Adam Hinterthuer's article 'Armed and Alarmed' (2/16/07) contains a long list of misrepresentations regarding those who own, use and understand guns. Mr. Hinterthuer seems to go out of his way to paint a picture of us as frightened, paranoid, white knight wannabes. How absurdly simplistic.
I do not know Bill Maund's circumstances, but I do know the FBI crime statistics show that Americans use guns successfully to defend themselves hundreds of thousands to sometimes more than a million times every year ' many multiples of the times that guns are used for crimes.
Is one 'paranoid' if one wishes not to be a defenseless victim?
Some years ago my best friend and I were attacked by a gang of six powerful youths armed with clubs, chains and knives, who robbed us of our wallets and watches. Unsatisfied by their meager take, they announced their intent to kill us. We were severely battered and bleeding, and we were seconds from being killed when we heard some shouting and our attackers fled. We looked up to see a young man, a young black man of the kind so many anti-civil-libertarians fear, pointing a gun at the fleeing thugs.
We begged him to stay with us until the police arrived but he said he couldn't do that because no black man could get a permit to carry a gun. It would be years later that I learned no one in the state could get such a permit. Oh, and when the cops arrived? We were questioned at length about the man who saved our lives, and scolded for daring to walk in a 'bad' neighborhood.
I'm neutral on gun control, as I believe that the issue is dominated by special interest groups tossing factoids, sound-bytes and half-truths around for media consumption.
It seems that Isthmus is not immune, gauging from Hinterthuer's incorrect statement: 'Federal courts, including the Supreme Court, have ruled [Second Amendment rights] collective.' But the 5th Circuit Court concluded there are individual Second Amendment rights. This is at odds with the 9th Circuit Court's ruling favoring a collective right.
This is a tough topic, and one that shouldn't just be the domain of some oddballs with vested interests. The average citizen should become informed and try to decide how a right should be interpreted by our legislators. This is the nature of our democracy.
If you really, really need to carry a concealed firearm, then it doesn't really matter if it is legal or not. The police/federales, etc. cannot and will not protect you, so you have to protect yourself.
Carrying a pistol is a pain in the ass, which is why so few off-duty patrolmen do it, unless they are required to by department rules.
You have to be very careful where you stow that thing, especially if there are little kids around. It's not really safe to leave it in your car, and if you're in a gin mill with a few beers on board and get in a shooting, God/Allah/Vishnu help you.
Which leads to another point. If you should shoot a holdup man or burglar in Dane County, the D.A.'s office will prosecute you into a puddle of spit, no questions asked. Don't believe it? Try it and see.