Letter: Randy Ihara, South Riding

Editor: Firearm deaths in America are a public health crisis. Firearm suicides and homicides are among the top five causes of death for almost all age groups. According to the Centers for Disease Control, over 35,000 Americans are killed each year by firearms, comparable to the annual deaths in auto accidents. In 2015, about 61,000 Virginians died violent death by firearms, and almost 900 met the same fate in Loudoun County. In both cases, suicide accounted for the largest share, 72% and 70%, respectively.

The Congressional Research Service reported that the United States has had about 30 mass shootings annually for the past 30 years! Based on Department of Justice data, between 1999 and 2011, CRS has reported the average number of mass homicides using guns was 80 per year over the period. It also reported that the United States has had about 30 mass shootings annually for the past 30 years!

The political environment has become so toxic largely a consequence of the NRA’s cynical weaponization of the Second Amendment and their cry of wolf, their hysterical warnings of mass gun confiscation. They regularly fabricate images of jack-booted federal troops invading homes to confiscate the roughly 310 million guns from the 55 million American gun owners.

Aside from the fear-mongering, the NRA’s self-righteous claim of protecting the Second Amendment is at its core, based on a willfully concocted Constitutional fantasy. The NRA cynically mischaracterize the Supreme Court’s 2008 landmark decision on the meaning of the Second Amendment case, District of Columbia v Heller.

The Court affirmed “an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.”

Then the Court noted: “Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose …”

To drive the point home, the Court warned that its opinion “should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of fire-arms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”

The National Rifle Association, representing the cabal of gun manufacturers–the sole interest of which is increasing gun sales and profits—is wholly reliant on the votes of their NRA-funded Congressional allies, who refuse to even consider stronger background checks for gun purchases.

NRA’s arrogance is a facade behind which lurks the fear that Congress could be swayed by the truth. So in 1996, the NRA convinced a Republican Congressman, the late Jay Dickey of Arizona, to offer an amendment to an omnibus spending bill that eliminated funding for an existing Center for Disease Control research initiative on gun violence. Since then, the “Dickey amendment” has been regularly reinserted in spending bills, a contemporary version of the old strategy of “keep ‘em ignorant and down on the plantation.”

The NRA and the gun lobby’s efforts to obscure the relationship between the prevalence and accessibility of guns, mass shootings, homicides, and suicides is politically irresponsible, and morally reprehensible.

Randy Ihara, South Riding

5 thoughts on “Letter: Randy Ihara, South Riding

  • 2018-03-09 at 11:10 am
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    “In 2015, about 61,000 Virginians died violent death by firearms, and almost 900 met the same fate in Loudoun County.”

    In the real world, 946 Virginians died in firearm related deaths in 2015…. according to the CDC, not 61,000. An error of only 98.5 percent. And that’s just the first paragraph. Congrats.

    Randy, your penchant for fantastical exaggeration, and apparent acceptance to sign your name to any crack-pot scheme and erroneous statement someone hands you is really sad. Additionally, the readers of Loudoun Now have a really good handle on reading comprehension — underlining italics represents that you’re used to dealing with people unable to read. That’s not the case here.

    • 2018-03-20 at 5:40 pm
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      Chris,
      Thank you for noting the statistical error in Virginia firearms deaths. As a result of your notice, I’m currently doing a more thorough analysis of the data sources. However, I was hoping that responses would be more substantive than stylistic comments on underlning italics, and such superlatives as “fantastical exaggerations,” and “crackpot schemes,” raising a question about your “reading comprehension,” since I offered no “schemes,” crackpot or otherwise. My only substantive point–that I wanted to underscore with the underlining– was that the current gun “debate” has become so toxic that reasonable discussion is virturally impossible. Your remarks underscore my point.
      I only wanted to use the Second Amendment as a case in point. My point was that those who make comments about the meaning of the Second Amendment should, at a minimum, at least review the Supreme Court rulings on the subject, since most of us tend to consider the Court’s thinking about constitutional issues relevant. We may, or may not, agree in toto, but it is a legitimate touchstone. The sections I underlined from the Hller decision, represent a very striking departure from the NRA’s bogus consitutional claims about the Second Amendment. Furthermore, though I didn’t mention it in my letter due to space considerations, other Court decisions (Cruikshank and Pressler) should also be considered in pondering the meaning of the Amendment.

      So, I’m left to conclude from the irrelevance of your remarks, larded with a few infantile efforts to show off your ability to throw “clever” insults, that the Constitutional issue is beyond you. The fact that you had no comment on the substantive content of my letter, is truly sad. Hopefully, others will choose to engage in more substantive discussion, even if it’s to disagree. I’d welcome that. I don’t claim to have answers to a very complex problem, but I would like to know what others think. Maybe out of a plurality of viewpoints, we can find reasonable common ground, emphasis on “reasonable.”

  • 2018-03-09 at 2:46 pm
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    His number were just a bit skewed. I can assure you that the amount of guns and gun owners are much higher too. I can also tell you that many liberals own guns, although they don’t like to brag about it, and many even are life members at the NRA. Would you like a few names as I will gladly share. One last thought, please rid us of the NRA (through the act of you liberals defunding them via shaming their advertisers), and take the final step of trying to repossess our guns, and you will have civil war.

  • 2018-03-12 at 2:39 pm
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    What others have said. Your statistics are way, way off.

  • 2018-03-30 at 12:55 pm
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    Randy,

    Sorry to have missed your reply. Within two sentences, you completely contradict yourself. 35k in the US die of firearms each year, yet astonishingly 61,000 Virginians died in 2015, with 900 of them in Loudoun alone?

    Do you proof read what you write? Did that glaring math/fact error not stick out as perhaps an issue to you? 900 people in Loudoun did not die from firearms in 2015, nor did 61,000 Virginians. Yet you signed your name to it?

    Or did you fully know it was a fantastical exaggeration and went with it anyway hoping no one would notice? Did you know, or not know it was wrong? Which is it?
    It escapes me how you would expect any reasonable person to overlook that sort of “statistical error” and then claim you should be taken seriously in any discussion of any issue, much less constitutional freedoms. Personally, I don’t think you wrote this piece. It’s your name and your credibility on the line. Why would you let others use you like this?

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