December 2004

Wednesday, December 1st, 2004

Nationally syndicated personal
advice columnist Dr. Joyce Brothers
noted recently she received a letter
from a parent whose 10-year old
son came home from visiting a
neighbor but that there was a
“problem.” The youngster was “all
excited with tales of seeing
handguns and rifles in the child’s
home…the mother told me that her
family believes in protecting
themselves with firearms, should a
criminal or ‘the government’ try to
mess with them. We don’t
understand that kind of thinking.”
Brothers wrote that, “I don’t
understand it either. Even in a
suburb where crime is an issue,
there are usually competent police
forces around to handle the
problem.” Point Blank readers who
may wish to help the columnist
understand her problem could write
to Dr. Joyce Brothers via King
Features, 888 Seventh Avenue, New
York, NY 10019.
In Greenwood, Indiana, some
neighbors are upset with rock and
gun dealer Don Davis who displays
an eight-foot ornamental rock in
front of his home in suburban
Indianapolis. The rock depicts an
eagle and Old Glory with the
inscription: “It’s better to own a gun
and not need it than to need a gun
and not own it.” Highland Park
Neighborhood Association
President John Nystrom says the
rock violates the group’s covenants
and that he’s received many
complaints about it. Davis, owner
of two Don’s Guns shops in
Indianapolis, says that, “the only
way I am going to remove that rock
is if one of our fine judges protecting
the Constitution tells me to.”
Violent crime fell last year, with a
slight increase in murders marring
the overall trend of fewer crimes
across the country, the FBI said
some weeks ago in its annual report.
There were just under 1.4 million
crimes of murder, manslaughter,
rape, robbery and aggravated
assault in 2003, three percent fewer
than 2002 and a decline of more
than 25 percent from 1994. The
2003 figure translates to a rate of
475 violent crimes for every 100,000
Americans, a 3.9 percent decrease
from the previous year, the FBI
noted. Aggravated assaults, which
make up two-thirds of all violent
crimes, have dropped for 10 straight
years. Murder was the only violent
crime that increased in 2003, with
the 16,503 slayings reported by
police to the FBI representing a 1.7
percent hike from the previous year.
Nearly eight in 10 murder victims
last year were male and 90 percent
were adults.
Writing recently in the Charlotte,
North Carolina Observer, attorney
Thomas J. Ashcraft, a former U.S.
Attorney, noted that, “broad
ownership of firearms among lawabiding
citizens serves a
fundamental political purpose. It
communicates to those in control
of the machinery of government
that they do not have a monopoly
on the means to use force and that
tyranny by the rulers may provoke
a lethal reaction from the
people…Second, the right of a lawabiding
citizen to own a gun is a
sure means of self-defense. People
with firearms, even if law
enforcement becomes unable to
maintain the peace in a specific
locale, are capable of defending
themselves, their families, others
and property against killers,
assailants, rapists and thieves.”
Christie’s of New York
announced the auction of two
pistols belonging to South
American Independence hero
Simon Bolivar, the founder of
several Republics. The firm set the
opening bid last month as $800,000.
A Christie’s spokesperson said the
pistols are part of a sale of Latin
American art, noting that, “Bolivar
bought the pistols in Paris, France
around 1805 and used them in
several Independence wars.”
According to the firm, Manuela
Saena, Bolivar’s “great love,” gave
the pistols to Englishman Ricardo
Illingworth the year Bolivar died,
1830. The pistols feature a little
plaque with two hearts intertwined.
In 2002, Christie’s sold a pair of
pistols that had belonged to U.S.
President George Washington for
almost two million dollars.