Thursday, March 19, 2009

An open letter to Gary Stein

Mr. Stein,

Rather than do a complete Fisking of your article on your fear of guns, I thought I would instead suggest to you a milder form of constructive argument. As follows:

Every place in your article which mentions the Second Amendment, substitute the First Amendment. Every place which mentions a gun, substitute Word Processor. How does that sit with you?

Every sentence of yours which decries the tool, and yet denies the user of motivation, is a failure of logic on your part. No gun by itself ever killed anything. No word processor by itself ever wrote anything. Both are tools. Both require some form of intelligence to operate. Both can be implements of good OR evil.

A fool with a gun is a fool with the power to harm others. So is a fool with a typewriter. Words and ideas are responsible for more deaths in the history of the world than guns alone. Look to despotic regimes throughout history (and long before the invention of the firearm), see what havoc has been wreaked upon those who differed with them in thoughts, words, or deeds. Yet, I do not see anybody clamoring for censorship or requesting the banning of thoughts or ideas. Should we remove the computer, word processor, typewriter, pen, pencil, or quill from every malcontent with the power to speak hatred or spew lies? Should we ban writers who fail to conform to the whims of government? Should we shut down freedom of expression because someone is attempting to foment a riot or other civil unrest?

An honest man would realize that in the world of men, the tool does not create the motive or the thought. It is the thought which directs the tool. Your word processor did not write that article by itself. The firearm in Alabama did not kill those people by itself. Both tools were used by men.

One person's motives we will never know, but we assume it to be evil based on his actions. How do you answer for yours?



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