A birdcage liner in my county of Westchester, N.Y., The Journal News, has made national headlines by releasing the addresses of county residents licensed to own a handgun. The paper claims that in the wake of the Newtown shooting, citizens want to know more about the arsenals their neighbors may possess. Of course, the rag’s real motivation is obvious: it wants to “out” firearms owners. The thinking is, “Hey, you want to own a gun? Then we’re going to put you in the pusillanimous people’s pillory, where all things manly and traditional belong.” Hence the title of the Journal piece, “The gun owner next door,” which could be followed with “The pedophile next door” or “The terrorist next door.” Ooh, scary. I’m more worried about the journalist next door.
Not surprisingly, the paper is taking a lot of heat for revealing who is packing heat. And one of the more common criticisms reveals a truth.
Many people have pointed out that the Journal’s article not only alerts us about who is armed, it also tells criminals who is unarmed and hence easy prey. This isn’t entirely correct, as the paper could provide information only about licensed handguns and not far more common (as they don’t have to be licensed in Westchester) rifles and shotguns or illegally owned weapons. But that’s irrelevant to the point here. To wit:
If it’s so dangerous to identify homes that are “gun-free” zones, why do we do it to our schools?
Unlike private residences, a criminal can actually bank on a school being gun free and thus soft-target rich. And we not only ensure this is the case, we, incredibly, announce it to the world.
You don’t have to support Second Amendment rights to accept my point. You only have to recognize reality. And to analogize the situation, how secure would our country be if we unilaterally disarmed and then announced to the world that the U.S. is a weapon-free zone? Sure, you may not like that nuclear and other weapons exist.
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Selwyn Duke (photo)