The Norman Transcript

January 5, 2013

In case of attack, whip out a Camel

By Bill Dragoo
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Cartoons are supposed to be funny. In many cases they portray an ideology which, if we squint, can also be amusing.

The one from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, re-posted in the Jan. 3 Norman Transcript, is a case in point.

It depicted Big Tobacco’s position on smoking and lung disease in the 1950’s and the creator’s impression of the NRA’s position on the relationship between gun availability and mass shootings today.

I found this humorous for several reasons, but mostly because it typified the distorted logic by those in denial of the world in which we live. Even with more than 60 years’ data proving the evils of smoking, worldwide someone still dies of a smoking-related illness every six seconds.

In the U.S. alone, we lose nearly a half-million lives each year to this addiction … that part is no joke. There are no redeeming qualities to smoking cigarettes, yet millions of Americans still do.

Of course if there were no guns, there would be no shootings, but firearms, like them or not, cannot be un-invented. Killing is against the law. Outlaws will never surrender their weapons and if the law mattered to them, they would not be outlaws.

Making guns illegal would either make law breakers or soft targets of responsible citizens. Unlike cigarettes, however, firearms do have a redeeming quality. Most people have heard that a criminal’s worst fear is coming face to face with an armed and capable citizen. A 9 mm Glock in the trained hands of my 78-year-old mother can give her a fighting chance when a crook enters her home.

Guns also are a huge part of our heritage, be that the good, bad or ugly part. For every well-intended wish to eliminate them from society, there is a story of a citizen alive today because they had the ability to defend themselves from an assailant who was bigger, meaner and illegally armed.

Just Google “robberies thwarted by homeowner” and put yourself in the position of any of those would-be victims. Police, as good as they are at their jobs, and God bless them for their courage, are at a disadvantage. When seconds count, they are only minutes away.

Our position on firearms makes us neither good nor bad.

I respect those who dislike them in the name of peace (If only the criminals would agree), but I find the intentions of anyone wishing to disarm me quite objectionable.

Gun ownership is not a requirement, yet it should not be curtailed. It is our right, protected by the Second Amendment.

Attempts to redefine those intentions will only serve to further divide our nation. It is the wrong argument.

Our energy is better utilized elsewhere. Adding more laws will have no more effect than anti-smoking ads, prohibition on alcohol in the ’20s and ’30s, or anti-drug laws today. In fact some effects would be serious and negative.

Making law breakers of good people by virtue of their desire to protect themselves and their loved ones is bad policy. Nothing would change for those who would do us harm except to remove one of their worst fears.

But then I suppose when the glass breaks at midnight we could always whip out a Camel.

Bill Dragoo lives in Norman.

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