John Howell Column

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 20, 2010

John Howell Sr.

Wade in with both feet and you’re bound to step in …

Think I’ll wade in with both feet.

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There’s gun control. Never have so many been so well armed who, quite frankly, need to be less so. But it is doubtful that any of them would buy in to the philosophy of one Batesville man I used to know who said that he had rather not own a gun. He said that if he got so mad at somebody that he wanted to shoot him, the time it took to go to a store and buy a gun with which to do the deed might give him time enough to cool down and get over it.

That reasoning would hardly stand in today’s atmosphere of paranoia, fear and racial phobia that has exponentially fueled purchases of guns and ammunition since it first became apparent that Obama’s presidential candidacy was viable.

Here’s a prediction that will be hard to quantify: more people will end up using guns purchased  in the frenzy of self-defense for other purposes than for the reason they said they bought them in the first place.  Husbands will use them on wives and vice versa. In-laws will become outlaws because deadly force was within easy reach. And so on. Conversely, more people will get shot by someone they’ve at one time known and loved or at least tolerated than will be shot by the bougars they’ve armed themselves against in the first place.

But before you go ranting around in a letter to the editor or online comment, let me state that I believe in the right of gun ownership. Everybody should have at least three.

Nevertheless, I will agree to give up my gun if you will agree to give up yours.

You go first.

Then there’s capital punishment. Told you I was stepping in with both feet. The many convictions we’ve seen overturned as DNA testing has become available in recent years suggests that many people have been wrongly convicted and even executed during the long history of capital punishment.

But here’s another observation, also hard to quantify: In our contemporary society, more innocent people have likely died at the hands of murderers who have killed once and been left alive to kill again than have innocent people who have died because they were wrongfully convicted.