In the name of the law

EDITOR: The letter written by Mr. Craig Pierce in the Feb. 2, 2014 edition of "The Sunday Review" is well written on the issue of gun control and the Second Amendment. It reiterates the often used arguments of the opponents of gun control by going back to the United States Constitution. I prefer a more basic argument that everyone can understand.

Let me begin by saying that I am NOT a lawyer or a law student because I like to keep things simple. The basic question we must ask ourselves is "What are laws and why do we have them?" Laws by and of themselves are neither good nor evil. They are directives handed down by people who were elected or appointed by the majority of citizens to promote harmony and the betterment of the society being governed. The only purpose of a law is to give one group of people control over another group of people. We hope it gives good people an advantage over bad people but some laws are written to benefit bad people. Try as we may, it is not possible to implement laws that will force people to become moral. If you accept that premise then it is obvious that the purpose of laws is to control righteous people.

Law-abiding citizens will obey the laws. Unfortunately, there are people who will pick and choose which laws, if any, that they will obey. Whenever laws are broken there are victims and the people breaking the law are not under control. It becomes the right and the responsibility of the individual citizen to decide how much victimization he or she will tolerate. Of course the elected or appointed leaders will tell you that it is the responsibility of the law enforcement branch to handle the problem and bring the perpetrators to justice under the law. Rarely is law enforcement on the scene when a law is being broken and they are only permitted to act after a law has been broken.

If personal property is lost or damaged, it is replaceable. However, if a life is lost or a person experiences physical harm, how can not responding with force be justified? When intervention by others is not available, each citizen has the right and responsibility to determine exactly how much of a victim he or she will be when serious bodily harm or death may be a consequence of inaction. If resistance is the choice of the law-abiding citizen, that citizen has an obligation to use force prudently and without excess. Laws implemented to restrict firearm possession have only one purpose. It is to control the law-abiding citizens who own firearms. I would like to relate a story that is true but I will not use names because some of the participants are alive and might be embarrassed by the telling.

A corporate vice-president came to a factory for a series of meetings. Between meetings, he invited one of his managers and one of the manager's supervisors to lunch. While they were awaiting their orders, the vice-president posed the same question to each one of them. He was curious to know what each one of them would do if the world economy were on the brink of collapse.

The manager was a college graduate who had never served in the military and whose hobby was investing in the stock market. He almost immediately replied that he would go out and get as much gold as he could acquire because gold would always have value when the economic situation cleared up.

The supervisor was a high school graduate with combat experience and his hobby was hunting and shooting. He replied that he would get some additional firearms and all the ammunition that he could get his hands on. Then he would go to the manager's house; take his gold; takeover his home and food supply and if the manager didn't give him too much difficulty, he would let him live in a corner of the garage.

Disarmed citizens are at the mercy of armed citizens and armed citizens control their own destiny. Which do you prefer to be?

Jerry Matalavage

Athens