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Thursday, April 13, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Letters to the editor

Gunpowder residue

Showdown between two sides disregards innocents in the middle

Editor, The Times:

Regarding Alan Gottlieb's and Joe Waldron's "Don't let gun-control extremists exploit Capitol Hill tragedy" [Times guest commentary, April 7]:

I live on Capitol Hill. Two of the victims worked at my co-op, and a friend of mine was close with another one of the victims. It may be true that gun-control measures would not necessarily have prevented Kyle Huff from perpetrating such a despicable act [as the six murders on Capitol Hill last month]. But there is nonetheless a very cringe-inducing thread in the commentary's gun-advocacy stance. Is there not something darkly disturbing about anyone hoarding multitudes of weapons and ammunition in a North-end apartment? Seattle is not the wilds of Montana.

The authors write of the "extreme views" of those who are calling for gun-control measures, yet Gottlieb and Waldron are providing their own form of knee-jerk reaction to this horrible crime. And so, where does the answer lie? No gun control? More gun control?

It's seems as though either way, we are not addressing the deeper issue, but only a symptom of our problematic culture. Canada has more guns per capita than the U.S., and yet has a far lower rate of violent crime involving firearms. Perhaps without such easy access to firearms, those young people [Huff's victims] might still be alive.

Instead of the habitual "us vs. them" impulse to blame either side, let's work toward systemically addressing our problems.

— Stan Brownlow, Seattle

Premeditated happenstance

Guest columnists Alan Gottlieb and Joe Waldron just don't get it.

It is certainly possible that Kyle Huff's actions might not have been prevented by tougher gun laws, but reasonable gun control is a simple matter of reducing risks. Do people lock their homes or cars knowing that doing so will stop all burglaries? Of course not, but they cut the risks dramatically, and the same is true where guns are kept out of the hands of those who would misuse them, even though it is not a total solution. Do sane people keep matches and lighters out of the hands of children and believe that will stop all fires? Certainly not, but doing so saves lives every day.

Remember, too, that the Second Amendment does not allow for guns to be in the hands of any person, regardless. It states that the right to have firearms for a "well regulated militia," such as a National Guard, shall not be abridged. The Supreme Court of the land has upheld that concept twice.

And please, Messers. Gottlieb and Waldron, calling a group dedicated to preventing the deaths of innocent people "extremist" is a little extreme, don't you think?

— Mark Jensen, Shoreline

Unerring trajectory

"Gun laws wouldn't have stopped Kyle Huff" [Pro/Con: The gun control debate, guest commentary, April 12] by Jacob Greenleaf was right-on perfect. It's wonderful to see there are a few logical thinkers. Bravo!

— Ken Martin, Sand Springs, Okla.

The crime blotter

Jacob Greenleaf tells us that "people don't need guns to commit extremely violent acts. You need no history degree to know that we were remarkably successful at brutality with bows and arrows, spears, swords and clubs."

He's right, of course. Time after time, we read in the newspaper about a "drive-by sword death."

— Noel French, Mukilteo

A well-calibrated scope

In the real world, the answer to the question of the Kyle Huffs of the world lies somewhere in the complicated land of reason between Washington Ceasefire and Alan Gottlieb's Second Amendment Foundation.

Just like responsible abortion-rights supporters believe there is a gestational point at which abortion becomes irresponsible, reasonable gun-rights advocates ought to recognize there is a point where the ownership of destructive munitions by regular citizens becomes unreasonable.

Oversimplification of this issue ("all guns" vs. "no guns") is another example of the childlike, noncritical thinking that has shoved the United States into the angry, partisan, polarized nation we live in today. There are no simple answers to questions of gun rights, abortion, immigration, health care, etc. If we, as a society, want to find reasonable answers to these issues, we have to stop thinking in black and white. We have to stop dismissing our opponents as crazy. We have to recognize the world is as complex as people like Kyle Huff show us it is.

— Scott Concinnity, Seattle

Aren't we the smart ones

How to get to pessimist street

I come from what for many years was the town with the highest per capita level of education, Los Alamos. I know, therefore, that education doesn't always equate with wisdom. Now, Seattle has the chance to make the same observation ["Seattle ranks as nation's best-educated big city," page one, April 11] as all these highly educated people flock to a place where they have to pay outrageous amounts for an ordinary house.

It isn't the poor, illegal immigrant who is making life so hard for us. It's the well-heeled, college-educated, who will pay whatever for whatever, who make it hard for everyone else.

Rather than restraining people from crossing our borders, we should be enjoining the educated ones to be more restrained in their demands for material comfort.

We have a prime example in the highest office in the land that educated doesn't equate with smart.

— Thomas Munyon, Marysville

Degrees of depredation

The juxtaposition of two adjacent headlines on The Seattle Times Web site Tuesday evening was startling:

• Seattle as the best-educated city in the country;

• Two University of Washington students kicked off the crew team for [painting a slur on a fence].

If this is the kind of person that is a member of the set of best-educated in the U.S., we have much to fear from higher education in this country.

So much for liberal higher education in this liberal town.

— Eric Tronsen, Seattle

Employee of the weak

I can do this

with your eyes closed

I'm ready. Sign me up for a Congress gig: Only work 51 legislative days; don't have to abide by the same laws or rules as regular people; better health benefits than average folks; way better retirement than the people I would be representing. And on top of that, I could always become a high-paid lobbyist if I am not re-elected.

PLEASE I WANT THIS GIG ...

— Harriet Benjamin, Seattle

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