Stephanie Schamess: Disagrees with Fleitman column on gun ownership

Friday, March 14, 2014
To the editor:

I will not quarrel with Dr. Jay Fleitman (“A gun owner builds his skills,” March 4) about the Second Amendment. That is an argument of constitutional interpretation and not one I wish to have. I will note, however, that although he points out that the intention of the Second Amendment was to allow citizens to arm in order to resist a government’s tyranny, Dr. Fleitman is not justifying his purchase of a gun so he can be prepared to take down our government. His rationale for doing so is quite different but nonetheless very revealing.

First, as a physician, he claims he is “dedicated to preserving and enhancing life.” (In fact, he has taken an oath to do no harm.) He says he finds distressing the notion that a bullet can destroy tissues and organs. No, Dr. Fleitman, it’s the person who aims that gun and shoots it who destroys tissues and organs.

Dr. Fleitman wonders how he’d protect his wife and himself if his home were invaded. What does he think the probability is of his home being invaded by armed gunman while he is in it? I would guess it is not very high.

When he is comparing his first experience shooting a gun to the first time he drove a car, he recalls realizing the danger of a car as a potential killer of himself or others. But, he adds, “years of driving leads to comfort and confidence with handling a potentially lethal automobile.” This is not a valid analogy. The implications of this way of thinking become clear in the next paragraph when Dr. Fleitman, referring to his gun, says he expects “with passing time and practice” he will “develop confidence with handling this tool.”

A gun is not a tool, like an electric drill or a hammer used to build or fix things. It is a weapon and it is used for the sole purpose of wounding or killing. And that reality is what is missing from Dr. Fleitman’s article.

Stephanie Schamess