Cost of gun ‘freedom’ too high

Auckland, New Zealand

Regarding Robert J. Spitzer’s Washington Post article that was published in The Japan Times on Dec. 26 under the headline “Five myths about U.S. gun control“: Again we are on that old spinning wheel watching the United States convulse over another mass shooting at a school with young, innocent victims.

Did the Sandy Hook School massacre have to happen?

It did not, and as one outside the U.S., I am as troubled as before about a nation that pretends to be a proud and powerful democracy reduced to a quivering wreck after its Second Amendment — the right to bear arms — has been applied in full force. I am now living in New Zealand where the gun culture is liberal, but not as outrageous as in the U.S.

In Australia, it was highlighted recently in a news report, and streamed over the Internet, that one is 20 times more likely of being shot dead in the U.S. than in Australia.

The fear that the right to bear arms invokes in the U.S. is made no clearer than in Spitzer’s statement that “since the 1999 Columbine High School shooting, many have implemented security procedures to foil those contemplating crimes in the classroom. These measures include lockdown drills, metal detectors and security cameras, extra training for faculty and staff, and the presence of police officers — sometimes called ‘resource officers’ — assigned to regular school duty.” This is at schools!

Speaking for many Australians and from a personal sense of freedom, I would hate to see my country and my freedoms reduced to the level where I am always looking over my shoulder, feeling combative, defending my realm as it were, to stave off my fears. I would feel that the freedom to bear arms would come at a cost too high for my freedom.

It is hoped that the bloody crime committed at Sandy Hook has brought America and Americans to the same, rational conclusion.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

darryl mcgarry