To the editor:
In response to Bob Hartman’s letter (“Only the well-trained should handle guns,” June 22 Review-Journal), Mr. Hartman gave kudos to The Washington Post’s Kathleen Parker for a “well-written and clearly well-thought-out commentary” in the June 13 Review-Journal. But Mr. Hartman’s commentary was not well-thought-out.
He said he was well-trained while in the military and earned medals for marksmanship, but then says, “We don’t need the weekend shooters going to public places with weapons strapped on their backs or in their pockets, so that they can play John Wayne in their heads.” What gives him the right to assume that the millions of legal armed citizens who are exercising their Second Amendment rights are going to play John Wayne?
I am 66 and have been carrying a gun all of my adult life. I spent 24 years in the military, including three years in combat. Unlike Mr. Hartman, I did shoot at live targets and was wounded twice defending our constitutional rights. I was also a firearms instructor and range master. After I retired, I spent another 18 years in civilian law enforcement, in which I was certified as a firearms instructor.
The average weekend shooter burns through thousands of rounds of ammunition every year. What makes Mr. Hartman assume these shooters are not well-trained, but that he is? Mr. Hartman stated he never had to shoot at a live target, but he then describes how hard it is to shoot at another human, again making himself a self-proclaimed expert in something he has no experience with. He said, “We still have to be well-qualified to fire at a human. This is one reason we have continuous training for the police and the military.” Does he think those who practice shooting stand on the range and shoot at each other? We fire at targets Mr. Hartman, not at live humans.
Mr. Hartman’s letter goes on to say that the June 8 shooting of two police officers and a civilian shows even the best are not always ready to protect themselves or those around them. Wrong, Mr. Hartman. Those police officers were always ready to protect all the citizens, and to say that the civilian, Joseph Wilcox, was not ready is to disparage a man who gave his life doing exactly that. He confronted an armed man having no way of knowing there was another armed person coming up behind him.
Mr. Hartman said that maybe the best thing to do would be to ban bullets, even though he also stated, “A nut will always find a way to take his or her problems out on someone.” That is just about the only thing he got right in his not-so-well-thought-out commentary. Timothy McVeigh used fertilizer to take down a federal building and kill hundreds; the 9/11 hijackers used box cutters to kill more than 3,000; the Boston Marathon bombers used household items including a pressure cooker.
Mr. Hartman then disparages the National Rifle Association, calling its supporters “gun nuts.” It may come as a surprise to him that law enforcement firearms instructors get their certifications from the NRA. The NRA has trained millions of citizens to safely handle firearms. As for the senseless killings that you somehow attribute to the NRA, keep in mind that criminals don’t go to NRA classes and don’t go through the thorough background checks and training in order to get a concealed weapons permit, and do not care about gun laws. After all, they are criminals — lawbreakers by definition.
Banning guns or bullets and trampling on my Second Amendment right will not reduce senseless killings, because again, by Mr. Hartman’s own admission, a nut will always find a way to take his problems out on someone.
Laughing at Las Vegas
To the editor:
I can expect a lot of mail from my so-called friends and relatives every time Sen. Harry Reid gives a fireside chat in that empty Senate chamber. They think it is terrifically funny that he wants to rename a football team. One wag says UNLV’s mascot, Hey Reb, is next on Sen. Reid’s list, because the mascot must be offending somebody.
Currently, I’m getting mail concerning Hillary Clinton. It seems she is engaged in touting her latest book and will talk about it under any circumstances, for free. That’s the book business. But guess what? UNLV is sponsoring her, in our town, to the tune of $225,000, to give a political stump speech. I believe this speech will be a standard, repetitive teleprompter read. As my cousin said, “You Vegas rubes keep it up, we don’t get a lot of laughs these days.”
Middle East policy
To the editor:
There will never be a more clear, concise, coherent and precise explanation of what the U.S. should do about the current situation in the Middle East than what David Adams proposed in his June 27 letter to the editor. As the headline read, the U.S. should butt out.
MAJOR E. MAGWOOD