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The gun “problem” is not caused by a failure to register firearms, to store them properly, or the availability of “assault weapons.” Unfortunately, productive discussions of those issues are impossible when statistics are manipulated, important facts are ignored, and incendiary terms are used.
Firearms, like all inanimate objects, are neither good nor bad. Having no will of their own, they are totally dependent on the user. They served me well throughout my life in casual shooting, hunting, humanely slaughtering hogs and steers, competition, and combat.
Concerning registration, we should remember the calculus used by dictators to control their populace. It included registering all firearms; registering citizens who owned firearms; outlawing certain firearms; confiscating “illegal” firearms; arresting citizens who owned “illegal” firearms; outlawing private ownership of all firearms; confiscating all firearms; arresting those who owned a firearm; and finally arresting, imprisoning and killing anyone they desired.
We have all been indelibly influenced by our birth parents and where we grew up. I was born and reared in a rural area when and where the ownership and use of firearms was normal.
The first part of my adult life included voluntarily serving in the military. The North Vietnamese soldiers we fought in Vietnam had been denied any use or ownership of firearms until drafted. Most of those who faced the country boys in my infantry company did not survive.
After my military service, the rest of my life was spent in the fields of education and criminal justice.
A lack of parental love and guidance of children is the primary issue behind many of the problems we face today. Yet it is easier to attack inanimate objects than extremely sensitive social issues.
The primary reason for crime in the United States is not the availability of firearms but broken or non-marriages that result in children being born without the love and guidance of two parents.
As an Army basic training company commander, I disciplined many young men who had been reared with poor or no parental guidance. As a parole officer I witnessed the crying of children being screamed at, cursed and physically abused by adults in the chaotic projects of west Dallas. Many of us have seen an adult verbally or physically abuse a child in a convenience or grocery store.
As an instructor and acting dean in a university more than three decades ago, I personally experienced that school’s low, biased academic standards:
Professors who used the bell-shaped curve for grading were reassigned or fired. A male professor gave a female student a “B” although she attended only two of the required thirty-two class sessions.
The personnel director of one of the largest companies in Mississippi said, “Clyde, in three years I will retire and return to my home in Michigan, but until I do there will never be another student from that university in this company.”
The standards engendered by that university guaranteed most of its students would go into the adult world with an “attitude.”
An impartial look at recent U.S. statistics reveals that:
• The U.S. population is 13% black and 65% white.
• 64% of black children come from single-parent homes.
• 34% of black children and 11% of white live in poverty.
• The suicide rate of black children increased in the past 20 years while that of white children decreased.
• 40% of our prison population is black.
• Out of 40,000 gun deaths: 60% were suicides, not homicides;
• Blacks committed three times as many homicides as whites.
Our military was vilified and attacked during the Vietnam War. Today it is law enforcement that is being attacked by a political element intent upon defunding and replacing our police with indoctrination programs.
Our nation’s problems are not being caused by firearms, but the skillful, discretionary use of firearms may influence whether it and we survive.
Clyde Morgan is a decorated Vietnam veteran. He lives in Crossgates in Brandon.
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