The Slippery Slope

Letter to the editor 2/14/13 edition

February 13, 2013 

Dear Editor,

What always baffles me when reading about what passes for discussion in the nation's capitol, is the misinterpreting of current positions. A good example is the debate on gun control. Administration proposals are being portrayed as despotic edicts depriving the ordinary householder of any possible means of defending their self or their home from those who would do them harm. This defies understanding, since no one is proposing those kinds of measures.

Everyone recognizes that Americans have a basic right to protect themselves, and it would be political suicide for any administration to try to change that.

The only explanation for this misinterpretation I can think of is that, to the true believer, measures to stop the wrong people from acquiring dangerous weapons now is really a secret first step toward denying everyone the means to defend themselves from future government tyranny -- i.e. the slippery slope to a federal dictatorship.

The slippery slope is a great visual metaphor but is a poor substitute for thoughtful analysis. As it turns out, all slopes are not slippery. In fact, there must be popular support to effect changes in important laws, and there is no popular movement or government plan to remove all firearms from American homes.

What is being proposed is to make it much harder for the wrong people (criminals and the deranged) to acquire guns and to restrict the kind of guns sold, so that the occasional assault does not become a massacre.

There is not much hope of eliminating all such incidents, but we can certainly make them a lot less frequent and deadly. It's not as sexy as a secret government agenda, but it is much more sane.

Ed Estes, Oakhurst

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