Letter to the Editor: the construct of 'good' and 'evil' are not useful in the gun rights debate

Saturday, March 17, 2018

To the Editor:

I live in a gun-owning household. I am an active advocate for common sense gun laws. I write in response to 3/15/18 letters from Maggie Wilson (A ‘murderer’ speaks out) and Gini Paulsen (We must fix this).

Both letters speak of “evil” in regard to the issue of gun violence. Paulsen refers to the refusal to consider restrictions on gun ownership as tantamount to murder; Wilson posits that we would be “empowering evil” should we attempt to restrict the gun ownership rights of “good” people.

The construct of “good” and “evil” is not useful in the debate surrounding gun rights. We can’t really predict “goodness” or “evilness;” we can only make a very subjective judgment after the fact based on a person’s actions. In other words, everyone has the potential to be a “good guy with a gun” until they’re not.

In that case, the “tool” IS the issue. Wilson calls the gun “a powerful tool.” She’s right. A “tool” with no purpose other than to kill swiftly, efficiently, and with minimal physical risk to the user is in a class by itself. If you carry this tool, you carry also the possibility – some would even say the probability – of using it to kill. It's a tool that has been used more than 7,000 times since 2012 in out country to kill children.

Given that, I wonder why any reasonable person would object to considering sensible firearm regulations. Think of the many laws we have passed to regulate the operation of vehicles, another big killer of our nation’s youth.

While we can’t predict “good” and “evil”, I wonder if we can draw conclusions based on whether a person speaks first of his “responsibility” to the common good, or seeks first to assert his “rights” when it comes to gun ownership.

Sue Whitcomb
Lake Forest Park


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