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I do not underestimate the difficulty of changing false beliefs with facts. It would be useless for me to cite the reams of research, here and abroad, indicating that the single most reliable predictor of someone being shot is the ready availability of guns. This refusal to accept scientific evidence is part and parcel of the growing power of propaganda organs like FOX News and the NRA, and the concomitant dumbing down of those who believe them. In 1991, retired Chief Justice Warren Burger declared in a speech: “The Second Amendment has been the subject of one of the greatest pieces of fraud — I repeat ‘fraud’ — perpetrated on the American public by special interests groups…”
If I don’t like the Mountain Democrat’s management refusal to accept science, be it about guns or about climate change, I can stop buying the paper. However, when John D’Agostini, our elected “Sheriff-Coroner-Public Administrator” shows signs of being divorced from reality, as he does in his open “Letter” to VP Biden, then I, as a citizen, start worrying.
D’Agostini’s “Letter” is symptomatic of someone suffering from Fregoli’s Syndrome, aka “delusional paranoia.” Sheriff D’Agostini seems to believe that Joe Biden is coming for our guns. Really? Is the good Sheriff having visions, à la Joan of Arc? There is zero, nada, none evidence that taking away guns is even remotely in the realm of reality, or possibility.
The Obama Administration is proposing to use the Supreme Court’s 2008 decision (District of Columbia v. Heller) that, even though citizens have a right to own arms, it is not an unfettered right, and, by inference, the government has a right to regulate possession. To my NRA pals, I point out that the government already regulates howitzers, tank guns, machine guns, recoilless rifles, bazookas, claymore, anti-personnel and anti-tank mines, weapons containing chemical, bacteriological or radiological agents, the list goes on. By acquiescing to government controls over some weapons, the gun absolutists have, de facto, already admitted that controls, and even outright bans, are within the government’s purview.
The good Sheriff also writes: “It is well-known and proven with facts, not emotional inference, that gun control of any kind has no effect on … crime.” Mr. D’Agostini would help his case if he cited a single “fact,” backed by research not funded by the NRA or Smith & Wesson, to support his claim. Of course, independent studies prove exactly the opposite of the Sheriff’s claims. Borrowing a page from the NRA, D’Agostini’s letter plays on ignorance and its twin progeny: fear and paranoia.
Missing from the misinformation circulating about the Second Amendment is the Declaration of Independence’s part about the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. For the 30,000 people, including over 3,000 kids, who die each year of gunshot wounds, how are freedom and happiness working out from the grave? How does a person’s right to live stack up against gun absolutists’ desire to amass dangerous toys? Where are the Christians on this moral issue?
I’m with the good Sheriff in not wanting to put guns in the hands of mentally unstable people. Therefore, I feel obligated to point out to Mr. D’Agostini that Fregoli’s Syndrome is a mental illness … and that he carries a gun. It follows that the good Sheriff ought to voluntarily disarm until he undergoes a medical evaluation.
I will allow for a possible misdiagnosis on my part, and that Sheriff D’Agostini does not actually believe a word he wrote. Rather, he borrowed a page from Sen. Ted Gaines’s book “Mastering the Art of Self-Aggrandizement and Political Grandstanding.” Two years hence, D’Agostini hopes to be re-elected on the platform “I stood firm against that gun-stealin’ varmint Joe Biden.” Around here, it’s a winning slogan.