Sample Op-Ed: Charley Reese in The Orlando Sentinel

The Orlando Sentinel
Commentary Section
July 19, 1998

"When Confronted By a Criminal, You're Back on the U.S. Frontier"
By Charley Reese

The easiest way to resolve, in your own mind, the gun-control debate is to take this little test.

1. Do you believe that you have a right to live?

2. Do you believe that your spouse and children have a right to live?

3. If someone is threatening to kill you and your family, do you think that you have a right to defend yourself?

That's the objective, yes-or-no part of the quiz. Now here is one final essay question:

How will you defend yourself and your family if you are confronted by an armed intruder or intruders?

You could call 911 unless, as often happens these days, the intruders have taken the trouble to cut your telephone wires before they kick your door down. But if you did get the call off, you still have a problem:

The intruders are there in your house, and the police aren't.

The sad fact is that, because of logistics, police can't protect you. In more than 99 percent of the cases, by the time the police even get called -- and certainly by the time they arrive -- the crime has already been committed.

The hard truth is that, when you are confronted by a criminal, you're in the same situation today you would have been in if you had lived alone on an isolated ranch on the American frontier. There's nobody at the dance but you and the criminal. You have to fight. You win, you live; you lose, you die. Simple as that. No alternative unless you want to depend on your begging and some thug's mercy. But in serious encounters, by the time the cavalry gets there, there will be dead and wounded lying around. The question you have to answer is: Do you want to be among the dead or among the living?

Now you may suppose that you are a glib talker and when some crack-crazed thug sticks a gun in your face, you can reason with him. That's a very far-fetched supposition. I would bet on the thug. Any honest street cop will tell you that the predators roaming today are far more dangerous than even mob hit men of the past. The hit men would never kill without a reason. Today's thugs kill on a whim for no rational reason at all. And many of them will kill everyone there, including babies and children.

The neo-totalitarians -- sometimes known as the gun-control crowd -- will repeat the big lie that a gun kept for self-protection is more likely to injure you or your family than a criminal. The flawed study that is based on was discredited years ago.

If you take a gun to a gunfight, you may not win; if you don't, you will surely lose. Credible studies by respected scholars with no bias show what common sense tells you -- that thousands of Americans every day save themselves from criminal harm by using a firearm, most of the time without having to shoot.

To me, there is no more outrageous insult or bigger example of stupidity than a government that is such a gross failure at preventing criminal, armed attacks on the population that it would take the position that the answer is to disarm the future victims. I take it as a given that any politician who proposes to deny honest people the means to defend their lives and the lives of their children is too evil or too stupid to tolerate in public office.

Some guy once wrote that a characteristic of Southerners is that they take things personally. I know that's true in my case. When I hear some politician talk gun control, I think, "You (expletive deleted), you're endangering my children."

You have a right to own a firearm. Don't let anyone take that right away from you. Use it.

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