In this article we present some replies to John Fitzpatrick’s article, Brazilians Vote for Guns and Death Not Peace and Love, on the the final vote in the gun referendum.
The first response is by Kevin Smith:
I would like to write a few words regarding John Fitzpatrick’s emotional reaction to the recent referendum on the gun laws.
As a long time resident of Brazil, I’ve been on the wrong end of a gun more than once and have even been shot at. But then I’ve been shot at elsewhere as well.
John’s article begs the question “If guns had been banned, would the violence have gone away?” I don’t think that anyone would answer this with a “Yes”.
I believe that the reason the referendum produced the result that it did, is that the population feels a deep insecurity. Everyone knows that the police are having a hard time of it and Brazil’s laws which allow impunity to criminals under the age of 18 add to an overpowering problem. If the police can’t cope and if professional criminals are armed with weapons that not even the public can buy (and by extension would not be affected by the gun ban), then its fairly obvious that the average citizen did not want to give up the option of being able to purchase a weapon for self/family protection.
Let’s consider some of John’s claims:
“Brazilians have condemned thousands of their fellow citizens to death in coming years. Angry husbands will shoot their wives during domestic rows, irate middle-aged men will shoot their teenage neighbors because they are fed up telling them to reduce the volume of their CD players, motorists will shoot other motorists for denting their cars, while physically or mentally handicapped people will kill themselves in moments of despair.” Well, first of all, legally owned weapons would have continued to be allowed, so no real change in statistics of someone going off the deep end and doing something stupid could be expected. Furthermore as history has long shown us, if someone wants to kill him/herself or another person the weapon or means used is irrelevant. They will do it with poison or a knife or with their car or with a rock.
“The killers and thieves among us will see the vote as a declaration of war and become even more trigger happy” This is absurd. In any case, the point made by the gun lobby that if the criminals continue to be armed and the general population is disarmed, the advantage is clearly with the former, is valid.
“The flow of guns into private hands will continue, enriching arms manufacturers, gun dealers and feeding Brazil’s parasitical private security industry” Arms manufacturing and the controlled selling of guns are lawful enterprises. And I don’t consider the security industry here parasitic. It exists to fill a need. Ban the guns? Ban the security industry? God help us.
“The pro-arms lobby was so effective in selling the message that guns are good that one can expect to see a surge in sales. Perhaps guns will become popular Christmas presents this year along with cellular phones and iPods. Members of the family can then compete to see who will be the first to fire the weapon and kill a criminal.” Let’s keep an eye on this claim. So far I haven’t seen any ads for guns, not even with an iPod thrown in if you buy two.
“… at the end of the day, people did not vote for peace and love but guns and death” No, John, at the end of the day, people voted for their right to choose.
“… this vote has blighted the spontaneity and innocence which is one of the greatest attractions of this country. October 23 was the day the music died – a sad day for all of us and future generations” The good news for all of you who have read this article is that there was no blight on Brazil’s spontaneity and innocence. And of course, the music will never die in this wonderful country..
Biographical Note: Kevin is a New Zealander living in Brazil for more than 20 years. He runs the South American operations of a multinational manufacturer. E-mail for contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
The second response is by Daniel Williams:
Bravo Brasil! – Congratulations for standing firm on the right to bear arms
I was simply amazed by Mr. Fitzpatrick’s vicious attack on the democratic right of law abiding Brasilians to also have the right to arm themselves in order to protect them self against the bandits and crooks! What about the farmer who actually needs a gun for hundred and ten reasons (having grown up on a farm myself) I cannot imagine how we would have gotten along without the faithful shotgun to the reliable .22 “saloon” rifle to pick off anything from rats and snakes to vampire bats that were a plague at one stage drinking my mother’s 4000 odd white leghorn chickens dry?
The undisputable fact is that if guns are outlawed – only the outlaws will have guns – FULL STOP! Only and only if the guns are removed from all the criminals FIRST can any government even begin to very carefully think about disarming the population, and we all know that is an impossible mission. The law abiding people did not cause the situation – but they have to live with it. Thank God that sensibility has prevailed and the true patriotic Brasilians has rejected this senseless idiotic attack on their democratic freedom to bear arms.
Mr. Fitzpatrick unashamedly, from his throne of “superiority” talks about the average Brasilian as if they are a bunch of schizophrenic morons who would kill their neighbours if the music is too loud… tsk, tsk. If I were Brasilian I would have been deeply offended by a gringo on his high horse making such sweeping statements about the psyche of the entire Brasilian nation – who has avoided armed conflict for decades and decades.
Now – I completely agree that guns should be regulated – and even strictly regulated – but making gun ownership illegal just simply and logically will not solve the problem. The argument that banning guns will solve crime and criminality is stupid – sorry there is no other way to put it, and it is saturated with a left-wing agenda, even a blind man can feel that with a stick. Solving the economic inequalities, creating jobs and prosperity, boosting education, etc is the answer to reducing criminality – not disarming law abiding citizens and taking away their democratic rights especially the right to defend themselves!
Finally guns do not kill people – people kill people – if somebody has the profound desire to kill (others or himself) there are many tools to use… knives, poison, a club, whatever comes to mind. Don’t blame the instrument – blame the criminal holding the instrument. In solving the problem don’t turn on the law abiding citizen, don’t reduce his democratic rights, and don’t blame him for the actions and the problems caused by the criminal. Rather strengthen his hand, provide training, regulate gun ownership, but don’t turn on the law abiding citizen – it is simply so logic – it is scary that anyone cannot see that!
Congratulations Brasil and all the people in Brasil and the Brasilian democratic system – where laws are not simply pushed through parliament, but where an example was set to the rest of the world on how true democracy really work. The people were consulted on a sensitive issue, everybody had ample chance to state their case for and against – this is how true democracy should work! Now the people has spoken – and spoken out loud. Accept it and don’t be such cry-baby because it does fit in with your view of the situation.
The third response is by George Millard:
Couldn’t be more inappropriate the article wrote by J Fitzpatrick
This gentlemen demostrates how distant he is, from the desires of the Brazilian population, mentioning many totally irelevant arguments, used by ONG’s looking for having unknown advantages on passing laws to restraint constitutional rights.
George Millard is a teacher at the “Policia Civil” academy in São Paulo.“