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Letter: Don’t Succumb to the Hysteria

To the Editor:

In response to Terry Boone’s critique of my last letter, if I seem to have implied that the country was safer when there were fewer restrictions on firearms, it is because the violent crime rate was, in fact, lower in the mid-1960s and earlier, as anyone who was around then or who has studied crime statistics compiled by the FBI knows perfectly well. My questions as to why the locations in the U.S. with the fewest restrictions were among the safest places in the world or when any weapon-control law ever resulted in fewer violent crimes were not only not answered, but were not acknowledged. If I seemed convinced of these facts, it’s because I tend to find accurate and relevant facts convincing.

According to the Valley News, there are at least 2.5 to 3 million privately owned “assault weapons” in the U.S.. That the misuse of a couple of them has generated such hysteria demonstrates an incredibly unrealistic view of the supposed risk they present. (Those pesky FBI statistics show that they have never been used in more than a fraction of 1 percent of violent crimes.) Since people swept up in mass hysteria behave pretty much like alarmed sheep, I stand by my use of the word “bleating,” as well.

The personal qualities necessary for responsible gun ownership do not differ greatly from those required for responsible voting or other aspects of good citizenship. If we are as lacking in those qualities as the anti’s imply, am I supposed to conclude that it bodes well for our country?

Lastly, the charge that an idea is “simplistic” is the usual claim of those who actually mean, “I can’t refute your statement, but I strongly disagree with it anyway.”

Anthony Stimson

Lebanon

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