Letters to the Editor

From the week of May 18.

To the young folks and those who are still enlightened (I know you're out there, but inhibited by other personal needs): Don't get disheartened, but get collectively assertive and involved politically, just like we did decades ago when other threats to social welfare were at stake. I can't think of a better cause for the new millenium than fighting the threat of the escalating numbers of firearms that continues to be antithetical to our community nationwide.
Jonathan M. Dietz
Denver

As an NRA volunteer instructor and a concealed-carry permit holder, I would like to make a few comments about Calhoun's "Fire Away" essay. I don't find the principle of protecting my privacy to be ludicrous. For me, it's nothing more or less than a principle, since I've signed my letter, but I'm interested in preserving the concept of privacy, as I assume any American interested in fairness would be. Publishing permit-holders' names is part of the media-endorsed vilification of people who wish to exercise their right of self-defense.

I testified to that effect during Senate hearings, sitting across from Senator Pat Pascoe, who seems to wish that women would be more ladylike, and beside the well-paid Tom Mauser, who voiced an opinion against privacy that seemed, shall we say, somewhat irrelevant to his "field of expertise." (Yes, Mr. Mauser -- hire yourself out as a lobbyist and you will be so referred to.) I explained that my expensive permit required a five-month head-to-toe investigation. I went on to say that I knew of many women who put guns in their purses when traveling, buying fast food, etc. I stated that they'd never bother to subject themselves to such scrutiny and expense to become legal, tending to defeat the anti-privacy crowd's purpose of publishing the name of every Coloradan who carries. A look of surprise appeared on the faces of many in the room, but whether it was due to learning, for the first time, that women here routinely carry guns for self-defense, or realizing that this bill wouldn't even begin to reveal them, I can't say.

As a bicycle/motorcycle commuter, I know that the level of road rage exhibited in the murder of the bicyclist is by no means unusual. The attacker used a firearm instead of his auto or other objects. The answer is to prepare for attacks as best one can -- not try, legislatively and in vain, to control what objects may be utilized. Criminals and nuts are a daily threat, even in those societies where the law-abiding can't possess guns.
Shannon Wilson
Golden

I just read "Fire Away" -- what a great story. Calhoun did an excellent job. I can't believe how much information she got in, and yet the piece still flowed quite well. I learned a lot reading it.
Brian Johnson
via the Internet

In my ongoing studies of contemporary cultural anthropology, I've learned that one must look in totality at the real reasons why humans have this primordial desire to make and possess weapons -- namely, firearms. I can assure all, the answers are complex and would require volumes upon volumes of text to give a complete picture. But according to notable theorists such as Desmond Morris, Robert Ardery, Konrad Lorenz and Freud himself, sex and aggression are intertwined with each other, and when there is no sexual release, the aggression instinct takes over. Anthropologists refer to this phenomenon as redirection of aggression.

Hence, if one has an inferiority complex, a gun can act as a sexual enhancer or, to put it simply and bluntly, a symbolic extension of the phallus. The simple fact of the matter is, marketing experts know this and utilize said themes again and again to market most if not all products. Please keep in mind that the gun industry exists for one reason only: to expand the bottom line. And all of the gun lobbyists know this.
Arthur Kerndt
via the Internet


A Landmark Decision

Regarding Julie Jargon's May 4 "The First Step," about Colorado Youth at Risk, P.S.1 and the Landmark Forum:

Having spent nearly all of 1999 as a volunteer mentor for Colorado Youth at Risk, I can assure you that neither it nor the Landmark Forum are "cults." Irresponsibly correlating our "core principles," such as commitment, integrity, respect and responsibility, with morons who put on matching jumpsuits and Nike tennis shoes and sit and wait for the next comet to come along so they can all commit group suicide is absolutely absurd!

While all the "privileged" kids at Columbine were winning a state championship in football and getting all the attention and tears and millions of dollars, our East High students were filling a U-Haul truck full of non-perishable food, clothing, money and other items for a food bank and working on turning around their lives. Lives which have never even remotely entertained the privileges and opportunities afforded the students of Columbine. In fact, as one of our youth commented shortly after the tragedy, "Notice it wasn't the poor black kids who went off, but the well-to-do white kids?" Interesting observation, huh? But then, our youth live their own Columbine 365 days a year, and my youth's mom showed me the bullet hole in her arm as living proof of that. And while our students were participating in these activities, I assure you they weren't at home making bombs, sawing the barrels off of rifles or engaging in any other form of terroristic mischief. (But trust me: They don't have to look far to find it in the neighborhoods where they live.) They were working on turning around their lives!

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