Here’s how to put those weapons to good use

Opinion Column

Carlton Fletcher

Carlton Fletcher

Playin’ Russian roulette, but she’ll load all six. Gun love ...

— ZZ Top

I was listening to a few local good old boys solve the world’s problems the other day — I wasn’t eavesdropping, just happened to be standing within earshot and couldn’t help but overhear — and one of the things one of them said got me to thinking.

Most of you have no doubt heard some other armchair problem-solver offer a similar assessment: “What they ought to do is round up all these gang bangers and ship them off to Afghanistan or Korea and let them shoot it out. At least if they get shot, it wouldn’t be much of a loss.”

That got encouraging responses all around — and one enthusiastic, “Now that’s an immigration proposal I wouldn’t mind my tax dollars supporting.”

While I get the sentiment, a couple of things occurred to me.

1) I don’t believe generals and other war planners would expect too great a success rate with a bunch of gangsters turned loose to take on a trained foreign army on its home turf. We have the greatest armed forces in the history of the world for a reason: Our soldiers are trained for the type of warfare they’ll be involved in. All that wearing uniforms and marching and obstacle course running and team-building exercises are done for a reason.

Our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are torn down and rebuilt in a manner that teaches them how to react while facing life-or-death scenarios. And after they’ve mastered their service branch’s basic skills, they’re indoctrinated with military strategy. American military personnel are not asked to achieve an objective in a hostile situation without at least some idea of how they can reach that objective.

Turn a common criminal whose survival skills depend on street instinct and superior firepower — the old bringing a gun to a knife fight concept — loose in a hostile situation, and you’re looking at a massacre. The first time some street thug put his meanest tough-guy face on and turned his weapon sideways — I call it the Ice-T scowl — trained enemy soldiers would probably chuckle a bit before blowing him to the next world.

2) Our fighting men and women derive their motivation from things like duty, honor and completing a mission they’ve been trained to complete. Thugs? Such things mean nothing to them. They’re not likely to be so keen at becoming human targets and would, therefore, not care one whit about taking a specific position from the enemy.

So, no, I don’t think this gangsters-as-soldiers idea is a very good one. I did, however, come up with my own concept that I think everyone could get behind.

How about we make service in a specified war zone a requirement for domestic ownership of an assault weapon? And, to make sure there is plenty of adequate training for the many would-be soldiers of fortune who keep popping up in gun-crazy America, let’s let the leadership of the NRA get them ready for combat.

You hear all these gun owners, spurred on by weapons manufacturers and the NRA, say they need these killer weapons that spit out hundreds of rounds of deadly ammo a second to protect them and theirs, but it seems the only people we ever hear about using them for anything other than bragging rights — yes, my weapon is bigger than yours — are the deranged mass murderers who shoot up movie theaters and gun down first- and second-graders.

So let’s put that deadly firepower to good use. Instead of sending these simple-minded gang members into the world’s hot spots to protect our interests and our way of life, let’s send the intelligent “collectors” whose level of “security” is determined by the caliber and magazine capacity of their weapons.

Besides, what better way for a true American outdoorsman/patriot to prove his skills than by testing himself against what Richard Connell called “The Most Dangerous Game”?

As the argument over meaningful gun control legislation in this country has raged, I’ve heard so many of this ilk boldly proclaim: “Just let someone try and take my assault weapon.” Hey, there’s an enemy soldier out there whose goal is just that. Here’s your chance to show us what you’d do.

Email Metro Editor Carlton Fletcher at carlton.fletcher@albanyherald.com.


waltspecht 2 years, 6 months ago

You know, I didn't notice which branch of the Service you served in. I do know a lot of those you refer to as Gun People, at least that I am familiar with, did at least serve. Maybe not in Combat, but actual Combat Veterans are in the minority of those who did serve, they did serve their Country. Some of those possessing these weapons could, and would deploy them effectively in the interests of their own security. You want to make it a safe world, pass DWI laws that remove an individuals privilage to drive permenently upon the first conviction. Then enforce that restriction with a ten year jail term if they are caught driving after conviction. That alone would save untold lives and prevent a huge number of injuries of innocents. Far in excess of what a ban on a specified weapon would accomplish. As to the NRA training folks, that was one of the reasons it was first formed. The Director of Civilian Marksmanship was instructed to provide weapons and ammunition to Civilian shooters to train them as Riflemen. The NRA runs these matches and training. Why don't you check as to how many of our best are , or were competative shooters under NRA programs. Read When A Riflemen Goes to War, or Admiral Yamamoto's comment about American Marksmanship and gun ownership. Then with a balanced view, why don't you rethink this column?


B4it 2 years, 6 months ago

..."it seems the only people we ever hear about using them for anything other than bragging rights ... are the deranged mass murderers who shoot up movie theaters and gun down first- and second-graders".

What a shallow-minded comment from a typical shallow-minded liberal reporter. This is a ridiculous journalistic comment! I am not sure if Carlton is just trying to make dumb comments for reader's reactions, or if he truly believes the stuff he writes. Would you expect a journalist to write stories about the millions of law abiding gun owners enjoying their time at the shooting range, or only hear about the "deranged mass murderers" written by want-to-be journalists?

Walt is correct! THINK before you write, or make comments that take away any credibilty you are looking for in your chosen words.


Jacob 2 years, 6 months ago

"journalistic comment! I am not sure if Carlton"

Don't mix the two. There is a reason he writes in the opinion section...


USTPC 2 years, 6 months ago

"killer weapons that spit out hundreds of rounds of deadly ammo a second"

First, there is no weapon even an automatic one that can "spit" hundreds of rounds per second.

Second, the weapons they are calling "assault" rifles by definition are not assault rifles because they are NOT automatic weapons they are semi-automatic weapons.

Third, the weapons they are trying to ban are no more and no less dangerous than a hunting rifle but they are scarier looking because of the cosmetic features.

Finally, and I think most importantly, the mass shootings being used in the gun control argument would not have been stopped or prevented by any of the legislation being proposed.

Typical liberal viewpoint - sarcastic, uninformed, exaggerated drivel.


RedEric 2 years, 6 months ago

Fletch got some new koolaid. Higher proof based on the prepackaged crap spewed in this column. As all of you have said above there is nothing accurate in anything he has said. Why do liberal boneheads ( Carlton Fletcher) keep going with the Assault Weapon phrase? Because it sounds cool. Reality is not near as much fun as the koolaid haze world occupied by liberals. Their main concern should be that when the Progressives take over they are the first ones to be called to the wall.


buddy 2 years, 6 months ago

Typical liberal response....wouldn't this kind of be like drug testing for welfare recipients or a cutoff for the number of kids you can support on the government dime....Now explain how you will take away guns from the criminals?


erock 2 years, 6 months ago

Well Carlton, the plan is to fly them over terrorist strongholds at night, which by the way seems to be their preferred operating environment, so they oughta feel right at home, and have them parachute in. We give each of them $100.00 US dollars, operating cash, which by the way will come from seized drug money. The beauty of this plan is that they are independent operatives, and don't operate under military leadership. There will undoubtebly be a squabble as soon as they are on the ground, ensued by a shootout. The survivors will then decide who will be calling the shots.Since most of of them have been to prison before, likely or not they have converted to Islam,and consider themselves Muslims. The sad truth for them will be is when they realize that they do not know how to speak one word of arabic. Here's where things will start to unravell for them. Realizing they are in deep, they will respond the same way they do here in the states. With any luck they will take out a couple of ragheads before they are tortured and beheaded.


badcompany 2 years, 6 months ago

Joseph Goebbels would be very proud of this propaganda. You should be writing for Der Stürmer!


gladileftalbany 2 years, 6 months ago

Hes not responding hes just showing what kind of idiots you have in your area. Duh


waltspecht 2 years, 6 months ago

I don't know about idiots. Old folks at breakfast meetings have long been solving problems based on their own opinions. I think it is part of being a Senior Citizen. I can remember the group at Shoney's at Broad and Slappy. Composed of the movers and shakers of Albany from the fifties and sixties. Learned an awful lot just listening.


erudite 2 years, 6 months ago

A good use for guns? Give everybody one; last person standing wins.


LoneCycler 2 years, 6 months ago

People who have never served in the military and defended our constitution personally, with their lives, should not be allowed to vote. How’s that for an idea, Mr. Fletcher? As long as we’re handing out requirements citizens of our nation have to meet before they are allowed to exercise their God given rights, why stop with firearms? Someone who hasn’t pledged to give their life in the defense of our nation from enemies foreign and domestic, and who has not served in battle, should not be allowed to use their God given right of free speech, either. Your argument against the right to own firearms just makes you look every bit as foolish as those people you overheard.


FryarTuk 2 years, 6 months ago

Wait a minute. You've just exclude Thomas Jefferson. He's one of the guys that started all this.


badcompany 2 years, 6 months ago

While you are at it shouldnt we restrict the First Amendment as well? Especially for people like Fletcher that are spreading treasonous propaganda. If the Second Amendment is expendable then can the First be far behind?


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