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Walter E. Williams

is an American economist, commentator, and academic. He is the John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics at George Mason University, as well as a syndicated columnist and author known for his libertarian views.

Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination? by Walter E. Williams (March 2011)
Up from the Projects: An Autobiography by Walter E. Williams (2010)

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http://econfaculty.gmu.edu/wew/

Email shares what should be obvious
T
here is a letter titled “Isn’t It Strange?” making the rounds in email boxes. It asks questions to which our fellow Americans should know the answers, save for those caught up in modernity.

It starts off asking, “Isn’t it strange that after a bombing, everyone blames the bomber, his upbringing, his environment, his culture but ... after a shooting, the problem is the gun?” In other words, after a shooting, it is the gun, an inanimate object, that is the culprit, but after a bombing, it is the evil individual.

In both cases, it is the evil individual who is to blame.

Ronald Reagan had it right when he said, “We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.”

Speaking of guns, the letter has a 1950s photo of high school girls at an indoor shooting range. The photo caption states: “Back in the 1950s and even later, many high schools had shooting ranges. Students even brought their own rifles to school.” It asks, “What changed in society that we could trust such activities then, but not now?”

Youth involvement with guns has a long history. The 1911 second edition of the Boy Scout Handbook made qualification in the NRA’s junior marksmanship program a prerequisite for obtaining a merit badge in marksmanship. In New York City, high school gun clubs were started at Boys, Curtis, Commercial, Manual Training and Stuyvesant high schools.

I would like to ask America’s anti-gun fanatics what accounts for today’s mayhem: Have guns become more evil or have people become more evil?

Later on in the letter, there is a statement asking us to rename government programs, saying, “Get it straight: Welfare, Food Stamps, WIC ... are not entitlements. They are taxpayer-funded handouts and shouldn’t be called entitlements. Social Security and veterans benefits are ‘entitlements’ because the people receiving them are entitled to them. They were earned and paid for by the recipients.”

Then there is a warning: “No society ever thrived because it had a large and growing class of parasites living off those who produced.”

If one listens to the current debate and rhetoric of most politicians, both Democrats or Republicans, it is about expanding the class of Americans who live at the expense of other Americans, whether they are promising “free” education and medical care or forcing Americans to purchase products such as ethanol in order to enrich others.

Toward the letter’s end, there is a statement that rings so true and beyond debate: “I vote Democratic, because I’m pro-choice ... except on schools, guns, trade, health care, energy, smoking, union membership, light bulbs, plastic bags, Wal-Mart, what kinds of food you can eat. ...” 

Walter Williams is distributed by Creators Syndicate. Reach him at .