Ken Johnson
Grand Junction Free Press Opinion Columnist

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January 10, 2013
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JOHNSON: Media has ruined chance of coherent conversation on guns

Does anyone today really question that America has a gun culture? And that we've had one virtually from the country's founding - a birth made possible by gunfire?

The talking heads, hordes of politicians from the president on down, and most of the national media are shrieking at us that "Guns Are Bad."

My suggestion is to quit listening to these self-serving idiots. They all seem to be paid entertainers without an original thought amongst the gaggle of them.

The slaughter at Newtown, Conn., is a heart-wrenching tragedy. Can't it (just like Aurora, Columbine, Virginia Tech, etc.) make us look at ALL the ways to prevent mindless killings?

We're seeing a constant barrage of shrill voices from TV talking heads, ordinary newscasters and, of course, from the nation's leading newspapers.

They chant the same line; the memory of those poor kids slaughtered in the mindless Newtown school shooting should shame us into getting rid of guns.

By lucky chance I was talking with a highway patrolman the other day. Turns out he's a veteran of the 101st Airborne, a gun owner, and of course, he's packin'. He doesn't expect to use his gun, although as a trained and experienced professional he is ready to do so.

Interestingly, he told me he thought it was just fine that Americans can own guns. He also favors everyone serving in the military so they know how to use them.

Golly, a lawman who said, point blank, that it's more important to teach people how to use guns than it is to ban guns!

We talked about the "weapons free" zones, too. A joke, he said. Instant targets. It's idiocy to expect anyone with mass murder on his mind to follow any such a well-intentioned but brain-dead rule. Only those who abide by the laws follow that rule.

A "weapons free" zone is just an "easy targets" zone. It really means a place where undefended, unarmed innocent people will be gathered. (Unless you happen to be a teacher in Utah or Texas, for a couple of examples of a different plan.)

Of course, these days we're being sold the idea that if we just get rid of "assault rifles," all will work as planned. Peace in our time? Excuse me! Surely someone will find some dots here and connect them.

The problem is that the most popular weapons usually become the easiest to obtain. And those, today, happen to be the assault "looking" ones. They still fire just one shot at a trigger pull, not much different from dad's hunting rifle. They are not military "assault weapons" despite all the reports and hand-wringing about their fearsome looks.

Regardless of history, experience and just plain common sense, lawmakers are driven by public opinion. Thus, they quickly join the loudest voices in the chorus. "We have to pass a law."

No we don't. We have to start recognizing that our media watchdogs have let us down as badly as our politicians. In the good old days, presenting both sides of an issue was the standard.

Today, the information age has the media spouting opinions disguised as fact, then picking and choosing whom to ask for information. The Grand Junction Free Press has an unscientific little poll running online at Let me share the surprising results.

POLL QUESTION: Gov. Hickenlooper said the time is right to discuss gun control measures in Colorado and in light of Newtown school shooting, what's your take?

The choices are:

1. Forget it. No gun control measures are needed.

(winner at 78%)

2. It's past time to address gun control in Colorado and in the US for that matter.

(a weak second at 11.34%.)

3. We need strict gun control. I don't think the founding fathers intended the second amendment to be applied the way it is today.

(even weaker at 8.25%)

4. The NRA and gun lobby are too powerful for any measures to pass.

(not worth asking at 2.06%)

Your thoughts? My reading is that, except for those jammed into the big cities, most of America doesn't think more rules will be worth it.

Ken is founder of the Grand Junction Free Press and former owner/publisher of The Daily Sentinel. He spends his time between the Grand Valley and California.

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The Post Independent Updated Jan 10, 2013 03:17PM Published Jan 10, 2013 02:47PM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.