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Readers Shoot Back Pro and Con
My 700-word column a week ago on the Las Vegas mass shooting, where I used the word “dead” 58 times and “wounded” 527 times to emphasize the carnage, resulted in thousands of words in email responses, including these praiseful ones from a reader named Bruce:
“You deserve a Pulitzer! You hit the nail precisely on the head very dramatically and with very few words.”
A handful of readers, however, were more inclined to think of me as a putz than as a Pulitzer nominee, including Mike “An Ex Subscriber” who wrote:
“Thank you for your article. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I have finally decided to cancel my subscription to the Ventura County Star as I can no longer continue to support such a biased ‘news’ reporting vehicle.
“I’m surprised that you didn’t say we should pass a law to make it illegal to break the laws already in place. How many existing laws were broken in the Las Vegas shooting?
“I also find it hard to believe that I, as a Law abiding citizen, cannot carry a weapon to defend myself because when seconds count the police are only minutes away.”
An anonymous reader agreed with Mike “An Ex Subscriber,” emailing just one word to me: “Fool.”
From Peggy: “My opinion is that we have WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION un-checked. These are wielded by white men, not Muslims, Mexicans, black men, etc.
“No ‘spines’ in Congress.”
Another Peggy wrote: “Thank you for your unique and startling column that not only disturbingly demonstrates the toll from the Las Vegas massacre, but also draws sharp attention to the change in weapons from what our Founding Fathers initially dealt with.”
From Bill, who began with a sarcastic, “An impressive column” and proceeded: “But 58 dead by shooting is the average monthly homicides on the south side of Chicago.
“Former President Obama has a ‘residence’ on the white Hyde Park island around the University of Chicago. It is mere blocks away from the daily mayhem that Obama totally ignored while being president for eight years. So, who is really our idiot president?”
From David: “Impactful article. I agree with your assessment of the American people. We have to be idiots to insist on gun rights and elect the likes of Trump. It’s not his sanity I question – it’s ours.”
From Jim: “I thank you for making an incredibly powerful argument against the idiocy of our ‘gun love.’ ”
From Chuck: “I’m sure you will hear a lot of negative feedback from 2nd Amendment, NRA, gun-rights extremists; but your are correct – America is stupid.
“However, I hold no optimism for anything being done about the easy availability and proliferation of guns in the U.S. If the Congress did not have the political or moral will to take any action after Sandy Hook and the slaughter of 24 first graders, nothing will be done now.
“It is sad that U.S. policies concerning weapons meant solely for mass killing in war is dictated by a minority of Americans.”
Fred disagreed with me at length, but was rare in doing so with civility. He concluded: “Let’s face it Woody, we Americans are of two different worlds when it comes to defining what freedom is, and I hope with all my heart that as a country we continue to challenge each other with ongoing discussions such as this.
“I also hope and pray that we will never (ever!) be of only one political view because that would be the end of America as the Founding Fathers envisioned.”
Terri echoed the viewpoint of a number of others: “The time for the uproar is now.”
From Rick: “Thank you Woody, for such an enlightening, informative, cogent Article today. I learned so much. Instead of your usual pithy comments, you waste all of your space on nothing. Congrats!”
Sorry, but I had no pith in my heart a week past. Next Saturday, I will try to again be pithy.
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Woody Woodburn writes a weekly column for The Ventura County Star and can be contacted at WoodyWriter@gmail.com.
Check out my memoir WOODEN & ME: Life Lessons from My Two-Decade Friendship with the Legendary Coach and Humanitarian to Help “Make Each Day Your Masterpiece” and my essay collection “Strawberries in Wintertime: Essays on Life, Love, and Laughter” …
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