One Bullet at a Time | Letters | Chicago Reader

One Bullet at a Time 

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To the editors.

I find it hard to believe that you would let an unethical reporter abuse the credibility of your paper. Even if it is only to proliferate the same old worn out misinformation that intentionally obfuscates the crucial firearm regulation debate. Ben Joravsky's May 8 column on the issue of guns contained at least two incredibly transparent lies [Neighborhood News].

One, a quote from Rob Buono, an Eisendrath legislative aide, reads, "Some of these guns, you pull the trigger and they spray 30 bullets within seconds. We're not talking about an old-fashioned handgun, which discharges one bullet at a time" (emphasis added). Well, it didn't take much research on my part to put the lie to Buono's statement. Only five paragraphs later the proposed ordinance is described. Of the 16 types of firearms explicitly mentioned as being "targets" of the ordinance, 16 (all of them) are precisely "old-fashioned" firearms, which do indeed fire one bullet at a time. All 16 weapons function just the same as a cop's revolver. Pull the trigger once and one bullet comes out.

The next lie, another quote, holds Philip Andrew, the victim of a violent woman with a gun, to the absurd argument that ammunition capacity somehow correlates to a weapon's fully automatic or semiautomatic capacity.

While recalling a trip to a police storage room, Andrew contends, "There was this nine-millimeter pistol with a 100-round capacity. That means you pull the trigger and it fires like a brick of firecrackers, shooting 100 bullets" (emphasis added). An absolute lie. A "100-round capacity" means one must pull the trigger exactly 100 times to fire 100 bullets. This is not a subtle distinction and I feel it is an attempt to intentionally mislead an uninformed public on an issue of fundamental freedom. Freedom which is rooted in the principle that mature adult humans have the intellectual capacity to act responsibly.

The unforgivable abuse, of my trust in your paper, by an unprincipled reporter almost caused me to overlook the sheer idiocy of the actual ordinance itself.

Consider this: The law "...would make makers of assault weapons [a vague term that is inherently misleading without being defined--what is an assault weapon?] liable for any deaths or injuries their products cause." Are these people serious? Think of the implications of such a precedent. Would the makers of baseball bats now have to worry that an infinitesimal portion of their customers might not be hitting only baseballs with their purchases?

Do we as a society need to be giving any more excuses to those who would violate our fundamental trust in all humans? We must concentrate on dealing with those we can prove are too violent to live among us.

Ironically it is the law enforcers themselves who have failed to fulfill their duties. Take for example the case that first brought the redundant misnomer "assault weapon" to the media's lexicon, the Purdy shooting in Stockton, California. This man had been arrested for many previous felonies and in each instance the DA and courts plea-bargained him through the system, kicking him out the other end convicted only of much lesser misdemeanors.

This grossly irresponsible behavior on the part of the state was the main factor in Purdy's ability to legally purchase the weapons he used. If the state had followed through, gone to court and won a conviction on just one of Purdy's felonies he would have been unable to buy his AK-47 lookalike (although the death toll might have been much higher had he eschewed firearms and driven through the school yard).

Edward McNamara

W. Loyola

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