By John Klar
Most have heard the iconic threat (usually by a weakling, or braggart, in a comedy film) that “these hands are registered as deadly weapons.” As Vermont’s Legislature moves to impose still more restrictions on firearms, citizens should pause to consider just how out-of-touch, though not at all comedic, are endeavors to take away their freedoms. (An additional pause is merited to ponder who pays them to do so, and how much).
The fact is, more people are killed by “personal weapons” (hands, fists, feet, etc.) than by long guns (shotguns and rifles), some of which our legislators seek to restrict as “assault weapons.” In 2017, the FBI reports that 667 homicides were committed with these long gun categories, versus 696 via “personal weapons” (1,591 by knives or cutting instruments). This is true year after year. Handguns are the biggest killing instrument, but if those were analyzed by urban versus rural data, another stark contrast would emerge.
But our Legislature has not addressed the mental health services deficiency in Vermont, which has endured as a crisis since at least 2011. The response to increasing suicide rates is to impose waiting limits on gun purchases (though one must wonder how many women will be compelled to defend themselves with their “personal weapons” against domestic abusers when they are forced to wait to obtain their Constitutional right to self defense). Vermont’s suicide rate is spiking — the fourth highest rate of increase in the nation since 1999. Restricting guns does not appear to have blunted that trend.
Economic decay causes stress, especially in a culture that values material wealth and fame above eschewed traditional values of family, service and community. In Vermont, fiscal mismanagement and poverty have worsened under the vulturous parasitism of a steadily expanding state bureaucracy. As the economy crumbles, domestic violence increases, as do opioid abuse, violence against people and property, and suicide.
“Active shooter alerts” may be a popular way to indoctrinate Vermont’s children to serve out-of-state agendas, but these children are often traumatized as much as if they endured an actual shooting event. Teaching children that they can surgically convert to any gender they desire may cause anxiety to those who hadn’t (till then) given such things much thought, but instructing them that the entire planet will end in 11 years and their only course is to mobilize anarchically against their parents and government, do not encourage hope. No wonder our youth suffer from alarming rates of anxiety and depression. No surprise they wish to leave the state to live in the many places which are so much more affordable.
Those Vermont legislators who pursue a zealous gun agenda instead of improved economic conditions are creating despair in youth, destroying our economy and ensuring a future of destitution. Whether they are doing this deliberately or in ignorance is unimportant — I’m not very confident that they even care, so long as they get paid lots of money and increase their personal power. I often wonder about their own children.
Perhaps Vermont schools should all teach martial arts — with its respect for elders, personal discipline, physical exercise and humility. These would be better skills and values to instill in our youth. But, our current Legislature might then impose a waiting period there too, lest children be allowed to learn to defend themselves, or their hands become “deadly weapons.”
John Klar is an attorney and farmer residing in Brookfield, and former pastor of the First Congregational Church of Westfield. He is running for governor in 2020.