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Letters to the Herald

Common sense not so clearly defined


In regard to the Herald article about state Sen. Santarsiero’s call to do something about mass shootings, he and many others that are understandably upset and frustrated often call for “common sense” solutions.

The quest for a solution always seems to blame guns in general, or some specific type of gun, as the key to formulating that solution.

But is that narrow focus “common sense”? How is common sense defined?

One might suggest that most people would derive their definition from past experiences and lessons learned. Actions or reactions that were taken to address problems or situations of a similar nature, and which proved to be consistently successful, might then be considered common sense. That said, if we look at past events similar to the current gun control controversy, we might have to reexamine if eliminating guns is really a common sense solution.

– Looking at the decades old “war on drugs,” how has that worked out? It seemed at the time that eliminating, tightly controlling, and/or increasing penalties and prosecutions for illegal drug use would be “common sense.” Unfortunately, that war is still with us worse than ever. There are more illegal drugs used now and available on the street than ever before. And as a bonus, the perceived solution created illegal black markets and violent drug cartels that, by the way, murder in a variety of ways other than guns.

– Looking back at Prohibition of the 1920s and ’30s, alcohol use and/or production was made illegal. It failed as a “common sense” solution. As with the drug trade, it only succeeded in creating illegal bootlegging empires, backyard moonshine stills, and a violent crime cartel. Al Capone infamously used a baseball bat as his murder weapon of choice as opposed to a gun.

– In the case of guns, it seems that “common sense” might suggest that confiscation or elimination of “legal guns” would not only create another massive and violent black market cartel for illegal guns, but would also turn law abiding citizens into criminals when those responsible citizens would retain guns anyway as they prioritize the protection of themselves and their families over what shortsighted lawmakers say is best.

As a side note, historically most countries that became victims to dictatorships or other totalitarian regimes, preceded their march to power with the confiscation of guns from the population, either by force, coercion, or deception. This way a vulnerable population could offer no resistance. This is what our country’s Constitutional authors were very concerned with and included an appropriate safeguard; the 2nd amendment.

In a search for solutions:

– “Common sense” tells me that blinders and a tunnel vision focus attributing only one implement (guns) among so many others that are used in crimes, sabotages the search for solutions to this social mass murder epidemic.

– “Common sense” tells me that an individual with ill intent, mentally ill or otherwise, if he had no gun available would easily find alternative methods and tools to execute his crime.

– “Common sense” tells me that strong law and order policies and agendas, successfully applied as demonstrated in NYC under Mayors Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg would be the best place to start a search for solutions.

– “Common sense” tells me that lax and soft-on-crime law enforcement policies have created a dramatic increase in crime as demonstrated in cities where the unqualified, incompetent, naive, or apathetic leadership obliviously apply their radical agendas. At least one should seek solutions where successful policies fighting crime were obviously effective and evident.

William Alford, Perkasie