Rewrites of Jottings: Gun Control
Rewrite of Jottings: Gun Control 2
Rewrite of Jottings: Gun Control 3
Amazingly, Director General Hermogenes Ebdane has now allowed about 42,000 barangay chairmen nationwide to carry firearms in a bid to help curb crime but on condition that the firearms be only handguns no larger than a 9-mm. or caliber .38.
Whatever happened to the policy proposal that strictly restrict to regular police and military personnel, in uniform and in line of duty the reason and permission to carry arms in public places? In early 1997, Cagayan de Oro city councilors also contemplated issuing Barangay Chairmen with firearms due to, you guessed it, rising crime. (Maybe the Kapitans were issued the guns on the hush-hush but no notable reduction of crimes was sensed.) I wrote a dissenting opinion at the time and I repeat here what I said then.
A favorite argument of those infatuated with firearms is that guns do not kill, people do. The weakness in this proposition is that unarmed people hardly kill, merely maim. A gun settles a disagreement before words can work, usually with irreversible finality — as tragically illustrated in the Eldon Maguan and Ernie Tuadles shootings, and the deaths of lawmen who engaged in duels to settle their heated argument.
Without a gun, a person uses less lethal weapons such as fists, clubs, knives, or run away to fight another day. He may even use his wits to persuade rather than antagonize. Will a gun deter a crime? Bank security guards who survived the superior firepower of bank robbers that slew fellow guards who resisted and fought back can best answer the question. It is difficult to imagine a gun preventing a fraud or deterring the furtive snatch thief, and settling domestic quarrels or halting pollution by firms are best handled with the gift of gab. Traffic violations? The deed is done. A gun would just provoke a goading challenge or a duel by another gun toter. The CDO City Council at that time had to adjudge two disputes involving Barangay Chairmen in cases involving threats with a gun.
I was a member of our college rifle and pistol team, and one of my cherished mementos is a champion’s plaque that I won. This experience served as a sobering influence regarding firearms. Team competitions further deepened my awe for the power of the devices. By the time I took my oath as an “officer and a gentleman” in the AFP my respect for firearms was unshakable and these dictums deeply ingrained:
Lord Acton’s ‘power corrupts’ statement may well have undertones that apply to ordinary people. Give a puny person a tiny bit of authority and his personality changes with a feeling of superiority and self-importance. A gun provides that feeling.