Barbara Sanders is smarter than you.
Barbara Sanders is smarter than you.

Barbara Sanders is a psychotherapist in Nashville, Tennessee, and she wants the 110+ million Americans with firearms to know that there is something deeply wrong with them… or maybe her.

Let’s take a look at her letter to the editor, and address her points as we go.

Dear gun advocates,

Some of you want pistols to protect yourselves and your families. Some are vigilantes, like George Zimmerman, who want to keep neighborhoods safe. Some are police, some of whom need to use weapons more responsibly. Some shoot defenseless animals for sport. And some own military weapons that can mow down large groups of schoolchildren or moviegoers.

So much delusion in so little time!

George Zimmerman was on his way to the store when he saw a hooded figure in the rain peering into windows. That figure, Trayvon Martin, was in Sanford, FL after booted from his Miami high school for possessing burglary tools and suspected stolen jewelry. It was also later determined that Martin, a frequent and heavy drug abuser, was trafficking in illegal guns. George Zimmerman was on his way back to his truck when Trayvon Martin attacked him from behind and attempted to beat Zimmerman to death. A use of force expert who testified at the trail exclaimed surprise that Zimmerman waited as long as he did to shoot Martin.

I’d like to ask what qualifies Sanders to comment on police use of force issues, but I think we all know that she’s merely (ignorantly) responding to what she reads in the mainstream media.  She’s as clearly and ignorantly biased against hunting as well, and isn’t educated enough to know the difference between military weapons (which have not been made for the civilian market since 1986 at any price) and those commonly owned by American citizens.

I am writing to this last group. Please, help me understand.

It may be a constitutional right to bear arms, but the Constitution said we have the right to bear arms in a militia, those arms being muskets at the time, guns that you could shoot once, taking much time to reload. Not AK-47 weapons.

Please, help me understand.

We can start by noting that Ms. Sanders should have spent a lot more time learning history, civics, and law while in college.

The Constitution, Bill of Rights, U.S. Federal Code, and the letters, speeches, and other works of the Founding Fathers utterly refute her absurdist positions. If she were educated on the subject, she’d know that the people are the militia. The Founders made that perfectly clear, and U.S. code recognizes multiple militia classes. The citizenry is recognized as the “unorganized militia” in U.S. Federal Code. Nothing in the Constitution, nor the Bill of Rights, nor in the words of any of the Founders tied the ownership and use of arms to active militia service. To put it bluntly she is either incredibly ignorant, or purposefully deceptive.

As a technological matter, the Founders were not remotely limited to muskets. They had rifles with 20-round detachable magazines, like the Girandoni that Thomas Jefferson sent west with Lewis and Clark. They had early superposed machine guns, like the Belton Gun George Washington inquired about for the Continental Army early in the Revolutionary War.  They had cannon, howitzers, mortars, rockets, hand grenades, pivot guns, early autocannon, and privately-owned ships of the line capable of leveling entire coastal cities.

Why these weapons? Are you waiting for a once-rare-but-now-more-frequent mass shooting or another shooting so you can save the day, planning to kill the “bad” guys? How many times might you have that opportunity in life? One can always hope, I suppose.

If Ms. Sanders had spent some time in college taking history or civics classes instead of the “soft sciences,” she might have have learned that the Second Amendment isn’t about hunting, or crime control, or even personal defense.

The Founding Fathers wrote the Bill of Rights, including the Second Amendment, after a long and bloody revolution against the British government and Loyalist Americans. They were incredibly astute men—arguably among the best-educated men on the “human condition” of their or any age, including our own—and wanted the citizenry armed with weapons of contemporary military utility to fight both foreign invaders and the inevitability of corrupt domestic government. Arms such as AK-47s and AR-15s are precisely the kind of firearms most explicitly and implicitly protected by the Second Amendment, as they are those most useful of contemporary weapons for combating tyrannical government.

If Sanders was a little bit more aware of her own state’s history, she’d know that citizens had to resort to arms against corrupt government to restore liberty in Tennessee as recently as 1947 in the Battle of Athens.

Have you listened to police chiefs who say that they don’t want their staff entering an active shooting scene where “bad” shooters and “good” shooters are battling around innocent families and children, unable to discern who is bad or good? Do you think you can shoot your AK-47 and hit only the bad people instead of innocents as well?

I would like Ms. Sanders to cite a single instance of a police chief making such a declaration, as she appears to be guilty of what people in her line of work call, “projection.”

Unlike Sanders, I talk with law enforcement officers and counterterrorism experts with a degree of frequency in the course of my job, and the consensus opinion among the experts is that they want citizens to be armed and trained to deal with active shooter threats, because they know—and the data shows—that a “good guy with a gun” who is on the scene is far more likely to stop a threat with minimal casualties than is an officer many miles and many minutes away.

As  matter of practical marksmanship, Ms. Sanders, yes, most shooters who spend time at the range can easily discern friend from foe and place accurate fire on a hostile threat at common engagement distances without hitting innocent bystanders. Once again, real world data shows this is what most commonly occurs. Concealed carriers have a lower rate if hitting innocent civilians than do police.

Please, help me understand.

The police might mistake you for a “bad” shooter. The might shoot and kill you. The investigators will also need to determine if your bullets killed the innocent. Are you asking to be imprisoned?

Concealed carriers routinely shoot buy guys, Ms. Sanders. We document those shootings here at Bearing Arms on a regular basis. They do not typically have problems with police then shooting the good guys. We have documented precisely one instance of that happening in recent years. It’s worth noting that the woman who was accidentally shot by police in that instance survived being injured by the cop. She would not have likely survived her attacker in that incident if she didn’t have a gun.

I’ll note again that the random shooting of innocent bystanders in Sanders’s rhetorical argument remains fictional.

Maybe you just don’t feel very good about yourself or your life, and you need to boost your confidence and self-esteem by openly carrying a giant weapon, hiding your disappointing body parts and/or your psychological distress. Maybe you really are fearful, thinking that Muslims are taking over this country, and if not Muslims, that perhaps black and brown men and boys are wreaking havoc. Maybe you have been severely traumatized and need help.

She’s expressing hatred and biases towards people whom she doesn’t understand, and assumes that someone must have some sort of physical or psychological inadequacy for wanting to own a firearm.  Ms. Sanders seems to be experiencing what I believe people in her line of work call “projection.”

I still don’t understand.

Who makes you God? Even if you were in a challenging shooting situation, are you the judge or jury? Can you sort out facts in the heat of the moment instead of using our justice system to work through an agreed-upon process for determining innocence, guilt and sentencing?

It’s painful to watch someone ostensibly in the mental health profession confuse the natural desire for self-preservation common to all species as an attempt to play God. It’s simply sad to see her twist such an elementary concept as self-defense into vigilantism.  When someone attempts to seriously injure or kill you or some one else, you or anyone else in the area has the moral, ethical, and legal right to defend that innocent life by whatever means are reasonable. That may necessarily include taking the life of the attacker.

What is reprehensible and arguably insane is Ms. Sanders assertion that the life of the violent criminal attacker is worth more than that of the innocent person being attacked.

I’d suggest that perhaps Ms. Sanders lacks a moral compass, or even a child’s understanding of right and wrong.

I, for one, am extremely frightened of you because you hold my and my family’s lives in your hands when you carry your weapons of mass destruction around our schools, parks and churches. Tiny children find your weapons, thinking they are toys, forever ruining or ending their own or others’ lives. Who gave you the right to endanger so many people?

I think we’re finally getting somewhere. She’s finally admitting that she’s acting out of fear, instead of acting logically.

Please help us all understand your thinking, feelings or logic. And then, maybe we can have a safe and honest conversation about your fear, your anger and your obsession with power, control and violence.

Ms. Sanders has an irrational fear of things that she refuses to learn about and understand. Because of her obvious paranoia, she has developed entirely irrational views bordering on mental illness.

Perhaps with some quality counseling she can get better, but first, she needs to admit she has a problem.