Don’t form opinions on re-constructed facts

From the evidence obtained thus far, we know that the suspected Boston Marathon terrorists were radical Islamists who constructed several IED (Improvised Explosive Devices) from readily available materials such as pressure cookers, fireworks, black powder, and items like nails and ball-bearings.

The Tsarnaev brothers also possessed a stockpile of high-capacity firearms that they obtained legally or illegally via the Internet or from sources outside of the state of Massachusetts. On April 19, they used these weapons to kill MIT policeman Sean Collier and engage in the firefight with Watertown police that resulted in the death of Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

Whether they are radical Islamists (the 9-11 hijackers), “eco-terrorists” (the “Unabomber”), anti-abortion fanatics (the “Olympic Park” bomber, Eric Robert Rudolph, Scott Roeder), home-grown anti-government “militia” types (Timothy McVey and Terry Nichols), or “lone-wolf” lunatics like the Columbine, Aurora, or Sandy Hook killers, all perpetrators of “terrorist” attacks are fueled by the various theories they have obtained from so-called “religious” leaders, hate-oriented talk-radio hosts, or “conspiracy”-oriented Internet sites. Reports suggest that Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his brother not only obtained their views from various al Qaida-like websites but also subscribed to notions – like those put out by Texas-based radio-hatemonger Alex Jones and others – that 9-11 was an “inside job.” Whatever their core beliefs, lunatics are lunatics! A fully-armed lunatic is even worse!

On June 2, 2011, American-born al Qaida terrorist Adam Gadahn issued a statement to would-be Jihadists, saying that “America is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms. You can go down to a gun show at the local convention center and come away with a full-automatic assault-rifle without a background check, and, most likely, without having to show an identification card. So what are you waiting for?”

Gadahn was incorrect in saying that one can easily obtain a fully-automatic weapon (that requires a special license under federal law), but was otherwise accurate in saying that semi-automatic assault-weapons and other kinds of firearms (around 40 percent of all gun-sales in the United States) can be easily purchased with “no questions asked” at gun shows throughout the nation. A CNN team recently visited various gun-shows in GA, Tenn., and S.C. and, with no background checks or IDs required, were able to buy several weapons – including a Bushmaster AR-15 of the type used by the killer at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. At the present time, only California, Colorado, New York, Oregon, Illinois, and Rhode Island require background checks on all gun-purchases. Florida’s gun-purchase laws are enacted on a county-by-county basis. Ten other states require background-checks only for those “legally engaged in the business of gun-sales.” Thirty-three states – including Ohio and West Virginia – have no laws whatsoever requiring background checks at gun-shows or in private sales.

Despite the recent efforts of cowardly Senate Republicans and Democrats, efforts will continue to obtain common-sense gun-legislation. The “Connecticut Effect” remains in effect! Despite the unfactual and hyperbolic claims of an April 23 writer to The Times (“Inspired to comment on gun-control”), most polls do indeed show that somewhere between 80 percent and 90 percent of Americans support universal background checks and stricter controls on interstate gun-trafficking. The most recent of these (conducted by the highly respected non-partisan Public Policy polling group that had a 100 percent accuracy record in all races in the last election) shows that 88 percent of the citizens of “red-state” South Carolina favor universal background checks.

Before calling other people “liars” because they happen to disagree with his NRA-inspired fabrications about gun control, the frequent letter writer from Dayton might want to remember that, while he is certainly entitled to his own opinions on this issue, he is not entitled to construct his own facts!

Fred O’Neill,