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Voice: Recent events make citizen disarmament even more absurd

October 15, 2001

It's hard to believe that four commercial planes were commandeered by a few fanatics wielding simple box-cutters. How did we get to this point? Our forefathers are dead, but their words live on:

George Washington — "Mercenary armies … have at one time or another subverted the liberties of almost all the countries they have been raised to defend …" (Afghanistan)

Thomas Paine — "The peaceable part of mankind will be continually overrun by the vile and abandoned while they neglect the means of self-defence. The supposed quietude of a good man allures the ruffian; while on the other hand, arms like laws discourage and keep the invader in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property." (The attacks)

Alexander Hamilton — "Little more can be reasonably aimed at with respect to the people at large than to have them properly armed and equipped …" (our mistake)

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John Adams — "Arms in the hands of citizens (may) be used at individual discretion … in private self-defence." (Our responsibility)

George Mason — "To disarm the people (is) the best and most effectual way to enslave them …" (The Taliban)

In properly trained hands, the firearm is a tool to preserve safety, not unlike the kitchen knife is a tool to prepare food or the chainsaw is a tool to cut wood. In careless hands, they are dangerrous. In evil hands, they are deadly weapons. It is impossible to outlaw evil.

For years firearms have been ostracized by a fearful and ignorant part of our society as an evil that should be banished. But the ignored words of our forefathers are as true today as they were over 200 years ago. The atrocious attacks show evidence that we, as a society, must rethink our policy of self-disarmament and remember that the founders of this government declared in the preamble of the constitution that "We the People" must "provide for the common defence." Not the police, not the sanding army, but We, the People.

In the coming months, it would be wise to heed the words of Benjamin Franklin written in 1755 — "Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

GUY MANNING

El Centro

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