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Letters to the editor

Curtis Stone

I would like to congratulate Alex Miller on a well written and reasoned article. You are pointing out something that most gun-rights advocates have been saying for years: education is the key. Anti-gun advocates tend to be more liberal in their viewpoints than gun-rights advocates. The liberal cure for many “social ailments” is education – STDs, juvenile pregnancy, hate speech, intolerance, etc., all can be solved through education. But, in their view, gun safety is a subject of which children should remain ignorant. Studies suggest (conducted by the CDC and Department of Justice) that children who are raised around guns and taught to safely use them are less prone to ANY type of criminal activity and are SIGNIFICANTLY less prone to committing gun violence. Yet that fact escapes the anti-gun crowd. The problem is that they assign causation for violence to guns. This is not only incorrect, it is simply illogical. Do cars cause drunk driving? Do pencils cause misspelled words? Do spoons cause obesity? I was raised around guns and was taught the basics of gun safety from an early age. I also raised two children around guns and taught them as my father did me. You concentrated on what we call “Rule 1”: There is no such thing as an unloaded gun. This is the rule from which all other rules are derived. Rule 2: Never point a gun at anything you don’t intend to shoot. Rule 3: Never shoot anything that you don’t intend to kill. My children can recite these rules on command at any time and have been able to do so since about age 7 or 8. Obviously, there are more safety rules, and some would object to the wording that I use, but those are the basics that EVERYONE should know, regardless of their (or their parents’) desire to own or use guns. If I went into a second-grade class at random and asked “what is gun safety Rule 1 (or 2, or 3)” every kid in the class should be able to answer. With that said, however, I would like to point out one problem with your article and the knowledge of the instructor whom you interviewed for the piece. You stated: “While acknowledging that, statistically, people trying to protect their homes are more likely to shoot themselves or a family member than shoot a criminal.” I can’t imagine a gun safety instructor acknowledging a statistic that is patently false. The conclusion to which you refer is the result of skewed interpretation of demonstrably inaccurate studies. The myth has been around along time and is continually disseminated as a “basic truth” by the gun-control lobby, but both the studies that were used to reach the conclusion and the conclusion itself has been thoroughly debunked by several less biased scholars. One of the best to read is Dr. Gary Kleck. He is especially interesting because he is a self-described liberal Democrat and a member of the ACLU. His unbiased scholarship has been embraced and denounced by both the gun-control and the gun-rights lobbies equally, depending upon which point is being considered. He routinely debunks the mythological “science” of the gun-control groups but also advocates things like background checks and waiting periods, which enrages the gun-rights groups. He is NOT “pro-gun.” He started out as an anti-gun advocate, but his impartial study of the issue has led him to change his position. He still could not be considered “pro-gun,” in my opinion, but he acknowledges firmly that restricting the availability of guns to the law abiding does not reduce crime and that self-defensive use of guns is an effective deterrent to being victimized. One of the most informative writings I’ve found on the methods and tactics used to misrepresent information on guns and gun control is contained here: “GUNS AND PUBLIC HEALTH: EPIDEMIC OF VIOLENCE OR PANDEMIC OF PROPAGANDA?” It is very long and is a scholarly work and so is a little dry, but it is extremely informative and well documented. I will not vilify you for the mistake because it is so common. These types of myths have been spread so commonly and so often by the media and gun-control advocates that they are just accepted by the general population as “common sense” regardless of the fact that they are simply untrue. Another good resource is Gun Facts 4.0. Thank you for your fair treatment of this subject. We need more rational discussion about the issues associated with guns and society rather than the hysterical hyperbole and fear mongering usually presented in the media. Curtis Stone Norfolk, Va. Well-deserved praiseThe businesses on Meadow Drive want to acknowledge the outstanding job done by the town of Vail, the Eagle River Water & Sanitation District, their contractors and the private development contractors during the just completed spring construction cycle. Many, myself included, believed this project would deteriorate into gridlock within a month of starting. It wasn’t that we questioned the competence of those involved, because they had already demonstrated they were capable of doing the difficult by the superb way they managed the fall construction cycle last year. It was just that the number of large, private developments and their close proximity, complicated by the deep utility work in the street, just looked like it was beyond coordination. Many of us attended weekly update meetings and we were impressed by the cooperation and teamwork demonstrated by everyone involved, including our own businesses, to do what was best for all. The town of Vail Police, Fire, Public Works and Communications all deserve our praise for their creativity and competence. We especially want to acknowledge Leonard Sandoval, the town of Vail coordinator, and Jim Boyd, the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District coordinator, for their leadership in not only doing a job we felt impossible, but to a large extent making it look easy. A project as complicated as this had its fair share of unpleasant surprises, but these two coordinators led the way to satisfactory solutions. Thank you all for a job extremely well done.Rick ScalpelloPresidentMeadow Drive PartnershipCan’t be complacentThe author of the recent letter calling for Middle East “house-cleaning” would have been well advised to check his history books before proposing his decisive solution for peace. Since the 1947 partition of the Palestinian lands, political stability in the region has been, and will continue to be, maintained only through the vigilance of the international community. Whenever Israel has been allowed to act unilaterally in pursuit of its own agenda, an escalation in violence has resulted. We saw the unfortunate result of our complacency during the conflict in Lebanon in the early 1980s, and we are still negotiating the politico-ethnic fallout of our mistake today. Without pressure from the U.S. and our allies, the tenuous peace agreement and withdrawal from settlements in Gaza its environs could never have come to pass. If we fail to check the missteps of either party then we risk losing what little ground has been gained.John N. WrightVailVail, Colorado


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