Letter to the Editor

by Professor Don Shernoff


Dear Editor,

I find the article entitled “Westchester Gun Show Triggers Irrational Outrage”, by Brian Ponte to be troubling on several levels.

Ponte states that “Arguments are by nature, based on fact, imploring a listener to take a particular course of action based on relevant information.” This is true.

He claims that opposition to the gun show is based on a belief that the exchange of guns must be inhibited by a government that exists to prevent citizens from making any decisions it deems improper. He confuses safety with impropriety.

Ponte claims that references to mass shootings are not valid arguments for better gun control, but are appeals to primal emotions. On the contrary, mass murder of men, women, and children do evoke primal emotions AND constitute valid grounds for better gun control.

A personal opinion is no justification for name-calling or making unsubstantiated claims. Gun control is an emotional issue for many people and emotional issues can cause writers to abandon their objectivity. They then arrive at conclusions that are not supported by the evidence that they present, their language gets increasingly provocative as they approach their final paragraphs. They attribute absurd notions to their “opposition” in order to argue against them. They end with a crescendo of name-calling and false statements. Emotion conquers reason.

There is a saying in science. “The truth speaks for itself.” I hope that the Viking staff always tries to speak for the truth.

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