Guns Don't Kill People...
By Bruce Heffernan
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 17th April 2007
In times of national crisis, it's a natural reaction to reach for comforting answers. When horrible things happen, it's all too easy to lash out at the wrong target and compound the tragedy; to throw out the baby with the bath-water.
It's at these times that we need to stand firm, clinging to our core beliefs. It's when we're faced with a motiveless multiple shooting that we need to speak out clearly and bravely, and declare that guns don't kill people - bullets kill people.
In the passion of the moment, it's easy to fall prey to the simple nostrums of those who seek to take away that which forms the very cornerstone of our identity - harmless mechanical devices that, if used for the purpose their manufacturers intended, can propel lethal projectiles at incredible velocities into human bodies.
The argument that guns are to blame for many thousands of unnecessary deaths in the last decade is facile and easily disproved - no-one has ever choked to death upon a pistol, nor has anybody ever accidentally decapitated himself with the stock of a shotgun.
Guns are perfectly harmless in the hands of law-abiding citizens who keep them locked securely away. It is only when irresponsible people use their firearms to expel white hot slugs of metal at potentially harmful speeds that they become problematic.
And let us not be unduly harsh upon the humble bullet - often, the bullet is entirely blameless, and the true killer is blood poisoning, or a stray splinter of bone that pierces a vital organ.
Let us not be so hasty to give up our freedom in the face of adversity. Only our eternal vigilance can ensure our firearms stay where they belong - out of the hands of children, in locked drawers and cabinets.
(Many apologies to the Onion, as usual...)