Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Herald Gets it Wrong

A recent editorial in the Johnston County Herald contained an editorial that touched on something that I had some personal experience with. The Town of Garner recently reacted to the new State law allowing concealed carry in public parks by defining "recreational area" fairly tightly.

The Town of Garner, like a lot of towns, views itself as a "right thinking place, where progressive values of the people prevail." I determined this from watching them, rather than from anything actually said. As such, they had designated public parks as places where you couldn't bring a concealed handgun. Never mind that all sorts of other potentially lethal items such as baseball bats, crow bars, knives, and so forth could be brought to the parks, and in some cases were required to be there. I speak of baseball bats. On December 1, 2011, the new Castle Doctrine went into effect. Among the things provided in the law was that cities could no longer designate public parks as no gun zones. It was clear at the meeting of the Town Council that they didn't want to do this. None the less, they also did not want to finance a losing lawsuit from the group Grass Roots North Carolina, a group to which I belong.

Overall, the editorial is not terribly anti-gun, and I would normally pass it without comment, but there are huge flaws in the reasoning.  A quote from the editorial:

As for those who think that law-abiding folks ought to be able to carry a gun wherever they want, we're sympathetic. At the same time, we sympathize with moms and dads who might be uncomfortable at the sight of someone packing a handgun on the playground. We sympathize too with referees who don't want to confront parents with pistols, and no one wants an athlete or spectator to get caught in the crossfire of an exchange of gunfire.

The first thing to note is that moms and dads wouldn't see these guns. They are called "concealed" for a reason-you can't see them. I am always amazed when this argument is trotted out. It is trotted out for instance as a reason to keep concealed carry out of bars. After noting that it is illegal for someone to drink while carrying concealed (which is where they go first) the anti-gunners will rejoinder with "but what if some drunk sees your gun, takes it from you, and shoots up the place." Of course, no one will see it, because it is concealed.

The piece goes on to note that criminals, by definition, don't obey laws. The editors hope thereby to divert the most powerful arrow in our quiver. But look at what they have done! They have just assumed that moms, dads, referees, athletes and spectators can all rest assured knowing that no one has a gun on the premises. Except they don't know any such thing. Instead, these people are lulled by an illusion of safety.  Any security these people feel is created by some security theatre staged by the city. But if putting up signs could prevent violence, the this little skit on You Tube would be true, along with Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.

During the meeting with the Garner Town Council, we mentioned the case of Anna McCall who fended off a man trying to kidnap her three year old son will playing at a playground. Anna McCall's story was fortunately a happy one. One wonders if the next time it happens in Garner, will the parent be quite so lucky?

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