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December 6, 2006

Answering an Editorial

Last Friday, _The Signal_ newspaper published an editorial by Willy E. Gutman, entitled "Film Makes Weak Case Against Gun Control." The subject of the editorial was JPFO's award-winning documentary, _Innocents Betrayed_.

Mr. Gutman's piece praises _Innocents Betrayed_ for its production values, but condemns the video for its message. To read his article, navigate to

Read the article and then ask yourself: did Mr. Gutman find something factually wrong in _Innocents Betrayed_ ("IB")? Did Mr. Gutman find anything actually wrong in the book, Death by "Gun Control"_, which he also criticizes?

To be frank: Mr. Gutman's article fails to offer an argument that either IB or _Death by Gun Control_ are actually wrong about anything.

Here is Mr. Gutman's main criticism: "What I found, amid a plethora of facts and sobering statistics, was a stream of illogicality and assumptions contrived to link gun control with subjugation by an abusive government, in this case, hypothetically, the U.S. government. In 73 C.E., rather than face capture by the Romans, 1,000 Jewish rebels - men, women and children - committed suicide on their mountaintop stronghold in Masada. There is no empirical evidence that they could have withstood the Roman onslaught, had they been armed."

Mr. Gutman does not show "illogicality" or "assumptions" set forth in _Death by "Gun Control"_. He doesn't quote assertions and then disprove them. He just says there is "illogicality." That is an insult, not an analysis.

Interestingly, in the passage quoted above, Mr. Gutman follows his insult with a reference to Masada. As Mr. David Hardy has pointed out to us via e-mail, Mr. Gutman is wrong on the facts because the defenders at Masada were armed. Even if Mr. Gutman were correct, that single example is not sufficient to disprove the fact that genocides have only occurred when the the persecuting party has had a great deal more armed force than the defending party, and that national gun control laws and policies tend to render large segments of the population nearly powerless against armed aggressors (including genocidal ones).

In short, the reference to Masada offers scant proof that armed defenders cannot deter aggressors. So his reference to Masada betrays a shallow analysis.

If you have not yet read _Death by "Gun Control"_ or seen _Innocents Betrayed_, then we must tell you these two works do not claim that all "gun control" laws lead to genocide or mass murder. Mr. David Hardy reminds us, however, that many thinkers on the subject realize how "gun control" programs set the stage and make genocide possible. Mr. Hardy wrote: "While a disarmed populace may not make genocide inevitable, an armed populace makes genocide impossible. In legal terms, but for disarmament, there would have been no genocide or democide."

In addition, many mass murders were not conducted by monolithic federalized death machines like Nazi Germany. Rather, many mass murders and persecutions were carried out by relatively small mobs or death squads with basic weaponry. Thus, an armed citizenry that might not block a Nazi SS unit still might repel many death squads.

As the true story is retold in both works, a young girl with a handgun once held off a crazed lynch mob long enough for help to arrive. Firearms deter aggressors.

When a critique assembles adjectives instead of evidence, then you know the critique is emotional, not reasoned. Mr. Gutman hurls insults, but doesn't show a single example of what he claims (e.g." illogicality," false assumptions, etc.).

Another quote from Mr. Gutman, referring to IB: "I found it simplistic and utopian at best, deceptive in the sham implied altruism of its arguments and disturbing in its apocalyptic romanticizing of gun ownership."

Mr. Gutman fails to offer one example of "utopian," "simplistic," "deceptive," "sham," "implied altruism," or "romanticizing."

Not one example.

He lauds the great writing of the script of IB and the narration -- so he claims to have heard the words. But after digesting a whole book and a 60 minute film, Mr. Gutman fails to extract sentences or paragraphs that evidence any of these colorful adjectives.

As it lacks any factual grounds for its insults, Mr. Gutman's critique does not rise to the level of counterargument. It is a rant, and nothing else.

- The Liberty Crew

P.S.: To better understand how a person like Mr. Gutman could react so emotionally to the video and book, without his actually finding any factual errors in either one, click on: . There you will find Dr. Sarah Thompson's article entitled, "Raging Against Self Defense: A Psychiatrist Examines The Anti-Gun Mentality." Dr. Thompson's observations will help you see why some people react violently to the notion of self-defense, and help you communicate with them.

Also read our pdf-formatted article, "Does Civilian Ownership of Firearms Actually Do Any Good?" at for more information.

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