Tighter gun laws won't help to protect us from harm

On Sunday, March 16, 1975, Miriam Douglas was asleep with her 4-year-old daughter when Marvin Kent and James Morse broke in and raped her.

Upstairs, Carolyn Warren and Joan Taliaferro heard the screams and called the police. The police never came. Eventually, all the women were kidnapped and repeatedly brutalized.

The Supreme Court ruled the police and government had no duty to victims and thus were not liable for their inaction. (Warren v. District of Columbia.) A full account of that night is a chilling tale of horrors, but it isn’t an isolated incident. A book – “Dial 911 and Die” – chronicles many similar tales.

We need to remember this during the emotionally charged debate on guns. Even the most vehemently anti-gun advocate recognizes the need for someone official to have a gun. But that official has no duty.

Too many officials are, like Rod Blagojevich or Jesse Jackson Jr., disregarding their constituency. Sen. Diane Feinstein hates guns but when threatened obtained a concealed weapon permit and carried a gun.

President Barack Obama doesn’t carry a gun, but he and his family have armed body guards. Douglas, Warren and Taliaferro were left on their own.

Many look at these facts, then question why there are ever-more-stringent restrictions on self-protection.

Miles Haynes, a convicted felon, was charged with failing to register a firearm. The Supreme Court threw out his conviction. A convicted felon doesn’t have to comply with registration. It violates his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.

If registration is only for the law-abiding, then the registration list is there solely to aid in confiscation. Never, you say? In 1967, New York City forced long-gun registration. In 1990, California forced assault rifle registration.

No matter how sincerely presented, all gun control laws are, at their core, racist and elitist.

From colonial times, laws were used to disarm the poor, black, native and other minorities. After the Civil War, laws were passed banning cheap guns: African Americans were poor.

New York’s 1911 Sullivan Act was to ensure the safety of Tammany Hall gangs. The Irish and Italian immigrants they preyed on shot back. Timothy Sullivan, the act’s author, was controlled and paid by Tammany Hall. The 1934 Firearms Act was passed against Italians (Mafia). The 1968 Act was passed against African Americans because of the recent city riots.

There is a real disconnect on both sides of the debate because of a lack of trust. An anti-gun advocate sees a person such as me as a homicidal maniac; someone for whom the mere sight of a gun turns me into a quivering mass of psycho-sexual blood lust.

Truly not being like that, a pro-gun advocate then sees the other side as hopelessly disconnected from reality, with untrustworthy motives.

I once threw a gun magazine down on the grocery store checkout conveyor. Hearing a sharp gasp, I turned to see the woman behind me staring at the gun on the cover. Looking at me with wide eyes she grabbed her cart and headed to the back of the store while throwing glances at me to see whether I was following.

This is the kind of gap we are trying to bridge while dealing with the Sandy Hook and Aurora shootings.

My brother, Arthur, killed himself during a schizophrenic break. By 1969, patient rights gutted the mental health system. Arthur’s care consisted of revolving jail doors: incident – jail – evaluation – release. The incidents were minor, until the last.

He could have obtained a gun and committed mass murder. I doubt it occurred to him.

We were raised on heroes such as Roy Rogers and Zorro. Today, there is Rambo.

It’s not the guns, it’s the nuts and our society.

Originally printed in The Olympian on March 4, 2013