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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 4, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Guns in parks

Many criminals, little danger

I would like to respond to Reno Raines’ letter of June 4 [“Guns in national parks: just like a fire extinguisher,” Opinion, Northwest Voices]. In it, he says he feels the need to carry a gun into national parks because of “the numerous criminals roaming the national parks.”

I’ve been an avid hiker for more than 30 years, and I have to admit that I have seen numerous criminals.

Once, I surprised two teenage criminals studying anatomy by the Braille method. Then there was that time I climbed a rock and found a criminal sitting on the top, smoking a joint (“No, thank you”). More than once I’ve seen criminals skinny-dipping and sunbathing naked. I cannot begin to count the number of criminals I’ve seen littering or camping in unapproved areas.

However, in each of these encounters with the criminal element, I was able to escape with my life. Perhaps it’s sheer luck that I never needed to resort to deadly force.

But then, I do travel light — I don’t even carry a fire extinguisher in my pack.

— Howard Hance, Snohomish

Protection or paranoia?

It’s difficult to understand why you published the letter headed “Just like a fire extinguisher.” If indeed there are numerous criminals roaming the national parks looking for unarmed victims, then this should be front-page news.

It reads more like a perfect example of a deep paranoia. Were I to avoid entering national parks, it would be less for fear of numerous armed criminals than of armed paranoiacs who might take umbrage at what I might say.

— Dave Avolio, Issaquah

Defending oneself is not cowardly

Why does carrying a loaded handgun imply one may be required or even desire to kill something? [“Guns in parks: What’s the point?” Opinion, Northwest Voices, June 2]

Handguns are more often used in defensive situations than in offensive ones. Perhaps some criminal, preying upon unarmed people may choose Lee C. Jenen to assault, having made certain there were no rangers near. Maybe Jenen has a spouse or children who may be in jeopardy from such an attack. Maybe an overly energetic bear, bent on obtaining whatever he may wish, might become a problem unto death. It may be that a handgun under such circumstances would be valued.

If one is willing to face an assailant or a marauding beast of the forest, why would one consider them as cowards?

Wake up, Jenen — it was guns that won America its independence from England. History records England made every attempt to disarm colonists before and during that war for independence.

It was guns that tamed the West and real men wielded them. Certainly some were not particularly upstanding, but the vast majority were.

Even Jesus told the disciples to sell their cloaks and buy swords. Were He here today, I’m certain he would instruct them to sell their coats and buy handguns.

Only a government that fears its citizens proposes to disarm them — not a manly side to which one ought adhere.

— Larry Penner, Woodinville

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