Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

First, by addressing the tool (weapon) instead of its user, you tend to support bad laws that don't work to reduce crime, but merely restrict the rights of citizens to have access to and use of various devices. You are using the "dangerous weapons" argument, which is fallacious.

There are no dangerous weapons. Period. There are dangerous people; to a dangerous person, anything can be used as a weapon, including the pens and pencils on your desk.

Now consider, that even if there were such thing as a "cop-killer bullet"--which there isn't, it's a Hollywood invention--would a bullet that kills a cop be any worse than the bullet that kills an innocent civilian? Would it be worse than the bullet that kills one of our own soldiers in combat? Would it even be any worse than a bullet that kills a violent gang member or terrorist?

No. A bullet is just a bullet. For that matter, a good crossbow would likely penetrate body armor more effectively than many bullets would, and even a BB gun can be lethal.

So. please adjust your thinking. Crime comes from criminals, not the implements they use.

Second, do not continue to demean yourself and your trade with sloppy journalism. There are no such things as "semi-automatic machine guns" or "cop-killer bullets." If you insist on writing about a topic, please take the trouble to at least learn something about it, instead of displaying--and spreading--ignorance. This is your professional responsibility. Please take it more seriously.

Curtis Manges

Chesterland, OH

Dec 30 2008 - 2:40pm

Web Letter

"Massive majorities of Americans supported exactly those elements to which the gun fanatics objected: the outlawing of cop-killing bullets and semiautomatic machine guns." Unfortunately, massive majorities of Americans actually believe there are such things as semi-auto machine guns and cop killer bullets. They may as well believe in the Tooth Fairy.

Semi-autos fire a single shot per trigger pull. One trigger pull = 1 bang.

Machine guns are full-auto firearms and fire multiple shots per trigger pull. One trigger pull = bang, bang, bang, ...

The 1994 AWB had nothing to do with machine guns and did not affect them in any manner. It only affected semi-auto firearms, primarily based on external features. Semi-autos have been around for over 100 years and are very common hunting, competition, defensive and recreational firearms (though the Second Amendment has absolutely nothing to do with hunting, competition or recreation).

Cop-killer bullets are an invention of NBC, the same people who brought us trucks rigged with explosives so that they would blow up Hollywood-style when struck in the side. A "cop-killer bullet" would be a bullet designed to defeat police body armor rated to stop a bullet of that weight, caliber and velocity. To date, no such bullet has ever been produced.

Most Americans mistakenly think hollow points, especially the Black Talons, are "cop-killer bullets." The truth is that hollow points, including Black Talons, are more easily stopped by body armor.

Most Americans mistakenly think that bullets coated in Teflon (R) are "cop killer bullets." The truth is that Teflon does not improve a bullet's capability against body armor (if it did, the military would use them--they don't). Teflon is only used to reduce fouling, wear and heat buildup in firearm barrels.

Most Americans do not know that body armor comes in six levels, and only the highest two are rated against rifles. Cops wear the middle two levels.

Ignorance makes for bad laws, regardless of whether or not the majority of people believe in the bad law.

Emily Underhill

Davis, CA

Dec 13 2008 - 10:08am