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Look Deeper Than Your Gut

On the surface, S&W may appear to have "sold out" to the Clintonistas ("Echoes Of The Accord," GUNS Insider, July '00). To this reader however, they seem to have tried to make the best of a lose/lose situation. Does each firearms manufacturer have to fear retribution from former loyal patrons if they attempt to preserve themselves? Each of us who boycott S&W (or Colt, lest we forget their recent decision) innocently play right into the anti-gunner agenda.

Smith & Wesson will be crushed not by the metropolitan legal sharks, but by our own hands. I feel we need to support the manufacturers in these small concessions, if it will aid in their survival. I for one will continue to purchase the best firearm for its intended application, as my budget will permit, regardless of brand. Do us all a favor, look deeper than your initial gut response, and avoid playing the game by their rules.

Rick Brittain

Hughesville, Pa.

A Pair Of Fine Works Of Art

Please thank John Smith ("Needless Temptation," Crossfire, June '00) for reminding me of the magnificent scrimshaw on the knife in the photos on pages 44 and 51 of the February 2000 issue. It is a shame that Smith cannot appreciate the true work of art that it is. Please continue publishing such works for those of us who appreciate fine art regardless of the subject matter,

John Hughes

Tucson, Ariz.

Who Said This Is A Democracy?

Liberty is dying, perhaps is already dead in this country, and we gun owners have no one to blame but ourselves. Our Founders left us with a legacy of liberty, but as we know, "The price of liberty is eternal vigilance." We have buried our collective heads in the sand as our liberty has drained away.

We should have shouted in protest when the socialist Franklin Roosevelt told us we lived in a democracy and began seizing more and more power for the federal government in the name of the "greater good." Our Founders created a Constitutional Republic, not a democracy and as long as we perpetuate the lie we are doomed.

When the National Firearms Act of 1934 was enacted, we should have shouted. When the Gun Control Act of 1968 was enacted we should have howled. Now we have the Brady Act, the Assault Weapons Ban, the Lautenberg Amendment, the Smith & Wesson capitulation to the unconstitutional HUD lawsuits -- we should be screaming.

Our forefathers took up arms 225 years ago and went to war over fractions of pennies in sales tax and the threat of gun confiscations. Today we work for months out of every year just to pay the government what they say is our fair share of taxes and we ignore it when they tell us we can't bear our arms because only the all-powerful state can do that. A wiser man than I once said, "Give the people a choice between liberty and comfort, and they will choose comfort every time." How comfortable we have become.

J. Richard Winton

Santa Fe, NM.

De Becker is a Fraud

Gavin de Becker should have called his boo To Be Driven, Pay Someone Else To Shoot Straight And Paraphrase The Truth. De Becker's central "revelations" that people should take more responsibility for their own safety, that violence is part of the human condition and that heightened awareness is one's best defensive tool, have been put forth by Jeff Cooper (and Massad Ayoob, Clint Smith and others) since before I was born. Of course, I suppose advising someone to "trust their intuition" makes you mainstream marketable, while telling them to go "condition yellow" only makes you a gun nut.

De Becker describes himself as a safety expert. A little life experience and $30 worth of books from Paladin Press and you'll be far better equipped to face the world than if you listen to this fraud.

Scott Knudsen

New York, N.Y.

Validating De Becker

De Becker had a valid point in how we Americans think of ourselves as invincible. With the cold, hard truth of death and violence finally entering the suburban stronghold, the country has reacted wildly in all directions. In other words, we let our fear get the better of us.

I don't agree with de Becker on making guns safer through technology. We have done so with every other machine in existence yet cars still crash, airplanes still fall from the sky and people are still seriously injured, sadly sometimes fatally I do agree with his argument that good sense, reasoning and thoughtful reaction can keep us a little safer.

Steve Tomaszewski

De Becker Double-Talk

I've read the de Becker interview twice, and I'm still not able to tell if he isn't talking out of both sides of his mouth at the same time. He is correct about Americans being in denial, however, and most of that denial affects the liberal, anti-gun crowd who refuse to admit or recognize the true sources of most of the "gun violence" problems.

When de Becker says that if we are smart enough to put a man on the moon, building "safe" guns ought to be a piece of cake, I'd respond that if medical science could conquer polio and smallpox, finding a cure for cancer shouldn't require more than a couple of lunch breaks. Obviously, both statements fail to consider a host of relevant factors that affect the effort, hut my statement is no sillier than his.

Lee Fowble

Edmonds, Wash.

De Becker Snake Oil

Gavin de Becker's vague, Hollywood notions about self-defense remind me of the similarly peculiar advice frequently dispensed by limousine-riding media liberals and the anti-Second Amendment mob.

De Becker labels his snake oil brand of self-defense "a heightened sense of intuition," whatever that means. Despite demonstrable, statistical evidence (some of it governmental), he smugly claims guns "aren't relevant to the protective effort." Such disapproval apparently does not apply to him. He admits to owning 100 firearms.

Frank Gutierrez

East Chicago, Ind.

Ayoob Is A Big Disappointment

Ayoob has long impressed me as America's foremost self-defense and deadly force expert, precisely because he has most consistently thought about his specialty in its social and cultural context. For that very reason his column on the Diallo case ("Self Defense," GUNS, April '00) came as a big disappointment.

I don't quarrel with his thesis that the acquittal of the four police officer defendants was proper and reasonable, since the use of deadly force in the manner they described (which no witness could credibly rebut) is legal for a peace officer in New York state. Rather, I believe that viewing the verdict as the main issue in the Diallo case shows a political and moral tunnel vision that Ayoob rarely suffers from.

I found the police training and procedures described during the trial deeply troubling. Not being a police officer, I feel qualified merely to ask questions.

Would Ayoob's Lethal Force Institute train police officers (as NYPD does) to fire at every potential target as rapidly as possible, penalizing the slightest hesitation for identification of the target? (There are no figures of innocent civilians, "no shoots," mixed into the NYPD simulation exercises.)

Would LFI train police officers, once committed to engagement with a perceived threat, to fire their weapons to slide lock with, at most, a single pause to assess effect?

Would LFI train plain-clothes police officers operating as a team to approach a suspicious person (who may be a "mope," but is more likely to be a citizen) closely massed, at a rapid pace, with weapons drawn?

Would LFI approve of the deployment of a Street Crime Unit squad (with a very specialized and aggressive mission) that included not one veteran officer?

If 50 percent of Americans don't understand the Diallo verdict, maybe Ayoob's gloomy view is right, that they're the ones who didn't follow the trial. But, then again, Americans who don't understand that verdict (or the "verdicts" on Ruby Ridge or Waco) are folks who haven't yet accepted that the Land of the Free is a place where any citizen's life depends on being as well or better trained for -- and more disciplined during -- the stress of a civilian-police encounter than police officers.

Tom Maguire

Pleasantville, N.Y.

Disappointment Part 2

I read Ayoob's article on the killing of Amadou Diallo, and all I can say is that he just did not get it. I live in New York City, which gives me a perspective that Ayoob cannot have. I have had two N.Y. cops in irrational conditions pointing their 9mm popguns at me, which gave me an even sharper perspective.

A couple of months ago I initiated a discussion of the incident with the precinct commander and got out of him the common police perspective in my city that they do not want citizens protecting themselves with firearms, because that complicates the police officer's ability to tell which armed person is a danger to them. They would rather we be at the mercy of violent criminals, than they should have to run the risk of being shot by a criminal.

As a former district attorney, a retired Army officer, a member of the Law Enforcement Alliance of America, and a practicing attorney, I have a different perspective of what went down in that hail of 41 bullets, using exactly the same facts presented by Ayoob.

There was no justification for the shooting, except in the self-induced paranoia of the four officers. New York City is not a combat zone, but the police treat citizens as if we were out to kill them. In short, they are insufficiently trained, largely undisciplined, primarily concerned with self preservation and partake of group paranoia. Throw in too much macho and panic, and it is a recipe for disaster.

Edward S. Raskin

Deer Park. N.Y.
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Publication:Guns Magazine
Date:Sep 1, 2000
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