Letter for Monday, March 25, 2019

Strict gun laws won’t stop violence

My wife and I just celebrated our 30th anniversary with a wonderful trip to the amazing land of New Zealand.

We happened to be in Christchurch at a museum a block away from the deadliest mosque shooting, on the Ides of March. The police ushered people out of the park and into the museum and locked us in for three hours. Being so close to so many people being murdered was heart-rending, to say the least.

Gun control has already been very strict in NZ. They have no second amendment. It is against the law to carry a gun in public for self-defense. If you want to acquire a gun in NZ, you must go through a battery of psychological tests. Though hunting is popular, the number of guns owned in NZ per person is one fifth of the U.S. Even the police do not carry guns.

Logic suggests that with strict gun control, the shootings would be more deadly. The facts back this up. In the U.S., there have been 1.2 people per million population killed in mass shootings over the past 10 years. In NZ, this number is 11.3 people. With strict gun laws and a low level of gun ownership, the death-rate from mass shootings in NZ is nine times worse than the U.S.

In the mosque near us, the shooter had time to go back out to his car, reload, and come back in to kill more people. This is the type of scenario that these monsters want.

Strict gun control did not prevent this tragedy in NZ. It made it worse. NZ is now in a vicious cycle. More gun control leads to more mass shooting deaths. More mass shooting deaths leads to more gun control, etc.

After several church and synagogue shootings in the U.S. in recent years, I know people who now carry a concealed gun to church with them. If this mass shooter were in the U.S., there is a better chance that someone would be quickly shooting back. This will not only reduce fatalities, but also likely deter the mass shooters in the first place. They do not want to be quickly killed by people shooting back.

An effective way to prevent this level of slaughter is for a few good people to carry guns for self-defense into every church, synagogue, temple and mosque.

Mark Beeksma, Koloa

26 Comments
  1. Steven McMacken March 25, 2019 5:13 am Reply

    Once, again, we’re subjected to more flawless logic from Mark Beeksma. Lock and load, people. (And I wonder why locals continue to tell me that a bunch of locos live on Kauai.)


  2. Uncleaina March 25, 2019 8:25 am Reply

    Ah yes. Think Las Vegas. Think Parkland (where armed police were IN PLACE but fled). In both cases where was the “hero with a gun”? This argument is so old, so tired, been spewed by SO many people- whatever Mark. I’m a gun owner and it sounds like you listen to too much Fox News and read too many articles in gun magazines. We live on Kauai guy – it’s a moot point in such a nonviolent place. If you wanna carry a gun, there are LOTS of states where you can move to, carry openly and talk with other right wing people- book a flight and go.


    1. Mark Beeksma March 25, 2019 8:29 pm Reply

      Uncleaina, I recognize that a sniper from a distance like in Vegas is harder to stop. But that was not the case here in NZ, nor is it the case in most situations. Regarding Parkland, I think you missed my point. I am not suggesting several armed police people at every gathering. That would be too inefficient and expensive. What I am talking about is private citizens who do it for free. I don’t think they would volunteer to do it for free if they were really cowards. Cowards are willing to get paid and then flake out. But, cowards would have no reason to volunteer their services, if they knew they were afraid to help.


  3. ruthann jones March 25, 2019 8:34 am Reply

    in this gun toting culture…Mark, let’s just supply every single adult with an assault weapon? Ridiculous country, and ridiculous letter.


    1. I saw a Vampire once March 25, 2019 10:40 am Reply

      Ms. Ruthann Jones,

      I’m sorry you feel this way. This letter points out Guns do the killing. But law in the wrong hands, is crucial because nothing will happen. 2nd amendment, right to bear arms still holds. We must fight for this law still.


      1. Steven McMacken March 26, 2019 11:34 am Reply

        “Guns do the killing.” That’s right, through NO FAULT of my own, I just happened to have an AK-47 in my hands and it killed a couple dozen innocent people. Bad AK-47!!


  4. gordon oswald March 25, 2019 9:06 am Reply

    Great letter Mark! We might add that there were nearly 3 million instances last year where a gun was used by our citizens to stop crimes attempted, or perpetrated, upon them in the United States. We will not give up our Constitutional rights to bear arms for self and family protection short of a civil war. So the idiot liberal snowflakes had better pick another battle. Like get Trump at all costs, and beyond all reason, regardless of the severe damage it does to our Country. These are horrible people with limited intelligence, common sense, and no real plan of their own to Make America Great, except the Green New Deal to socialism/collapse. A hard group of mental midgets to reason with for sure!


    1. George March 25, 2019 10:45 am Reply

      3 million crimes stopped by other people with guns. Source Gordo?


      1. I saw a Vampire once March 25, 2019 1:48 pm Reply

        Wher’d you get this crap info? KPD. Not yet valid still.


      2. gordon oswald March 25, 2019 6:02 pm Reply

        Sure Georgy! The CDC commissioned and reported that the National Academies Institute of Medicine and National Research Council reported that “Defensive use of guns by crime victims is a common occurrence”. The actual numbers are controversial depending on the questions and how they were phrased in the surveys. One of study stated that “1,029,615 defensive guns used for self defense and were at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from I,000,000 to 3,000,000, in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms.” There have been 3 definitive studies on the subject and all of them did not count military service, police work, or work as a security guard. These, up to 3 million defensive actions, were the numbers related to actual citizens protecting themselves!


        1. George March 26, 2019 2:54 am Reply

          So you thought you would take the largest number ( an estimate) and present it as reliable. It is kind of creepy how far you and the chicken farmer will go to prove that you are right. Seig heil!


  5. paulot March 25, 2019 9:17 am Reply

    Regarding Mr Beeksma’s Strict Gun Laws letter, I give him Australia. Now perhaps he can revisit his theory that “More gun control leads to more mass shooting deaths.”


  6. livealoha March 25, 2019 10:30 am Reply

    Happy Anniversary. Sorry about your experience. It must have been horrifying. It is an unimaginable for me and probably for anyone else. However, please note that after the shooting the New Zealand Prime Minister put a ban on assault weapons. Please cite your facts for mass shootings for the 10 year to remove any debate as I could not find your statistics. You might also want to look at overall gun deaths in the US compared to New Zealand, as gun violence in New Zealand is rare. Most mass shooters in the US had legally obtained their guns. The idea that someone legally obtains a gun and will forever be safe to handle that gun is like saying, “I had a TB test in 1992 and it was clear so I must not have TB in 2019”. I would not feel safe with a gun in the hand of any person in my child’s classroom, my place of worship, the grocery story, anywhere.

    Below are statistics on how mass shooters obtained their guns:
    https://gunsandamerica.org/story/18/11/02/since-1982-74-percent-of-mass-shooters-obtained-their-guns-legally/
    For transparency of source, below is a link to the funding source for the above article.
    https://kendedafund.org/about/


    1. Mark Beeksma March 25, 2019 9:42 pm Reply

      My stats: I found a website listing total mass shooting deaths by year in the U.S. I added the last 10 years up to 392 deaths. For NZ, I counted 54 deaths. The U.S. has 68 times as many people, but only had 7.2 times as many mass shooting deaths in the past 10 years. This means NZ is nine times worse per capita over the past decade.
      Regarding total gun deaths, I would guess that it would be higher than in NZ, since there are more guns. But keep in mind that 63% of gun deaths (in 2013) are suicides. Suicides are not the gun’s fault. You can just as easy kill yourselves with sleeping pills, car exhaust, or jumping off a bridge. I don’t hear a lot of talk about banning sleeping pills, cars, and bridges. The suicide rate is higher in Japan than the U.S. They don’t have guns to kill themselves, but they still kill themselves more often that Americans.
      Another 33% of gun deaths are homicides. Once again, this is not entirely the gun’s fault. People can kill others with knives, rocks, spears, cars, bow and arrow, poison darts, etc. Guns are used because they are the easiest. But, it is not be hard to find other ways.
      Accidental gun deaths make up only about 2% of gun deaths.
      The number of people killed accidentally by autos is around 40 times more than by guns. We don’t talk about banning autos because we see their benefit.
      The right to bear arms has a huge benefit to our society. Germany was a democracy, before Hitler took over. Russia was a democracy before Putin took over. Democracies are fragile and very rare over the course of human history.
      Our founders put the right to bear arms in our Constitution in order to protect our liberties. It was about being able to fight against your own government, as we did around 1776, in order to protect your liberty. The primary concern was not about hunting or stopping burglars.
      Our constitution guarantees our right to be able to bear arms against our own government, if they try to take away our freedom. If our government tries to take away this right without properly amending the written constitution, that would be exactly the kind of government that our founders wanted to make sure that we would be able to fight against.
      The second amendment provides a huge benefit to our freedom. In my opinion, it is just as important as automobiles, maybe more important. We should give the second amendment the same respect we give automobiles, and stop this foolish talk about banning them because a few people died. Hitler killed millions of his own people. The stakes of losing democracy are extremely high. The second amendment is one of the best protections of our democracy.
      I should add that, in order to fight against our own government to preserve our democracy, assault weapons would be helpful. Hence the second amendment should protect the right to own an assault weapon. But, keep in mind that assault weapons have the same semi-auto function that most other guns have. That is, most non-assault weapons are semi-auto. Any semi-auto weapon could be used to shoot up a mosque or church. Especially if everyone else is unarmed. NZ’s latest step to ban assault guns will not make it any harder for someone to do what this monster just did.


  7. hutch March 25, 2019 10:34 am Reply

    Why is it that the Garden Island has a policy of no comments allowed after letters to the editor…except when the letter writer expresses a conservative opinion? Then all the left wing wackos are allowed to have a field day, as is evidenced by most of the comments after this letter.


    1. Kapahi84 March 26, 2019 7:38 am Reply

      Laughable! Because the Garden Island IS liberal!


      1. Steven McMacken March 26, 2019 11:38 am Reply

        You’re wrong, Kapahi84. The Garden Island Newspaper is neither liberal or conservative. It reports the news as factually as it can, without bias or prejudice.


        1. Mark Beeksma March 26, 2019 6:57 pm Reply

          Steven, I agree mostly with you here. If the Garden Isle was so liberal, they would not have printed my letter in the first place. I don’t think they are perfectly unbiased, as you suggest, because hardly anyone is perfectly unbiased. However, I agree that we should be very grateful that the Garden Isle is as neutral as it is.


  8. Dt March 25, 2019 5:22 pm Reply

    If we get rid of guns, we should eliminate almost all cars too. People can ride bikes and mopeds. People drive cars because they feel safe in a car. Then people buy bigger cars because bigger cars are safer than smaller cars. Now the number one selling vehicle is a full size pickup, which is under utilized 99% of the time. Sure some people use bigger cars, just like some people need guns to hunt. The fact is that it’s human nature to have the best defense possible and affordable. Everyone who drives a car, would you use a moped, if not why?


  9. Alan Maislen March 26, 2019 6:41 am Reply

    Beeksma’s argument reminds me of Archie Bunker’s solution to airplane hijacking: Arm all the passengers. It depends on everybody with their concealed-cary weapons being Dirty Harry or Annie Oakley: a dead shot. Instead, what you would have is a room full of well-intentioned but frightened people firing across a crowd of equally frightened people, hopefully hitting the perpetrator and not the bystanders. Even people I know who go regularly to the practice range can’t guarantee 100% accuracy, especially in a situation like that. One more fantasy from a knee-jerk response to a purported threat to Second Amendment rights. You need a gun to protect your family from home invasion? Fine. If you need automatic weapons designed for a battlefield, just how many home invaders have you pissed off?


    1. Mark Beeksma March 26, 2019 11:42 am Reply

      Alan,
      I would like to hear from the families of the children and others who were murdered at the mosque. Do you think they would agree with you and be so happy that there was no one who could shoot back? Do you think they would be so happy that there were no armed citizens there, because that might remind them of a goofy Archie Bunker episode?

      As I mentioned in my other response, guns are very useful for hunting and self defense, but the second amendment is primarily so that we are able to do what we did in 1776, that is, replace our government when it tries to take away our liberties. That does involve battlefields.


      1. Alan Maislen March 27, 2019 3:27 am Reply

        Spectacularly missing the point. They might not be reminded of a “goofy Archie Bunker episode” but they might well be reminded of the war zones they fled, with bullets flying from all sides. Here’s an experiment: Take your family to a crowded theater or house of worship. Do you have confidence that all those would-be heroes with concealed weapons are all Army rangers or Navy Seals? Do you really want X many people firing through a frightened crowd? Who’s checking them at the door for their marksmanship skills? It’s your family in that melee. Still think it’s a smart idea? Why don’t you and your Second Amendment friends all go to the shooting range together and see how accurate you’d be in an active shooter situation? (Try standing in a circle!) Then come back and tell me how many of them you want in your house of worship. I worked with a guy–a security guard–who carried a concealed weapon. He happened upon a convenience store hold up and decided to take action. (Bless his good intentions.) He was very quickly shot very dead. As far as 1776 is concerned, you and your comrades seem to forget the part about a “well regulated militia.” That doesn’t mean everyone can–or should–try to be a one-man army. I’ve got no problem with responsible gun ownership. But given recent history, we’re in far more danger from fellow citizens fueled by political resentment and ethnic hatred than Blackhawks descending to confiscate your eggs.


        1. Mark Beeksma March 27, 2019 12:07 pm Reply

          So, you are saying that you think the families with dead loved ones are happy that there was no one to shoot back, because they might remind them of a war zone?

          Pistols are good for self defense. Rifles are better for a 1776 event. Not to confuse the two. Of course we would have to organize ourselves for a 1776 event, that goes without saying. But our Constitution guarantees that we have the arms we need. Organization without weapons is useless.


          1. Alan Maislen March 28, 2019 2:48 am

            No, I’m not saying that, nor would any sentient reader. I’m saying that what you propose is an OK Corral. Instead of addressing the points I made, you find a ridiculous way to twist the argument. Clearly you don’t bother to read or analyze comments: You just fire back defensively in any direction. Which makes me wonder how you’d do in an actual active shooter situation.


          2. Mark Beeksma March 28, 2019 12:58 pm

            Alan, you must know people who are really bad shots. I know someone who carries a pistol to church who could put a bullet right between the eyes of an attacker, using either his left or his right hand. I feel safer knowing that a mass shooter would not last very long. I guess we have to agree to disagree on this one.


  10. gordon oswald March 26, 2019 10:41 am Reply

    All you “everyone with an assault weapon fear” need to grow up. That won’t happen unless we’re at war with an invading army. The bottom line statistics one should rely on would answer the following two questions. How many gun deaths in the United States are committed in cities and areas with very strict gun laws, and how many in areas where the 2nd Amendment is adhered to like in Texas and the heartland of America? If you look at those statistics, you would put down your little mouse and go buy a gun. I wouldn’t trust you, the police, the Army, or the corrupt FBI/CIA to protect me, or my family. Why should I, if I can do it myself?


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