Reader Mail: The Government Cannot Always Protect Us

Flu shots and gun control formed the crux of this week's email debate, as readers made the argument that whether it's controlling gun ownership or urging flu shots, the government cannot protect Americans at all times.

Readers widely supported  Steven Milloy's Junk Science column that pointed out the problems of promoting the flu vaccine as a way to isolate anthrax cass, agreeing with Milloy that the shot cannot guarantee that a person would not present flu or cold-like symptoms. The panic of inoculated people who fell ill with colds or other flu-like illnesses and a shortage of the vaccine for people who really need it pose greater risks than the chances of catching anthrax, readers said.   

Meanwhile, the response to a Staight Talk column in which Glenn Harlan Reynolds argued that the terrorist attacks had dealt a fatal blow to the gun control movement proved that readers broadly believe that law-abiding citizens have the right to protect their families and communities with personal firearms, and believe  Second Amendment issues have become more relevant since Sept. 11.

Here's a sample of this week's mail:

— If 20,000 people die every year from the flu then why don't they produce more of the vaccine that would prevent or drastically reduce this startling number?  Why would it not be mandatory for everyone to get a flu shot?  Imagine the savings for not only private insurance companies but also our Medicare/Medicaid system.  Is there a logical explanation or is this another "DUH" moment for the system?

— I agree we should not all run to get a flu shot.  Because I am diabetic, my doctor advises me to get a flu shot each year.  But for the last two years, after I have taken my flu shot, I have experienced flu-like symptoms.  So if I get a shot and feel as if I have the flu, I'll have to go get tested for anthrax just to make sure it is the side-effects of the shot or the real thing.

— Far before the anthrax scare I've always believed the flu shot recommendation to be a scam.  Not because I don't think that it is an actual inoculation, but because I don't think it is necessary to, annually, bombard your immune system with foreign viruses.  I believe our immune system is far more capable of fighting the flu than a "flu shot."  Again, I think it's a big money making scam promoted by the AMA.  

— For too long now, the mainstream media has continuously attacked the Constitution for it's Second Amendment provisions and the freedoms and protections it provides and then hiding behind the first to cover it's lies and deceptions as "freedom of speech."  I for one am sick of hearing their tirades against the majority of law abiding people who make this country what it is and there is no time like the present to take these elitist reporters, editors and news anchors to task.

— Much has been said about the fact that the terrorists had awakened a "sleeping giant." Well, in fact, they had. That giant, the silent majority of Americans who were content to let the NRA fight the liberal left on the issue of gun control, are awake... It is very apparent to everyone involved that PEOPLE kill people, not guns. Guns are a tool, the intent in ownership for most people is to prevent being a victim. It is to some extent a guarantee that ownership of a handgun or any other firearm at the very least deters crime against the owner of the firearm. To lesser degrees, I am also bewildered that the gun control freaks just cannot figure out that the control factor will apply to law-abiding citizens only. Or maybe they can...perhaps what they desire to establish is a vast populace of passive individuals who must rely on the government for everything. The greater the reliance, the greater the power of the government. An unarmed citizenry cannot revolt against a government that does not have their best interests at heart. That is just not American! Or am I wrong?

— .For the past several years I have grown increasingly worried that my right to protect my family and myself would be taken from me. I live in Oklahoma where one can pass a background check and carry a concealed pistol on their person. And, yes, I do... Sept. 11 has convinced the general public that the government cannot protect us at all times.

— When Americans no longer have guns, only criminals and those who would harm us or destroy our way of life will have them. That is a proposition most of us would prefer to avoid.

— We are reminded that America has been defended time and again by gun carrying men since the Revolutionary War. These men, the front line fighters, know guns. They were taught by their fathers to hunt and fish. They were taught military tactics in time of war. But their success has been not only their courage but also their familiarity with guns and hunting instincts. Many, but not all, are what we like to call rednecks. Ridiculed by the media, Hollywood and Rosie O'Donnell, these men become heroes when they lead the charge in defense of America... Why does it take a life threatening event to make us see what is important or not so important?

— I believe honest Americans with no felonious history are and should be entitled to own firearms. I would also add that restrictions on magazine capacity, or types of weapons, or whether they are imported or made domestically, are quite ridiculous. I don't see how these rules have any real effect on violent crime statistics.

— I would like to see more individuals like myself, those who have been trained in firearm usage and handling, who follow the law,  obtain a permit and carry the weapon.  You never know when you might wish somebody had a gun to stop a crime while the police are unaware that something is going down. I carry for not only my personnel protection, but for that of other innocent people whom I may be able to help if the need occurs.