In his Dec. 31 article, “Supreme copout: twisted justification for guns,” Hiroaki Sato makes an unprincipled argument when he suggests that U.S. Supreme Court justices should allow their personal experience of victimization to factor into their interpretation of the U.S. Constitution.
Emotion has no place in the courtroom. The United States is a society based on the rule of law, not the rule of men. Is Sato suggesting that justice would be served if James Holmes (the 23-year-old student accused of shooting 12 people to death in an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater last July) were to face a jury consisting of family members of his alleged victims?
Legislating in the wake of tragedy usually ends in disaster. The U.S. Patriot Act was signed just over a month after the 9/11 attacks, and a decade later, Americans appear to be comfortable with warrantless wiretaps and indefinite military detention.
Rather than indulge Sato’s attack on the District of Columbia v. Heller decision (2008), which is settled law, I will respond to his final point: “Why don’t American people recognize that it is well nigh impossible for one person in a normal course of civilian life to kill one, two, three, let alone 20 or 30 people all at once, without a gun?” For the answer, we need look no further than the pages of The Japan Times: “Crane runs over, kills six children,” April 19, 2011. That was only an accident; imagine how many people the crane driver could have killed if he’d actually had murderous intent, as the perpetrator did in “7 killed, 10 injured in Akihabara stabbing spree” (June 9, 2008). Even Japanese elementary schools are not safe from random acts of mass murder: “Eight dead in school stabbing spree” (June 9, 2001).
Why doesn’t Sato recognize that it is well nigh impossible to make a persuasive argument when one’s “facts” are so easily debunked?
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.