Let's not surrender 'our rights` in the name of fear


To the Editor:

Anti-gun hysteria is sweeping the progressive left, the media and letters to the editor.

On Gene Valicenti’s radio talk show Governor Raimondo claimed military-style weapons are used in all mass shootings. Fact: FBI statistics show that since 1998 handguns have been used in 56 percent of mass shootings. Shotguns have been used in others meaning far less than half of mass shootings involve “assault rifles.”

Raimondo scolded House Speaker Mattiello and Senate President Ruggerio for not passing her gun control agenda. Yet The Providence Journal reported on August 6 that “Rhode Island has the fourth-lowest gun death rate…in part due to [its] strong gun laws”

Four Gatehouse Media reporters in that newspaper claim 22 mass shootings so far in 2019. A bar chart from AP accompanying the article says the number is 18. A Fox News reporter on the day after the El Paso shooting said it is 6. In a Westwood One interview Kris Brown of the anti-gun Brady United organization claimed there have been 260 mass shootings so far this year. Can anyone in the media get their facts straight?

The Dayton police chief said the shooter fired 41 times killing 9 and injuring 27. Forty-one shots and 36 hits in 30 seconds before police say they killed him. This is incredible! The chief said the responding officers fired 50 shots to kill the lone shooter. Has any reporter asked how many of the victims were hit by “friendly fire”? Will that information be released?

The president says he favors so-called “Red Flag” laws that 17 states including Rhode Island have passed. Harvard law professor Alan Dersowitz said these laws are “a dangerous precedent.” Why? Because a person who someone accuses of maybe doing something wrong at some point in the future can be stripped of their Constitutional rights indefinitely.

In this state the police go before a judge and merely allege someone may be a threat to themselves or the community. Neither the accused nor the accuser is present. What judge is going to take the chance that the allegation may be valid?

The police seize the firearms from the supposed threat and haul them away to be stored where?

As painful as it may be to some citizens’ psyche, this is not the way due process and our system of justice is supposed to work. Some of us want to live in a riskless society and are willing to surrender their rights.

In a recent Rhode Island Catholic Fr. John A. Kiley contrasts the American and French Revolutions that were only ten years apart. He writes “The American revolutionaries understood that the rights for which they were fighting came from God. Human rights are Creator endowed. The French were convinced that their rights came not from God but from the nation – la patrie. French rights were a matter of legislation. And what the nation can confer, the nation can just as easily defer.”

Those God-given and inalienable rights include the right to self-defense imbedded in the Second Amendment and the right to due process guaranteed by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.

Richard J. August

North Kingstown


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