By Chuck Nottingham
While seeming to endorse its aims, columnists Ann Landers goes against the stated purpose of Common Sense about Kids and Guns in her December 5 "Personal Advice" column.
According to co-founder Victoria Reggie Kennedy, the goal of Common Sense about Kids and Guns is to advocate children's safety without the extreme and often slanted rhetoric of those paralyzed at the poles of typical anti-gun and pro-gun positions.
For those just arrived on-planet, the antis's naive belief is that if all private, non-law-enforcement and non-military possession of guns is outlawed, then bad people will also comply, and we'll all be safe.
To justify that irrational view, antis vilify, ridicule and work to nullify not only their opposites in mindset, but anyone in between suggesting more practical solutions. Rather than work for win-win compromise, their sole strategy is denial and rejection. They manufacture and twist facts and even block lifesaving safety information designed to save lives.
Extreme pro-gunners are not any better. Their arrogant belief is they should be free to carry or leave lying around ready-to-fire in any social or private environment every kind of weapon from b.b. gun to atomic cannon.
To justify that irrational view, pro-gun extremists vilify, ridicule and work to nullify not only their opposites in mindset, but anyone in between suggesting practical solutions. Rather than work for win-win compromise, their sole strategy is denial and rejection. They manufacture and twist facts and even block lifesaving safety information designed to save lives.
First Landers performs a valuable service by publishing Common Sense about Kids and Guns's web address, www.kidsandguns.org, and phone, 1-877-955-5437.
The Commn Sense message is right on target and aimed at people needing it most. If Kennedy and her organization can truly maintain middle ground, then safety taught to kids for decades by National Rifle Association instructors, state hunter educators, American gun manufacturers, scouting organizations, and service clubs like 4-H and JCs will get to new audiences.
More importantly, the lifesaving safety concepts will have a chance to get to parents and gun owners who missed or forgot their importance. If you choose to own a gun, then you have the absolute responsibility to secure it from unauthorized access. If you're a parent, you need to train your children if they see a gun at someone's home, at school, anywhere under unsupervised conditions: stop ... don't touch it ... leave the area ... tell an adult.
Then Landers typically retreats to an extreme anti position by promoting a book imploring "hunters and NRA members" to "agree that we all must do everything we can to prevent children from killing and being killed by guns," implying hunters and NRA members have no clue about child safety.
Next Landers prints a letter from grieving parents who carelessly left a loaded gun where their 9-year-old got it and shot himself. In anguish for anything on which to project failed responsibility, they repeated the lie, "Don't have a gun in the house. It won't protect you. The invader is more experienced at shooting, and he will get you before you get him."
Actually, common sense and statistics supplied by reasonable sources show guns in private homes protect and prevent deadly harm to families and honest individuals every day.
But Landers has thrown down the "anti"gauntlet. It will surely be picked up and thrown back in her face -- and Kennedy's lifesaving message will be diminished, if not lost.
Wake up and smell the coffee, Ann.
Volunteer NRA safety instructors and Montana FWP hunter educators are just some in the real world who have spent decades doing real work trying to teach children and their parents effective gun safety and responsible ownership like Kennedy's against the irresponsible roar of you anti-at-any-cost and pro-at-any-cost detractors.
It's time for both of you to back off and give common sense a chance.
Parents and/or gun owners who want to be responsible can check out www.kidsandguns.org for themselves or call 1-877-955-5437 for free information packets.