Letters to Editor About "In the Line of Fire"

Preaching Politics
Columns should keep out of politics. You should know that, unlike other magazines, your readers come from a very diverse cross-section of society. No matter which side of a political issue you take, there will be a significant amount of your readers who will disagree. ... Now you have published a political statement written by a hospital media relations coordinator (read: propaganda distributor) who is not even a graduate of the UW.

The article was full of the usual social spending, gun control and government solutions consistently called for by liberals. When conservative solutions were presented (the "three-strikes-you're-out" initiative for felons), they were presented unfavorably and then dismissed. Nowhere was the view presented that after over 30 years of social spending and gun control, the problem has only gotten worse. When a very small fraction of all of the guns in America are involved in violence, how does gun control help?

...Keep Columns informing us about what is going on at the UW. Stop preaching to us your political views.

Scott Brown, '86

Beating the Gun Control Drum
I found the June 1994 article "In the Line of Fire" lacking. It was unclear what Dr. [Michael] Copass had to do with the article other than being pandered to by Harborview staff member and article author Larry Zalin. And, while many of the suggestions for reducing violence seemed meritorious and perhaps effective, what leads the author or the contributors to believe that social engineering measures like restricting access to guns will have any greater impact than Prohibition did?

Like cars and alcohol, guns are universally available in this country. We do not have the social mores of Japan or Sweden. Laws banning possession of firearms in the U.S. (New York, Washington, D.C.) haven't reduced the carnage any more than automobile license suspensions and drunk driving convictions without incarceration do. Gang members understand that because they are juveniles, they will be released with little or no real punishment, whether they use a gun or not. Gun control may be a "hot" topic because of recent media attention but the beating of that drum, the inappropriate and inaccurate bashing of the military-industrial complex ... and the denigration of a strong criminal justice system do nothing to advance the caliber of Columns, the persuasiveness of the article or my desire to support the alumni association.

George M. Snyder, '60, '64
Los Angeles

Bow Down to Whom?
...If there had been an effective gun ban 200 years ago, your magazine would have been written for the University of King George III alumni.

Stephen Stringham, '82
Las Vegas, Nev.

A Ridiculous Idea
... Columns has become a little too one-sided for me. Take for example your June 1994 issue and the article titled "In the Line of Fire" by Larry Zalin. Zalin did a wonderful job of pushing the politically correct gun control message. He tried desperately to claim that violence is a public health issue and that guns are at the center of all of it.

All of this, of course, was unsupported by any factual evidence or even common sense. If Zalin and some of your contributors want to push the ridiculous idea that violence is a health issue, so be it. Though to blame guns for all violence and then to make gun control a public health issue is either a deliberate effort by Zalin and your magazine to support a political agenda, or it shows Zalin to be ignorant of the facts surrounding crime statistics and guns, not to mention the Bill of Rights. There was no effort to balance the article with accurate opposing facts or views, but I understand that may have discredited the politically correct views of your interviewed "experts" such as Dr. Copass, Dr. [Abraham] Bergman or Holly Neckerman.

... It is sad that the University and your magazine have become nothing more than a platform to advance the political agenda of various special interest groups. Please cancel my subscription to Columns.

Anthony Burrows, '90

Common Sense
Good job on "In the Line of Fire." This deserves the widest possible republication! ... I shared my copy with colleagues and kin, sorry that I didn't have an extra one to pass on to my favorite legislator. That was much-needed, common-sense, plain talking you guys did on crime and punishment and the need to uproot and heal the root causes.

...Also the article on M.B.A. newspaper executives ("Byline vs. Bottom Line," March 1994) was a good start on another urgent topic, though much was left unsaid. The writers/staffs of our daily and weakly (sic) bugles aren't all that great shakes either. I've heard it said, "Isn't it time Seattle had a real newspaper?"

Wesley D. Johnson, '56

Negative Complexes
A comment on Roland Maiuro's contributions in "In the Line of Fire." [Professor Maiuro said using the criminal justice system to solve the violence epidemic "has all the negatives that the military-industrial complex had in remedying issues of democracy and freedom."] The parallel he draws between the military-industrial complex and the criminal justice system as a solution to violence fails to make his point, because the get-tough approach (including Reagan's pursuit of "Star Wars") did in fact succeed in bringing down the Soviet Union and ending the Cold War.

Bernice Bean Krahn, '57, '59
Fairfield, Idaho

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