by John H. Trentes

When we speak of practicality, we by definition speak of what happens in reality.

Jon Wallace has asked me why a community agreement to eliminate gun ownership is not practical. His argument, ostensibly as a Libertarian, is that one should be able to form little enclaves where all the homes have consented to be firearms free.

First of all, this entire concept smacks of a social contract, or in other words, the formation of a government entity. I do not agree that it is consistent with Libertarian theory. If Mr. Wallace were proposing that we each have the right to make our own private homes "gun free zones" regardless of what our neighbors desire to do with their property, I'd agree to the practicality of the concept and that it was a Libertarian idea.

The upshot of Mr. Wallaces' practicality argument seems to lead to the conclusion that urban environments would be better off as gun free "Walden Townships."

Am I mistaken, Jon, that you live in or around New York City? The same New York City that virtually forbids private handgun ownership? Somehow Henry David Thoreau is the last name I think of in connection with the Big Apple.

Let's get practical here.

Life, as a practical matter, is not safe. It never has been and never will be. I would not want to live in a vanilla pudding world where I have nothing to fear from anyone else, ever. To be fair, I wouldn't want to move to Bosnia either, but enjoying a human life with some measure of self- determination/freedom requires that we take some risk of coming to harm along the way.

This principle will never be legislated or contracted out of existence, not by a hundred gun-control laws, or by a thousand.

Harping on the few who unfortunately mis-use firearms unfairly ignores those millions of us who own and use them responsibly. Dreaming romantically about a world where everything has been made perfectly safe "for the children" is just that, dreaming. I've tried visualizing world peace until I'm about ready to have an out of body experience, but as soon as I open my eyes, they're blowing up atom bombs in India. Go figure.