9/00 Gore, Democrats for Pushing Freedom Restrictions

by Erich Pratt

More laws. More restrictions. More infringements.

In short, that’s what Presidential candidate Al Gore has in store for gun owners should Americans elect him in November.

The current Vice President made it clear during his August 17 speech at the Democratic convention that he thinks the 20-70,000 gun laws that are on the books today are simply not enough.

If one visits Al Gore’s website, one finds the finer details of his draconian plan for America: photo IDs, gun owner licenses, gun rationing and more.

Waiting in the Wings?

Vice President Al Gore will try to take the baton from President Clinton this Fall and continue the legacy of the most anti-gun administration in the nation’s history.

Gun Owners of America blasted Gore in August for supporting more restrictions on freedom, all the while cozying up to an entertainment industry that is responsible for polluting the minds of so many youth in America today.

How ironic it is, said GOA in a national press release, that the “gurus of violence” can be seen shoveling truckloads of cash to the hypocrites in the White House “who wink at media violence while advocating the registration of law-abiding American gun owners.”

Democrats put self-defense restrictions on the front burner

Meanwhile, Democrats on Capitol Hill have been marching in lock step with the Vice-President. Gun control extremists in the Party are threatening to load down several spending bills in the Fall with all kinds of 2nd Amendment restrictions.

They tried this in July when they filibustered several appropriation bills, thus threatening to shut down the government if firearms restrictions were not added to certain spending bills.

Senate Democrats began using delaying tactics designed to hoist Republicans upon the horns of a dilemma: either they tack 2nd Amendment restrictions onto the funding bills, or they get tagged as a “do nothing” Congress when the government gets shut down.

Gun banners were thwarted, however, when certain Republicans countered with parliamentary moves of their own that kept the appropriations bills alive.

While new gun restrictions were avoided, the “push and shove” contest between the two parties still came at a cost to gun owners.

Pro-gun language dies in conference

Rep. Virgil Goode (I-VA) had succeeded in getting a pro-gun amendment stuck into one of the House spending bills in July.

The Goode provision would keep the Treasury Department from giving any preference towards Smith & Wesson when the agency buys service weapons for its agents.

This amendment would stop Treasury from rewarding S&W with fat government contracts in exchange for their sell-out agreement the company signed in March.

Bad news for “Goode.” Rep. Virgil Goode (I-VA) saw his pro-gun amendment deleted in committee.

By extension, the Goode amendment would prevent the administration from blackmailing other firms into signing the Clinton & Wesson agreement, thereby stopping even more gun control restrictions from being imposed upon dealers and gun buyers.

On the Senate side, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) stuck a similar amendment into the Senate version of the bill.

That should have been to effect a pro-gun coup. When both houses pass similar legislation, conferees are supposed to iron out any differences between the language, not drop it out entirely.

But what should have then been a pro-gun victory resulted in disaster when the pro-gun language was stripped out of the bill in a conference committee — apparently because moderate Republicans did not want to give President Clinton a reason for vetoing an appropriations bill.

Gun owners have achieved remarkable successes

Nevertheless, gun owners have done as well as anyone could expect this year, considering the obstacles laid down by the Clinton-Gore team in the White House.

The biggest battle has, of course, been the effort waged against the anti-gun crime bill.

The Senate passed its version of the juvenile crime bill last May — a bill that was fraught with restrictions of all kinds: banning the private sale of firearms at gun shows, curbing the lawful use of firearms by young adults, limiting self-defense with lock up your safety requirements, and much more.

The House then followed suit last June when it passed its own, milder version of the bill.

It seemed that gun control extremists had momentum in their favor. The press was continually keeping the issue alive. The White House was droning on and on about the need for more gun control.

And gun haters in the Congress continued to offer motion after motion to force House and Senate conferees to finalize the juvenile crime bill, to bring it to the floor of each house and to send it to the President for his signature.

But something happened on the way to the Rose Garden ceremony. Gun owners rose up in strong opposition to the bill, taking legislators by surprise.

Americans flood Congress with opposition to self-defense restrictions

GOA provided gun owners across the nation with thousands upon thousands of postcards and pre-written letters. The flood of protests helped drown out support for more gun restrictions.

Without a doubt, the mood on Capitol Hill changed 180 degrees, as support for gun control sank to a new low in both houses.

Where healthy majorities had supported firearms restrictions in 1999, gun control extremists could only muster bare majorities to support the same proposals one year later.

This was, after all, an election year. And the grassroots “lobbyists” had put the fear of unemployment back into the hearts of compromising politicians.

GOA helps pro-gun compromiser see the light

For example, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) publicly stated several months ago that he would support the juvenile crime bill, even if it contained certain gun control provisions. As one of the co-chiefs in charge of the conference committee, Hatch’s opinion would certainly spell trouble for gun owners.

In response, GOA began an intense campaign, encouraging gun owners across the nation to contact Hatch and express their outrage at his compromises.

The strategy worked, to the chagrin of gun banners like President Bill Clinton, who lamented the fact that “so much pressure on Senator Hatch” had now caused him to change his tune.

And thus, the anti-gun crime bill has been deadlocked in committee. The clock is running out. Americans may soon be able to breathe a sigh of relief.


“Gun Owners of America is the pit bull of the Second Amendment. They are relentless and never give any ground whatsoever to the gun grabbers.”
— Rep. John Hostettler (R-IN), July 2000


Gun owners score big this summer on Capitol Hill

The apparent victory over the crime bill is just one of many such triumphs that gun activists have won this year:

Hostettler pro-gun amendment. In June, gun owners rallied behind Rep. John Hostettler (R-IN) who scored in a big way, when he successfully attached a pro-gun amendment to the HUD funding bill.

GOA strongly supported this amendment that would prevent HUD (the Department of Housing and Urban Development) from joining in coalition with state and local governments that are interested in suing the gun industry.

White House officials decried the Hostettler provision and have threatened a Presidential veto. (Congress will send the bill to the President sometime in September.)

Gun owner registration defeated. Only days later, gun owners dodged a bullet after thousands of angry activists bombarded Capitol Hill.

Through fax and email, GOA had alerted gun owners to a bill that would force lobby groups like GOA to disclose many, if not all, of its members’ names. After a storm of protest, the House backed away from its initial plan of registering activists’ names.

Government spying curbed. Rep. Barr (R-GA) told GOA in July that the secret search provisions have been killed after the resounding outcry from activists reached Capitol Hill.

Once again, GOA had used its fax and email alert system to notify gun owners of these dangerous provisions. This language, dubbed the “sneak and peek” provisions, would have let the government sneak onto a person’s property while one was away, seize certain items from their home and not tell the person about it for months — if at all.

Anti-gun amendments expected

Gun owners will be faced with renewed attacks upon the 2nd Amendment this Fall.

The Democrats have made it clear that they plan to use delaying tactics to slow down the appropriation bills, unless they are allowed to offer anti-gun amendments to those bills.

This is, of course, how some of the worst anti-gun legislation was enacted in the recent past.

Gun owners will remember that the Lautenberg gun ban (disarming millions for misdemeanor infractions) and the Kohl gun free school zone ban were both added to appropriation bills in September 1996.

On a positive note, Senator Bob Smith (R-NH) could offer pro-gun amendments to the upcoming spending bills to counter the threat.

A lot can still happen this Fall. Please stay tuned.

GOF Combating Malicious Prosecutions

by Larry Pratt

The criminal justice system was designed to punish those who have harmed other people.

It has become so perverted that decent, orderly, law-abiding people are being targeted with malicious prosecutions. To respond to this threat, Gun Owners Foundation has established a Malicious Prosecution Fund.

The following cases have come to the attention of the Foundation. They all cry out for justice — a justice that is not cheap.

GOA member arrested after defending home

Rick Manuel is a former Texas constable now living in Columbus, Ohio. Although unaware of any problem when buying his house, he quickly learned during his first night that he had moved into a drug bazaar.

Manuel’s neighbors had been intimidated by the brazen threats and criminal acts against them committed by the pill-pushing neighborhood businessmen. Homes had been firebombed and mobs of criminals had menaced those willing to complain to the cops.

The police, prosecutors and other Columbus city officials had done nothing to stop the problem until Manuel, a GOA member, organized the neighbors to light a fire under the city fathers.

Manuel’s progress has not come cheaply. His home came under attack from a criminal mob and the police refused to disperse the thugs. They came, talked to them and drove away to leave Manuel and his family to fend off the attack.

Manuel finally calmed the thugs down when they got a look at his (unloaded) gun in one hand and his cell phone calling the police in the other. That got the police out again — this time to arrest Manuel.

Manuel went to trial pro se (on his own) and got the case thrown out. Now he has retained an attorney to sue the prosecutor for malicious prosecution.

State applies “judicial terrorism” against gun dealer

General Laney, a longtime supporter of GOA, is the only black still operating a gun store in Detroit.

The city dragged Laney into the lawsuit they filed against several gun manufacturers.

The civil liability suit against Laney was being used to get information (using the more favorable rules in civil rather than criminal cases) to develop a strawman sale criminal charge they also had filed against him.

Since Michigan law requires every buyer to first obtain a purchase permit and present it to a firearms dealer, it is difficult to understand how a strawman sale can occur in Michigan. The informant who made the purchase used an apparently valid, notarized permit showing a fictitious name corroborated by a fictitious drivers license.

The likelihood of acquittal has not deterred Detroit’s malicious prosecution, because they will win if Laney is acquitted but bankrupted. By incarceration or impoverishment of their victim, they will have won.

Police confiscate grandmother’s gun

Linda Hamilton, another GOA member, is a young-looking grandmother who found herself the object of the road rage by the driver of an 18-wheeler. After repeated attempts by the trucker to run Hamilton off the road, she displayed her handgun (carried with a Massachusetts concealed carry permit) on the dashboard.

The trucker immediately lost his interest in harming Hamilton. But the nightmare was only beginning for her. He stopped a state cop and told of being “threatened” by the grandmother. After that he drove off without having been required to give a statement to the police.

When Hamilton got off the road to report the incident to the police, she ended up a suspect for having a loaded firearm in the car — something that is totally legal for a CCW licensee in Massachusetts! The gun was confiscated but she was not arrested. Almost two weeks later she was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon.

Attempted murder with a huge truck did not distract these officers of the peace from what to them was the much greater danger of a pistol packin’ nurse.

The prosecutor is going ahead with the case in spite of obvious lies in the police report — and the total absence of concern about the identity of the trucker who, it turned out, lied about his name, among other things, when he talked to the police.

What You Can Do

If you would like to help fight this kind of injustice, please write a check to Gun Owners Foundation and write in the memo line: Malicious Prosecution Fund. The address is 8001 Forbes Place, Springfield, VA 22151.

We want to help these courageous gun owners who are fighting back. Please let them know they are not alone — be as generous as you can.

Gun Grabbers Can Be Really Stupid

by Robert Waters

I ain’t making this stuff up, folks!

The gun-banners’ arguments against armed self-defense are so weak as to be caricatures of lunacy.

Three examples will suffice.

Walmart hero rebuked by Handgun Control, Inc.

After Sandra Suter, a Florida permit holder, used her handgun to stop a knife-wielding assailant at a local Walmart, Kim Mariani, Spokesperson for Handgun Control, Inc., weighed in.

“God forbid something went wrong,” she said. “It just escalates the situation, and a lot of times it’s unnecessary.”

The assailant had already slashed two employees, and was rampaging about the store threatening others. Suter drew her pistol and ordered the madman to stop. Looking down the barrel of a .40-caliber semiautomatic gave him a quick burst of sanity. He quietly surrendered to the grandmother.

HCI’s prescription for dealing with violence leaves out armed self-defense. They’d have Sandra Suter stand by and watch while the thug kills or maims a few people.

Not only should we watch and do nothing if we see someone else being attacked, according to the gun-banners, we should meekly comply with every demand if we are attacked.

Florida woman uses gun to save husband; gun banners not impressed

On a muggy summer night, Jacksonville, Florida resident Susan Gonzalez sat on her couch watching television. Suddenly, two masked home invaders burst through her front door. Terrified, she ran into her bedroom and slammed the door shut. But one of the intruders fired through the door, striking Gonzalez in the chest.

As her husband fought the intruders, Susan Gonzalez retrieved a .22-caliber revolver and shot one of the men dead.

Susan and Mike Gonzalez were hospitalized with gunshot wounds, but eventually recovered.

Law enforcement officials and the local media credited the actions of the homeowner with saving her own life and the life of her husband.

Weighing the risks?

So it was interesting to note the response of Nancy Hwa, Spokesperson for the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence, when asked if Mrs. Gonzalez’s actions were warranted.

After acknowledging that fighting for her life was an appropriate response, Hwa added this caveat. “Incidences like Mrs. Gonzalez’s are very rare,” she proclaimed. “People have to weigh the risk of losing a TV, jewelry, or whatever vs. losing their life.”

Hwa’s comments, typical of those from the anti-gun lobby, deserve scrutiny.

In an attempt to minimize the pro-gun position, she dragged out the old lie that Gonzalez’s defense of her home was an isolated case. This is so blatantly false that it’s hard to understand how people can maintain that position with a straight face. Twenty years of studies have shown that anywhere from several hundred thousand to more than two million people use guns each year to defend their lives and the lives of others.

On a personal note, my own case files consist of thousands of newspaper clippings of such cases. And each week I add more.

Hwa’s final conclusion reeks with arrogance. “People have to weigh the risk of losing a TV, jewelry, or whatever vs. losing their life.”

Maintaining a passive-aggressive posture, the spokesperson implies that if Susan Gonzalez had just given up her television set to the invaders, things would have turned out nifty.

Whatever you do, don’t resist.

Calm an attacker with words, not bullets?

That’s the lie the Wendy’s victims bought in the recent New York City slayings. Indications are that the employees didn’t fight back, that they handed over the money. But the robbers weren’t the least bit grateful-they executed the entire staff. Only two of seven employees survived.

And it’s the same lie sold to a Charlotte, North Carolina cab-driver who was recently held up at gunpoint. Robbed of $30.00, he was locked in the trunk of his cab. As they were leaving, just for fun the robbers pumped five slugs into the closed trunk, nearly killing the compliant cabbie.

To many of us, it makes sense to conclude that an armed assailant is dangerous, and that he may try to kill you. Otherwise, why would he be armed?

There’s no doubt that Sandra Suter and Susan Gonzalez weighed the risks and made the right decision. There’s no doubt that thousands of Americans weigh the risks and use guns to save lives each year. And there’s no doubt the gun-banners want to take the right of armed self-defense from us.

They know better than you and I how to stop the violence.

Instead of bullets, use words.

Jessica Flag, of the eighty thousand Million Moms, framed their argument so that we can understand it. “The best way to deal with a person with a gun,” she said, “is to say, ‘I know you’re upset.’ Compassion is the answer. They are human beings and want the same things I do. Try to be compassionate with them and relate to them.”


You bet!

Robert Waters is the author of The Best Defense, a collection of fascinating human interest stories of people who successfully used firearms to defend themselves and others against violent assaults. The book is available from Gun Owners Foundation. To order by mail, please make your check payable for $14.95 plus $4.50 shipping to GOF and send to the address below. Phone credit orders: 1-888-886-GUNS (4867).

NPR Listeners Hear the Dangers of Giving the Government a Monopoly of Force

Listeners of National Public Radio were probably surprised this past July 17, when Richard Rosenfeld delivered a stirring (pro-gun) history lesson that all Americans should remember.

“The control of arms was an important issue in the election of 1800 because only a year earlier, in the spring of 1799, the nation’s second president, John Adams, had unleashed his brand-new federal army into the Pennsylvania countryside purportedly to enforce new tax laws,” Rosenfeld said.

“But that federal force invaded the homes of German-speaking families who had been critical of John Adams’ administration, tore down symbols of their political opposition, terrorized men, women and children alike and publicly whipped newspaper editors who reported the army’s misconduct.

“Reaction to the federal government’s misuse of force in 1799 was akin to recent public concerns about the possible misuse of federal force in Waco, Texas. The army’s misconduct cost John Adams dearly in his presidential re-election bid in 1800. In Adams’ words, ‘That army was as unpopular as if it had been a ferocious wild beast let loose upon the nation to devour it.’

“Americans had been wary about arms in the hands of the government from the time of their independence from England and even before. They remembered 17th century British kings who had used government armies to keep the people in fear and had used restrictive hunting laws to keep the people without arms and therefore powerless against them.

“So while America’s founders built many checks and balances against the misuse of power into the new United States Constitution, they all agreed that the ultimate check against possible government tyranny would be an armed American population.

President John Adams came under fierce criticism after unleashing his brand-new federal army into the homes of families in rural Pennsylvania.

“Thomas Jefferson, Mr. Adams’ Democratic challenger in the presidential election of 1800, was also distrustful of arms in the hands of the federal government. He felt that in a republic, the government should be in awe of the people, not the other way around.

“So after he won the presidency from Adams in 1800, Jefferson substantially reduced the size of the federal army. And he continued to champion America’s first federal gun control regulation, which is the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, the article of the Bill of Rights which reminds us that power starts and stays with the American people.”

In conclusion, Rosenfeld noted that, “the federal government must not infringe, in the words of that amendment, ‘on the right of the people to keep and bear arms.'”

Richard Rosenfeld is the author of “American Aurora: A Democratic-Republican Returns” — a book that recounts the ideological battles of the early American republic.

The Brady Bill Isn’t Achieving Its Aim

Betsy Hart

by Betsy Hart

A new study on one of the most important pieces of gun-control legislation ever enacted in America are in, and they show-drum roll please — that it’s had no effect on homicide rates.

That’s right. The Brady Bill of 1993, named for President Reagan’s press secretary who was debilitated in a 1981 assassination attempt on the president, inaugurated waiting periods and background checks on all prospective gun buyers.

The sweeping legislation, according to many of its backers, would cause a significant drop in homicides and other gun-related crime in America.

Upon its signing at a ceremony filled with self-congratulatory fanfare, President Clinton declared it “step one in taking our streets back.”

Flash forward, and the authors of a study just reported in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) conclude that “our analyses provide no evidence that implementation of the Brady Act was associated with a reduction in homicide rates.”

(The American Medical Association traditionally takes a pro-gun control position and in fact endorsed the original Brady Bill.)

Medical study says Brady Law has had no impact on homicide

The authors of the study examined the data from 32 “treatment” states which had to newly comply with the Brady Bill, compared with 18 control states and the District of Columbia which already had Brady-like restrictions in place.

Though in 1991 America began to see a drop in crime rates, the study’s authors expected to see much bigger drops in homicides in the states that were newly following the federal law.

Yet after controlling for a number of variables they found no difference, except for the possibility of some drop in some suicide rates.

Inevitably detractors will criticize the study but expert crime-watchers, like John Lott of Yale University, had long predicted these results.

Lott is perhaps America’s foremost authority on gun laws and their relation to crime.

And in the just-released second edition of his book “More Guns, Less Crime” he again sets a new threshold of analysis on this issue by combing through 20 years of FBI data from every county in America, as well as national gun ownership surveys, research on illegal gun use and other relevant data, while also considering the impact of law-enforcement and sentencing.

Simply put, he finds that “criminals as a group tend to behave rationally — when crime becomes more difficult, less crime is committed.”

Gun control laws lead to increases in crime

Lott shows that gun control laws at best have no impact. But he probes much further than the authors of the JAMA study (who only considered homicide and suicide) to find that, at worst, restrictive gun laws actually increase violent crime.

He finds that after weighing all appropriate variables, “states now experiencing the largest reduction in crime are also the ones with the fastest-growing rates of gun ownership.”

In fact, Lott shows that a direct effect of the Brady Bill restrictions was to leave women particularly defenseless, and to increase violent crime against them. He found a 3.6 percent increase in rapes and a 3 percent increase in aggravated assaults against females over what would have been the case without the law.

(Conversely, while states that allow citizens to carry concealed weapons always see subsequent drops in crime rates, the drop in murder rates in particular is even more precipitous for women than for men.)

Further, he notes that while in 1997 440,000 gun-related crimes were committed, guns were used to defend against crime some two million times. He says that in 98 percent of cases, just brandishing a gun stopped the attack. But as Lott asks, when do you ever see that on the evening news?

Just consider one such instance, the 1997 school shooting in Pearl, Mississippi. Lott points out that of some 700 news stories on the assault, only 13 mention the heroic assistant principal who stopped it.

Yet, he ran one-quarter mile away to get his gun from his locked car — it had to be kept off school grounds to comply with federal law — ran back and held the assailant at gunpoint until police arrived several minutes later.

Law enforcement officials believed the attacker had been on his way to continue his shooting-spree at another school.

Of course the JAMA study, and the impeccable research of Lott, will be lost on those folks who will inevitably say “Oh, the Brady Bill isn’t working? Well, of course that just means we have to extend its restrictions even further.”

But it seems to me such folks are not really committed to stopping gun crime — they’re committed to stopping law-abiding citizens from exercising their Second Amendment rights to protect themselves with a firearm.

Betsy Hart is a nationally syndicated columnist.

More Guns, Less Crime is available from Gun Owners Foundation for $23 plus $4.50 shipping. To order by mail, please make your check payable for $14.95 plus $4.50 shipping to GOF and send to the address below. Phone credit orders: 1-888-886-GUNS (4867).

On Target

by John Velleco

Capt. Parker’s Musket

In the early morning hours of April 19, 1775, Captain John Parker assembled about 70 Minutemen, including eight father and son teams and a number of youths under the age of sixteen, and braced for the appearance of redcoats on Lexington green. As the British ‘regulars’ raced across the green, Capt. Parker ordered his vastly outnumbered men to retreat. In the ensuing confusion that lasted only fifteen or so minutes, shots were fired, 8 Americans were killed, and the War for Independence was begun.

Capt. Parker’s musket, and another from a British soldier, hang about ten feet off the floor on opposite walls of the Massachusetts’s state senate chamber. And, in compliance with state law, both muskets are now equipped with trigger locks.

Harriet Tubman’s Gun

When renowned artist Mike Alewitz was tapped by the Associated Black Charities in Baltimore to design a mural depicting Harriet Tubman’s courageous actions, apparently he did his homework. A little too well for some, as it turned out. Tubman, who often carried a gun as she led hundreds of slaves to freedom along the Underground Railroad, was portrayed in the design with a gun in one hand and a lantern in the other. This set off a predictable round of protests from the group, which claimed that the mural would send the wrong message to young people.

While the artist never intended his mural to be a statement about gun control one way or the other, he does believe that gun control has been used to oppress people and that, “There’s a whole history of the African American community having to arm themselves against racist violence.” The group ultimately rejected Alewitz’s draft.

More Guns in Schools

Many people wrote in response to On Target’s piece last time on guns in schools. GOA members from New York to Los Angeles recalled participating on rifle teams, bringing guns to school for hunting and other healthy activities at a time when school shootings were unheard of.

Respected author and scholar John Lott wrote the following in a July 4th op-ed: “But nowhere were guns more common than at school. Until 1969, virtually every public high school in New York City had a shooting club. High school students carried their guns to school on the subways in the morning, turned them over to their homeroom teacher or the gym coach and retrieved them after school for target practice. Club members were given their rifles and ammunition by the federal government. Students regularly competed in citywide shooting contests for university scholarships.”

The Patriot — A Great Movie

byLarry Pratt

“The Patriot” starring Mel Gibson is a great movie which I highly recommend.

It demonstrates, among other things, the effectiveness of a well-regulated militia where private individuals — including very young men — have firearms and know how to use them. Our freedom and independence was not won by men using slingshots. And there are lots of guns and shooting in this film.

We see two of Gibson’s young sons, with rifles, coming in from the field where they have been hunting by themselves. We see King George III being burned in effigy while a group of citizens are firing their rifles and pistols into the air. One militiaman gives his young son a wooden model of a pistol. We even see a preacher picking up a rifle and going off to war for America.

There are also other things in this movie which are wonderfully “politically incorrect” in many quarters. The film opens with a scene of home schooling with one of Gibson’s daughters teaching a younger son his alphabet with flash cards.

And (gasp!) Gibson even seems to believe in God. At one point, before firing on some British troops, Gibson says, softly: “Lord make me fast and accurate.” And, as Gibson holds one of his sons who has been killed, he says: “God help me. God help me.”

Not surprisingly, “The Patriot” has drawn fire from all the “usual suspects,” individuals such as the gun-hating moviemaker Spike Lee who says: “I despise the film.” This is the same Spike Lee who has said: “The problem is guns. The reason the United States is the most violent country in the history of civilization is the proliferation of guns.” And, yes, this is the same Spike Lee who said, as “a joke,” about Charlton Heston: “Shoot him with a .44 Bulldog.” Pretty funny, huh?

The British Ambassador to the United States, Philip Lader, has told one of the biggest of the Big Lies being told about this excellent movie. According to the London newspaper The Independent (7/15/2000), Lader accused this film of “damaging Anglo-American relations by falsely portraying British soldiers as evil and vicious.” Lader says citizens on both sides of the Atlantic should “look more clearly at what the real facts were.”

Well, does the Ambassador think America went to war against King George III over irregular mail delivery?

Even the most superficial research shows that the “real facts” are that some British soldiers were evil and vicious! For example, there was British cavalry Colonel Banastre Tarleton.

In her book The First Salute (Alfred Knopf, 1988), the highly respected historian Barbara Tuchman says that Tarleton was “hated and dreaded” and known as “no quarter Tarleton” because of his “violation of surrender rules in the Waxhaw massacre, where he had caught a body of American troops that held its fire too long before firing at 50 yards, too late to stop the charging cavalry. After surrender, they were cut down when Tarleton’s men, let loose to wield their knife-edged sabers, killed a total of 113 and wounded 150 more, of whom half died of their wounds.”

In addition, Tuchman quotes from the eye-witness memoirs of a Swedish Lieutenant, Karl Gustaf Tornquist, who described what he saw when he passed through the Williamsburg (Va.) countryside which had been ravaged by the British: “On a beautiful estate a pregnant woman was found murdered in her bed through several bayonet stabs; the barbarians had opened both of her breasts and written above the bed canopy: ‘Thou shalt never give birth to a rebel.’

“In another room, was just as horrible a sight — five cut-off heads arranged on a cupboard in place of plaster-cast figures which lay broken in pieces on the floor. Dumb animals were no less spared…. We did not find a single trace of inhabitants, for those who had been unable to flee lay on the ground as a token of the Godless behavior of their enemies.”

Tuchman adds: “According to another account, which Tornquist evidently could not bring himself to mention, the unborn baby had been torn from the womb and hung from a tree.” She notes that, after his previous observations, Tornquist said that the British troops under Cornwallis, on their way to York, destroyed “everything which lay in his way, not sparing defenseless woman and children.”

So, Mr. Ambassador, “The Patriot” was actually kind to the British butchers, because Cornwallis was not depicted in this light.

We might add that America is not the only place to have experienced the lash of British imperialist tyranny. The British Army, under orders from London, carried out genocide against the Boers of South Africa at the turn of the last century. Men, women and children were slaughtered, starved and killed with the pestilence of concentration camps.

In another government-directed policy, the British army slaughtered a whole generation of leaders in Kenya in order to make the Africans compliant subjects of the Empire. The only thing good about your empire, Mr. Ambassador, is that it is finally over.

Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson) rallies the American militia against the redcoats at the battle of Cowpens in The Patriot.

I suspect that Ambassador Lader is also upset that America was the one place where the evil British Empire got beat by farmers. The militia — another name for an armed populace — played a key role, whether in the defeat of General Burgoyne in the North or General Cornwallis in the South, or containing General Gates in New York.

“The Patriot” is not evil or vicious. See it and take the whole family. It’s basically an accurate film that will bring a lump to your throat and a tear to your eye. And you’ll thank God that we’re free and independent, in part, because we had private citizens who had firearms and knew how to use them.