South Carolinian Republican Rusty Depass, that blacks come from gorillas? I will assume whites are descended from some sort of master race, too. It's good not to be constrained by any sort of correctness.

Dennis says: "Eric, why are you being so mean?"

I didn't think I was mean, sorry; I thought I was applying Newton's first law – to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. I hope I don't have to apologize, because typically my apology is so "mean" that it requires another apology of its own.

-- " This wasn't parody, it's true. [ . . . ] I inherited my AK-47 from my Dad--I have no idea where he got it--he died in a shootout with police a few weeks ago, God rest his soul."

Warning: I'm going to be "mean" again – your story is full of (AK47) holes. You are wasting my time. If your father indeed did that, then his gun(s) would likely have been impounded by police. And you certainly would be unlikely to "inherit" a full-auto rifle. And then . . . you shot the neighbor's girl in the leg? So you're telling me that neither you nor your father have been particularly responsible citizens. As I said, some people are irresponsible, and they should own neither a car nor a gun – both potentially deadly devices, especially since there are more car-related deaths than gun-related deaths. (And I don't mean to sound nasty or mean.)

-- " I don't understand what home invasions have to do with anything;"

They have to do with violence – armed home invasions are carried out not for the purpose of having tea and a peaceful discussion about art & music with the homeowner. They may involve robbery, rape, and homicides. Hello?!?

I am concerned about ALL violence. And I don't pick and choose the convenient data while ignoring the inconvenient ones.

-- "I was talking about gun deaths."

And I'm talking about ALL violence and all violent deaths, because if you're stabbed and your lung(s) collapse[s], and you die, you won't say "Thank God Almighty – at least I wasn't shot!"

-- "I will certainly read up more on the Mexico issue."

Please do, thank you. Also, please look into the correlation between race and crime. Even the anti-gun Violence Policy Center recognizes such correlation. So please don't compare the ratio of populations in the US and the UK; compare the racial make-up of the populations. To wit, as I said earlier, the homicide rate in Vermont (96% White and awash in guns) is low and comparable to the rates in gun-free Western European countries and it equals that of Finland. In contrast, our major cities resemble the Third World and they exhibit crime rates symptomatic of the Third World. It's a very politically-incorrect topic. People don't talk about it because it's "racist" to recognize such truths. See here:

" The firearms homicide rate for black youths is more than twice the rate for Hispanic youths, more than three times the rate for Asian youths and nearly 10 times the rate for white youths."

So . . . Somehow, the Caucasian youths seem best-behaved. So it appears that, as far as crime, race matters [gasp!]. Also, please consult the FBI Annual Crime reports for the confirmation of the same phenomenon. Horrors, the facts are so "racist."


Jeremy, I did think of the disparity in population between the two countries, that's a good point. If Britain had a population five times greater and therefore matched us in size, it would have 250 gun violence deaths per year, compared to our slightly larger figure of 30,000.

Has anyone heard about the Iranian election? It look it’s going to be a close one, but there’s still one province in question though. I have a feeling the neo-conservative, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is going win this one, it appears that his brother, Jeb Ahmadinejad is the dictator of the Floridisan province.


Did you ever think of the fact that the UK's population is 60 million while the US enjoys a population of 300 million.

What you should look at is the RATE of violent crime when adjusted for the population.

Also, I love how you use the term "Gun Violence" as if that's any different from regular violence. In the United Kingdom, their gun crime AND violent crime rate has risen since the institution of the 1997 gun ban because only the law-abiding citizens turned in their weapons while the criminals kept theirs, leaving the rest of the population defenseless.

Before the ban, bobbies would refuse to carry guns... Now they have to in order to keep up with the criminal population. Gun violence in the United Kingdom was lower BEFORE the ban, and the United Kingdom has always been a peaceful country. All the gun ban succeeded in doing was taking away the most viable option of self-defense from the most peaceful portion of the population.

Ah, the right to "bear arms,"
black fingernails and Gwen Verdon (or Cyd Charisse) legs. "We want it all; we want it all; and we want it now," screamed the electronics ad. I think this penis-envy gun thing will die down like the Hummer romance. I don't see the Chinese buying Remington and Winchester for selling to the public. The American adventure and empire are economically kaput and so is Texas-big bullying and violence. It's so funny to think how inmates trapped in a THX 1138 job want some little gunnies to enjoy in their "off-hours." It's funny to think how SUVs resembled the plastic toys generations X thru Z humped across the sandbox, and how some expected roids and HGH to give them the barrel chested bodies with grillwork derived from injection moldefd action figures. Before TV brainwashing people who had guns were workmanlike and nonchalant even during the Great Depression. It meant an easier death for your backyard hog, or some squirrel meat in February.

What I mean to say is that the present gun mania is not the legitimate descendant of the Second Amendment and the minutemen of '76, but is a bastard child fathered by scientific marketing. I watch all the idiots buy trail bikes and 4-wheelers with freedom sugarplums in the head, and then observe them for sale at a fraction six months later, after the inaccessibility of the land and the hard nasty work of upkeep hits home. The guns, o the holy guns, may share a tomb with classic pornography or keepsakes from Grandpa. When will you ambitious ones realize firearms are the bygone province of the trashy underclass. They have no place in our intense crowded society unless one is a bully of throwback barbarian.

Jack Martin and I went down to the backwoods trash dump in the halcyon Reagan era and shot at bottles and cans. Jack taught me to halt my breath and relax so I could kill a Nu-Grape bottle. We had 4 slugs left for the 38 Special. I tossed a soup can and he hit it 3 out of 4. "The Klan used to use turkey shoot competitions for fundraising," he related, "and an 8 year lold kid sharpshooter was a good draw." We went next to the pawn shop and he traded the lapsed tool for a camera, the K-1000 I still use sometimes. I have shot John Kerry and Madonna and John Mellancamp with it, black and white. What with digital convenience it is only a bother and a keepsake. All you rugged he-man revolutionary rebels, eyes on your little prizes, a Predator is on your tail. Your oligarchy-obedient executioner sits climate controlled in the Nevada desert. I sleep better just knowing that.

The right to bear arms is clearly protected by the Constitution.

But more importantly, the right to bear arms is a natural right. The Declaration of Independence speaks of the inalienbale rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These rights are meaningless if individuals are unable to protect them from violation, whether that violation be from other individuals or the state.

How can we speak of gun control and not speak about the greatest killer of all time? Any talk of gun control must begin with the state. The state is the main purveyor of violence. And the state, unlike man, does not have natural rights. Why are we not discussing this?

Take the guns away from the people, yet leave them in the hands of the greatest mass murderer of all time? That is absolute madness.

David: Apparently not, if one reads Moyers rant. It is the typical Alinskyite left tactic of ridiculing, demonizing and dehumanizing 80-100M gunowners - or more correctly, the political opposition amongst them - thus avoiding a salient and substantive debate that one is bound to lose.


Why are you being so mean? This wasn't parody, it's true. Are rain puddles smart? I don't understand. Oh wait, I get it, never mind. I don't have a day job, per se. I write an anti-government newsletter, and go to gun shows whenever I can.

The pro-gun violence people in the comments repeat a number of times how reasonable they are, and then insult anyone who raises a viewpoint that challenges their position. Not cool.

Thanks, I didn't know the word "silencer" was a misnomer, that's why I asked. No need to be arrogant about it. People seem to call them silencers a lot, like here in these comments and in the movies. Where can I get a "sound suppressor?" Are they pretty quiet? Do you think the neighbors will still hear my shooting? I inherited my AK-47 from my Dad--I have no idea where he got it--he died in a shootout with police a few weeks ago, God rest his soul.

When you say I have much to be modest about, and you don't even know me, that makes me distrust you and it hurts my feelings. However, I will turn the other cheek as Jesus asks me too (for the time being, anyway). Maybe you didn't realize how that would sound to me.

So if you added up the knife deaths in Britain with the gun deaths, you would get roughly the same amount of death as in the U.S.? 50 gun deaths + 29,950 knife deaths in Britain = 30,000 gun deaths stateside. I suppose we have some knife deaths here too so my equation isn't perfect. I don't understand what home invasions have to do with anything; I was talking about gun deaths. I suppose if Moyers had been talking about home invasions, then it would be relevant. The Brits eat a lot more fish and chips than we do, but again, relevance. As it is, I have a shotgun rigged up to my front door as a booby trap to shoot anyone who tries to enter, so I'm not worried about home invasion.

I do thank you for your analysis, and even though sometimes you weren't very nice to me, you weren't entirely hostile either. I will certainly read up more on the Mexico issue.

Best regards,

I don't know, maybe Bush's unlawful warrantless wiretappings are the only way to control extremists with delusions of patriotism.

Tom Stelene:

First you question factual stats, and then you reference an unsubstantiated stat.

The authors might want to check their stats. For one thing they neglect to mention that on average 1.5 million crimes are prevented by armed citizens each year.


Guns don't kill people, nutjobs kill people. Isn't that the subject?


The ONLY ones who bring up nuclear weapons - or loaded F-16's, or artillery pieces - is the left, in a pathetically transparent attempt at reduction ad absurdam applied to the right to keep and bear arms. Please read Eric's last sentence, live it, love it. And lets stick to the subject - arms designed to be acquired, borne, maintained, trained with, and used by the individual, NOT the State.

To answer the authors' question: we have stopped talking about guns because we have not needed to! Isn't that a good thing according to their own stated beliefs?

Actually that must be the problem. It's time to manufacture anti-gun hysteria, starting with the bogus claim by the administration that 90% of guns confiscated from Mexican crime scenes originated in America, now that they have the votes and power to enact their anti-gun agenda. It's been obvious for the past several years - even since the Clinton ban expired - that guns are a major non-problem. That's not good politically for an anti-gunner.

The authors might want to check their stats. For one thing they neglect to mention that on average 1.5 million crimes are prevented by armed citizens each year. Also since November Americans have literally bought more than enough firearms to supply the Chinese and Indian armies! Ammo and reloading supplies are all but sold out. How about that? The coming to power of the party that wants to "get guns off the streets" directly caused record firearm and ammo sales! (Actually, these guns are not "on the streets" and are not dangerous to the public.)

Not only does increased restrictions on firearms lead to increased crime, people buy more guns when an anti-gun party wins an election. That the anti-gunners directly cause the exact opposite of what they want is not sufficient reason for them to rethink their beliefs. Instead they claim that gun-owners are "paranoid, extremist, gun-nuts."

Oh, that explains it. Right.

Can you say, 'dogmatist', boys and girls?

Anti-gun laws only harass and hurt gun owners - and they know it. So do those who pass them.

Eric Holtzman wrote:

Ira, nuclear weapons are useless in any civil war – if that's what you're alluding to. The pro-2nd Amendment people are geographically interspersed amongst the liberals (or, the other way around, if you will); therefore, due to their indiscriminate nature the nuclear weapons are useless. That would be too much "collateral" damage inflicted on all of the population – should any government resort to such measures. Let's leave the weapons of mass destruction out of this discussion.

Is this guy serious? If collateral damage wasn’t a concern then nukes would be an option. Do all NRA members condone this train of thought? These irresponsible thoughts are what a lot gun owning conservatives and liberals are worried about. The NRA needs to remove these barnacles.

Dennis, I suspect there's nothing huge about you but your hindquarters. And your ego. Kinda like that liver-spotted fossil coprolite of the Johnson Administration who started this whole pointless discussion. The point here is not guns, or gun deaths, but power. If Moyers were truly concerned about unnecessary deaths, he'd be pushing for the re-institution of Prohibition, as the basically unrestricted consumption of alcohol causes more death and misery in one year than all the domestic gunfire of the past century. No...guns are a rallying point for the political right. remove guns, and the right has on less cause around which to gather strength and identity. A lifelong committed leftist like Moyers could care less about lives saved or lost; to him, the only thing that matters is his ideological team winning. Ain't gonna happen, pudgy. Find something else upon which to waste your time.

Hi Bill,

My dad is 92. He went to school in Custer, MI. I have talked to him about guns and what he did when he was growing up. He talked about taking his rifle to school so that he could go rabbit hunting after school. He said a lot of students did it. He also said that he had not heard of anyone killing anyone while they were in school. Farmers openly carried sidearms until the last 15 years. Did anyone die from a gunshot in Custer, MI?
When I went to school, about 90% of all boys carried some kind of knife. I never heard of anyone being knifed while in school.
You can imagine what would happen to some poor student that took a gun or knife to school today. Why not comment on what has changed since my dad went to school?
I studied both sides of the controversy over guns. Eventually, I came across MORE GUNS, LESS CRIME, by John R. Lott, Jr. He studied the FBI's crime figures for all 3,054 US counties for over 18 years. His conclusion, more guns, less crime.
What bothers me the most is the constant news about someone being killed by a gun, but no news about people stopping a crime because they had a gun. I know there must be some.
If I was a person about to be gunned down by someone, my last wish would be, "I wish I had my gun."

Dennis, your attempt at parody and irony with your "gunowner's story" has all the intellectual depth of a rain puddle on a sidewalk. Don't quit your day job.

First off, you cannot just go and easily buy a fully-auto AK47 – the fully-auto rifles are regulated by the 1934 NFA laws and since 1986 no new ones are sold to the civilians. And if you were one of those people buying a used one (from the limited pool of what's in circulation and what's registered with the government and tightly controlled), you would be in deep trouble with the Authorities if you did what you describe you allegedly did. Your story doesn't fly. Also, if you do something dangerous and/or irresponsible at NRA-sponsored matches, you can easily get kicked out. Are there irresponsible gunowners out there? Of course – just as there are irresponsible drivers who get behind the steering wheel when drunk and kill other people. Automobile can be a deadly weapon, too.

Also, there are no "silencers" – there are sound suppressors that attenuate the noise, they don’t eliminate it.

-- "I confess I'm not as highly educated as the knowledgeable gun enthusiasts who have written comments here to show gun control advocates the error of their ways."

Well, at least you're honest, and I appreciate that. You're modest with much to be modest about.

-- "But anyway, I've read that in Britain, around 50 people a year die from gun violence. In the United States, it's slightly more: around 30,000. My question is, if Britain liberalized its gun laws to be more like ours, would they have even fewer deaths per year?"

Actually, in the UK there are per capita more "hot" home invasions (while the homeowner is home) than in the US. This obviously correlates with the homeowner in the UK having been disarmed as opposed to the US. Also, in London and in many large cities in the UK the violent crime with knives abounds. So I urge moderation to your misplaced enthusiasm.

And any talk of the "30,000" gun deaths in the US lacks any meaningful context. First, subtract the suicides (maybe half? – I forget) because the rate of suicides is higher in the gun-free Japan (so it's not the guns per se.) Second, unlike the condiments in soup, the homicides are not uniformly distributed throughout the population. Compare Vermont and WDC – both places have nearly same size of the population, about 0.6 million. Vermont is awash in guns and sports lax regulations (you can carry a handgun without a license) and yet the homicide rate is only slightly higher than Canada's and equals that of quiet Finland. WDC, in contrast, has had a prohibition on guns for 30 years, and yet WDC a few times has been declared the murder capital of the US. So what's happening here – the prevalence of guns in one place does not cause mayhem while the prohibition of guns in the other does not avert mayhem? And here's a very politically-incorrect reality – Vermont is 96% Caucasian, while WDC is, as I recall, about 70% non-Caucasian, mostly Black and Hispanic. (And if recognizing this reality makes me a "racist," then so be it. The facts cannot be "racist.") This should not be surprising – Mexico, with virtual prohibition on guns, sports homicide rate three times higher than the US statistical average. Indeed, their non-gun-related homicide rate is higher than our total rate (both gun and non-gun-related)

So what's the point here, Dennis? (Dennis, you awake?)

The point is that it is not the laws that make a society peaceful; it is the desire and capacity of the population to COMPLY with those laws that make it peaceful. And as much as one may hate to admit it, there is a racial dimension to violent crime. So there.


I don't have a strong leaning on this issue but am learning a lot about why America needs more guns, thanks to this forum. I think fear is a big factor for the gun control advocates too. They are afraid, like cowards, that their children will be sitting in class only to be gunned down by a fellow classmate or even a random stranger, merely because it keeps happening.

But fear also comes into play for the pro-gun people, too. I own tons of guns, mainly out of fear that G men will come get me, and to a lesser extent, that criminals will come get me.

I am also afraid of all the Arabs in the world and that's why I'm glad we went to war with Iraq, just in case.

I'm just very afraid of everything and I know I should try more to be like you, reasonable and unafraid, but it's so hard, you know? Also, is your name Russian? Or possibly Ukrainian. I'm scared of Russians. I don't know whether I should fear Ukrainians.

By the way, have you ever shot anyone? I have, couple of times.


Jack Martin, transparent aims cast shadow.

-- "I find that those who "need" a gun are obsessed with their property and their potential property (including other human beings) which they insist they deserve and are due."

Perhaps you need to calmly breathe in a paper bag and regain composure?

That's one spirited (and misguided – what a combination) diatribe that you've delivered, and a tenuous house of cards that you've erected – and to what end? With your pathological hatred of guns, you've declared that you find any thought of defending your loved ones unconditionally abhorrent. Before the police arrive, your loved ones may be hurt or worse. Some "men" will dutifully arrange for the subsequent therapy of their wives, if they get raped. How 'nice and thoughtful.' The one thing they will NOT do is defending them BEFORE they are hurt and/or raped. And you call this courage, while those who get trained and licensed in the use of firearms -- cowards? Maybe you should delegate your house pet to post on the Internet instead of yourself – a cat can't possibly generate more moronic a post than you just did. (Or is it your pet I'm presently talking to?)

You've even generalized your clueless philosophy to transcend the national borders and you invoke Ghandi and civil disobedience, etc. etc. Can't you at least be intellectually honest and also cite those examples that are inconvenient to you? The British were impressed with "civil disobedience" in India, but somehow the Nazis in the Jewish Quarter of Warsaw in 1943 were not impressed by such niceties and so they were held off for a few weeks with the guns of the inhabitants.

Likewise, the criminals would not be impressed by your sheltered and, yes, cowardly, philosophy – but Bill Clinton's Justice Department prepared a report whereby some 60,000 – 80,000 Americans every year legitimately defend their lives and property. Some criminologists put that number much higher, but I'll go with Clinton on this one. Even if not every instance involves saving a life, that's still a lot of lives saved and people that refused to be a victim. Maybe there is a lesson for you therein?

It appears that debate about role of armed citizens in modern society is still going on despite Mr. Moyer's claim that we "Have We Stopped Talking About Guns".
And if one tries to analyze the debate, it is clear that:

1) there are a lot more active pro-gun advocates that pro-control ones.
2) majority of gun-rights advocates are presenting their point using historical facts, statistics and logic
3) majority or pro-control advocates use feelings (mostly fear), ridicule and distorted statistics (please do your homework before quoting "30,000 gun deaths" or "22 times more likely to shoot a member of the family")

The fear-factor of arms should not be underestimated, but fear is not a valid argument in civilized society. Fear produces all sorts of ungrounded claims and unrealistic self-projections. It would be nice if there was a moderator for the debate to check presented "facts" and to keep it intellectually honest. Too bad Mr. Moyers does not want a debate (or does not want to talk to these "rednecks" or "Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership"?).

"So let the faithful of every persuasion keep their guns for hunting and skeet, for trap and target practice, for collecting."

Since the Holocost Museum nut job you referenced used a rifle, it appears that your formula for Utopia has a hole in it.

But I'm guessing your plan would tighten in short order and turn law abiding citizens into easier victims of those who don't give a damn about your laws.

Hi Bill, huge fan. You certainly brought out the gun supporters with this article! I guess when you fly over the target, you draw flak. Or hollow point bullets, ha ha.

Bill, I have a few questions and observations for you. I confess I'm not as highly educated as the knowledgeable gun enthusiasts who have written comments here to show gun control advocates the error of their ways. However, unlike the person who claimed he had a doctorate from one, I do know that "Ivy League school" has no hyphen in it. But anyway, I've read that in Britain, around 50 people a year die from gun violence. In the United States, it's slightly more: around 30,000. My question is, if Britain liberalized its gun laws to be more like ours, would they have even fewer deaths per year?

On a personal note, I recently became a gun owner myself. I have an AK-47. I live in a gated community and have an alarm system on my house, but I wanted more protection. Last week I was doing target practice in the backyard. A stray bullet went through the fence and hit my neighbor's daughter in the leg. The police came as a result, can you believe it? I hate the government. However this has a happy ending. Her parents seemed really mad at me, but I explained to them that were it not for gun owners like me, America in 2009 would be like Nazi Germany in the 1930s. Instantly, their anger turned to love and appreciation. I think we just need to do better education for our cause, and people will come to understand. Now, this is just between you and me: I hope they don't buy an AR15 and start practicing in their backyard too! Wink, wink!

My other question is this: despite my superior use of reasoned analysis untainted by the perils of emotion in support of private weapon stashes, the neighbors in general still don't like the terrifying sounds my automatic weapon makes as I gun down mannequins in the backyard. Is there a silencer I can buy for it?


Kurt: Thank you for your museum of ancient and anachronistic thought. Armed insurrection seems highly impractical today. Armed movements originate in a lust for or will to power and not in the defense of freedom and dissent. Despite our fossilized body of law concreted in place to suit the elite capitalist and the "success fetish" fantasizer there have been a succession of demonstrations that peaceful civil disobedience is a better way (Gandhi, MLK, Romanian Revolution, Phillipine People Power, and so on). Only immature boys with video games in their heads expect resort to militia action. (Remember the ugly results in former Yugoslavia?) Taken in the context of egalitarian solidarity the need for a gun is cowardly in the extreme.

I find that those who "need" a gun are obsessed with their property and their potential property (including other human beings) which they insist they deserve and are due. Please don't lie to the downtrodden and claim their defense, for the gun toter is not worthy of freedom, but only ridicule. Times change and this is a new situation. Don't expect brittle parchments, fetishized and revered, to solve your problems or decide disputes. Like holy books they are often the cause of injustice, mainly because changing them threatens entrenched advantage.

Dear Bill Moyers:

You have heard of the United States Constitution, haven't you. There is a not insignificant part of it called Article II of the Bill of Rights. It was so important that it was put into the Bill of Rights. Its purpose has roots in the thought that standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty and ought not to be kept up. You'll find that specific statement associated with the right of the people to keep and bear arms in the state constitutions of some of the original 13 states. In reality, it's the ONLY thing there that actually puts "teeth" in the United States Constitution and keeps it from being just an esoteric "god damn scrap of paper" as our esteemed President Bush once described it. Note that the "right of the people" in the Bill of Rights, Article II, is the very same "right of the people" that appears in Article I where the people have the right to peaceably assemble and petition the government for a redress of grievances, in Article IV where the people have the right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, in Article IX where enumeration of certain rights by the Constitution shall not be construed as denying or disparaging other rights retained by the people, and in Article X where powers not specifically delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States or to the people. In ALL of the above cases, it refers to THE PEOPLE, ALL OF THEM, ALL THE TIME IN THEIR DAILY LIVES, not just the chosen few when in the service of the government. In fact, it is protecting THE PEOPLE from the government, not granting rights TO the government.

Thomas Jefferson thought so much of it that he wrote to William S. Smith in Paris, on November 13, 1787: "What country before ever existed a century & half without a rebellion? & what country can preserve it's liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms."

WHERE are we people to get the "arms" in your viewpoint if the right to keep and bear them is not preserved by the Constitution?

If you STILL have doubts as to what was meant by the Second Amendment in the minds of the people who wrote the United States Constitution, I suggest that you read Federalist Paper Number 46, by James Madison. From which I quote two particularly telling thoughts:

1/ Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.

2/Let us not insult the free and gallant citizens of America with the suspicion, that they would be less able to defend the rights of which they would be in actual possession, than the debased subjects of arbitrary power would be to rescue theirs from the hands of their oppressors. Let us rather no longer insult them with the supposition that they can ever reduce themselves to the necessity of making the experiment, by a blind and tame submission to the long train of insidious measures which must precede and produce it.

Welcome to the long train of insidious measures which must precede and produce it. It's what you grumble about most of the rest of the time on your program.

You really shouldn't try to pick and choose among the parts of the Constition you wish to preserve and the parts of the Constitution you wish to destroy by some misguided intent. It's ALL there for a purpose! The PURPOSE is your freedom! And your freedom depends on it ALL remaining intact.

Or have we just become "subjects" like in "the several kingdoms of Europe" instead of "citizens" of the free republic of America?


Dear Seth:
You wrote, in part:
"And all these little nitpicking gun control laws that are introduced every year are proven to do NOTHING. Except maybe make some hobbyists VERY annoyed, of course.

Gun Control has nothing to do with guns, and everything to do with control. They want the control, as long as we have a well armed populace, they have less control."

True enough, but incomplete.
I do understand where you were coming from, saying what you did. But it's just incomplete to say, that all these gun control laws do NOTHING!
They, in fact, do quite a lot, and all of it bad, for those of us who aren't in the 1or 2% of the elite living in a gated community with personal (armed!) guards at the ready 24/7, or atop the hubbub of the city in a penthouse suite. (And why ARE the cops armed... England traditionally hasn't done so... And, before anyone blasts me, that was a facetious and rhetorical question)
What all these gun control laws DO, is to make outlaws (and/or victims) out of good citizens. Or, put another way, "When all guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns". (Cops included?) OK, I admit it, I stole that from a bumper sticker or somewhere...
But, the damage doesn't even stop there. Others have posted well researched and documented results of attempts to totally remove firearms from society in other places, Australia and Great Briton, being two such examples. Aside from the fact that all such attempts failed, (the bad guys pretty much always keep theirs), the 'experiments' in social engineering have met with disastrous results every time. And that, I am afraid, is an even worse outcome than the infringement upon our rights, whatever amendment number you want to pick.
As one wise person once stated:
"You are permitted your own opinions, (however) what you are not permitted, are your own facts" (Wish I knew who said that)
I do not direct that at you, but to the Bill Moyers' of the world, and his like in general. As noted elsewhere, he used 'facts' and statics of questionable, and undocumented origin. (The '22 times more likely' part)
The fallacy of thinking that removing the means of killing will remove killing is just that, a fallacy.
All throughout human history, there have been laws, rules, and other prohibitions to the general killing of one another. Not ONCE in recorded history has ANY society ever eliminated homicide. Ever! (Pre-firearm societies were quite often just as bloody as any post-firearm society, even if the numbers changed a bit)
Fact is, the MOTIVE to kill is actually what causes one to kill another. NOT the means. A gun does NOT make one into a killer anymore than owning kitchen knives do. The actual tool or means used is actually rather irrelevant. I will not care, once I'm dead, if I died of cancer, heart attack, or shotgun blast. I'll be just as dead no matter. As I quoted Archie Bunker previously, would it make Bill Moyers feel any better if all the gun deaths were in fact caused by people being thrown outta windows? (Or hair dryers in bathtubs?)
I think it would. I think that the gun control advocates (nuts) are, as you correctly pointed out, all about CONTROL, in any form. If everyone (who was) killed with a gun were instead killed by being thrown out of a high window, would he be lobbing for no windows past the first floor? I doubt it. It would ruin his penthouse view. I respect and love Bill Moyers, but I am saddened by his "I-know-better-than-you-do-what's-good-for-you' attitude on this one subject. (Like Reagan, Bush, and so many others before)
Just as I would be saddened if my own daughter were to announce she were converting to the Republican Party. (For example) I'd still love her... But feel she was seriously misguided, and I had failed her. I didn't fail Bill Moyers, but as a supposedly unbiased journalist, HE failed us. And I am saddened. As a former journalist myself, I learned, and was taught, that journalists are supposed to report the news, NOT make it. Opinions have NO place in the news. OK, he would counter, it was an Op-Ed piece. Fair enough. But, what is NOT fair is: AS a reporter, he was given a very large soapbox upon which to espouse his views. I do not have that same stage. Nor do you. WE, all of us who watch him, GAVE him that soapbox, and therefore he has a responsibility to use it responsibly. And, as so many here have already pointed out, he 'selectively' chose his 'facts', just as I did when I stated that more people were killed in the twin towers on one day than by guns in the entire decade. (A "fact" I made up, I actually have no idea how many were really shot to death in New York City in the ten years preceding that day in Sept. I DO know that SOME of the people killed, innocent ones, were killed by the very people that Bill Moyers would assure us are there to protect us, the Police) Thanks for your post. Keep on helping to keep Bill Moyers and the rest honest.
Chris mills
Kingsley, Iowa

Dear Mr. Moyers:
I have been watching and listening to you for years, and, as a former journalist myself, I find much to like, much to admire. I respect your words immensely.
However, I must take issue with your view on guns in America.
You quoted a lot of statistics, numbers, and other facts. I do not dispute them, but find them to be incomplete. You left out facts you find inconvenient to your viewpoint.
I will not even attempt to rebut you on every point you brought up... You are too much of a wordsmith for me to attempt that. I shall, instead, allow Archie Bunker to do it for me. Yes, that redneck bigot of television sitcom fame.
his liberal daughter was having a similiar discussion with her father in one episode, also quoting facts and figures. "Do you know how many people were shot with guns in New York last year?", she demands of Archie.
He replies: "No, little goirl, but would it make you feel any better if they were all thrown out of windows?"
Point is, if one person seriously intends to kill another, or even a lot of others, as has often happened, a gun is NOT necessary, or even desirable. The Federal Building in Oklahoma City wasn't brought down by guns. It was brought down by fertilizer and diesel fuel. More people were killed in New York in a single incident, one day, by aviation fuel and a couple of airplanes than all the guns in an entire decade. Who needs guns? Bombs, poison, knives and great heights are plenty. We already have plenty of ways to kill one another. What we need, desperately, is a reason NOT to kill one another.
Just my inflated two cents worth, Mr. Moyers. I still love you, and will continue to watch and listen. We do not forget forgiveness because of one disagreement. We can agree to disagree. And isn't that the whole point?
Chris Mills
Kingsley, Iowa

Right on Mr. Moyers! It's about time we start reigning in some of these freedoms Americans have been enjoying for the past couple centuries; and where better to start than with the 2nd Amendment to the Constituion? Once the citizenry is forced to accept that the constitution is not the end-all-be-all, putting curbs on some these other "rights" won't be as difficult.

Ira, nuclear weapons are useless in any civil war – if that's what you're alluding to. The pro-2nd Amendment people are geographically interspersed amongst the liberals (or, the other way around, if you will); therefore, due to their indiscriminate nature the nuclear weapons are useless. That would be too much "collateral" damage inflicted on all of the population – should any government resort to such measures. Let's leave the weapons of mass destruction out of this discussion.


Kerry Burke: "Thank you for your comments on guns, Mr. Moyers; it was exactly what I was thinking all last week."

Your endorsement sounds like an act of charity – which I suspect Mr. Moyers does not need – because in light of all the challenges in the posts below to Mr. Moyers, both in principle and on the basis of pragmatism, you don't seem to have thought all that much all of last week.

PS. And I would appeal to all the pro-2nd Amendment posters to refrain from using foul language. We know we have the Bill of Rights on our side; there's no need to become unduly harsh with the liberal crowd.

Eric Holtzman said:

Law-abiding citizens do not "snap."

I rest my case.

Thank you for your comments on guns, Mr. Moyers; it was exactly what I was thinking all last week. Please continue to speak out on this!

Eric Holtzman and Neil Rieck

Kindly allow me to share this: When the Colonist fought the British, both sides had muzzle load, ball projecting weapons. That's why, among other reasons we won--our weapons were on a parr. It would have been a short story if the British had an A-Bomb. If the objective under the constitution is a citizen "check" on government it only makes sense that a citizen, such as I, in or order to check government should be able to match the government in the sophistication of its weapons? I know--haha, but before you laugh, what makes you think I would be less responsible. I wouldn't be in Iraq or Afganistan now.


I ordinarily enjoy the clarity of Bill Moyer’s work. This piece leaves me confused. I might agree if I thought we lived in an idyllic setting where there weren’t thousands of people dying on the Mexican border as result of drugs wars; if city gangs and others were killing each other to protect their commerce --that American ideal shared by prominent families in history. Maybe the first step in fighting gun violence is to end the war on drugs and legalize drugs. Maybe Bobby Seal and journalist Gary Webb, among others would still be alive. We know about CIA involvement in drug traffic and we know about Mena Arkansas. Maybe some engaged in distasteful things for a higher purpose. I’m not prepared to go into this now. Nevertheless, I can not think that a drug put on American streets in the hands of gang members is a prescription to reduce gun violence.

Think about current economic conditions. What are the job prospects for an 18-year old black or white male in Detroit today? If they go into the military they learn how to express their fear and anxiety in violence and killing. If you are sitting on top of vehicle with a machine gun, I imagine “spraying” everything in front of you with lead would be anecdote for anxiety. However, what kind of citizen are you going to be when you get back to America?

Youngsters of 18-years are sent into an environment where they must make split-second choices and live with the consequences. Undoubtedly some develop post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) when they face the horror of war, torture people, find themselves following orders but “twisting in the wind” and sold out by their superiors when their actions are disclosed. Their sense of security and moral foundation might be rocked as a result of this adventure.

The government has an answer: sell no weapons to anyone diagnosed with PTSD and put returning veterans on a right-wing watch list as Homeland Security recently did (or make them police officers). Maybe there’s another solution which is don’t send 18-year olds, and other youngsters to war without a darn good reason and full preparation.

Is it “Roid Rage” from steroid use? When I grew up my father told me “never hit a girl, including my sisters” and I didn’t. While he never told me not to “taser a girl” I think I understood what he was getting at. When I read about 400 people dying from being tasered and read about an unarmed 72-year woman and an unarmed pregnant woman being tasered by police officers on a traffic stop I am appalled. This is not Iraq.

I know women have changed but I think I can still handle a 72-year old or pregnant woman without tasering them. When Officer Dan Lovelace of Chandler AZ shot Dawn Nelson in the back and killed her I was appalled. He was charged with murder. But this motorcycle-driving-health-club-enthusiast claimed he became “weak kneed” at the sight of this petite blond-haired blued-eye woman fleeing. Off duty Officer Dan Lovelace had to shoot her in the back and kill her because “he was in fear for his life.” She was fleeing the drug store, after buying drugs with a phony prescription. In the vehicle with her was her one-year old child. Officer Lovelace was acquitted. This is a tragedy, but is this not more gun violence from the “war on drugs” or is it the “roid rage” growing among the police forces nationally?

The point that I am making, is that government programs and policies, or the lack of them in terms of employment, along with the war on drugs; war itself, whose effect is to encourage reckless, ruthless violence in our young men whether they join Blackwater, re-enlist, come home join a gang or join the various police forces (allegedly some 30% are “roidhead” or steroid users). These are substantial, serious and primary problems. If you think joining the military and spending 3-years in Iraq or joining a gang and selling drugs is meaningless, then so is your MBA or PH.d from Harvard.

As others have pointed out, there are alternatives to guns-- not just fists, knives, tire irons and baseball bats but now tasers. And our government policies are creating and adding to the number of people who are perpetrators.

Neil Rieck said: "While it is true that the first amendment allows the right to bear arms (in a militia environment by the way), this document was written before the invention of the machine gun and the industrial age. I am certain that the founding fathers did not have this mind and would have written a new amendment to control the manufacture and export of some, or all, firearms."

(You meant the 2nd Amendment, of course.) In other words, the 2nd Amendment became obsolete as soon as the ink was dry, because the Founding Fathers allegedly thought that the technology would forever stop at the level of the 1700s, right? Not very persuasive an argument.

Let's apply the same principles to the exercise of the 1st Amendment, the freedom of speech. The Founding Fathers could not conceivably imagine instantaneous satellite communication, Internet, computers, TV, and any potential abuse resulting therefrom (such as the domination of the mass media by the liberals.)

So let's be consistent. Let’s take away the modern means of communication from the anti-gunners who are merely supporters of the 1st Amendment. Let's just give them the state of the art of the 1700s: a quill pen, a sheet of paper, and a horse to move their silly ideas around.

While it is true that the first amendment allows the right to bear arms (in a militia environment by the way), this document was written before the invention of the machine gun and the industrial age. I am certain that the founding fathers did not have this mind and would have written a new amendment to control the manufacture and export of some, or all, firearms.

Hi Bill, I think you're a hypocrite!! What about the 200,000 deaths per year from medical errors??? huhhhh??
those deaths are preventable, why aren't you loudly using your pulpit to save lives? why go after a constitutionally protected right that Americans enjoy?

Because you're a communist hypocrite, that's why. I don't watch your show anymore, you're not fair.

David F., there is nothing you can lecture me about from your Styrofoam "moral" high ground. I said -- and still do -- that I find it contemptible when a man states (and apparently means it) that he will do NOTHING to protect his wife and children from harm when the police are not around. (Nearly ALL violent crime takes place when the police are not around – this should be the proper context for your musing.)

DF: "I’m done exploiting your mistake."

The only mistake here is your notion that you're debating me.

Who are the law-abiding people, you ask. Start off with the hundreds of thousands who have demonstrated a clean legal (i.e., non-criminal) record, who have taken courses in self-defense, who have subjected themselves to investigation by police, and who have been licensed to carry a concealed firearm. There have been precious few revocations of the CCW licenses. Statistically, this makes a group of people law-abiding and meriting such term.

DF: "how many law-abiding citizens had snapped?"

Law-abiding citizens do not "snap." But . . . the criminals who never bother applying for a CCW license (because they would be turned down) "snap" every day – statistically, anyway.

(Btw, are you subject to "snapping?" Isn't there some psychological projection at play here?)

DF: "Would it be safe to say a lot of them will now be hanging out in our national parks?"

If you think that the current laws have been actually preventing the criminals from taking guns into national parks, then you're more naïve than I thought (and I didn’t think this was possible.) You think the criminals have been patiently waiting for the legal permission to take guns into the National Parks??? In at least 38 States, the law-abiding people are licensed to carry concealed nearly everywhere they go (with a few exceptions – schools, courthouses, federal facilities.) They don’t rob banks and don't "snap." So . . . the banks are not concerned about the CCW holders, but you're concerned that some areas of total wilderness (so-called National Parks) are more vulnerable to CCW holders than the financial institutions???

DF: "Have you notice that a lot of [the gunowners] can actually write coherent sentences?"

I wish I could say the same nice thing about you. (Nota bene, you meant to say "have you noticed.")

DF: "The trick with these guys is to write a sentence or two and then post. Because if you write to much you're opening the door for them to go off on a tangent, and then they'll never have to address your main idea."

You meant to write "too much" – not "to much."

Isn't that ironic, DavidF? You keep that up and I'll find it necessary to start grading your posts and correct them for spelling, grammar, and syntax.

And you have no "main idea."


TomH: "Bill please substantiate your typically wild claim that people who own a firearm for protection are 22 times more likely to shoot a family member... a newly fabricated purely theoretical pluck from the air like much of the "Brady Bill" types."

Tom, I'm on your side, but it's not a ”newly fabricated" claim. This comes from a so-called "study" by Arthur Kellerman (of Emory University?). The only relevant thing to know about that "study" is that its own author has repudiated it since, acknowledging that he left out some key factors, making his conclusions meaningless. So much for the "22 times" nonsense. (AFAIK, Dave Kopel had a field day exposing Kellerman's pseudo-science.)

-- "Over 50% of the gun violence in America is black on black with ILLEGAL firearms. Put that in focus."

Easy there. You put too much truth about the racial dimension of crime, and the feeble-minded liberals will call you "racist." An arguably even worse phenomenon is interracial crime, where Blacks are the perpetrators, targeting Whites, in 90% of the incidents. Walter Williams, the Black economist from George Mason University, is one of the few courageous people to condemn this anti-White phenomenon and the silence of the media.

And if recognizing the un-pc truths makes me a "racist" – because nowadays such epithet is used to silence people who voice inconvenient un-pc statistics -- then I'll take this epithet, pin it to my chest, and wear it with pride.

The liberals are incapable of presenting a cogent, logical argument. Typically, they tend to be a hysterical & ignorant crowd, confusing correlation with causality, and often exhibiting politically-motivated Pavlovian reflexes rather than intellectual self-discipline.

Please keep railing about 30,000 gun deaths/year.

Whatever you do, don't mention the nearly 1/2 million deaths/year from SMOKING!!!! don't mention that, keep screeching about how dangerous guns are, and how we need a socialist solution!! Thanks!!

End the drug war and US gun deaths drop by half.

Please refer to the website for facts about firearms. James von Brunn used a very old 22 caliber rifle which is about the least powerful of all guns. Bill and Mike may have wished that he had used a semi-automatic hand gun or even a terrible looking semi automatic "assault rifle." That would have better suited their cause. Of course this whole thing would have been a complete non-issue if the idiot had used a bomb. By the way, just for Bill and Mike's benefit, assault weapons have been illegal since 1934.

Why are firearms always attacked? They say guns kill people but as Bill had to agree PEOPLE kill PEOPLE, to which he cynically added 'with guns.' There are more car deaths from improper use than from guns, why don't you rail against them. How about alcohol, significantly higher deaths are caused by alcohol consumption. I don't hear much complaining on that. Any inanimate object when animated can become a tool of violence. And let's not get started on the idiocy behind the theory that says a firearm is an assault weapon because it has a certain look. Many will say, 'well I mean automatic guns.' It is illegal to buy or own an automatic firearm, without the proper federal permit. It's like saying a Porsche Boxter should be illegal because it's performs differently than an Escort. But you have to put a key in both and you have to push the gas pedal and shift both... If used improperly BOTH cars can cause harm.

Bill please substantiate your typically wild claim that people who own a firearm for protection are 22 times more likely to shoot a family member... a newly fabricated purely theoretical pluck from the air like much of the "Brady Bill" types.

Over 50% of the gun violence in America is black on black with ILLEGAL firearms. Put that in focus.

Thanks for reading.

Yeah Grady, they don’t seem to like it when we take their nonsense a step or two further. They still haven’t answered my question about arming children to protect themselves from nutjobs.

Have you notice that a lot of them can actually write coherent sentences? I’ve never seen so many neocons do this before. Most of their redundant and/or illogical statements we’ve all heard before, but hell, I’m impressed. I wonder if they belong to an NRA mailing list. They’ll probably be here for a few days and then move on to the next blog which has exploited the NRA’s control over Congress.

The trick with these guys is to write a sentence or two and then post. Because if you write to much you're opening the door for them to go off on a tangent, and then they'll never have to address your main idea. Have fun.

"How are we supposed to know which law-abiding citizens are the nutjobs? Would it be safe to say a lot of them will now be hanging out in our national parks? I’m done exploiting your mistake, your volley."


how are we to know a mother won't put DrainO in her baby's bottle? How are we to know someone won't decide to go "grand theft auto" while downtown in their SUV, and see how many pedestrians they can hit?

There is only one thing you know 100% in strict gun control situations. The law abiding citizens WILL be unarmed, and the 'bad guys', well, what's one more law to break? Why WOULDN'T they have a gun?

I am not against background checks, and waiting periods. Those can weed out some sickos, though they can just as easily purchase a weapon illegally. However, unless you want to ban any, and every, potentially dangerous inanimate object, I can not see how you can agree to disarming our citizens.

You may be fine with only cops and business owners having firearms. But I fail to see how one man's business is more important than my family's safety. And frankly, you can keep your 10 minute wait time for the local police to show up and tape off the crime scene...OOPS I mean come and SAVE THE DAY.

And once again on the National Park bit. How often do you hear of someone with a legally concealed pistol using it to harm the public? Hint: It's very rare. They usually don't go through the trouble of obtaining the permit if they're just going to go psycho anyways. What exactly is it about National Parks that makes all of these perfectly normal, responsible, armed citizens go haywire and start endangering everybody?? Something about that National Park air?

There is currently NOTHING stopping ANYONE from arming themselves in National Parks(Yes, it's still illegal, the bill does not go into effect until 2010). I can put my pistol in my backpack, and nobody would be the wiser. So can a sociopath, or a cop, or a teacher. The only thing stopping me and other responsible citizens is the threat of prosecution.

Sure, if I could make a genie wish and make all guns disappear, that would be something. But that can never happen. And all these little nitpicking gun control laws that are introduced every year are proven to do NOTHING. Except maybe make some hobbyists VERY annoyed, of course.

Gun Control has nothing to do with guns, and everything to do with control. They want the control, as long as we have a well armed populace, they have less control.

I'm going to say, briefly, what has probably been said numerous times already.

Von Brunn was a convicted felon, unable to purchase firearms. As was the murderer from the recent Oakland police shootings.

How can we increase gun control for people who are already 100% banned from owning firearms??? What would all these grandiose handgun and "assault weapon" bans have done in these cases? NOTHING.

Sure, some "crimes of passion" may not be committed with legally purchased firearms, if banned. But then again, thousands of lives are saved by legally owned firearms.
And your mention of suicides shows your sheer ignorance of the facts. Look at Japan's suicide rate, and their VERY strict gun control. People will use whatever they have offhand, guns, razors, buildings, trains, name it.

On the concealed weapons in national parks bit: You do realize that THOUSANDS of people legally, and responsibly carry concealed pistols every day. These same people can, and do, carry right across the street from the National Parks. Do you have some irrational fear (Rhetorical question, I KNOW you have MANY irrational fears) that as soon as they step foot over that imaginary line they will turn into murderous poachers? Stalking endangered species, and children alike, as they fire rounds into the air and chug Bud Light?

I can go on and on. The simple point is that you use illogical circular arguments, and feel good(or bad) language to try and get your point across. Meanwhile us "gun nuts" will continue to use FACTS and historical precedent to make our arguments.

If you had your way, the only person that would've been unarmed in this situation would have been the Security Guards, not being actual "peace officers" naturally, and the gunman would've had free reign of the GUN FREE ZONE in which it happened.

Eric, Eric, Eric, you’re making this too easy. A man of your intelligence should have never used “law-abiding citizen.” Maybe you should stick with quoting amendments.

Guns in the hands of the law-abiding citizens cause no more crime than well-equipped fire departments cause fires.

How about all the adults in the list below (posted by: Grant), were any of them law-abiding citizens? How about von Brunn or Roeder, was either of them a law-abiding citizen? Maybe some of these guys were criminal before they had committed their atrocities, but in the past 40 years, how many law-abiding citizens had snapped?

How are we supposed to know which law-abiding citizens are the nutjobs? Would it be safe to say a lot of them will now be hanging out in our national parks? I’m done exploiting your mistake, your volley.

Yours truly,
Alfred E. Newman, National Ridiculous Assoc. (NRA) Lobbyist

"a bunch of proudly uneducated rednecks"

Okay, I appreciate that you at least understand one of the primary purposes of the 2nd Amendment, but this line is just ignorant and offensive.

Look up the statistics for the Average American gun owner. As a group, legal gun owners in the US have an above average education and an above average income.

And simply look at the posts here. Which side can quote actual data, as opposed to mere personal opinion? Which side can cite historical documents, relevant court cases, statistics, etc.? In short, which side presents an educated, fact-based argument, and which side just uses sophomoric humor and name-calling?

I personally graduated from the most elite foreign language school in the US, possibly the world. I earned a doctoral degree from an Ivy-League school with the top-rated program in the world in my field, and teach at one of the most innovative liberal arts Universities in the country. I've lived, worked, and taught in several other countries, in both Europe and Asia.

This stereotype, that gun owners and supporters of the 2nd Amendment are ignorant, uneducated, and "rednecks", is not only insulting and incorrect, it's one of the primary reasons that gun-control advocates are losing ground so rapidly in this country. The facts, the history, and the law are all on our side. And unlike our opposition, who've depended almost exclusively on emotional rhetoric and fear-mongering, we've made the effort to educate ourselves on all those things.

I'm sorry what makes you think NRA is the gun industry thugs?

That's BULL S**T.

You fool, NRA is supported by people who realize that the safety of their loved ones is ultimately their responsibility. Just because you don't have the confidence or the discipline to take up this responsibility doesn't give you the right to deprave others the ability to fulfill their duties.

Oh and have you ever discovered why those Jews are strongly against disarmament? Food for thought.

We'll lay down our weapons, once all the bad guys have successfully been disarmed. When that time comes, you're fully justified in saying nobody needs a gun. But before then just SHUT YOUR TRAP.

Dear Mr. Moyers:

I have always been very very glad to know that your viewpoint was being disseminated, however I must differ with you on gun control.

Americans are crazy, wild and dangerous, and yes I agree there are more gun injuries and deaths each year because of the ease of gun ownership in this country.

But all I have to do is review my knowledge of the activity of the Bush administration, and further look at how many of their policies are being continued by the Obamas, and I can't tell you how glad I am that our population is well armed.

I don't own or carry and I don't intend to, but our government has been seriously fascistifying for a long time now, and Congress is not doing its job. I have no faith that healthcare will be seriously reformed, or that the handling of the banking crisis will turn out to be any thing more than a massive wealth transfer from the working people to the parasitic elite. Joint government/corporate ownership of the business infrastructure is a basic criterion of fascism.

Nothing is being done about genetically modified food and the patenting of unmodified organisms, which I think is an even worse crime against humanity than a war of agression. I also believe that 9/11 was an inside job, and I think that anyone who believes otherwise has not seriously considered the question.

Pardon my language, but when the people running our country are that f**ked up, that morally disabled, and when they are even directing the putative reforms that are needed to adjust the extreme corporate bias and the extremely troubled economy that they screwed up and of which you have spoken so eloquently, each reaffirmation, each new piece of evidence I receive that the world is actually that f**ked up, the gladder I am that a bunch of proudly uneducated rednecks are ready to give someone a rough ride who gets too far out of hand. Because that may be the only thing preserving the last little bit of freedom that we can still say is ours.

Based on these posts, a clear picture is beginning to emerge.

The 2nd Amendment side tends to be well-informed, factual, and intellectually-honest. In contrast, the so-called gun-control advocates (to be charitable, let's call them that) tend to be just the opposite. And when they run out of their feeble and shallow arguments (which doesn't take long), they start foaming at the mouth, post utter drivel, and basically expose their ignorance.

Guns in the hands of the law-abiding citizens cause no more crime than well-equipped fire departments cause fires. I have nothing but contempt for people for whom the idea of defending their loved ones (when the police is not around) is unconditionally abhorrent. No amount of hysterical denunciation of guns will disguise basic cowardice of the "antis." It is also cowardly to spew libelous nonsense and attribute it to the NRA, by signing their posts as "NRA Lobbyist" – as some pathetic entities on this board are doing. But, this kind of sorry behavior is to be expected from the anti-gunners.

I actually forgot to mention that there IS a link between abortion and gun rights: the 14th Amendment.

The function of the 14th Amendment was to prevent the states from violating the rights of American citizens. It overturned the idea that the Bill of Rights don't apply to the states, including any rights that are not specifically enumerated (in the first 8 amendments), but which are fundamental.

Because of US v. Cruikshank, and the cases that followed from it, the 2nd Amendment has so far not been held to prevent the states from restricting gun rights, which is why they have been able to pass gun control laws (they were prohibited from passing any laws restricting gun rights of citizens before this case - the laws that existed before the case only restricted blacks, who were also not legally citizens before the 14th Amendment passed). The Cruikshank case gutted the 14th Amendment, and allowed states to violate the rights of African Americans until there was a work-around figured out that got rights in one-by-one through essentially a back door (a process not yet completed).

At the same time, the "due process" clause of the 14th Amendment allowed rights NOT listed in the Bill of Rights to be enforced. In Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court stated that one of these rights was a right to privacy, and based upon that right, women had a right to privacy within their own bodies, and could not therefore be prohibited from having an abortion.

So, the exact same amendment that allows abortion rights in this country (as well as all your other constitutional rights, which currently have weaker protection than they soon will), protects the right to keep and bear arms as well. And within a year, expect the 14th amendment to be restored to its full power, as it should have been over 100 years ago, thanks to a gun rights case filed by the NRA, among others.

And the next time you exercise ANY of your constitutional rights, you can thank the NRA and the Second Amendment Foundation.

"Them l'll first trimester fetuses need guns too. Mom become collateral damage in the shoot up between baby blastula and Dr. Holocaust. Morning After Druggist may get a cap in the a** too. Even thinking about birth control is murder...
Look away from them condoms, Buddy. I'm armed!"

Funny how those who probably condemned the Bush administration for hyperbole and political rhetoric with no factual basis (and rightly so may I add), resort to the same uniformed and meaningless BS themselves to cover up their own lack of education and experience on a subject when it suits them.

And nice try, attempting to link abortion to gun rights. Personally, I tend to side more often with liberals on social topics, including abortion. I don't feel anyone has any right to force their personal political views on anyone else. That is one of the fundamental principles on which this country was founded.

You don't want an abortion? Don't have one. You're against gay marriage? Don't marry a homosexual. Don't think people should burn the flag in protest? Don't burn one. But don't think your aversion to these things give you any dispensation to deprive others of their right to do so.

And likewise, if you don't want to take on your fundamental responsibility to protect yourself or your family, or to even have the means to do so, then don't. There's no one out there who will force you to. But don't think you have any dispensation to try to deprive the rights to these things to others, simply because you yourself choose to be ignorant of them.

You're right, self-defense is nothing like the movies. Those of us who've accepted our responsibility for it know this even better than you. Depicting us as thinking that we're some kind of action-movie hero, or that such juvenile concepts have anything to do with our mindset, shows your own ignorance, not ours.

Anyone who doubts anything I've said, put your money where your mouth is. Buy some books, do some searches, and read the facts for yourself. Start with what is probably the best analysis on the Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment, written by an extremely liberal law professor at Yale, Akhil Reed Amar. Read his book "The Bill of Rights". Even though he was personally horrified to admit it, his integrity forced him to admit that what I've already explained is the truth.

Look up the Supreme Court case US v. Cruikshank, and see what it's really about. Then look up just about any federal court case on gun control and see for yourself that this case is the legal underpinning of gun control in the US.

Don't bother going to any pro-gun sources, since you won't believe them. Go to neutral sites like wikipedia, or better yet, university sites addressing these amendments and court cases. Read the decisions yourself.

David F.
Them l'll first trimester fetuses need guns too. Mom become collateral damage in the shoot up between baby blastula and Dr. Holocaust. Morning After Druggist may get a cap in the a** too. Even thinking about birth control is murder...
Look away from them condoms, Buddy. I'm armed!

"I remember when Jim Carry was the "Cherub of Justice", a Guardian Angel wanna be. I am tickled about the armed idiot waiting around in public places to defend his honor and property or uphold the rights of any person he felt or anticipated might be threatened. He would be both a super hero wanna be and a dangerous hazard "looking for trouble.""

It's nice to see that you get your perceptions of reality from Hollywood. I guess Jim Carey movies are a more legitimate source of reality than "spaghetti westerns". Believe everything you see on TV too, I guess.

Talk to me about it after you face a criminal armed with a knife or a gun. I've done both, more than once, and I'm still alive (though I can't say the same for all of them). Until you do, you have very no more credibility on the topic than the movie characters from which you derive your perceptions.

For everyone who thinks that gun-rights is about using violence or the threat of violence in order to gain some advantage, you seriously need to do a little research.

The entire history of gun control in this country has been about depriving self-protection from some group already at a political disadvantage, so that they could more easily be victimized.

This was true when General Gage disarmed the citizens of Boston and then held them hostage against the rest of the colonists. This was true before, during, and immediately after the civil war, a time when the only gun control laws applied only to African slaves and freemen.

It was true when, from the Civil War until today, when gun control laws dropped their racist references specifically to African Americans, and instead required individuals to petition authorities for licenses or permits (on which "race" is still required to be listed) so that the laws would appear to be race-neutral, but minorities could still be disarmed while whites weren't. It was true in the 1960s when whites were frightened by militant minority groups and guns were made more difficult to acquire if you were poor, and when "Saturday Night Specials" (a name derived directly from a racial slur against black people) were banned, because small cheap guns were what most African Americans could afford.

In short, the entire history of gun control in the US is about depriving the socially disadvantaged of their ability to resist victimization by force. Every one of these laws gets its legal authority from one single Supreme Court case, US v. Cruikshank. Look it up yourself. This is the case that Sotomayor referred to in her recent decision against incorporating the 2nd Amendment against the states. It's the case that the 7th Circuit court referred to when they did the same thing.

And if you bother to research that case at all, you'll see that it was about white supremacists disarming and then murdering a large groups of African Americans in Louisiana. The court had to rule against the 2nd Amendment in order to let them go (because murder is not a federal crime, but a state crime, so they could only be hanged if they killed someone in the course of depriving them of their civil rights, which is why such civil rights violations are still used in murder cases in federal court). They did this to appease the white supremacist factions in the South. And in doing so, they made gun control legal. Before that, it wasn't. Of course they also set off a wave of lynchings and racial violence that went on for the next 100 years.

Every one of these laws was passed for no other reason than to make victimization of racial minorities, especially African Americans, easier. This has even been admitted in court, as this quote from a Supreme Court justice in Florida (from a case in the 1940s) shows:"I know something of the history of this legislation. The original Act of 1893 was passed when there was a great influx of negro laborers in this State drawn here for the purpose of working in turpentine and lumber camps. The same condition existed when the Act was amended in 1901 and the Act was passed for the purpose of disarming the negro laborers...and to give the white citizens in sparsely settled areas a better feeling of security. The statute was never intended to be applied to the white population and in practice has never been so applied."

The currently pending Supreme Court case, which will most likely overturn Sotomayor's decision, and that of the 7th Circuit, seeks to reinstate the original purpose of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, one of the 3 post-Civil War amendments passed in order to secure the Constitutional rights of African Americans (the 14th Amendment specifically was passed to overturn the horribly racist Dred Scott case, in which African slaves and freemen were ruled to not be allowed American citizenship, specifically so that they would not be allowed certain rights, including the right to own and carry guns).

Anyone who supports gun control is, although probably out of ignorance, supporting an unbroken chain of racist attempts to deprive the underprivileged of their fundamental human rights. And that is extremely well documented history, agreed upon even by the most liberal constitutional historians.

How much do the arms monger lobbyists pay you per tweet, Twitty? I am counting the minutes until you spaz and spam away, Hairtrigger.

I remember when Jim Carry was the "Cherub of Justice", a Guardian Angel wanna be. I am tickled about the armed idiot waiting around in public places to defend his honor and property or uphold the rights of any person he felt or anticipated might be threatened. He would be both a super hero wanna be and a dangerous hazard "looking for trouble." The world doesn't work like a spaghetti western, and your eyes don't twinkle like Terrance Hill's. You can say what you want about me (though I do know fascists govern with guns and threats) but I don't need a gun to do my talking. I'm still laughing over the boob who is just wandering around seeking the supposed pleasure of penetrating human flesh with led; sounds like a sexual fetish perversion to me; better seek treatment! Do you address everyone you shoot as Mister, pardner?

Mr. Howard,

Every misinformed assumption you voice shows your complete ignorance of the issue. First fascists are those who wish to deprive others of their fundamental rights, not those wish to allow everyone to exercise them. Stop calling the kettle black.

The conditions that would provoke such an action would be any criminal threat to my life, or the life of another innocent person in my presence. Period. Given that this is not only a supremely moral act, but perfectly legal in every civilized nation in the world, there's no reason to have a plan to evade detection and prosecution. I would be immune from both criminal and civil prosecution. and would in fact call the authorities myself.

I'll skip the rest of your ignorant ravings, as they don't even make sense in the context of the use of firearms by law-abiding citizens.

Don't get me wrong; anyone who chooses to abrogate their moral and civil responsibility to oppose criminal violence through whatever force necessary, NECESSARY being the functional word, (and, if you have even a minute understanding of the basics of Western civilization, then you know that this is in fact your civic duty), should be free to do so. What you are NOT free to do, and should never be free to do, is to deprive those who wish to live up to their responsibilities the ability to do so.

"Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent upon every citizen."
-- Sir Robert Peel (the originator of the modern police force)

Notice the "incumbent on every citizen". The police are only a supplement. The primary responsibility is that of every citizen. You don't get a free pass just because you think you've outsourced it.

A little fact checking will clear up the lies and half-truths of American fascists. Fascist: When you post it would be helpful if you could use your correct name and state specifically and explicitly who it is you want to shoot, the conditions that would provoke such action, the precautions you plan to take to evade detection and prosecution, and the type of weapon you plan to use (serial # optional). If you have selected a specific time and place that might be helpful too.
Is Mr. Moyers annoying you that badly? I'm your worst opponent, so try me. I'm armed only with wit and virtue.

"Considering the state of modern military weaponry and allied technology handguns and rifles would be relatively useless in opposing governmental oppression in this country, and also relatively useless in defending against outside threats."

Really? Tell that to the natives of Afghanistan. Seems they did a pretty respectable job with mostly just rifles against the Soviet Army, and they're not doing too bad against ours. To argue that the right should be surrendered just because the uninformed think one reason for it is no longer valid, is ridiculous.

"The IRA (sic) is mostly funded by arms manufacturers, and despite the dues payers (including Michael Moore) and the decal displayers that is an indisputable fact. Maybe things would be different if gun lovers had to pay the entire cost of their organizing."

Actually, it's quite disputable, and I'm disputing it. Most gun manufacturers are small family-owned businesses that can't afford to the major support of anything except themselves. The larger manufacturers don't support the NRA (which is what I assume you meant) because they have no reason to. Their main client is the US government, the largest arms dealer in the world.

"Unless you live in a garrisoned condition like an illegal Israeli settler you are as likely to have the gun you own turned upon you by an intruder as to have the opportunity to defend your home or yourself with it."

Tell that to the 2 million+ people in this country who use guns to successfully defend themselves against crime every year.

"We have lasers and other weapons that do the same job mor efficiently"

You need to spend a little time in reality instead of watching Sci Fi. If such weapons existed, the military and police would be using them.

"As an emotional person I can think of more than 50 times I might have murdered an enemy or tormentor during my 60 years."

Then you should be in a mental institution. Anyone who lacks the emotional control to restrain themselves from killing someone, except in self-defense, is the real danger against which we must protect society. They are an unacceptable danger no matter what weapons they have at hand.

"Gunowners, are you ready to take life and deal with the legal and emotional, not to mention the moral, repurcussions?"

Yes, and I have. In defending my life, or the lives of other innocent people, against violence inflicted by those with criminal intent, there are no legal repercussions, and, as even Gandhi said, there are no moral problems because it is a moral act. To do otherwise is, as he also said, cowardice. Because of that, there are no emotional repercussions either.

"Do you always unload it and lock it up away from thieves and children?"

No, I keep it loaded all the time, and always under my control. Otherwise it wouldn't be much use.

"Will you kill on a whim and regret it later? Why is it OK to obey orders to kill, but not OK to kill at will? "

In the 45 years I've carried one, I never have, and have never been tempted to. What kind of sick unstable person would be so tempted, with or without a gun? It's okay to kill anyone who launches an unjustified attack on the life of an innocent person. Period. Neither orders nor whim have anything to do with it. It's the most fundamental of all rights, of every living thing: self-preservation.

"Guns are a fetish like gold or (the horrible) fine art speculated by the wealthy."

From what I've seen, this is only true of those who express views like yours, and therefore seldom if ever actually own guns. Actual gun owners usually simply see them as tools, like fire extinguishers and seat belts; safety devices no one hopes to ever need, but would be foolish to be without if the need was to arise.

It sounds like you (as most anti-gun people) have some serious emotional problems that probably rightly lead you to believe you should not own a gun. However, that doesn't give you any right to suppose that everyone else is as emotionally immature as yourself, or to restrict the rights of others on such a supposition. Thankfully, we live in a country where the irrational fears of the emotionally unstable aren't allowed to deprive fundamental rights from the rest of society.

You really disappointed me with your lack of knowledge and balance on your rant on guns.
So, here's a quick history review:

In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Germany established gun control in 1938 and from 1939 to 1945, a total of 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.

China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated

Guatemala established gun control in 1964. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
---- ------------- -------------

Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975 to 1977, one million educated people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Defenseless people rounded up and exterminated in the 20th Century because of gun control: 56 million.

It has now been 12 months since gun owners in Australia were forced by new law to surrender 640,381 personal firearms to be destroyed by their own Government, a program costing Australia taxpayers more than $500 million dollars. The first year results are now in:

List of 7 items:

Australia-wide, homicides are up 3.2 percent.

Australia-wide, assaults are up 8.6 percent.

Australia-wide, armed robberies are up 44 percent (yes, 44 percent)!

In the state of Victoria alone, homicides with firearms are now up 300 percent. Note that while the law-abiding citizens turned them in, the criminals did not, and criminals still possess their guns!

While figures over the previous 25 years showed a steady decrease in armed robbery with firearms, this has changed drastically upward in the past 12 months, since criminals now are guaranteed that their prey is unarmed.

There has also been a dramatic increase in break-ins and assaults of the ELDERLY. Australian politicians are at a loss to explain how public safety has decreased, after such monumental effort, and expense was expended in successfully ridding Australian society of guns. The Australian experience and the other historical facts above prove it.

You won't see this data on the US evening news, or hear politicians disseminating this information.

Guns in the hands of honest citizens save lives and property and, yes, gun-control laws adversely affect only the law-abiding citizens.

The next time you talk in favor of gun control, please remind them of this history lesson.

With guns, we are 'citizens'. Without them, we are 'subjects'.

During WWII the Japanese decided not to invade America because they knew most Americans were ARMED!

The purpose of fighting is to win. There is no possible victory in defense. The sword is more important than the
shield, and skill is more important than either. The final weapon is the brain. All else is supplemental.


I have never felt on equal footing in a political discussion with an individual I knew to be armed.

I have known a great number of inferior feeling men who have used a gun as an "equalizer."

The IRA is mostly funded by arms manufacturers, and despite the dues payers (including Michael Moore) and the decal displayers that is an indisputable fact. Maybe things would be different if gun lovers had to pay the entire cost of their organizing.

There are a great number of people who fear a specific armed abuser or stalker who has intimidated or threatened them. Most are not in a position or a state of mind to retaliate in a fire-fight.

Police have used guns and other weapons to murder and abuse suspects and victims in this country.

Considering the state of modern military weaponry and allied technology handguns and rifles would be relatively useless in opposing governmental oppression in this country, and also relatively useless in defending against outside threats.

As observed from traumatized service personnel it is not normal to remain mobilized and continually at heightened alert. Most people live in a state of relative distraction, texting, thinking about sex, worrying about health, talking, immersed in media.... All people must sleep. Unless you live in a garrisoned condition like an illegal Israeli settler you are as likely to have the gun you own turned upon you by an intruder as to have the opportunity to defend your home or yourself with it.

People drawing a gun in public, especially in a crowd are a horror, no matter what their intent. Police remain of a mind to shoot first and ask questions later. Extra armed persons tend to complicate their job and get others hurt and killed.

I find a gun as distasteful and primative as the spear or bow-arrow which preceded it. It is a way to make a hole in someone or something the shooter opposes, for whatever reason. We have lasers and other weapons that do the same job mor efficiently and are just as objectionable. The romance of Americans with the gun as symbol are as perverted as their romance with the internal combustion engine or the noose. With all three humanity hangs itself.

As an emotional person I can think of more than 50 times I might have murdered an enemy or tormentor during my 60 years. I am glad I did not have a gun at those times, even when I was an abused child or a torture victim in a foreign country. Revenge scenarios are a waste of time that diminish the imaginer. What use is there to punish or murder a dumb sadist brute. Confinement or ostracism are the best alternative.

It is always a horror when the state claims authority to take life. It is even worse when individuals do so, no matter the provocation. Gunowners, are you ready to take life and deal with the legal and emotional, not to mention the moral, repurcussions? Do you always unload it and lock it up away from thieves and children? And if you do, how can it be at the ready when you decide to kill? Will you kill on a whim and regret it later? Why is it OK to obey orders to kill, but not OK to kill at will? Are you stable enough to carry a loaded gun if you cannot answer these questions? How many people are capable of honestly answering such questions?

Guns are a fetish like gold or (the horrible) fine art speculated by the wealthy. How many guns will ever be enough for the addict or the profiteer? (Ids a gun dealer any better than a drug dealer?)

Isn't our nation a dirty arms dealer on behalf of the manufacturers? How could it be otherwise under global corporate capitalism?

I hope that Bill Moyers will bother to apply the same standards of critical analysis and rational debate to his publically expressed stance on gun policy, that he normaly applies to so many other vital issues as presented on his fine program, "the journal".

Civil society is, incidently, an evolutionary environment that shapes the character of its consituants. Gun control fosters learnt helplessness. Gun liberty fosters moral self reliance - an absolute requisit to an adapting democracy. Think about it.

John, your line, "the 'killer instinct' that long predated the invention of fire arms" should make it clear that guns are ultimately irrelevant to your fears for society. People have always, and will always, desire to profit from the work of others. And those others will always seek to prevent having their work so exploited. Whether it's a despotic government, an unfair economic system, or a thief who breaks into one's home, this has always, and will always, be true. And all of these have a history of using whatever level of violence is necessary to secure what they seek. To deprive the rest of society of the means to resist this violence, simply because of one's aversion to violence in general, is an even greater crime than that the victims wish to prevent, because it forces them to be victims of all who would so desire.

"Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest." ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Guns are made for killing. Guns have the word 'kill' stamped into their very design. They are a manufactured manifestation of the 'killer instinct' that long predated the invention of fire arms.They have made killing easier and more efficient and, as often happens with advances in technology, have created a mass market for the thing they were made for, namely: Killing. The gun made it possible to kill our away across the west and conquer that territory. The gun presently makes it possible to pile enormous profits off the business of war, ensuring a long and prosperous future in that lucrative market for wholesale death. The gun is a materialization of fear and mistrust, of one's fellow humanity, of the threatening, terrifying 'them,' the enemy that lurks in the shadows. So we arm ourselves to make ourselves fearsome and dangerous to others who have likewise made themselves fearsome and dangerous by their right to own rival guns. Because the 'bad guys' have guns, so we the 'good guys' must also have guns. But when everyone is killing everyone else, the blood is flowing, children are crying, hearts are breaking, where are the good guys anymore? Are we not all just killing ourselves--if killing becomes a way of life based on our power to inflict death?

Dear Eric Holtzman,

What the hell is the matter with you? You don’t think our precious little darlings need to protect themselves? And you call yourself an NRA member. Turn in your spurs and get the hell out of here.

Now, can anyone else give a good reason to why these poor kids should not be allowed to protect themselves? Just one.

Yours truly,
Alfred E. Newman, NRA Lobbyist

You might want to do a little research into the intentions of the Founding Fathers and why they did what they did.

As the courts have consistently and frequently ruled, the police are not our personal body guards. It is NOT their job to protect us or keep us safe. It is their job to investigate crimes and arrest criminals after the crime is committed. Unfortunately, that's a little late if you're the victim.

Besides allowing us to protect our rights from government infringement, our Founding Fathers understood that government officials, such as police, have no responsibility (or even ability) to protect us. They understood that it was our own personal responsibility. And they wrote into our most sacred national document a guarantee that every adult citizen would retain the right to the means to fulfill that responsibility.

80 some years later, when the Southern states were depriving African Americans of this right, and subsequently of all their others once they were defenseless (including their lives), the country passed the Second Freedmen's Bureau Act, the Civil Rights Act of 1866, and the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, all of which were explicitly intended to protect this right, among others. Then, in order to placate the white supremacist factions in the South, the Supreme Court issued one of their worst and most racist decisions ever, ruling that the 2nd Amendment (and the 1st Amendment as well) did not apply to the states, and in doing so, undid the prosecution of a group of racists who'd committed one of the worst mass-murders in US history. And this ruling is the legal basis of all gun control laws in the US. It was first used to justify denying guns to African Americans, and those laws have subsequently been extended to everyone who doesn't have enough money to afford adequate political influence.

Anyone who defends these laws is simply defending a long history of depriving rights to minorities and eventually to those not within the sociopolitical elite.

And why? Because a few people have abused a fundamental right? And let's be clear here; it is just a few. 90% of gun crime in the US is gang violence (over drugs primarily) against other gang members. Yes, 30,000 a year sounds like a lot, but when you take away the drug dealers shooting other drug dealers, you're down to 3,000. And even not all of those are due to the irresponsible actions of otherwise law-abiding citizens (and about 90% of those that are, are suicides, not homicides).

But we're told we should all give up what every generation till the 1960s understood was a fundamental right (and that change was again because of the fear of African Americans, because of the racial tensions of the Civil Rights Movement), because we should all be afraid of something that any actual research shows is virtually a fiction. Haven't we had enough of that over the last decade?

Mr. Moyers:

What's you solution? Strict gun laws like Great Britain has passed? Let's see, in the last 20 years the gun laws in the US have been loosened, with 48 states now allowing citizens to carry concealed firearms for self protection. And in that time, our violent crime and gun crime rates have consistently dropped.

During the same time period, Great Britain virtually banned private gun ownership, to the point where even their Olympic athletes in shooting sports had to leave the country to train. They've instituted random warrantless searches of private citizens on public streets, using portable airport-style metal detectors to turn whole public areas into random "security zones", and are seriously making efforts to ban even pointed kitchen knives.

And why? Because, having banned guns, their violent crime rate has skyrocketed. Gun crime (which should be just about zero according to the logic of gun-control advocates) is now double what it was before the ban. In London alone police seize over 400 illegal guns a month, including significant numbers of military machine guns. And Australia, which passed similar laws over the same period, is experiencing the same pattern of violent crime increase.

It would be nice once in awhile if people who purport to be educated and make decisions based on fact, intelligence, and data, instead of on emotion and political rhetoric, could do so on every topic, and not just those that fit their political agenda.

Mr Moyers.

Your speech abut firearms, though well intentioned, lacked balance. You cite statistics about harm done with firearms, but you did not list the nunber of times that firearms are legally used by responsibile citizens to protect themselves, their homes, and their loved ones, from harm.

I am more terrified (and statistically more likely to be killed or harmed) by careless people on the interstate highways doing things like using cell phones, texting, and weaving in and out of traffic, than I am by responsible firearms owners.

Please do a show on the responsible use of firearms in the country.
Forget the NRA; Just get normal people to tell you their stories.

Let's quote this 'gem.'--- "Dear Mr. Moyers, With all the murder/suicides that we’ve been experiencing lately, I strongly support a movement which would allow our children to start packing heat. Do you know how many lives could have been saved if only they were allowed to defend themselves? I can see it now; Daddy just got laid off and he starts slamming things around, while off in the corner, 5 year old Junior slowly removes his safety... Let’s face it, it’s their God damn Constitutional right.
Yours truly,
Alfred E. Newman, NRA Lobbyist
Posted by: David F." ---

It is this kind of drivel that passes for wisdom amongst the anti-gunners. Make up your mind – are you Alfred E. Newman, or David F.? And you certainly don't sound like an NRA Lobbyist.

Mr. Moyers, are you proud that this kind of pathetic support you seem to elicit from your fellow-anti-gunners?

You are losing your grip on things it begins to seem & forgetting you are one who is rich enough to protect yourself so you can lord it over regular homeowners who need to be thought to have guns whether they do or not. Criminals who are already not allowed to have guns are usually the ones using them and many of the perps like in the Holocaust Museum killing should have been off the street & in jail under our current laws. I thought from some of your shows that you read history and you will remember if you do that more people protected themselves with guns in the past. If someone on behalf of Dr. Tiller had been there to protect him and the others around him that terrorist would not have made it 170 miles away before getting caught. It seems the law abiding are shirking their responsibility to carry arms on occasion to protect others and that includes you in your safe places. Not everyone is as well off as you or able to live in places where they can pretend they don't need guns for protection. You should ALSO be asking where were the security guards Dr. Tiller PAID and where were the feds his taxes paid to protect him & he had even asked them specifically for assistance. It is ONLY and ALWAY the right-wing terrorists like the anti-abortion terrorists who are misusing guns. So if you want more gun laws take them away from the Republicans not from the law-abiding.

"When the Constitution was written, muskets were the weapon referred to"
Sure, these were state of the art weapons available to the army at the time. The spirit of the 2nd Amendment is to give citizens means to protect themselves from the tyranny of government (foreign or domestic). By the way freedom of speech was not written for the internet either. Shall we infringe on the freedom of speech as well?

"When a gun kills there's no age limit, no practicing, no written exams and no need to carry liability insurance, just a macho front concealing a lack of judgement and hate."

Personal responsibility is the key to gun ownership and every gun owner I know is a lot more responsible than majority of drivers on our roads. We already have enough laws on books to ensure it (estimated to about 20,000 in USA). Trying to arbitrary limit types of guns or places where guns can be carried by trained and licensed people is not going to make situation any better.

At the moment it seems like word "hate" is the best describing attitude of people who do not understand gun culture towards gun owners...
It would be beneficial to anyone before speaking on the gun control subject to spend a little time trying to understand what it really means.

Dear Mr. Moyers,

With all the murder/suicides that we’ve been experiencing lately, I strongly support a movement which would allow our children to start packing heat. Do you know how many lives could have been saved if only they were allowed to defend themselves? I can see it now; Daddy just got laid off and he starts slamming things around, while off in the corner, 5 year old Junior slowly removes his safety... Let’s face it, it’s their God damn Constitutional right.

Yours truly,
Alfred E. Newman, NRA Lobbyist

When the Constitution was written, muskets were the weapon referred to. I finally contributed to the Brady Bill as every year the use of guns has gotten more out of control. We wouldn't get rid of leaders we hate with guns. It's going to the polls and voting and demonstrations and love of our fellow man which brings justice for all. People compare guns and cars. To drive a car one has to pass tests and get a license, and when a car crashes it is an accident.
When a gun kills there's no age limit, no practicing, no written exams and no need to carry liability insurance, just a macho front concealing a lack of judgement and hate.

Dear Mr. Moyers,

I think you have grossly underestimated value of guns in a free society and overestimated role of so called "gun lobby" in the process. What you still don't get is what you call "gun lobby" IS just American people who believe that being armed and able to defend their families is their right. Every time somebody says "gun lobby" did something I feel disrespected because it makes my believes and my civil actions look dirty and sort of "for profit". I personally do not profit from gun sales. I do not have any monetary interest in growing firearms related businesses. It is my believe that being armed is an essential part of being free. If you do not get it, I probably will not be able to help you, but please do not disrespect these how gets it by calling them "gun lobby" and placing them into same "bucket" with other interest lobbying groups that are doing it for profit. It is like calling EFF an "internet lobby". Just ask yourself a question: "where does NRA power come from and why does NRA have so many active members who do not benefit directly from NRA's actions?". Just think about that...

I am not a Jew, but I certainly understand why Jews would want to have arms after what happened to them in 20th century. You were absolutely wrong to reject "Jews for preservation of gun ownership" proposal to debate the issue. It looks like you made this decision based on a blind, almost "religious", assertion that guns cannot do any good in civil society. To anyone with elementary history knowledge it is absolutely clear that when it comes to slaughtering people, governments are doing orders of magnitude more that all criminals and psychopaths put together. And if you think that this does not apply to our government and it is only happening in other countries, think again. Germany was a liberal democracy before it fell into darkness of fascism. And Germans were and are well educated and civilized people. That tragic transition to fascism was triggered by events completely out of control of anyone. So what exactly do you think makes us immune from fascism? May be armed population is not a guarantee, but it certainly makes it a lot harder to accomplish.

As any freedom the right to keep and bear arms is not without its costs. Time to time armed criminals or psychopaths used and will use arms again to commit crimes. But this should be seen as unfortunate side effect and not as a main result. Same as spread child pornography web sites should be seen as an unfortunate side effect of free access to the information on the internet and lets no blame EFF for that.

By the way, if you read comments to your pro-control story, please do not disregard comments from people who disagrees with your point as being "directed" by "gun lobby" or NRA. Just try to imagine that it is real people who are tired from frustrating gun control measures that do not bring anything good to a society, except make some ignorant people feel better about themselves.

I forgot something having to do with this episode. Before his editorial, Moyers had a segment about Thomas Paine. He seems to be a fan of Paine, and I'm a big fan. So let's look at what Paine wrote about bearing arms in his Thoughts on Defensive War:

"The balance of power is the scale of peace. The same balance would be preserved were all the world not destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside ... Horrid mischief would ensue were one half the world deprived of the use of them ... the weak will become prey to the strong."

I am neither for nor against gun ownership or gun control. I do not own a firearm of any kind, but I do know people who do own firearms and I endorse their right to do so if that is their choice.

What I do object to is the legal 'right' to carry a concealed weapon. I think if you're going to 'carry', you ought to have to 'strap it on' - just like the movies show us it was in the 'old West'.

On the other hand, maybe there ought to be a law that EVERYONE must carry a handgun at all times - strapped on, of course. That might slow down the nutjobs and criminals who decide, for whatever reason, to shoot other people.

Moyers does such a great job at cutting down the fatcats, it saddens me when he continues on to toe the liberal line by cutting down guns as well. Another anti-gun editorial edited for maximum emotional impact and filled with the usual use of very selective and twisted statistics. I'm glad so many respondents called him to account for it. Editorials like his make me feel a little less guilty about not donating to PBS.

Mr. Moyers,

Your views on guns are childish and wrong headed. Criminals, by definition, don't obey laws. Therefore the only effect gun laws have is disarming good folks in a world where criminals will always be armed.

Either you are just dumb, which I could forgive, or you have a more sinister reason to want to disarm the law abiding public.

By the way, the NRA is not a front for the arms industry as you snidely put it. I am the NRA, as are millions of Americans better than you.


If you would like the real facts, not the lies about guns spewed by Mr. Moyers:

22 times...

30,000 deaths...,2933,113094,00.html

Mr. Moyers, please stop with the lies and grow up.

-rob g

Dear Bill,

I believe that Americans have the right to bare arms as well as legs and that Charlton Heston was Moses and split the sea. I also think there should be a single simple test required that must be passed before acquiring a gun so as to keep them out of the hands of insane people. The test would be this: Any person is allowed to pick any gun of any size or type he wants if he can show proof he can pay for it; can show he can properly load and handle the gun, and finally must aim and shoot himself with it to show he understands the full capability and deadly potential of the gun of his choice. By passing this simple test, the gun purchaser would demonstrate he understands the full responsibility that is required of having such a gun. This one test would keep guns out of the hands of many frightened dangerous people and make a safer world for all.
Guns for All,
God Bless America,


Please review the information provided at
This website has all of the verified facts on "Assault Rifles", Gun Violence, and Concealed/Open Carry. Please feel free to pass this information along.

Reply to Andy:

"Mr. Moyer's diatribe against firearms offends me. Don't get me wrong he has all the right in this country (thanks to the second amendment) to have his opinion; just don't do it on my dime! Public programming that is more than partially funded by my taxes should not be used to air Mr. Moyer's personal fears."

Dear Andy,

That is why this type of segment is called an "editorial".

This is Bill Moyer's Journal, and he has the right to air his personal opinions and perspectives under this kind of format (and nobody forces you to watch if you resent it).

You will notice that his tone is very different when interviewing guests.

Now back to gun control:
Just compare statistics in the United States and other "developed" countries. The greater number of guns per capita, the greater the number of violent deaths...

Stronger restrictions on guns (particularly the right to wear one in public) should lead in the long term to a reduction of violent crime.

Switzerland is an interesting example: most adult males have a very powerful assault rifle in the closet, but ammunition boxes are sealed and may not be opened unless in a state of war.

Those wishing to shoot can access ammunition at a rifle range. The ammo is counted, and leftovers stay INSIDE the range.

Every few years there is an occasional burst of violence by a maniac or psychologically unstable person, but the country is overall one of the safest in the world.

As always, thanks to the BMJ team for their great work! Looking forward to the next edition...

Before someone brings up ammunition encoding and micro-stamping let me address that. Ammunition encoding (serializing bullets) will not work for several reason.

1. If you want ammo to commit a crime you just steal it. This traces the ammo back to someone else which throws the police off your trail.

2. You can just pull the serialized bullet, remove the marking, and re-seat the bullet.

3. You can simply replace the factory bullet with a bullet that you cast from lead. Make your own ammo essentially.

Not to mention the black market cottage industry that would spring up for criminals who want this ammo. Meanwhile law abiding people continue to overpay and have each of their bullets registered for another ineffective measure.

Micro-stamping is a scheme that would incorporate a stamp on the firing pin (which punches the primer) and the breech face of the weapon. When the gun is fired the stamped information is imprinted on the cartridge which in theory can be traced back to the owner. Of course no owner committing a crime would be stupid enough to leave stamped cartridge shells or use a gun he purchased legally and is registered to him. But the biggest problem is how easy it is to remove the stamping from the weapon. All you need is a file and off it comes. That could be made illegal like removing a mattress tag but somehow I doubt a murderer cares. I won't even go into all of the other reasons because just the fact that it is so easily defeated makes it ridiculous to even suggest.

I've heard ammunition tax a couple of times here. Taxing is always a popular way to try and reduce something that some find offensive, like smoking. But unlike smoking the problem is not recreational use of guns. It's criminal use of guns. You can't make a bullet expensive enough that it will stop criminals from using them. All you do is raise the price on lawful users and make them pay for an ineffective law that is supposedly intended to stop crime. And that's just lumping lawful people into a group of criminals because they both own guns.

I'm not sure how legalizing silencers got into the discussion but I'll address that. Just like fully automatic machine guns, which they are not related to at all, silencers or suppressors are legal in most if not many areas. They both are what is called an NFA (National Firearms Act) item and are legal under federal law. That means you must pay a $200 tax stamp and pass the mother of all background checks to own one. For silencers you can purchase a new one through Class III dealers. For fully automatic weapons you must also go through a Class III dealer AND the weapon must be a pre-86 weapon eligible for civilian transfer. Back to silencers. These have a bad reputation as the tools of mob hitmen when in fact they are more of a personal safety item to reduce the loud crack of the gun's report. They also keep the gun from annoying your neighbors if you live in the country and want to shoot on a Sunday afternoon. Before the NFA restrictions many hunters used them and they were marketed like any other item. Like most things, if a bad person wants to use a silencer for bad things they just make one. They're not hard to make and are also quite cheap. And they don't make that "pew, pew" sound shown in the movies. At best they eliminate the report entirely so you only hear the sound of the gun's action. But if the bullet travels at supersonic speeds then you will still hear that crack. But I'm not aware of any new legislation to legalize silencers unless that is a local thing. It's legal where I live but of course the NFA rules still apply.

"There is much talk about hate talk; hate crimes against blacks, whites, immigrants, Muslims, Jews; about violence committed in the name of bigotry or religion. But why don’t we talk about guns?"

The answer to your question can be found in the replies on this blog. We don't talk about guns because of the fear of losing possessions and personal attack that the gun owners live with and the nut cases who think having a gun makes them strong and powerful and the lobby that makes money off the whole thing.

A wise woman I know has a variation on the remark "guns don't kill people, people do". it is "guns don't kill people, bullets do". A substantial tax on amunition could be used to help the victims of bullet violence.

After I watched your program, as I do every Friday, I checked out the news on a couple of blogs and saw a diary lamenting the murder of a 9 year old girl and her 29 year old father. The National director of a right wing group, "Minutemen for the Defense of America" and two accomplices invaded the home of a Hispanic family and shot all three of them- mother, father and nine year old daughter. After they left, the mother,who was still alive, got the family gun and called the police. The murderers returned, possibly to make sure everyone was dead and she shot one of them (his last name is Bush). They ran away and were arrested by the police, who had responded to the woman's 911 call.
It is true that guns don't kill people. People with guns kill people. But, as I understand it, the Dems have given up on gun control and I can't say I blame them. The right wing frenzy over guns is as dangerous as their frenzy over abortion and illegal immigration.I don't understand why anyone would insist on silencers being legalized unless they are up to no good. I have no idea why people would want guns in state and federal parks.But I do understand that gun control has to come from the bottom up, not the top down. And that, I fear, means a lot more people will buy guns and a lot more people will die.

Never seen this show before. Inadvertantly saw it when changing channels. Concerning gun control, this guy has an open mind about the size of an ants ass. Why waste time putting a useful explanation in favor of the Second Amendment when the recipients ears are covered with cinder blocks and eyes see about as far as his nose.

I have not read every response, so if this comment has been made already I apoligize for the redundancy:

Bill Moyers asks the question, "Why have we stopped talking about guns?" and he receives an offer from a pro-gun organization to talk about guns (more or less) and he refuses the offer???

I think I see the problem.


I absolutely love Mcaughlin Group and have recently been trying to watch Bill Moyers Journal. Tonight's show was excellent, especially the segment about Thomas Paine. However I wonder if Mr. Moyers was asleep during the interview with Mr. Kaye and Mr. Brookhiser. Did he not learn anything about the man that personified liberty? Mr. Moyer's diatribe against firearms offends me. Don't get me wrong he has all the right in this country (thanks to the second amendment) to have his opinion; just don't do it on my dime! Public programming that is more than partially funded by my taxes should not be used to air Mr. Moyer's personal fears.

Since Mr. Moyer's ended his segment with hard numbers, I will end mine the same. Mr. Moyer's I hope that you will also support the ban of all automobiles in this country. Not only are they contributing to global warming, but every year approximately 60,000 Americans die in them. That is twice the number of people killed by firearms in the same year and as many as the number of U.S. soldiers killed in the entire Vietnam war.

In the future please pay for your own "air time" when you feel the need to enlighten us common folk.

Thank You,

Bill I like your show... BUT your comments about guns are off a bit.

For example... how about this mass murder that did NOT involve guns:

1) Javed Iqbal, Pakistan 1954. He murdered 100 children. Killed 100 boys in only five months, preferring to drug, rape, strangle, then chop them into pieces. Iqbal would then either store the bodies in a vat of acid near his house or dump them into the sewer.

Now I ask you, what can banning guns have done for those children?

I don't even own a gun... but my point is, from the dawn of civilization, murder has unfortunately been with us.

2) Look at Ireland right now. They have a knife assault epidemic... should they ban knives too?

People should be educated on the dangers of weapons, not treated like children.

What about alcohol? .... 75,000 people die each year from alcohol related reasons. Should we ban alcohol?

Education will solve our problems in this country, not government "we know better" control.

Thanks for your time.

Aram S.

I'm another pro-gun liberal: the artical mentions 30,000 gun deaths, 400 million guns...that's .0075 percent deaths per gun, and as mentioned above, way less than deaths by automobile...let alone alcohol, smoking, and red meat.

Second amendment: Never understood how that got translated into a state militia, i.e. national guard. The 'spirit' of the authors was CLEARLY an effort to ensure that ordinary citizens could protect themselves against tyranny, i.e. an out of control gov't a la Bush's admin. If the world as we know it falls to pieces (which I DO NOT believe will happen), but you want the only armed and trained people to be the religious nuts??? Liberals need to learn to fight for their ideals, yeah, that might even mean fighting. This is NOT a call to militancy, just a reminder that ideals are worth fighting for, and sometimes that may even mean fighting...I know it's hard to imagine while sipping herbal tea and listening to Enya...but yeah, we may someday need to actually fight for others who cannot fight for themselves...

Finally, there is little to no research that shows correlations between suggested laws and crime reduction. Truth is, criminals are not buying more than one gun a month at gun shops anyway; they're not getting them at gun shows; they're not being fingerprinted or background checked...that is all an expensive bureaucratic facade that inconveniences the masses while offering no real affect on crime.

Q: Did crime go down because of the Brady Bill or because during the Clinton year we experienced a relatively good economy? As a liberal, I don't want a band aid, I want to work towards the root of the problem. Violence, while always present in all societies to date, is signifantly reduced with prosperity. The solutions to violence lie in economic opportunity...not laws regarding the length of the shoulder stock on a particular make and model of gun, or laws specifying that a gun magazine holds only 10 rounds instead of 15...such laws are just irrevalent...most crimes involving guns are committed with a couple of shots, if any, with small caliber guns from grandpa's attic...but don't take my word for a smart liberal and do the research for youself.

Viewed your very good Journal on my local PBS outlet tonight, June 12. As always I enjoyed your discussions with your guests and especially that on Health Care.

Thing I did not like was your plea about gun control. Yes, that is what it sounded like.

First of all after something like 4 home invasions/robberies/assaults in our county in the last 6 months I think you would appreciate the need for a gun in the home to protect yourself if you were the victim of such an attack.

What would you do, Bill, unarmed, someone comes busting into your door who is armed and intent on robbery and/or murder?

Second thing. I assume you have read the writings of our founding fathers particularly in the Federalist Papers. Their position was that we need guns to protect ourselves from our government. Certainly that may not be bazookas, RPGs, full automatic weapons. But still the advice on the need for being armed citizens is even more timely today. Even with our current president, who, disappointingly enough, has embraced some of the most illegal and unconstitutional policies of the Bush era.

The problem we have, as was pointed out by another commentor earlier, is that our society is sick and has gone over the edge into violence, lawlessness, a total lack of morality and integrity. That sickness pervades everything from our government and legislators and financial system all the way down to your next door neighbor. So now we have a violent society full of people who are bombs just waiting to go off. If they don't use guns it will be knives, or clubs, or automobiles. Whatever works. And yes, I know about statistics that show that when a gun is around people tend to use it. But that is not the case in my home. I make sure that my weapon is ready and available and will not be wrongly used. That is my responsibility. If I can't live up to that I should not have any guns.

Certainly there should be adequate laws to prevent unstable or criminal individuals from arming themselves. But, those laws have not worked yet and probably won't. The solution however is NOT to disarm the citizenry.

In countries where that has been tried the results have not been what you would find acceptable.

I think that you might investigate the places in the United States where it has been made very easy for law abiding citizens to have a handgun and a concealed carry permit. See what has happened to violent crime in those places. Might be an interesting study for you.

So my view is that we are living in an increasingly violent society with more and more people being pushed beyond their limits. We can expect to see more violence using whatever tools are at hand. The solution is to do something about the causes of our society's sickness. So far our government has not been very good about that.

My two cents.

As a student of the mathematician R. L. Moore, it's difficult for me to read the Second Amendment without concluding that it does imply that people can possess "Arms."

I'm a progressive who doesn't own a gun. My friends all think I'm an idiot for seeing things this way, but I do.

And I can see why NRA members are nervous about debate of what should be a settled issue.

Here we go again. Now that we have one party control of the government, the anti-gun talk starts anew. Guns will always be out there for those who wish to do harm with them. Do not think for a minute that any new gun restrictions of any kind will deter evil. Leave the lawful alone.

I was deeply troubled by Bill Moyers anti gun rant. Are you so disconnected from reality in your glass house that you really believe gun control is the answer? Europe with its draconian gun laws still has assault weapon issues. Look at Mexico the only people with guns there are criminals. But Mexico's President has the nerve to say if only our gun laws were like Mexico's gun laws they would not have the problem. He is correct, We would all have the problem.

I have to question what other topics you have manipulated in order present your liberal point of view?
That is not journalism. A journalist presents the facts not opinions. Even when trying to spawn conversation. You remind me of another talking head. "We are here to make sense of it all" That makes me sick!
Tell me what happened both sides please.

Thank you Bill Moyers for your continued insightful and intelligent programming with guests who expertly explore vital subjects. I watch every one of your "Journals". Your presence on PBS is the main reason I contribute to my local station in San Diego, KPBS.
Thank you for your excellent coverage of the violence perpetrated by the anti-abortionists and white supremists. As a victim of an armed robbery I was appalled when "the people's repesentatives" attached the NRA sponsored rider for guns in national parks in the Credit Card bill. As Secretary Reich said on your program tonight, "Corporate will trumps public good." So sad, but so true. Again he is right that Pres. Obama's test will be if he has the courage and toughness to push back against the Medical Industrial Complex and put Single-payer Health Care (not only on the table) but front and center. It is the only system that makes economic, moral and common sense.
You are THE BEST example of what good journalism is;
the type of journalism that is essential for an educated public, which a democracy depends on.

It seems to me, that we are all part of a great paranoia that we will lose our gun rights. This is just that…paranoia. I own a gun and have owned guns in the past. Living in Tucson AZ for years, I was an avid gun owner and owned many guns, pistols mostly. I went to the range three times a week, and although I was never a crack shot, it made me feel safe. I too used to rave about the laws to take away our rights, and would be the first one to use the worn out phrase “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” In addition, I was…and I emphasize was, an NRA member. However, as I saw more and more people killing each other, I began to wonder, where the control is. I lived for twelve years in an area of Tucson bordered with crack houses and drug dealers. I was one of the only ones that could identify a ‘tear gas gun’ just by the sound of it, having heard it so many times. I worked in a bad part of the city, the city within Tucson, South Tucson. If I got out late from work, I was witness to the street people, people that only came out at night, pimps, prostitutes and other bad people, of every race. Oh sure there were the good folks that lived there, but they stayed in at night, or spent their nights elsewhere.
I did back then, feel a need to carry, and I had a concealment permit. Now I have changed, as I do not feel that having my basement full of weapons is healthy for me. Now that is not to be confused with a time in my life, in North Dakota, where I had shotguns and hunting rifles. Back then, I also would stand up and holler when there was something in the works, a policy, and a bill, which threatened to take away our guns. Yes…those hunting guns. But as I sat on my backyard in Tucson on the fourth of July and watched the fireworks, our tradition in celebrating our independence, hearing rips of fully auto weapons as well as every other conceivable weapon, being fired into the air, I felt that this is not what our forefathers thought, when they created the second amendment. Why, I thought, does any law-abiding citizen need an assault rifle? Why does the NRA need to protect that? I mean, we need compromise people. However, then there comes that paranoia that “Oh my God…if I give them that they will be after it all.” Well I say rubbish! The people will not stand for that.
A month ago, I applied for a job at a gun shop, as I needed a job, and I know guns and am a good salesperson. As I left the shop, the owner ran out and confronted me, after seeing my Obama sticker on the back of my car. He proceeded to berate me for daring to apply for a job in his establishment if I supported the man that was going to take away everyone’s guns. He ranted about Barrack not being a citizen…and well you know the rest. Of course, he was not complaining about the hoards of paranoid people, driven to fear by the gun lobbyists and the NRA buying everything he had on the shelves. That is my point, as it is not what the creators of the second amendment meant! Would they have approved of assault rifles, a fifty-caliber BMG sniper rifle? Do we need to let the NRA and the Gun manufacturers, fill us so full of fear that we fill our country to the brim with them, while they all get wealthy? Go hunting, and carry a gun if you want…but let is compromise, as they are too many people dying. The tears of the people left behind cannot wash away the excessive violence, and bloodshed, it takes us to compromise and seek an end to it.

Why do the rich keep getting richer? Because they own our government through lobbies and campaign contributions. Please push for campaign finance reform on your program.
The second big reason is conglomerates who own both the media and businesses like military and nuclear that benefit from their media companies influence on the public. Please work to educate the public and break up these conglomerates.

The unfortunate fact is that these things happen in a free society. That is the cost of allowing people to speak and act under their own will. Only in a police state, where the individual's communications and activities are under constant surveillance and scrutiny, will you find the ability to prevent such unfortunate conduct. Gun control will never prevent a person intent on killing another from doing so. It may, however, serve as an invitation to those who may wish to further erode our liberties and move us in the direction of becoming a police state. A lovely piece of emotional rhetoric, Mr. Moyers, but nothing more.

Bill Moyers is a national treasure! He's one of the very few who is not cowed into submission and fear by the nra and it's duped followers who only ape the same propaganda and could care less about the victims of gun violence.

Your comment on 6-12 about gun control was ludacris. Do you think by taking away a .22 squirrel gun the man who shot the guard with would have prevented his hatred? More than likely it would have he would have spawned a more devious attempt to take more casualty's. Remember if you disarm the public only the criminals will have arms. Mexican drug cartells are a perfect example. If the mexicans all had assault rifle's and were equally armed there would be no violence because it would equallize the abillity to harm one another. Just as nukes have equallized great world powers. Granted not the best Idea but it works. Please keep in mind there is a educated public on real world interests. You may have strong opinions on gun control but your reasoning and demeanor makes you look and sound far inferior on a rational and inteligence basis. IMAO we would be better off with a real mans opinion not someone who is afraid of defending themselves. Good news is when you have to call 911 to keep a predator off of your family the police might show up in time. Then you can explain on your tv program how minorities are 30 percent more likely to rape your loved ones than the sex offender living down the street. You sound like a scared white boy in the big city.Might be timeto grow a pair. Maybe the fed should register and take away knive's you know a lot of people get stabbed oh and screw drivers to they can be used as weapons LOL your such a moron.

Everything I read here is a great point of view except for the that of Mr. Moyer. Lies and half truths will be the down fall of America. I am very disappointed in you. You are not a journalist you are a propagandist.

It is unconstitutional guys and for good reason.

so, um, er, ah, grant? you and your kids don't live in my town, do ya? just askin'...

btw, i know i'm a little late, but happy birthday, bill moyers! (as to "age?" i just tell folks now that co2 cap and trade could apply to the birthday candles on my cake:) best to you! with much fondness.

Mr. Moyers managed to lump every Anti-gun lie, distortion and misdirection into a 60 second mantra. That must be some sort of record. Then he proudly boasts that he will not fulfill his social contract as a "journalist" by refusing to meet with someone who wishes to discuss the subject with him. I guess that "Fairness Doctrine" is made of whole cloth. Mr. Moyer, have you any shred of integrity remaining, you would make a public apology and at least attempt a fair and impartial interview. Do you still wonder at the death spiral of the MSM?

As for Dr. Ames, well, I guess medical school sold you a bill of goods. I would be happy to assist you in learning some truth about firearms (you do know that the "assault weapons" label is a lie, yes?). You seem to be grossly ignorant, or to have been lied to, also a favorite tactic of the gun control movement.

Please at least show some intellectual honesty folks, and not just parrot the lies of the Brady Campaign and Violence Policy Center. It's all old hat and long-since debunked.

Just as all Moslims are not Ossama, all people that support individual rights of self defense with firearms are not crazed lunatics. Some of us are very aware of history and do not trust government to always have our best interest at heart. Just ask the American Indians, or the Jews in Germany, or the Armenians in Turkey. For this reason I support the 2nd admentment as the basis of all the other rights enumerated and not enumerated.

By now, I shouldn't be shocked by Bill's comments and opinions regarding our rights under the 2nd Amendment. I'm generally one of his biggest fans, except for the moment he begins his diatribes about disarming the American people with yet more anti-gun laws.
I'm an immigrant from Mexico where they have some of the toughest gun laws in the world, yet the violence levels have proven that no matter how many laws are written bad men will continue to break them no matter what. We don't need more gun laws, we have enough of them. What we are missing is effective enforcement. I for once applaud the recent efforts of our government agencies cracking down on illegal firearm purchases (straw man purchases). Go after the criminals and leave the legal residents and citizens of this great country to enjoy our rights freely.

Guns exist. You can't un-ring that bell. Maybe it would be great if we could get rid of all the guns but we can't. A problem I see is that those who demonize the gun don't seem to have any positive experience with them or with their owners. The guns they see are in the news, being used to kill innocent people. But the guns I see are owned and used by the most law abiding people who only want to protect themselves and their families. Guns are not the problem and trying to impose laws on guns only affect the law abiding.

The person who went into the Holocaust Museum this week went in intending to die. Certainly he must have scouted the location and knew there were well armed guards. He brought an antique small-caliber rifle. He was 88 years old and wanted to go out "with his boots on" as he is quoted.

The amendment that was "snuck in" was just to undo that which the Obama administration stopped. The concealed carry in national parks was already passed last year but Obama put the kibosh on it when he took office. All this amendment did was restore what was already supposed to be in implemented.

Thank goodness there was not a knee jerk reaction to the Holocaust Museum shooting. The rifle used in that shooting wasn't on anybody's ban list. Exactly what conceivable bill would have stopped that? The last group I would go to for a smart and sensible "gun control" bill is Brady. Thirty three people were killed at Virginia Tech and the Brady Campaign that it would be a good time to have a fund raiser asking for $33 in remembrance. Tacky doesn't begin to describe that.

I think Bill was much too dismissive of the JPFO. They exist to ensure that the right of citizens to bear arms remains so another Holocaust cannot happen. It's hard to oppress an armed population. Which is the entire point of the 2nd amendment lest we forget. Not hunting, target shooting or defense against home intruders. It was made for defense against a future tyrannical government. That was pretty fresh in the mind of the founding fathers. It's the 2nd amendment for a reason.

Why would anyone want to limit the number of firearms purchased in any time period? What does that accomplish? If I want to buy two in a month or ten in a month how is that anyone's business? The guy who sells stolen and illegal guns on the street corner doesn't do background checks or limit purchases. This is where serious criminals get their weapons. And the bill to allow concealed carry in restaurants that serve alcohol has another important point that was conveniently left out. The concealed carry permit holder may NOT consume any alcohol when carrying a firearm. This is not a drunk "wild west" scenario that seems to permeate anti-gun thinking.

The NRA is a front for arms merchants? This is a new one to me. I thought it was an organization of millions of gun owners that want to ensure their rights aren't infringed. I guess that makes the ACLU a front group for liberal news organizations rather than a group that fights for the civil liberties of citizens.

Where did the 22 times more likely stat come from? Let me guess, the Brady Campaign? Any time you hear a statistic always find the source. Stats from either Brady or the NRA should always be questioned and investigated for bias. But in any case it does make sense that a family member is more likely to be hurt since they are almost always in the home and an intruder would rarely be in the home. That's why firearms education and responsible ownership is so important. Teach family members how to properly and safely handle firearms and then teach them to stay away from them. And make sure it is not easy for them to get to them. A person was shot in my area because the older brother kept his gun in the laundry hamper. That's not a gun problem, that's an idiot problem.

The answer to gun violence is not get rid of the guns. That simply won't happen practically or politically. Find the real cause and mitigate the risk. But understand that there are guns and there will always be gun deaths. There are also cars and there will always be car deaths. And there are a lot more deaths from vehicle accidents than there are from firearms. But both are needed and neither is going away.

Apparently, Mr. Myers must have some selective vision when it comes to large numbers of preventable deaths.

Per CDC, 2006 had 45,509 deaths related to motor vehicles, 15,000 more than firearms. I guess for Mr Myers, those people don't count.

Oh, that's right. Only gun deaths add to ratings.

Law says you can't (carry a gun)? . . . I’ll point out some dead people who would love to be living outlaws.

Some people will be shocked at the tone of this article. They should be.

February 2, 1996 - Moses Lake, Washington: Two students and one teacher killed, and one wounded when 14-year-old Barry Loukaitis opened fire on his algebra class.

March 13, 1996 - Dunblane, Scotland: 16 children and one teacher killed at Dunblane Primary School by Thomas Hamilton, who then killed himself. 10 others were wounded in the attack.

February 19, 1997 - Bethel, Alaska: Principal and one student killed, and two others wounded by Evan Ramsey, 16.

October 1, 1997 - Pearl, Mississippi: Two students killed and seven wounded by Luke Woodham, 16, who was also accused of killing his mother. He and his friends were said to be outcasts who worshiped Satan.

December 1, 1997 - West Paducah, Kentucky: Three students killed, and five wounded by Michael Carneal, 14, as they participated in a prayer circle at Heath High School.

March 24, 1998 - Jonesboro, Arkansas: Four students and one teacher killed, ten others wounded outside, as Westside Middle School emptied during a false fire alarm. Mitchell Johnson, 13, and Andrew Golden, 11, shot at their classmates and teachers from the woods.

May 21, 1998 - Springfield, Oregon: Two students killed, and 22 others wounded in the cafeteria at Thurston High School by 15-year-old Kip Kinkel. Kinkel had been arrested and released a day earlier for bringing a gun to school. His parents were later found dead at home.

June 15, 1998 - Richmond, Virginia: One teacher and one guidance counselor wounded by a 14-year-old boy in the school hallway.

April 20, 1999 - Littleton, Colorado: 14 students (including killers) and one teacher killed, and 23 others wounded at Columbine High School in the nation's deadliest school shooting. Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, had plotted for a year to kill at least 500 and blow up their school. At the end of their hour-long rampage, they turned their guns on themselves.

April 28, 1999 - Taber, Alberta, Canada: One student killed, and one wounded at W. R. Myers High School, in first fatal high school shooting in Canada in 20 years. The suspect, a 14-year-old boy, had dropped out of school after he was severely ostracized by his classmates.

May 20, 1999 - Conyers, Georgia: Six students injured at Heritage High School by Thomas Solomon, 15, who was reportedly depressed after breaking up with his girlfriend.

November 19, 1999 - Deming, New Mexico: Victor Cordova Jr., 12, shot and killed Araceli Tena, 13, in the lobby of Deming Middle School.

December 6, 1999 - Fort Gibson, Oklahoma: Four students wounded by Seth Trickey, 13, at Fort Gibson Middle School.

May 26, 2000 - Lake Worth, Florida: One teacher, Barry Grunow, shot and killed at Lake Worth Middle School by Nate Brazill, 13, with .25 caliber semi-automatic pistol on the last day of classes.

March 5, 2001 - Santee, California: Two killed and 13 wounded by Charles Andrew Williams, 15, firing from a bathroom at Santana High School.

March 22, 2001 - Granite Hills, California: One teacher and three students wounded by Jason Hoffman, 18, at Granite Hills High School. A policeman shot and wounded Hoffman.

March 30, 2001 - Gary, Indiana: One student killed by Donald R. Burt, Jr., a 17-year-old student who had been expelled from Lew Wallace High School.

November 12, 2001 - Caro, Michigan: Chris Buschbacher, 17, took two hostages at the Caro Learning Center before killing himself.

February 19, 2002 - Freising, Germany: Two killed in Eching by a man at the factory from which he had been fired. He then traveled to Freising and killed the headmaster of the technical school from which he had been expelled. He also wounded another teacher before killing himself.

April 26, 2002 - Erfurt, Germany: 13 teachers, two students, and one policeman killed, and ten wounded by Robert Steinhaeuser, 19, at the Johann Gutenberg secondary school. Steinhaeuser then killed himself.

April 24, 2003 - Red Lion, Pennsylvania: James Sheets, 14, killed principal, Eugene Segro, of Red Lion Area Junior High School before killing himself.

September 24, 2003 - Cold Spring, Minnesota: Two students killed at Rocori High School by John Jason McLaughlin, 15.

March 21, 2005 - Red Lake, Minnesota: Jeff Weise, 16, killed grandfather and companion, then arrived at school where he killed a teacher, a security guard, 5 students, and finally himself, leaving a total of 10 dead.

November 8, 2005 - Jacksboro, Tennessee: One 15-year-old shot and killed an assistant principal at Campbell County High School and seriously wounded two other administrators.

August 24, 2006 - Essex, Vermont: Christopher Williams, 27, looking for his ex-girlfriend at Essex Elementary School, shot two teachers, killing one and wounding another. Before going to the school, he killed the ex-girlfriend's mother.

September 13, 2006 - Montreal, Canada: Kimveer Gill, 25, opened fire with a semi-automatic weapon at Dawson College.

Anastasia De Sousa, 18, died and more than a dozen students and faculty were wounded before Gill killed himself.

September 26, 2006 - Bailey, Colorado: Adult male held six students hostage at Platte Canyon High School and then shot and killed Emily Keyes, 16, and himself.

September 29, 2006 - Cazenovia, Wisconsin: A 15-year-old student shot and killed Weston School principal, John Klang.

October 3, 2006 - Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania: 32-year-old Carl Charles Roberts IV entered the one-room West Nickel Mines Amish School and shot 10 schoolgirls, ranging in age from 6 to 13 years old, and then himself. Five of the girls and Roberts died.

Quite a list, isn't it? Four school shootings in the last couple of months. Add to that the Islamic terrorist in Seattle. We can only speculate why these events happened. We cannot fathom what goes on in the mind of evil. And make no mistake my friends. There is in fact evil out there. But let's see if we can solve this problem of evil men targeting the weak.

What did these places and events all have in common?

1. Guns were specifically not allowed on the premises by official policy or by law. Some locations have specific legal prohibitions, while others rely only on "company policy." Murderers will ignore signs telling them that something is prohibited. Clearly, if the state prohibits guns on campus, the good people will obey and leave their guns at home. But quite clearly, these signs did not dissuade the killers. Think about it. The only people obeying the law and the signs were the good people...the victims.

Skills with weapons of opportunity, and edged/pointed weapons are essential in our days of restricted environments and soft targets.

What is the reason behind the "no guns" policies? Many in authority seek control above all else. They want to control things, and people walking about armed cannot be controlled as easily. Obviously, they lose control when the sign-ignoring, armed killers come.

2. Those inside were unarmed and totally helpless. The terrorist would call these gun-free places "soft targets." Notice how none of these terrorists ever pick a gun store, a police station, or even a shooting course?

3. The police were called to each one of these events. But unless the police happen to be exactly there when the shots are fired, and have the mental perspective and courage to run to the sound of the guns for the sole purpose of locating and killing the gunman outright, the delay in response will be several minutes in the best case scenario. And once there, even with the extensive "active shooter" training in police circles, the overriding goal is to control and capture, rather than to locate and kill the gunman, which is the only real way to prevent the death of innocents.

4. The events were eventually resolved by the police presence, but not without some victim deaths. Repeatedly, we see that in the majority of these events, the killing is done fairly quickly in the beginning moments of the event.

5. There has been some discussion about arming teachers. As my good friend, the late, great Col. Jeff Cooper said, "One is no more armed because he possesses a pistol than he is a musician because he owns a piano." In such events, teachers and principals will be useless unless they have self-selected themselves to cultivate the very opposite of what their job is. How many teachers or principals have the internal strength to pull a trigger on one of their students? How many would do the things that we would do? I'm sure there are some, but they are certainly not the majority.

How can we prevent the next one? (And there will be a next one.)

1. Understand that your safety is your own responsibility. Carry a weapon... everywhere. Company policy says you can't? Hide your gun better. Law says you can't? Tough choice, isn't it? But I'll point out some dead people who would love to be living outlaws.

Can't have a gun under your circumstances? Then carry a knife and learn how to use it offensively. Spend money and get trained with your knife. Buying another competition .45 will do you no good if you cannot carry it with you 24/7/365. Are there metal detectors? Carry something deniable as a weapon but easy to stab with. You need to be armed. If the rules prevent you from doing so, find a way around them. Think like a criminal. A knife may not be equal to a shotgun, but you have a choice. You can die on your knees defenseless, asking yourself why you obeyed the sign, or you can die killing the crazy gunman. You might even prevail against him.

2. Make those who pass these stupid "no gun" laws responsible for their decisions. The parents and family members of the victims should sue the pants off of the institutions that support such stupid policies. Sue the Jewish Center. Sue the school. Sue the principal of the school, the board of education, the police chief, the mayor, the governor, everyone. I'm certain that there are plenty of pro-gun attorneys here. Put your skills to use. If these people do not understand morality and the Constitution, perhaps they will understand poverty.

3. If teachers and principals aren't interested in CCW, push for an armed cop at the school during all school hours. If this takes some extra tax money, consider it cheap insurance. In police circles, the job of a "school resource officer" has always been characterized as a cushy job suitable only for those who don't want to work on the streets. This needs to change, and it needs to change right now.

If the city has money to fly the mayor around, and work incessantly on perfectly good streets, they can put a police officer on duty at every school during school hours. And by the way, we need an armed and trained officer who will run to sound of the guns, not some fat, donut-eating slob who is three weeks away from retirement. You pay the tax that employs them and the customer is always right. Take a page from the liberals. MAKE NOISE!

4. Many of the kids were actually corralled by the school officials into rooms ready for the gunmen. This lock-down concept is again the product of "controllers." A locked door will not dissuade anyone who really wants to get in. As your kids get older, teach them that rules are relative. My kids are told to ignore orders if the orders seem stupid. How easy is it to break down a door and kill a classroom in lock-down? Their standing orders are to run like hell if they hear shots in a school. I have promised them that they will not get in trouble. Teachers would also be better served by telling the kids to run. One teacher mentioned that they cannot "lose control of the classroom like that." I told her that when the bad guy kicks the door in and begins shooting, she will have already lost control. Teach kids about cover, and how to RUN!

Also, as they get older, teach them about ferocity and how to put an attacker down for good with what they have. Teach them how to bludgeon his head with a chair or a sack of quarters. Teach them how to stab a pencil into the gunman's eye. Their safety is eventually their own responsibility, as well as yours.

It's too bad that people don't obey the law don't think. Just imagine if everyone obeyed the law there would be no need for me to carry my pistol with me everywhere I go.

Or better yet if I could just have my own personal police officer be at my side all day every day, would he need to carry a gun? Why should I as a law abiding citizen not be able to protect my self from those that do not follow the law?

That brings up the idea of gun free zones. Let's just get to the point on the ones in school zones, talk about a disservice to our children. How convenient for the bad guys to know that no one there is armed, what better place to go on a killing rampage!

Well said, Bill. I couldn't agree more. I said it 40 years ago in my 25th college reunion comment (Harvard) that people with guns do kill. Sure, a culture that glorifies violence is a part of the picture, but a culture that glorifies guns is also a part of that picture. This does not mean to ban guns, but there is no excuse that assault weapons should be available to John q. public or any weapons should be easily available without limits or stringent background checks.

Among those reporting or discussing the news, you seem unique in mentioning the obvious link between the
ownership of guns and the hate crimes that are committed with them.

Let's tax bullets like we tax cigarettes. We could start with a 300% tax on bullets.
We can send the proceeds to UNICEF.

We agree with you 100% on gun control, but how do we defeat the gun lobby? they are so strong.
Our son drives a bus that transports the elderly to their appointments, etc and he was shocked to find out that the other drivers all own guns.
Keep up your great shows!!

The vast majority of violence is committed by the government. Individual violence is almost irrelevant in comparison.

If there is to be any talk of gun control it should begin with the government.

Take the guns away from police.
Prohibit soldiers from carrying guns while on US soil.
Take them away from agents of government agencies.

You name a handful of deaths. The last century saw millions and millions killed by governments.

Switzerland has very high guns ownership per capita, yet very low crime.

Guns are not the cause of violence. A society and culture that glamorize violence is what is responsible. And that violence starts at the top.

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