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Abortion and ownership of assault weapons not equivalent

Letter to the Editor

11/01/2019 | Comments

In its entirety, the Oct. 18 letter submitted by author Jim Hayek is an apparent attempt to diminish or degrade the issue of abortion for Catholics and Christian faithful everywhere — another in an ever-growing litany of educated voices who would like to relegate the destruction of human life in the womb to somewhere less prominent on the social depravation scale. Abortion is, according to this letter, the moral equivalent of assault weapon gun violence in the United States. Let there be no argument — gun violence is indeed a pro-life issue — but there can be no moral equivalency in this comparison!

(Estimates of) annual abortion numbers in the U.S. generally range somewhere between 600,000 and 700,000, reflecting more U.S. fatalities each year than heart disease or cancer. 

Gun-related deaths in the U.S. are somewhere around 35,000 (about the same as diabetes), but even this number is hugely misleading. The basket labeled “gun violence” by statistics providers includes accidents, police shootings and suicides.  Suicides are the largest contributor (more than 60 percent) in the total gun violence death equation.  Because of that underreported fact, commonly-cited statistics are inherently inaccurate. Even considering the tragic and preventable rash of mass shootings in our recent past, there are more people in this nation killed each year with both knives and hammers, than with so-called assault weapons.

There is much we can do to stop this carnage, especially in the field of mental health treatments and in educating the public to recognize the signs of a potential killer. But it is not accurate to imply that abortion and the ownership of an AR15 are equal threats to a civil society. The damage, both tangible and spiritual, to a society that allows hundreds of thousands of unborn children to be aborted is simply incalculable. 

Let’s stop villainizing law-abiding neighbors who harbor different beliefs and carry different traditions.  Jim Hayek has the right to publish an editorial lamenting personal freedoms and promoting government control. I respect his concern and his passion. But at this point in our national evolution, I still have the right to spend the occasional afternoon target practicing with my grandchildren, as free as possible from government oversight and interference.  I’m a citizen.  I’m a veteran.  I’m a patriot.  I’m not a criminal. 

As Catholics, there is one thing I hope Jim and I can agree on without equivocation: every one of these grandchildren was a precious gift from God. I can only pray they will give the same measure of love and respect to the next generation. 

                H. Mike Junge

                Douglas County

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