I greatly admire the Molens' courageous decision to publicly discuss this most painful of events.
Despite the Molens' immense tragedy, their advocacy of gun controls is incorrect and adverse to a free society.
For the record, I have never been a member of the National Rifle Association. As an adult, I have never owned a gun. It's my judgment that a gun in the household is a far greater threat to members of that household, via an accident or a moment of blind anger, than it is to an intruder.
I disagree with the Molens because I seek to preserve individual liberty and to strictly limit the powers of government.
One of the Molens' arguments is that if guns could be strictly limited and controlled, senseless and tragic shootings could be eliminated. The Molens are undoubtedly correct. But does saving lives always trump liberty and the imposition of limitations on government?
There are instances when the value of liberty outweighs the loss of life. For example, a small percentage of parents are not able to adequately care for their children. The neglect, negligence and abuse by these parents can lead to the great suffering, dysfunction and even death of their children.
With parenting open to anyone, we know, with certainty there will always be such awful, tragic scenarios. Governments already require licenses for endeavors as routine as haircutting. Why not make prospective parents demonstrate their qualifications and aptitude? Why not require a license to be a parent, arguably one of life's most important jobs?
The pain, suffering and even death of children could be avoided. Rather, our society has rightly decided that the control and regulation of procreation should not be the responsibility of government.
Our criminal justice system is tilted toward the benefit of the defendant. Our society has correctly reasoned that it should be difficult for the government to put people in prison. We've correctly concluded it is better to allow many of the guilty to go free rather than risk incarcerating the innocent.
We've arrived at this trade-off knowing that some of the criminals who escape conviction will commit new, awful crimes. Again, we tolerate pain and death for the cause of liberty and for limits on the state's ability to put its citizens in prison.
In the late 1970s the ACLU famously defended the rights of Nazis to march in the predominantly Jewish town of Skokie, Ill. Such a highly provocative march had the potential to become violent, despite many precautions. But the principle of free speech was correctly construed to outweigh the risk of possibly deadly violence.
I have no interest in owning a gun, but I don't want my right to own one abridged. Over the past century or so, we have surrendered ever more of our rights and liberties to the control of government.
We would be well-advised to recall the words of George Washington: "Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."
* ERIC RUMPLE lives in Sandy with his wife of 23 years and his two children.