February 17, 2013

Firearms demo: oil on the waters or fuel on the fire?

Letter to the Editor

I hate to bring bad news to George Smith (column, Feb. 6), but having legislators attend a firearms demonstration probably wouldn't bring many converts to his way of thinking.

In fact, I think it more likely would serve to harden those who oppose his way of thinking.

Some people in this world view guns in pretty much the same way that others might view rattlesnakes: cold to the touch, loathsome to look upon, inherently and unpredictably deadly. The mere sound they make brings a chill to their spines. They are pretty sure that just being near such a thing is an invitation to be bitten.

If those folks (and I am fairly sure there are some in the Legislature) attend a firearms demonstration, they would not see men and women safely discharging weapons and maybe even enjoying it. They would see something like crazy snake-handlers, devotees of a weird, death-defying cult, toying with their own destruction. And, should they witness one of their colleagues actually lift a gun, they likely would start to lose respect at once. ("Oh, I didn't know he/she was one of those people!") Not a way to inspire collegiality.

I'm sure that Smith's intention was true. How could someone not be positively influenced, if introduced to a sport he so clearly enjoys? Alas, irrationality knows no bounds.

Smith's attempt to pour oil on the waters may instead pour fuel on the fire.

Bruce E. Hanson


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