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Stephanie Schamess: Disagrees with Fleitman column on gun ownership

Getty Images/Comstock Images

Getty Images/Comstock Images

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



Jay Fleitman: 2014, my first time at the shooting range

Sunday, March 2, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — Today for the first time I fired my own gun. Guns have not been part of my life. Though my father saw combat action in the Pacific during World War II, he never kept a gun in our home. He worked in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in New York and kept a gun in his office …

Legacy Comments2

ValleySurvivorMan: this is a well written and thought out response, that needs to be read by more people then would see this in an online posting. Why don't you submit this as a letter to the editor in the Gazette?

How predictable. It is obvious that the person responding has no experience with firearms. First, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics: An estimated 3.7 million household burglaries occurred each year on average from 2003 to 2007. In about 28% of these burglaries, a household member was present during the burglary. So, if the writer is willing to risk being home and unarmed when a home invasion takes place, well, that's her right. It's also some else's right to choose not to be unarmed in their home if their home is invaded while they are there. Second, why is the writer only concerned about the well being of the criminal in a potentially violent confrontation? What about Jay and his wife? Does a person in their own home and a lawful firearm owner have a "right" to protect themselves? Why is it morally superior to be a victim than to stand up and defend ones self? Why is the victims well being less important than the criminals? Third, using FBI statistics, lawfully armed citizens prevent violent attacks and protect their property an estimated 500,000 to 2,000,000 times a year, often without even discharging their firearm. Lastly, there are hundreds of millions of firearms owned by law abiding citizens in the USA. Enthusiasts use them for target practice, hunting and yes, personal protection. A firearm is an inanimate object, just as a boot or hammer is. What it is used for is entirely up to the person in control of it. And, if I might add, more people are killed by boots than rifles every year.

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