To the editor:

In your most recent issue, you included an article by Jess Coleman titled “Hiding behind the 2nd Amendment” in which the aforementioned writer suggested that gun laws need to be amended drastically. I found it interesting that at the end of the article he lamented that facts no longer matter when he ignored so many at his own convenience.

To begin, several unsubstantiated claims were made in the article suggesting that gun owners are in more danger than those who do not own guns. In fact, many studies have come to the opposite conclusion. In a study done by Robin M. Ikeda, published in the journal Violence and Victims in 1994, it was concluded that nearly half a million Americans that year had used a firearm to deter a home invasion. In addition, a study conducted by Don B. Kates that appeared in the American Journal of Criminal Law in 1991 concluded that it is far more likely to survive a violent assault if you defend yourself with a gun.

Possibly more preposterous than his unsubstantiated reporting was his suggestion that the United States is safe because “Hitler and Stalin were dictators. In a civilized democracy, the whole objective is that your leaders exist because you chose them.” Aside from the terrible wording exhibited, this is an astounding piece of ignorance that your columnist attempted to propagate. As poor as their choices were, the Germans had, in fact, figured out the basic tenets of republicanism and had democratically elected Adolf Hitler. This fact drastically alters the point that Mr. Coleman continuously failed to make. More importantly, the suggestion that living in a democracy keeps you safe from tyranny is naive. In recent years, tyrants such as Hugo Chavez and Robert Mugabe both came to power by way of democratic elections.

Finally, as a side point Mr. Coleman remarked, “And anyway, good luck banding together your buddies in Texas to take down the U.S. military.” This not only misses the point of gun ownership, but also belittles to those who hold opinions which differ from those of Mr. Coleman. The fact is that in this statement, Mr. Coleman suggested that all Americans adopt the submissive attitude he has taken toward the government. He is trying to tell the readers that the government has no reason to worry about its own citizens and that there is no point to even consider opposing them. That is an unfortunate and shameful demonstration of the attitude that many people have taken. While a violent coup is not conceivable or advisable, the government ought to remain accountable to the people it serves and fear the power they hold, not the other way around.

In conclusion, what Mr. Coleman does not understand is that to define the rights of the people as given in the Constitution and its amendments is not to hide behind some piece of legislation, but to allow Americans to live in a manner in which their individual rights are maximized.

Michael Schwarz
Class of 2013