In My Opinion
by Caroline Porter

What is the matter with us?

An advertisement for Handgun Control, Inc. Says, ''In one year firearms killed :

0 children in Japan,

19 in Great Britain

57 in Germany

109 in France

153 in Canada and

5,285 in the United States.''

And our new Education Secretary, Rod Paige, tells the world, ''Don't blame guns.'' But then, he's from Texas, a State where in 1998 inhabitants owned 68 million guns. There are 17 million people that's four guns for every man, woman and child.

Here are some other facts from

* More Americans are killed in gun homicides in one day than an entire year in Japan. More in one week than all of Western Europe in a year.

* Almost half of most Americans murdered with guns were shot by a friend, relative or lover. Murder is usually caused because someone got angry. If the guns were not available, the murders wouldn't have happened.

*Almost one million Americans were killed by firearms between 1933 and 1982, half after 1960.

* As many as 100 Americans die each day from gunshot wounds - half are suicides.

* There are ten times more licensed gun dealers than McDonalds restaurants in this country. 142,000 to 12,000.

* In 1998, there were 200 to 250 million guns in America.

The young children killing each other are not criminals and they are not psychotic. They grow up in a society that teaches them shooting people is a way to solve a problem and where men use guns as a replacement for courage and masculinity. Prison is obviously not a deterrent.

Americans buy handguns so they can protect themselves from all the other Americans who have bought handguns. I know we have a diverse society and a history of violence, but when are we going to place the value of life above of our insane obsession with guns? I'm not interested in hearing from all the men who say they use guns for hunting. One does not need hand guns and automatic weapons for hunting. These same gun owners had better learn to keep guns out of the hands of children.

If, as a nation, we are so insane that we cannot keep from killing each other, then maybe guns should be eliminated.

Many countries, including Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand have done it but then, they are civilized nations.

Uploaded to The Zephyr Online March 14, 2001

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