The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

January 18, 2013

Your View: Abuse and misuse

By Bill Hawkins
Special to The Globe

JOPLIN, Mo. — There are a couple of principles that might not be generally tied down in statute. First, the apostle Paul coached us in the idea that something is not illegal, nor improper for a mature person, if the public practice is likely to cause a “weaker brother” to stumble. It is best to not insist on that “right.”

We have state legislators who have violated their swearing-in oaths to support federal law in legalizing the use of marijuana in their states. But, then, there has to be an alleged violation for a case to be reviewed in a higher court, I reckon. There may be a legitimate medicinal use of a component of the stuff. If a person feels he or she is mature enough to use marijuana recreationally, at least consider the damage done to and by those who clearly can’t deal with the temptation or results. Grow up!

There is also the doctrine, practiced in some cases I’m told, of “last clear opportunity.” Even if I’m perfectly within my rights, and I have a clear opportunity to prevent damage to health, life or property of a violator, I may not proceed with my choice. We can’t run down jaywalkers with impunity; a Humvee owner should not intentionally drive into the path of someone doing an improper left turn or driving 10 miles above the limit.

The Arizona shooter reeled off an average of one round per second in his outburst. The now deceased mother of the shooter at Newtown, Conn., possessed, by some accounts, as many as six weapons, and we presume would have encouraged her son to have some skill in their use.

It seems to me that if one only wishes to own firearms “as a right,” then there should be some restrictions against either type or their physical use in maximum effect.

The warm, fuzzy feeling of “having the right” is more than offset by the likelihood of misuse by the general public. And if one simply is worried about his or her right, maybe there could be a meeting arranged between his or her maker and the maker of the 20 children in Newtown. It seems unlikely that it’s the same one.

Bill Hawkins