Letter: My Meaning Was Misinterpreted

Monday, June 17, 2013

To the Editor:

Margaret Richardson, in her May 28 letter (“How Fortunate to Be ‘Suitable,’”) appears to have taken my use of the word “unsuitable” as having a racist or otherwise prejudicial meaning. In fairness to her, I might have been better advised to use the word “ineligible” to make my point. The dictionary says “ineligible” has the same meaning as “unsuitable.”

My original letter referred to an opinion about a published survey concerning inner-city crime, and it pointed out that the study itself included a disclaimer that the study was not applicable generally. The study also made detailed reference to the racial and ethnic profiles of the subject persons and their involvement in or proximity to criminal activity. I directly quoted the study, because the study was the very subject of the matter, and for the purpose of demonstrating that this study should not be used in the formulation of legislation related to firearms ownership. I used the word “unsuitable” without sufficient reflection that it could be interpreted as a racial or ethnically biased word.

I meant to say that many, if not most of the persons in the study were legally “ineligible” to purchase or own a firearm. Racist, condescending and prejudicial sentiments are evils that should be expunged from our souls. I neither used nor considered the use of the words “miscreants and riffraff.” We are also well aware that the poor “will always be with us” and that they should be the object of our love and not revilement. Thanks to Richardson for pointing out my misappropriation and use of the “unsuitable” word.

William P. Walsh


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