Ken Burton (kbconsul@cyberport.net)

\"Guns don\'t kill people; Postal Workers do.\" - a bumper sticker seen in Oregon.

A reader of my columns on the Internet (Stephen W. Buza in Maine) wrote me with this interesting observation: \"[If gun control advocates] believe that guns kill people, I must infer that they also believe the following: Cameras create pornography. Blenders create margaritas. Automobiles drive themselves while intoxicated. Baseball bats hit home runs. Computers send e-mail. Pens write stories. Stoves cook meals.

\"And following their logic of banning guns to stop crimes, we must also: Ban sex to stop rapes. Ban cars to stop car accidents. Ban swimming to stop drowning. Ban computers to stop computer virii. Ban credit cards to stop credit delinquencies. Ban children to stop SIDS. Ban politicians to stop stupid laws. (Wait, that might not be all that bad an idea!)\"

Faulty logic or not, the gun control advocates are continuing on their campaign in subtle ways. I was reading my favorite section of the Sunday Oregonian newspaper (the comics) when I noticed the kiddy\'s section. It had the usual connect-the-dots and puzzle games, and this section had at the bottom biographies of notable people. The featured person that week was Sarah Brady, head of Handgun Control Inc. The bio noted her accomplishments - many of which I consider to be infringements on constitutional rights. I somehow doubt that the editors of the comic pages would be touting the merits of hunting or a bio of the Charleton Heston, the head of the NRA, to those same impressionable children.

We must work to insure our children are not swayed by the subtle but constant emphasis of liberal \"ideals\" in the media and in their schools. If we relax, we lose.

The \"Death Clock\", installed a couple of years ago in Times Square, keeps on ticking away the minutes until the next fatality. In every hourly newscast another firearm killing is reported. Every day another gun-related story appears in the daily papers. The President makes repeated calls for increased gun control. The carnage continues. This \"epidemic of violence\" is spreading at a horrible rate. Isn\'t it?

The \"Death Clock\" in Times Square racks up another casualty about every twelve minutes. That equates out to roughly 43,000 gun fatalities every year. That seems a huge number of people killed in a year - surely, this must be one of the most serious problems facing our country.

Is it? The 43,000 is a total of all fatalities, including people shot by law enforcement personnel during the commission of a crime, criminals shot by private citizens defending themselves, and suicides. In fact, the man who paid for the \"Death Clock\" lost a brother in a shooting. He was fleeing police.

Let\'s put our deadly statistics in the light of comparison with some other death rates. 40,000 children die in the U.S. before their first birthday, of various causes, mostly natural, and largely preventable. 450,000 Americans die of smoking yearly (according to former Surgeon General Jostlin'Elders). 45,000 Americans die in motor vehicle accidents and roughly half of those are alcohol related. Another 26,000 die of liver disease. If half of the firearms-related deaths were innocent victims a fair estimate, I believe - that is barely 5% of the deaths from smoking, easily less than half of all deaths from alcohol alone (not counting other drugs), and far less than the amount of all suicides (27,000+). Only eight one-thousands of one percent of Americans are killed by firearms. Why all the negative media publicity on firearms? Why the big government push for gun control? What about all these other preventable deaths?

In the same period of time that the government and media have been blitzing for gun control, hundreds of innocent victims have been beaten and stabbed to death, but those deaths don\'t merit publicity - because they\'re not gun-related. A local newspaper even gave special note to an accidental shooting in their paper, because it was an \"assault weapon\" being cleaned that killed the man. Thousands of times every year firearms are used legally by honest citizens to foil crimes against themselves or their property. Hundreds of lives are saved by the lawful use of firearms. The liberal press ignores those stories.

Many liberals call for legalization of drugs one day, and the ban of handguns the next. We can\'t control illegal drugs in our country (which are consumed and have to be continually smuggled), but we can control guns (which rarely wear out) by making them illegal for honest people? It sure hasn\'t worked in New York or Washington, D.C., with the toughest gun controls laws and worst violence in the nation. Or Puerto Rico, with worse violence and tougher gun laws than either N.Y. or D.C., and no adjoining states to blame for the availability of guns.

I ran across an interesting poster a few months back. Four figures were pictured - Fidel Castro, Adolph Hitler, Saddam Hussein, and Bill Clinton. The caption below? \"The experts all agree: Gun control works!\"

James Madison said in 1788, \"I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.\"

Or as another said, \"How is freedom measured, in individuals as in nations? By the resistance that has to be overcome, by the effort it costs to stay aloft. One would have to seek the highest type of free man where the greatest resistance is constantly being overcome: five steps from tyranny, near the threshold of the danger of servitude.\" -- Friedrich Nietzsche