FRIDAY’S LETTERS: Lifton and ‘Gunism’

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By: E&P Staff

In today’s letters, readers respond to Robert Jay Lifton’s column on Virginia Tech and “gunism.”

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Lifton and ‘Gunism’

Yes, gunism is in, and it’s been so frustrating to watch news outlets promote the latest absurd arguments from the gun camp. Every time the gun control is addressed, papers and news shows feel compelled to throw in the wish that “if only someone was armed, the crime would not have happened.”

Media types and gun advocates completely miss the point that if the shooter was unable to get a gun in the first place, the shooting would never have taken place. And how does this theory explain the stories of our society’s armed and law-abiding gun owners misusing their guns?

Further, as the pro-gun activists call for arming the public and rolling back gun free zones, their message to victims, now and in the future, is that they share blame for not taking their personal security seriously enough to carry a gun. Haven’t victims gone through enough without hearing they share responsibility for not stopping the attack?

This dangerous message from the gun lobby takes advantage of our society’s spirit of self reliance and uses it to push a dangerous agenda that champions individual entitlement over public safety. And sadly, for the sake of a newer story angle, journalists are willing to fuel the fire.

Beth Martin
Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich.



Mr. Lifton is clearly ignorant of how inextricably firearms are woven into the fabric of U.S. History. While he blithely cites the “historical Wild West” and “role of the frontier” as instrumental in “gunism,” he conveniently ignores (or is ignorant of) the reality that these periods of U.S. history are merely products of the anvil on which they were forged. Guns — in the hands of individual citizens — account for the very existence of the United States. Without guns, we would probably still be paying a tea tax. Americans love firearms because they recognize (even if subconsciously) that firearms made — and keep — them free.

Don Zaidle
Editor, Texas Fish & Game magazine

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