by M. Hollenbeck
think that a forum being held at a college in Los Angeles (arguably,
but hardly so, Gun Control Capitol of the West) with the topic
"Gun Ownership vs. Gun Control - Which Is Safer?" would present
a safe haven for the emotional rhetoric of gun-controllers like
Charles Blek and impressionable youngsters like Jennifer Mendoza.
when a debate is sponsored by a Libertarian group such as Students
For Individual Liberty, the emotionalism that works so well with
the gun-control True Believers and collegiate skulls full of mush
is just so much raw meat to be tossed before hungry tigers.
College in Wilmington, California was the setting for this debate
this past Wednesday, and there was a "standing room only"
crowd. When there is the promise of podium-chewing action between
the biggest anti-gun female group in America and an up-and-coming
activist group that focuses on women's support of the Second Amendment,
it's not likely those on the stage will outnumber their audience.
side of the Second Amendment were wife and mom Anna Zetchus Raetz,
spokeswoman for Liberty Belles, and Randy Herrst of the Center
For The Study Of Crime. Both came armed with confidence, statistics,
and knowledge of the Constitution.
On the side
of gun control were Charles Blek of the Orange County Citizens
For Prevention Of Gun Violence (and husband to Million Mom March
general Mary Leigh Blek) and Jennifer Mendoza, an L.A. Harbor
College student in favor of gun control, armed only with emotion,
sound bites, and in Miss Mendoza's case, unsourced statistics.
Miss Mendoza is a very sweet, pretty young lady, but she smiled
nervously throughout the proceedings and was unable to provide
any backing for her claims. Mr. Blek seemed visibly apprehensive
that the story of his son's murder by armed gang members, along
with a few simplistic claims that more gun control is needed,
would not be nearly enough to convince anyone that gun control
would reduce violent crime.
Each of the
speakers were permitted about ten minutes each for opening statements.
Mr. Blek was on deck first, talking about his son's murder and
a new two-prong approach to responsible gun ownership. The first
prong: The acceptance of California State Police Chiefs Association's
paper on gun ownership as "our Bible", and secondly, addressing
gun violence with a "public health approach".
addressing what he called the Five Most Common Stock Answers he
received from pro-Second Amendment dissenters, his arguments against
such answers were more personal opinion than anything substantive.
When told to "lock up the criminals", Mr. Blek argues that it's
an insult to him to suggest he does not wish criminals to be locked
up, and argues the "disingenuousness" of NRA's non-support of California's
10-20-Life bill as evidence, somehow, that the NRA is the organization
that does not wish criminals locked up. When confronted with the
argument, "It's not the gun", Mr. Blek points out the dangers of
"acting-out teenagers" possibly using the gun without addressing
how *exactly* an "acting-out teenager" somehow makes an inanimate
object like a gun culpable for what that teenaged individual chooses
to do with it. His argument against those who hold to the notion
of the Second Amendment is basically that it all depends on what
the definition of "well-regulated" is. (I doubt the Founding Fathers
were frantically looking for a loophole to include in the Bill of
Rights to make it easier for those like Mr. Blek to encourage the
government to create twenty-thousand or so laws to "regulate" gun
ownership as Mr. Blek sees fit, as much as it may surprise him.)
He sneers at the warnings of "slippery slope" as just so much table-pounding,
and the argument about "convenience" he dismissed with: "May I suggest
that's all a matter of context. The true inconvenience is having
to bury your own dead child." (Perhaps Mr. Blek would like to discuss
"context" with fine ladies such as Mary Carpenter and Carma Lewis,
if he or his fellow organizations ever have the nerve.)
Blek of "Million Mom March".
Raetz, Liberty Belles Spokeswoman.
Raetz was a most lively and invigorating follow-up to Charles
Blek, eschewing emotionalism and Mr. Blek's dangerous misinterpretation
of "common sense gun control" in favor of outright common
sense. " Gun control, speaking of disingenuous, seems like a really
odd term to me, because a gun, if you want to control it, it's
really not such a difficult thing to do. If you put it into a
drawer, it probably won't remove itself or go out on any mad rampages
on its own. So it does require an individual to come and then
take that gun and do something with it. So gun control ultimately
is people control, because we're not talking about what we're
going to do about an inanimate object."
of the crucial and unique role of the Second Amendment as a part
of American culture. "All governments inherently are going to
be in some way evil, but the governmentt that has been designed
where it is to be controlled by the people is an anomaly in the
world. The government that bases and predicates the rights for
its people from an ethereal, untouchable, unalienable, uninfringeable
source is very unique in international and political history."
The first *real* enactment of gun control came into our formed
nation after the Civil War, where many of those who were not comfortable
with the freeing of slaves hoped to restrict the Constitutional
rights of the new citizens - ergo, the establishment of gun control
in this country is racist in its conception.
as to the empowerment of criminals via gun control were most compelling.
"A lot of people that are against guns are people who wouldn't
trust themselves with guns. I hear that from a lot of people....And
of course I'm not going to say to the person, 'Well, because you
can't control yourself, I don't know if the person down the street
can control himself, so because you might not be able to control
yourself and the person down the street, I don't know if *he*
can, I'm going to control both of you so that I can be safe.'
But meanwhile, because I live in a neighborhood where no-one can
control themselves, [the criminals are] going to take control,
because we have now offered it up to he who wants it the most
- he who wants the power the most, he who wants whatever it is.
We have made ourselves willing subjects...Nothing makes me more
nervous than a gun-free zone. Because if *I* know it's a gun-free
zone, someone *else* knows it's a gun-free zone. Now I know *I'm*
not going to do anything in a gun-free zone except stay away from
it, because I don't want some lunatic coming in knowing it's a
'Fire-Back-Free Zone'. It's free of anyone who's going to stop
he who is going to become the most powerful person."
sharing two anecdotes with the audience - one of an Israeli woman
who drew a gun and shot dead a terrorist who was attempting to
set off a bomb in a crowed supermarket, and a father who protected
his son from two armed robbers in his son's place of employment.
"*That's* gun control!" she quipped to the approving audience.
Zetchus Raetz at podium.
From left to right in rear: Jennifer Mendoza, Randy Herrst,
moderator, Charles Blek.
It was difficult
to watch pro-gun control student Jennifer Mendoza following Anna's
extemporaneous poise. Miss Mendoza prepared for a week on her
position, yet it all sounded curiously like a Brady Campaign or
Student Study Guide Of Sound Bites. No sources were listed for
her statistics. No evidence suggested that those solutions she
proposed would ever work. I wondered if those who indoctrinate
on campuses for the anti-gun groups decided to abandon mention
of the Kellermann study whenever possible, because this very nice
young lady was left with nothing but a rather practiced call for
background checks, age-limit raising, and gun education without
suggesting how this can be successfully implemented to reduce
crime or accidental shootings. The pro-gun control advocates must
be feeling very comfortable in their positions still think that
stuffing a young lady's head with emotionalism and non-substantiated
rhetoric will hold up in a legitimate debate. They should be ashamed
speaker was Randy Herrst of the Center
For The Study Of Crime. Calm and matter-of-fact, he presented
statistics as well as personal experiences of defending himself
utilizing a firearm - without having to injure anyone. The tragic
irony of Charles Blek's support of gun control was evident when
Mr. Herrst started comparing the gun ownership freedom in Seattle,
Washington with the gun control laws in New York City, where Matthew
Blek was murdered. Mr. Herrst stated there would be a 75% chance
that Mr. Blek's son would be alive today if he had been in Seattle,
seeing as their laws permit the defense of oneself and fellow
citizens with a firearm and New York City's laws empower the criminal
over a law-abiding citizen like Mr. Blek's son. If I were in the
situation where someone like Mr. Blek's son was being assaulted,
and I had been carring a gun legal or illegal, I could assure
you that his son would be alive today."
Center for the Study of Crime.
then addressed the "gun control" and "safety law"
issues by quoting John Gotti's infamous Mafia hit man, Sammy "da
Bull" Gravano. "Gun control? It's the best thing you can
do for crooks and gangsters. I want you to have nothing. If I'm
a bad guy, I'm always going to have a gun...Safety locks? You
pull the trigger with a lock on, and I'll pull the trigger. We'll
see who wins."
and answer session following the presentation became an empassioned
and heated battleground for arguments on both sides. Mr. Blek
felt it necessary to take a question from the audience directed
to Miss Mendoza, who gamely stated, when pressed, "Everything
Mr. Blek just stated would be my response."
a question from a "fence-sitter" in the audience who expressed
her appreciation of responsible gun owners, but feared those who
were not responsible: " If I already obey the law, what difference
does it make if *I* jump through more hoops to obey the law? We
can either maintain power with citizens, or we can give it up
and let the criminals take over, like what is happening in England.
We don't have to go back in time. We don't have to talk about
Hitler disarming Jews. We don't have to talk about any of that
stuff. We can talk about today, right now, because it's the same
thing. 'Oh, we just want to get rid of the handguns. Well, first
we just want to register. Well, now that just because we've registered,
we can take all your guns away.' And that's what we've done. And
in England, that's what they've done. Now 1 out of every 4 people
is a victim of violent crime. 1 out of every 4. Twenty-six percent.
And, oh, maybe they just beat you and knock you over the head
and steal your stuff. They're still in control. They are the ones
in control. And the unarmed bobbies are now a thing of the past.
Now the police have to arm themselves, and they have race riots
in England. Why? Because people can no longer protect themselves."
decided to throw aside statistics and take personal issue with
Mr. Herrst's statements of Mr. Blek being a paid spokesman: "I
appreciate the fact that Randy thinks I'm paid by the responsible
gun folks, but I'm not. I'm here as a volunteer. And I would like
to be anywhere else but here. About my son, Randy doesn't have
a single clue about the circumstances surrounding his death. And
yet every time we end up being together somewhere, he feels compelled
to talk about it, and the example he gave tonight is blaming the
victim. We have a right to be where we are, we have a right to
be safe where we are, whether in Seattle instead of New York he'd
be safer...I'm sorry, Randy, that's just plain crap."
Mr. Blek's level of intellectual discourse here," Mr. Herrst retorted.
He denied blaming the victim at all, rather placing the blame
on dangerous gun control laws that make it difficult for people
to defend themselves. "I have heard the story of his son's death
many times, so I am not totally ignorant of the circumstances.
It has been covered in various stories that he and his wife have
done, either as editorials or done interviews with media. I can
assure you I do know something about it. I also assure you it
would have been less likely to happen in a place where people
are allowed to carry guns. And I am certain that if it had been
happening while I was carrying a gun, it wouldn't have happened."
anything away from Mr. Blek's tragedy, he seemed to react in a
most unusual and unfeeling fashion when countered by members of
the audience - a lady who was unable to prevent rape and attack
upon her person because of California's waiting period, and a
lady whose husband defended himself five times with a firearm
without ever having to create a fatality statistic - who wished
to share their own stories.
stories, Mr. Blek remarked: "We have no quarrel with personal
To me, that
was downright rudeness, considering the fact that he expects everyone
to give up their rights without argument because of what happened
to his son. What Mr. Blek obviously did not wish for people to
realize - and, I'm certain, especially the young lady whom his
side indoctrinated so poorly - is that there are many, many more
people in this nation who have utilized their Second Amendment
rights to protect themselves, their families, and their property
to a much greater degree than it has caused harm to unwitting
innocents...and they have their own personal testimonies to back
Add to that
Anna Raetz chatting up Jennifer Mendoza in her usual friendly
fashion and the MMM sign-up sheet of three names for the anti-gun
mailing list with two crossed off the role *after* the debate...I
can well understand why Mr. Blek "would like to be anywhere else
are not as easily malleable and putty-brained are not to Mr. Blek's
taste, nor do they promise a mindless and emotional mob-jority
for the tired rhetoric and the disreputed "statistics" he and
his partners and minions have employed for so many years.
May Mr. Blek
always find this is so in a medium not dominated and controlled
by the lapdog media. Amen.
Zetchus Raetz at podium. Charles Blek on the ropes.