These thoughts are in response to a letter to the editor that was printed in the Belle Plaine Herald Dated July 17, 2019. In that letter, the writer, Mr. Knightly references a tragic shooting incident on a busy section of Carver County Road 40 profiled in both the Belle Plaine Herald and The Chaska Herald. I will also echo the good news that the shooting victim riding his motorcycle at the time of the incident is now recovering. I applaud all of Mr. Knightly’s statements except his last one… “this is another example why humans should not keep weapons”. I submit that statement is a rather extreme position. Using that flawed reasoning would condemn a carpenter’s power saw that was used in poor judgement in an unsafe or dangerous manner that resulted in a severed finger or worse.
During the fall of 1961, I was a member of Mr. Maynard Harms’ firearm safety training class at Belle Plaine High School. I was 12 years old and in the 7th grade. Perhaps unbelievable, but class participants that lived in the country could carry their properly cased firearms to school on the school bus just like band instruments. When the bus arrived at school, myself and other rural students carried our firearms down the school hallways directly to Mr. Harms’ office where they were secured until after school when the safety class began. There was nothing unusual or monumental about any of that as there were never any problems or incidents. I’d like to think that responsibility, accountability and a fair amount of common sense was instilled in most of us at a very young age. Candidly, those attributes were a given and not a goal. Sadly, the times, attitudes and behaviors have changed.
I would ask Mr. Knightly and others that feel the need to demonize weapons to reflect upon a situation that, hopefully, no one is ever faced with. If a life threatening situation becomes real and the 911 call for help is made, what should one anticipate or expect law enforcement personnel to be armed with as a defense to protect us and our loved ones from those “humans who should not keep weapons” that are intent upon inflicting serious or deadly harm, acknowledging that police officers are also human.
Most folks would agree that the subject of guns and gun ownership is and will continue to be hotly contested. Personal choices and resulting behaviors are just that…personal. For a long time, I was fortunate to have someone in my life that taught me most situations and challenges are not that difficult to prevail over. He always said that common sense and sound judgement makes the most sense.
I will close by sharing basic rule No. 3 of firearm safety on the back of my firearm safety certificate wallet card issued to me upon completion of the course nearly 58 years ago. I still carry that card, “Be sure of your target and what is beyond”….it made sense then and it still does.
Ed Plonske, Minnetonka, MN
B.P.H.S Class of 1967