Tharp: AZ PASS offers only smoke and mirrors - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Opinion

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Tharp: AZ PASS offers only smoke and mirrors

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Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2013 10:45 am

Mr. Bryan Brinkley of Arizona People Acting for a Safer Society (AZ PASS) wrote a guest commentary in the AFN on Aug. 30, titled “Should guns be loved more than other people?” in which he seems to be offended that AFN published two rebuttals by a “loud minority in the community” to the stance that he and his organization represent.

Mr. Brinkley, if I’m in the minority, the Constitution protects me and allows me to speak out and to own a gun. I’ve always been quiet, as are the majority of individuals, but it’s reached the point where I am tired of having my rights trampled upon and slowly taken away by minorities. “Life, Liberty and Happiness” are no longer a forgone conclusion. I’m fed up and angry about the division in this country and the lack of leadership and where we are being led.

Let’s be clear first of all what your hidden agenda is which is to ultimately eradicate gun ownership by citizens. That’s the “hard truth,” using your words. Where are the facts to support your anecdotes or arguments? Why do you not provide factual statistics to support them, with references? And please don’t provide statistics skewed in your favor without questioning them, breaking them down and performing research.

Your objective is to work up the fears of individuals in our community so that they may be swayed toward your goals. According to one of your past articles you are in constant fear when you and your family attend the local Ahwatukee theater. Yet, when you lived in Japan, Britain and France you felt no such fear because they do not allow citizens to own guns. Are you saying those countries do not have violence where people are killed, raped, beaten, robbed or die accidently of other causes? Were you not in fear of a possible terrorist bombing? Perhaps you should have remained where you were so secure or returned to Iowa where you would not need to deal with Arizona’s criminal citizens who love their guns more than people.

I love and care for my family, friends, neighbors and most other people. Other than in war, I’ve never killed anyone with a gun or even aimed a gun at anyone. As a matter of fact because I own a gun, as do almost 50 percent of households, and because I love people, I can protect them if the need ever arises. Look up the statistics of the need arising, they are far greater than any statistics you could provide. What will you do for your family’s safety if they are in danger? Call the police after the fact when it is too late? True, there would be no need for guns in a civilized society. Utopia. I’m not a member of the National Rifle Association, but I am a sane responsible gun owner as are the majority of gun-owning Americans. I do not place anyone in jeopardy as a result of it any more than I do driving a car.

Your comments regarding the “Stand Your Ground” (SYG) laws and the Zimmerman case are laughable. Although Zimmerman and his spouse do not appear to be upstanding citizens he was acquitted by a jury of his peers. End of story. And contrary to what you infer, persons are subject to the judicial system, SYG law or not, as evidenced by the Zimmerman case.

You next insinuate that cities which have enacted stricter gun laws have reduced violence and crimes in those cities. Where are your statistics? And, have you considered demographics in your assumptions such as poverty, education, gangs, proximity to the border, make-up of the population, etc? Ahwatukee falls into any of those characteristics?

Ask my child’s doctor what their professional organization would say about what they would recommend about having a gun in the home? Are you kidding me? They’d also recommend I get rid of the electrical outlets.

You want some verifiable statistics that will blow your comments apart? Read these articles on the Internet:,

I visited the AZ PASS website and made note of some of your “amazing facts.” 1. Number of children under age of 13 killed by firearms between 2006 and 2011 — 680. That’s a little over 100 per year. No breakdown as to the circumstances. Not to trivialize the death of a child, but the population of the U.S. is 314 million. How many died in Arizona as a result of pools versus gun deaths? 2. Projected year by which annual firearm fatalities will surpass motor vehicle fatalities in the U.S.: 2015. Again, no breakdown as to circumstances (police caused, accidental, homicides, suicides). Suicides were two-thirds of the total number. How many people commit suicide by vehicle? If contemplating suicide and a gun were not available, wouldn’t the person find another method? 3. Date of a state supreme court decision that requires the University of Colorado to allow guns on campus: March 5, 2012. Hmmm, that makes sense. A crazed shooter was waiting for a date.

I think you need to place your talents and efforts more to other needy causes. Lowering the U.S. debt level, reducing taxes, reducing governmental controls and regulations, reducing government handouts, reducing the size of government and waste, increasing entrepreneurship, immigration reform without amnesty, health care reform without “Obamacare,” just to name a few. How about dialing “3” for German? I’d like that. I promise not to put a gun to your head.

• Gerald Tharp is a 19-year resident of Ahwatukee.

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