Camille Paglia gets it wrong on gun control

"We are at the mercy of our government's martial forces."

Letters to the Editor
May 26, 2000 11:02PM (UTC)

The Million Mom March: What a crock!

Camille Paglia's contention that national policy regarding firearms should not be determined by 500,000 people led by Rosie O'Donnell is just flat wrong. The 500,000 are just exactly who should be making policy, not the small group of men in $2,000 suits handing out obscene amounts of money to politicians. I don't care if someone related to Hillary's lawyer organized the thing. We have two groups to choose from: Charlton Heston and the NRA, who in the past have opposed any and all regulation regarding firearms, or Rosie and 500,000 who want to see at least some control. Granted these two groups are on the fringes of the issue, but Rosie is just a figurehead. Five hundred thousand is a number even politicians can understand. I would remind Paglia of the phrase "of, by, and for the people."


-- Rich McIntosh

The overused, quaint idea that guns "remain our protection against government tyranny" may have delivered when the Minutemen faced a similarly armed British militia, but to think that our current populace has similarly kept up with our government is to be wholly ignorant of current military technology. A single special unit of our armed forces -- equipped with infrared technology, chemicals, high-power ammunition and information quite out of the public's reach -- is the equal of perhaps 50 times its size in civilian gun owners. We are at the mercy of our government's martial forces, Ms. Paglia. It's a bit late to fight that, but perhaps not to befriend it.

-- Maximiliano Nealon

Paglia writes that she is unsure why "the gun lobby" fears that gun registration will be the first step to total confiscation. Gun owners have that fear for two reasons.

For one thing, that's the way it has happened worldwide. Registration has led to confiscation in Britain, Australia, Canada, California and New York. How clear does the pattern have to be? Moreover, total prohibition is the stated aim of the gun controllers. Pete Shields, Barbara Boxer and other leading gun-banners openly declare that they want all guns prohibited, and that they want registration as the first step toward that end. In this, they are simply following Lenin's advice: "If you would subjugate a people, first find out who has the guns, then confiscate them."


As for her concern that "heavy-duty, military-style automatic weapons ... be better tracked," that's a long-dead issue. Automatic weapons must be registered, require a full FBI background check for possession and have ever since 1934. Production of automatic weapons for civilians was prohibited in 1986. Where has Paglia been?

-- George Hyatt

Oh my God! Camille Paglia's entire article blew my 61-year-old ex-news photographer's butt right off my seat in front of my computer. Thank you for the great time I spent rereading it.

-- Bill Powers

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