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Jews For The Preservation of Firearms Ownership, Inc.
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Hartford, WI 53027

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May 10, 1998

MEDICAL JOURNAL RENEWS ATTACKS ON GUNS AFTER JONESBORO

by Richard Stevens

JPFO Firearms Sentinel Editor

Once again the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) has shown its extreme bias against the individual right to keep and bear arms. The lead editorial in the May 7, 1998 issue of NEJM (pp. 1375-76) openly called for "gun control" advocates to "try to make political hay out of the Jonesboro shooting."

The author, Jerome P. Kassirer, M.D., editor of NEJM, urged that "it is time to eliminate semiautomatic firearms from private homes." Why? Because of the "unmistakable role of [semi automatic] firearms" in the Jonesboro murders. After listing and summarily dismissing a multitude of other factors which could have contributed to the boys' shooting their classmates, Kassirer wrote: "Though we may never know precisely why the boys did what they did, we certainly know how."

After explaining how the boys burglarized homes and stole weapons, methodically planted themselves in a position to kill efficiently, and used telescopic sights to assure accurate shooting, Kassirer concluded: "Given these facts, how can anyone accept the contorted logic that lawful arms ownership has nothing to do with this tragedy, or that this is not a gun issue? The vast array of powerful firearms available to the boys is remarkable.... Would so many people be dead if such lethal weapons had not been [available to steal]?"

Disregard that Kassirer's conclusion does not follow from the facts. Disregard that the young killers committed several serious felonies before they ever started shooting people. Disregard that the killers were not lawfully possessing firearms at the time.

Consider instead how Kassirer's logic applies to three other heinous murders that occurred in Daly City, California, the day before the Jonesboro incident. Megan K. Hogg, 25, methodically bound the hands and faces of her three children, aged 7, 3, and 2 years, using duct tape. The police reported that "she did them one at a time. She took them into the bedroom, suffocated them and came back and got the next one." (Associated Press story, 3/24/98)

In spite of all of the evidence that Ms. Hogg was either psychotic or that she committed intentional, premeditated murder, Kassirer would have to say: "Given these facts, how can anyone accept the contorted logic that lawful duct tape ownership has nothing to do with this tragedy, or that this is not a duct tape issue? The vast array of powerful duct tape available to Ms. Hogg is remarkable.... Would so many people be dead if such lethal weapons had not been readily available at any hardware store?"

Apparently not content with one logical embarrassment, Kassirer's editorial actually blames the Waco massacre on the "large stashes of firearms ... [that] were found at Waco." (Piles of hidden guns forced government agents to smash the building and gas the people inside?) The Oklahoma City bombing would not have occurred, he says, except that money obtained from the sale of stolen weapons was used to fund the bomb. The editorial proceeds also to call for registering all firearms and for banning weapons with "large ammunition clips" which have been modified to have a "sporting appearance." (And we thought the law banned guns that lacked a "sporting purpose.")

Kassirer defines "a dangerous arsenal" as "a single semiautomatic weapon left loaded, unlocked, and accessible." One gun is an arsenal. Then he asks the rhetorical question: "Does anyone need to have a private arsenal of high-powered weapons?" He answers NO to that question, because such weapons "are of no value for hunting," their "use for target practice seems dispensable," and they "are certainly not needed for protection against crime."

Kassirer, of course, is wrong on all three counts, but that doesn't really matter. The right to keep and bear arms helps people defend against the mega-killers: tyranny and genocide. Kassirer predictably ignored that factor - - but then again, he would ban duct tape.


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