Hello,my favorate teacher.It has been a long time since I wrote my
first letter .I know a lot from your class ,movies,and your answer
to some questions.I really appreciate your insights.I aquired much
knoeledge about Ameriacan"s medical systems.
Recently, I have seen the Bowling for Columbia by
Micheal Moore .It tells the gun issue and a sery of problems as a
result of the abuse the gun.It is a tragedy that an innocent boy
killed a girl of his classmate.Canada also has lots of
guns,instead,there are far less lives took by guns.
Guns are dangerous.But why Americans do not ban the use
of guns like China?Can you explain it?Can you tell me sth about
the gun culture in America?
This semeser ,Ruth is our teacher.Sheis also very
excellent.I really appreciate that.I have browsed your website.I
really enjoy it!
What a delight to get your letter. I really appreciate your kind
words about my website, my teaching, and my fiancée.
You asked me about the gun culture in America. This is a very
complicated issue. America was created by a revolution against the
British. Because they had fought a war against tyranny, one
of the things the founding fathers feared was tyranny by a corrupt
government, or domination by a foreign power. So they put the
"right to bear arms" into their constitution. The idea was that an
American should always be able to defend himself and his family
against injustice, and against criminals.
This was put into their constitution at a different period in
history, when guns were all single shot muzzle loaders.
There is an argument that this constitutional right was never
intended to arm individuals, but was intended to arm a citizen's
militia who would be trained as soldiers, the way the American
militia had organized to fight the British. Now this is used
as an argument for hunting deer with a fully automatic military
assault rifle. We have gun technology now that is far beyond
anything envisioned by the founders of America. Many
Americans want to restrict guns. In many states they are
already very restricted. California, for example, has a ten day
waiting period before the gun can be taken from the gun store. (To
quote Homer Simpson: "Ten days! But I'm mad NOW!)
Many Americans love guns. Samuel Colt, who invented the Colt
revolver, the traditional Western six gun, called his weapon "the
equalizer", because with it a weak man was the equal of any bully.
This is very attractive to some people.
The gun has been romanticized and glamorized in
American books and movies, much the same as kung fu and swords
have been romanticized and glamorized in China. Many
Americans see gun ownership as a part of their cultural heritage.
It's not hard to see how this could develop.
When I was a child, there was a hunting rifle and a shotgun in the
closet at home. Of course we never had a loaded gun in the house,
and ammunition had to be kept in a separate place. But it seemed
normal and natural to have a gun around.
When I was eight years old, my father bought me a
single shot 22 caliber rifle for my birthday. He taught me gun
safety, and took me out into the country for target practice and
I loved watching cowboy movies, and I loved guns. When
I was a teenager, I joined a rifle club and earned my gold pin for
marksmanship. When I became an adult, I bought a western
style pistol, and I joined a fast draw club. This was a club where
we would meet to compete against each other at drawing our guns
and breaking a balloon, using black powder blank cartridges, timed
by a clock that started when we took our finger off a button and
stopped when the gun fired. I could draw and fire my single action
Ruger .44 magnum revolver in .28 of a second. It takes you
.15 of a second to blink your eyes. At one club competition I won
a turkey. I was not the fastest in the club, but I seldom
missed the target.
As I played with guns more and
more, I came to realize that they are not romantic or glamorous at
all. They are simply tools designed to throw a piece of lead
through the air, to hit a target or to make a hole in an animal,
or in a human body. They are no more romantic than a drill press
or an electric saw. I gradually lost the desire to play with them,
and now I don't like them at all.
But many people in Canada and America still love to
play with guns. In Los Angeles, almost every house has a hand gun
of some kind in it. Oddly enough, I never found this situation
threatening. I am as nervous around somebody with a kitchen knife,
a baseball bat, or a sword as I am around somebody with a gun. And
there are situations where I would really like to have a gun
myself - when facing an angry grizzly bear for example.
There aren't many bears on this campus, so I can get along just
fine without being armed.
Unfortunately, having guns around means that there will be
accidents and tragedies. Some people will go crazy (Now
known as "going postal" because there were several instances of
employees of the postal service in America going on a murderous
rampage.) Children will get their hands on the gun and treat
it like a toy.
Ownership of a gun is much more restricted now than it
was when I was a child. Back then, I could actually walk around in
my home town carrying a gun and nobody would complain or be
worried. Now... well, it's a different world. Now you must have a
trigger lock, and a barrel lock, and a locked cabinet to store
your gun, and your ammunition must be stored in another locked
cabinet in another room. The days of having a gun in the hall
closet are gone.
There is more personal history I could tell you about this issue.
But this is enough for now.
Thanks again for writing. I really appreciate students like you.
All the best