MCSM Responds To "Evil Tools" Article

By Bob Culver



EVIL TOOLS ?

The Friday, January 19, 2001 edition of the Montgomery Journal contained the Opinion titled "Evil Cell Phones". Briefly you discussed the nature of cell phone usage and the problems and benefits associated with them. You questioned, "...are they the evil, dangerous devices some folks make them out to be?" You then opined that they were not for the reasons you explained.

I wonder if you are aware of the almost prophetic, no, the obvious, extrapolation of this observation and opinion to any other useful but socially maligned tools? Just let your mind roam. How about the automobile, the bicycle, swimming pools and baseball bats. Coming right to the point, how about firearms?

Taking your Opinion article, with minor text changes, presents a direct statement and comparison. The Opinion is copied with changed or added words italicized and skipped areas indicated thus...

The problem with firearms is very few people misuse them. They carry them irresponsibly, treat them irrespectfully and sometimes criminal elements use them with criminal intent. Silly, sometimes dangerous behavior, yes. But it would be a mistake to take our anger out on all firearm users. And thatís what certain law makers seem intent on doing.

We refer specifically to two proposals facing the Maryland General Assembly. One would ban or restrict the posession of firearms in certain areas. The other would ease restrictions on individuals personally carrying firearms.

...Yet nobody would ban radios or tape players or burger-eating while driving. Of course not. Reckless people can make even simple behaviors dangerous. But that does not mean others should suffer.

You could argue, in fact, that banning radios or tape players would make more sense than banning firearms; the firearms, at least, are handy during an emergency.

As for the second matter, continuing to ban personally carrying firearms is equally illogical. The current ban in Maryland was passed ... decades ago, when personal firearm concealed carry was rarer but criminal elements, as always, had access to firearms. Clearly, that is no longer the case. Thirty two states are counted in the growing rank of states that currently allow the defensive use of firearms by concealed carrying in public. Yet the ban remains in place. And last year, when Maryland lawmakers proposed lifting it, they were practically hooted back to Westminster by other lawmakers convinced their concerns were so much whining from a wealthy county with too little to worry about.

Well, it's not the most serious problem in the state, no. But it is hardly whining.

A lot of parents, not all of them in Westminster, want to protect their children by carrying firearms in case of emergencies. And they don't see why, if carried lawfully and with responsibility and with respect for others, the firearms would be disruptive or evil and therefore deserve to be outlawed.

Neither do we. Firearms are a tool - a very useful, increasingly common tool. Arbitrarily restricting their use based on the foolish behavior of some owners is unfair and ignorant. Lawmakers should realize that and act accordingly.

In closing, the Journal Opinion has stated the issue most eloquently. Firearms, like any other tool, are subject to use for good or evil. Foolish behavior by owners is distorted, and willing legislators are stampeded, by misleading or outright false information from special interest lobbying groups like HCI.

Since I am paraphrasing the words of others I must conclude by saying, "The fault dear Paris is not in our tools, but in ourselves." When we refuse to seek out and punish violent anti-social criminals, and instead seek to demonize a tool or an ideal or a thought, and thereby demonize an entire segment of otherwise law abiding society, we have lost all reason. That action, described in the Opinion, condemns society to a condition of eroding morality and stunted individual social achievement. What good is it to fight as individuals when we have no resources with which to fight, or if we ourselves may become the subject of the action of law if we dare to defend society?

Heed the words of this Opinion and understand the Unintended Consequences of your actions.


Robert Culver, Secretary, MCSM

MCSM (Montgomery Citizens for a Safer Maryland) is a grass roots group which examines and discusses all aspects of self defense, hence all issues relating to firearms in society. Please contact MCSM at



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Most recent revision March 2001