Wake up, America! Guns aren't the problem


Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter

Emerson Bolen

I read the commentary by Oak Park Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb [Weapons of war do not belong here, Viewpoints, Aug. 14] and, as expected, it was a typical anti-gun rant loaded with inaccurate and misleading information. 

An AR-15 is not a "weapon of war," nor is it an "assault rifle/weapon." It's a semi-automatic rifle which doesn't sound menacing enough so it constantly gets mislabeled. I carried real assault rifles during my 24 years in the military, mostly in Special Operations, like the M16A1E, CAR-15, and M4. All of these assault rifles are capable of firing fully automatic. 

Now about those 255 "mass shootings": The overwhelming majority of those shootings are criminal/gang-related shootings, which cities like Chicago seem completely incapable of preventing, yet for some reason don't cause the anti-gun mob the same ire as the shooting in El Paso. In fact, the majority of gun deaths are suicides, and the majority of gun homicides are the type you see in the neighborhoods like Englewood, Lawndale, and Austin. 

Next, the firearms used most in gun homicides are handguns, not semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15. The type of mass shootings like El Paso, although horrific and tragic, make up a very small percentage of gun deaths. You would be more likely confronted by a situation where you faced multiple attackers, like the recent carjacking event, which if all five assailants had been armed with an AR-15 with a high capacity magazine would be the right firearm for defense. 

Speaking of "who needs an AR-15 and high-capacity magazines," just go back to Ferguson, Missouri, where business owners stood guard in front of their shops with semi-automatic rifles, shotguns, and handguns which were spared as the rioters moved on to unprotected businesses to vandalize, loot, and burn. It happened back in 1992 during the Watts riots when Koreans stood guard to protect their neighborhood. 

It's a fact that the police will not always be there on time or at all to help you. The ludicrous gun control laws, restrictions, and bans don't work, period. London, which has guns banned still managed to surpass NYC in homicide rate. Nobody ever talks about security, which after 9/11 skyrocketed in airports across the nation. 

When I was in Israel, training with the Golani Brigade's Recon Company in Akko, there were members of the IDF all over, openly carrying assault rifles and sub-machine guns, and this was long before they had a terrorist group, Hamas, in control of Gaza, right in their backyard. 

I'm not advocating that level of security, but it is noteworthy that all these cowards who commit mass shootings pick on gun-free zones full of unarmed, innocent people. I took up competitive shooting last year, 3-gun matches mostly, to keep my skills sharp. Who were the people I ran into? Not just former military and LEOs, no crazed gun nuts, but men and women from all walks of life and ages, competing in a shooting sport that requires skill with a handgun, shotgun, and semi-automatic rifle (mostly AR-15s), engaging targets, under the clock, with a huge focus on safety. 

Wake up, America! The problem isn't firearms; mass shootings are a symptom of a sick, decaying society. Focus on fixing that.

Emerson Bolen, a retired U.S. Army Special Forces sergeants major, lives in River Forest.

Love the Journal?

Become our partner in independent community journalism

Thanks for turning to Wednesday Journal and OakPark.com. We love our thousands of digital-only readers. Now though we're asking you to partner up in paying for our reporters and photographers who report this news. It had to happen, right?

On the plus side, we're giving you a simple way, and a better reason, to join in. We're now a non-profit -- Growing Community Media -- so your donation is tax deductible. And signing up for a monthly donation, or making a one-time donation, is fast and easy.

No threats from us. The news will be here. No paywalls or article countdowns. We're counting on an exquisite mix of civic enlightenment and mild shaming. Sort of like public radio.

Claim your bragging rights. Become a digital member.

Donate Now

Reader Comments

26 Comments - Add Your Comment

Note: This page requires you to login with Facebook to comment.

Comment Policy

Dean Dang  

Posted: September 7th, 2019 8:58 AM

Great article! I also am a veteran, deployed for two years, attached to 7th special forces group for 5 years. I agree with the author, semi automatic firearms aren't the problem. For the people who want to ban ar15s please review this info: http://www.assaultweapon.info/

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: September 4th, 2019 5:12 PM

Brushed it off, EmBo. I know who I am. But sincere kudos to you for showing some class. .

Emerson Bolen from River Forest  

Posted: September 4th, 2019 10:42 AM

From a study: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/08/16/what-the-data-says-about-gun-deaths-in-the-u-s/?fbclid=IwAR0b06SqNFE2RKLPrgVIj3zvtJIYSwNcXgTzmjKnuwyhm_Vn8rVnlXfWHoM

Emerson Bolen from River Forest  

Posted: September 4th, 2019 10:40 AM

I apologize for the "Mr Beta Male" comment, that was out of line.

Kevin Cassidy  

Posted: September 4th, 2019 8:15 AM

Mr. Bolen, the horror at West Virginia Tech occurred before the 2012 date that I stipulated. Had that lunatic had an AR-15 we can be sure he would have killed even more people. Let me repeat my suggestion. - Get AR-15s, and similar weapons of mass destruction, off the street while we pursue solutions for the "real" problem as you you imagine it. The widespread use of handguns also needs to cease. As you point out their existence allows 1000s of unnecessary deaths. You place responsibility for the carnage on the shooter not on the weapon. You blame the one who "pulls the trigger". So, let's eliminate the triggers. Nothing for the bad actor to pull. Once we learn how to eliminate insanity from the human race we can return to using guns for millions of dollars in profit.

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: September 3rd, 2019 6:10 PM

Enjoy your ascendancy while you can, EmBo. The world is getting weary of your right wing blather. But don't worry- we won't take away your tax payer funded pension.

Emerson Bolen from River Forest  

Posted: September 3rd, 2019 5:15 PM

Oh, and Willie...it's a magazine, not a clip. It never ceases to amaze me the ignorance displayed by the gun fearing/hating liberals...and BTW...the mass shooters are the ones pulling the trigger, not the gun itself...you really are a slow learner. https://www.facebook.com/libertytreeguns/videos/658267657998107/UzpfSTEwMDAwMDA0MDQ2MTI2NDoyNjEzOTIyMjg4NjE5MDk0/

Emerson Bolen  

Posted: September 3rd, 2019 5:04 PM

http://maineexaminer.com/maine-tops-safest-states-rankings-four-years-after-relaxing-key-gun-law/?fbclid=IwAR3W4C_2H0OW-_I_tM3gIrNdXOkaVm1exxoCX06JqAUaBeJDWEBShO1U8J0 Wait, what? Oh...yep.

Emerson Bolen from River Forest  

Posted: September 3rd, 2019 3:51 PM

Kevin Cassidy that is simply not true. Go check on the shooter at Va Tech, and several others...that did not use AR-15s. I would also add that the overwhelming majority of those shootings committed by gang bangers and other criminals are handguns.

Emerson Bolen from River Forest  

Posted: September 3rd, 2019 3:48 PM

Awwww....Willie you didn't like my response? You don't like my competition gear and clothing? You make me laugh Mr. Beta Male.

Emerson Bolen from River Forest  

Posted: September 3rd, 2019 3:46 PM

Thank you David Fagan, very good point...oh yeah, and very good choice in the HK!!

David Fagan  

Posted: September 3rd, 2019 1:00 PM

Guns haven't changed much in the last 100 years, people are still buying 1911's. Even the AR-15 has been around since the 50's what's new, not it. I had a HK91 when I was 16, I didn't take it to school and shoot people.

Kevin Cassidy from Oak Park  

Posted: September 3rd, 2019 11:43 AM

Let's grant the premise that guns are not the problem.. Still AR-15 rifles were used to commit every major mass shooting in the United States since a 2012 attack in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater.. How about we ban the possession of an AR- 15 while we figure out what is really wrong.

Ray Simpson  

Posted: September 2nd, 2019 10:33 AM

Looks like Dwyer has bit off more than he can chew! Well that isn't a surprise he has a habit of countering knowledgeable conversation by pointing out that his opponents socks don't match.

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: September 1st, 2019 10:28 AM

Why, Mr. Bolen ? two screeds and a total 689 words in under 30 minutes in response to my mere 10 lines. Just whose nerves got touched here, sport? . And, "Willie."? Really. Such an assertive and dominantly dismissive military man, you are. . I'll keep this brief; Em... the 2nd amendment, like the 1st amendment, is not absolute. What types like you call "infringement, the great majority of Americans call "regulation." But you don't think that way, because for you, everything's a binary choice. . The loved ones of the latest victims of your supposedly informed but clearly ignorant views on guns- seven dead and counting in Texas- I am quite sure those mourning them don't give a tinker's damn about whether the high velocity round that blew their loved ones away was this caliber or that grain. . But dang, boy, you sure look real macho in your he-man drag and that big ol' gun and long clip.

Ray Simpson  

Posted: September 1st, 2019 8:52 AM

Sorry I depended on "spell checker" late in the evening! But then you did get the gist of what I was saying!

Kevin Anderson  

Posted: September 1st, 2019 7:05 AM

Ray...Maybe the lesson you should have learned was how to spell sergeant.

Ray Simpson  

Posted: September 1st, 2019 12:31 AM

One lesson I learned in the army was "You don't mess around with the First Sargent and he don't mess around with the Sargent Major!" Thanks Emerson this was a fun read!

Emerson Bolen from River Forest  

Posted: August 31st, 2019 5:07 PM

Now Willie, let's get to the next reason why your argument is a complete failure. Let's look at violence and death, especially those of innocent lives. As I explained in my letter, handguns are used in the vast majority of gun homicides/crime. Use of an AR-15 isn't even close yet you choose to single that firearm out because of your ignorance. In fact tif you want to expose REAL psychotic liberal/progressive hypocrisy, gun deaths aren't even close to the #1 cause of death in the US (1.5%). That would be abortion, which accounts for 25% of the deaths...and in this case COMPLETELY innocent lives....in this country. The great irony? Firearm ownership is a RIGHT, protected by the 2nd Amendment and in the Bill of Rights yet many states completely infringe on this right. Abortion is sadly legal, but NOT a right yet many states are expanding abortion rights. Want to talk about sick? The twisted liberal/progressive left bashes the NRA, an organization that promotes gun safety, defense of firearm owners and the 2nd Amendment, donates money to suicide prevention/research, and is all about responsible gun ownership. On the other hand, the sick, twisted, liberal left supports an organization like Planned Parenthood which is an abortion factory, and no, don't event try to deny that fact because their 3% abortion of all services was debunked years ago, and worse yet is it's founder, Margaret Sanger, racist, proponnet of Eugenics, and avid supporter of Adolph Hitler. Gee, looking at abortion and todays Democratic Party and abortion advocates, she would be SO proud of all of you. Speaking of the Democratic Party, let's look at all those cities that are racked with violence, homeless, rat infested, broken education systems, urban decay, poor housing, drug trafficking, crime in general like Chicago, Baltimore, NYC, San Francisco/Oakland, LA/San Diego...what do they all have in common? Tough gun laws...and...decades of Democratic Party rule!! Go figure. Here endeth the lesson.

Brian Slowiak  

Posted: August 31st, 2019 5:06 PM

@ Emerson Boles: Do you know of a military, any military that carries the AR15? Thanxs in advance.

Emerson Bolen from River Forest  

Posted: August 31st, 2019 4:42 PM

Awww...Willie are you upset? Did I strike a nerve? That must be why you are still on here spouting complete nonsense! Say what you want about my military service and experience because I couldn't care less. The fact is that I am an authority on fireamrs and their use, whereas you know didley squat. I can't take your comments seriously because your're uniformed, subjective, anecdotal and your opinion based on ignorance. I shall educate you. First, you are 100% incorrect about an AR-15 again...no surprise...it's NOT a military weapon that inflicts carnage on innocent people; none of mine have ever unlocked themselves from the steel cabinites they are in, loaded themselves and gone out and shot anyone. Speaking of muzzle velocity...it's not the only factor involved in causing damage...another thing you fail to mention because of your ignorance...there is also mass, in this case the typical bullet of a 5.56mm NATO round is 55gr (grains are the unit of measurement for bullet weight), which for hunting purposes is classified as a Varmint round. The 3200fps velocity leads to great penetration which by itself doesn't necessarily cause the damage. Accuracy is extremely important with this round because if you don't hit the enemy in the head, vital organ, or a bone, just soft tissue it could pass through doing limited damage, even with all the lbs/ft energy which is 4 times greater than handgun rounds. I've seen men hit 4 times with a 5.56mm and still function for several minutes before they finally dropped. On the other hand, take your typical .45 ACP round that travels at 870fps but has a 230gr bullet, or a standard 9mm round at 115gr travelling at 1000fps yet will still do the damage with a head shot or body hit. My former unit designed the .300 AAC Blackout round because the 5.56mm wasn't effective enough in CQB during operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The subsonic .300cal round at 240gr with a seratted 240gr hollow point did far more damage and a .223=5.56mm.

Ray Simpson  

Posted: August 30th, 2019 8:57 AM

My basic question, still not addressed, is "they just know that the next law will solve the problem even though they are against forcing the courts to enforce the thousands of laws on the books" - spewing nothing just looking for a simple answer!

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: August 29th, 2019 8:33 AM

You still struggle with responding coherently to simple facts, don't you, Simpson?

Ray Simpson  

Posted: August 27th, 2019 10:31 PM

Well Emerson, welcome to the Dwyer sh*t list. He always thinks he knows better than anyone and proves his ignorance with every sentence

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: August 27th, 2019 8:39 PM

What America really needs to wake up to is the lies that gun violence dismissers like Ray Simpson and Emerson Bolen spew in defense of the unacceptable carnage military weapon inflict on innocent people. I don't give a dead rodent's behind how many years Bolen served in the military, he's absolutely wrong about the AR-15. Full auto isn't the only measure of an assault weapon. Another is muzzle velocity. And the rounds fired from an AR 15, like at Parkland, are nearly three times the foot per second of a 9 mm pistol. That far greater velocity of a - what? You tell us, Emerson- a ,223 ? - does unimaginable damage to human tissue, and makes even non-core body hits lethal. You know this, but ignore it. So Emerson, just what part of "America" do you really want to wake up? Because the part you and Ray are defending is the "sick, decaying" hateful and violent part of American society. Let it rot, I say.

Ray Simpson  

Posted: August 27th, 2019 3:14 PM

Well said EB! Now brace yourself for the progressive reply. They know that they have to do something so they never have to do anything. They just know that the next law will solve the problem even though they are against forcing the courts to enforce the thousands of laws on the books

Facebook Connect

Answer Book 2019

To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2019 Answer Book, please click here.

Quick Links

Sign-up to get the latest news updates for Oak Park and River Forest.

MultimediaContact us
Submit Letter To The Editor
Place a Classified Ad

Latest Comments