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Gun debate deserves better

Date: 2/13/2013

I made a New Year's resolution that I was no longer going to read any letters to the editor sent by a writer who bears the same name as the patriot who declared, "Give me liberty or give me death." This writer, while occasionally providing thoughtful arguments to support his right-wing views, more frequently causes my blood pressure to rise with his Fox News-based intemperate diatribes.

His letter in the Jan. 24 edition of The Reminder has forced me to break my resolution. Rather than advance the safety-based or "personal freedom" arguments articulated by many gun rights advocates, this letter writer argues that we all need to carry weapons to subvert President Obama's attempt to form a dictatorship. To back up his argument he outrageously cites the genocides committed by Hitler, Stalin and the leaders of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.

This argument would be laughable if it wasn't so sad. It is advanced by a growing number of angry, paranoid white people, many of them past the age of 60 like me, who still haven't accepted the fact that we have an Afro-American president.

I think of the title of a book by Alan Paton called "Cry The Beloved Country" when I see this hateful and irrational argument being raised. However one feels about President Obama, it is rational and realistic to believe that this country and its democratic principles will remain intact after Mr. Obama leaves office. That's been the case with every president we've had so far, including Richard Nixon and George W. Bush.

Let's have an intelligent debate about gun control and gun rights rather than cheapen such a debate by using farfetched arguments that shouldn't be given any credence by any serious-minded citizen.

Steve Katz

East Longmeadow