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Charlotte Amalie
Friday, August 19, 2022
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More Thoughts on Getting Rid of Guns

Dear Source:

I've read with interest the recent dismissive responses to my suggestion that Virgin Islanders join together to "Make The Virgin Islands A Gun Free Territory" I would point out that the gun violence that we are experiencing has little to do with the registration of fire arms, and that we have no interest in denying anyone their constitutional rights.
The fact and reality is that young men in the Virgin Islands are involved in a classic turf war and arms race, and that unscrupulous people are willing and eager to sell these young men new and ever more murderous weapons, guaranteed to further escalate the conflict and the causalities. All concerned citizens of our community want and need to find a way to put an end to it.
The question is how? The interesting suggestion that I have offered is that "we the people" make (by voting on it of course) our Virgin Islands, a nationally and internationally recognized "gun free territory".
One reader responded by saying "Its not for him (Scott Fagan) or anyone else to deprive US citizens of this (or any other right) because you don't like it or because it is not part of your particular cultural orientation." It is true that it is not my right (or intention) to deprive US citizens of their right to own a gun. However, US citizens willingly accept the suspension of that second amendment right, (in the interest of public safety) when they travel to most of the civilized countries of the world. Cultures that do not have a history of glorifying guns (which includes the Virgin Islands) are well within their rights to discourage the availability of guns exactly because they "don't like them" and they are not part of their "cultural orientation."
I know that my suggestion sounds like blasphemy to some statesiders who are not accustomed to viewing the Virgin Islands as having quite a separate history and cultural orientation from the US, and may further be unaware that The Virgin Islands did not participate in drafting or ratifying the US Constitution. Overall a fine document, but one that has repeatedly (27 times to date) demonstrated the need for corrections or amendments. Consequently, Virgin Islanders have no reason to feel inextricably bound to articles or amendments that (while exalted as a right by some people in the states) may be wrong for us. Particularly considering how murderously destructive firearms have become to our culture and our community.
That is why my letter "Let's Make the Virgin Islands a Gun Free Territory"
begins with the reminder that we are a territory, in a somewhat unique position. We were bought and sold in a political transaction between two sovereign nations "lock, stock and population" against the protest of many Danes and without the benefit of a legally recognized majority vote by the general population of the Virgin Islands. Consequently, we may have a certain moral leverage (even if only in pathetically obvious questions such as "must we allow the United States or anyone else to insist that our Islands be flooded with firearms, even if we don't want them?")–a moral leverage that I believe our current President and the world at large is likely to recognize and support.
Yes, I realize that reasonable people in dangerous times would like to have a defensive weapon available. Yes, I understand that our peace officers and Judges will have to do a much better job of protecting us all. Yes, I know it will be quite difficult to clear our Islands of the arsenals of weapons. And most importantly, yes, we are all afraid.
But Virgin Islanders have sufficient courage to stand together in the face of adversity to bring the end to the gun violence that we so desperately want, need and deserve.
All Virgin Islanders want a Virgin Islands in which the current crazy universal access to guns and ever escalating gun violence is a thing of the past. We are not talking about disarming the police or the National Guard, we are talking about voting to outlaw the manufacture, importation, sale, distribution and use of firearms among the general public. What a positive and inspiring effect our declaring the beautiful Virgin Islands "A Gun Free Territory" would have on businesses and potential travelers all over the world, not to mention our own children and communities.
What a negative impact the current reports of our ever-escalating gun violence have on us all.
One extraordinary way for Virgin Islanders to help in shaping our own destiny and to accomplish our very own quite improbable dream this year, is to take a stand to "Make the Virgin Islands a Gun Free Territory" starting right now.
We can do it…yes we can.

Scott Fagan
St. Thomas

Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to visource@gmail.com.

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Dear Source:

I've read with interest the recent dismissive responses to my suggestion that Virgin Islanders join together to "Make The Virgin Islands A Gun Free Territory" I would point out that the gun violence that we are experiencing has little to do with the registration of fire arms, and that we have no interest in denying anyone their constitutional rights.
The fact and reality is that young men in the Virgin Islands are involved in a classic turf war and arms race, and that unscrupulous people are willing and eager to sell these young men new and ever more murderous weapons, guaranteed to further escalate the conflict and the causalities. All concerned citizens of our community want and need to find a way to put an end to it.
The question is how? The interesting suggestion that I have offered is that "we the people" make (by voting on it of course) our Virgin Islands, a nationally and internationally recognized "gun free territory".
One reader responded by saying "Its not for him (Scott Fagan) or anyone else to deprive US citizens of this (or any other right) because you don't like it or because it is not part of your particular cultural orientation." It is true that it is not my right (or intention) to deprive US citizens of their right to own a gun. However, US citizens willingly accept the suspension of that second amendment right, (in the interest of public safety) when they travel to most of the civilized countries of the world. Cultures that do not have a history of glorifying guns (which includes the Virgin Islands) are well within their rights to discourage the availability of guns exactly because they "don't like them" and they are not part of their "cultural orientation."
I know that my suggestion sounds like blasphemy to some statesiders who are not accustomed to viewing the Virgin Islands as having quite a separate history and cultural orientation from the US, and may further be unaware that The Virgin Islands did not participate in drafting or ratifying the US Constitution. Overall a fine document, but one that has repeatedly (27 times to date) demonstrated the need for corrections or amendments. Consequently, Virgin Islanders have no reason to feel inextricably bound to articles or amendments that (while exalted as a right by some people in the states) may be wrong for us. Particularly considering how murderously destructive firearms have become to our culture and our community.
That is why my letter "Let's Make the Virgin Islands a Gun Free Territory"
begins with the reminder that we are a territory, in a somewhat unique position. We were bought and sold in a political transaction between two sovereign nations "lock, stock and population" against the protest of many Danes and without the benefit of a legally recognized majority vote by the general population of the Virgin Islands. Consequently, we may have a certain moral leverage (even if only in pathetically obvious questions such as "must we allow the United States or anyone else to insist that our Islands be flooded with firearms, even if we don't want them?")--a moral leverage that I believe our current President and the world at large is likely to recognize and support.
Yes, I realize that reasonable people in dangerous times would like to have a defensive weapon available. Yes, I understand that our peace officers and Judges will have to do a much better job of protecting us all. Yes, I know it will be quite difficult to clear our Islands of the arsenals of weapons. And most importantly, yes, we are all afraid.
But Virgin Islanders have sufficient courage to stand together in the face of adversity to bring the end to the gun violence that we so desperately want, need and deserve.
All Virgin Islanders want a Virgin Islands in which the current crazy universal access to guns and ever escalating gun violence is a thing of the past. We are not talking about disarming the police or the National Guard, we are talking about voting to outlaw the manufacture, importation, sale, distribution and use of firearms among the general public. What a positive and inspiring effect our declaring the beautiful Virgin Islands "A Gun Free Territory" would have on businesses and potential travelers all over the world, not to mention our own children and communities.
What a negative impact the current reports of our ever-escalating gun violence have on us all.
One extraordinary way for Virgin Islanders to help in shaping our own destiny and to accomplish our very own quite improbable dream this year, is to take a stand to "Make the Virgin Islands a Gun Free Territory" starting right now.
We can do it…yes we can.

Scott Fagan
St. Thomas

Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to visource@gmail.com.