By LANA WHITED
Lana A. Whited teaches English and directs the Boone Honors Program at Ferrum College. She lives in Ferrum.
The Franklin News-Post editorial “Worn Arguments Won’t End Killings” (Aug. 7) is a poor excuse for a thoughtful response to a very serious social problem. The author’s approach is divisive (the Texas shooter is a “white supremacist,” the Dayton shooter a “leftist.” The term “leftist” is used twice in the column, once in relation to those who advocate more regulation of firearms, which is in fact a broad group, including people of differing beliefs. In fact, a majority of NRA members support universal background checks when buying any firearm. PolitiFact, which is neutral, reports percentages for the NRA subset between 70 and 75.
The editorial’s author also polarizes urban and rural attitudes in non-productive ways. I have lived in rural areas most of my life (in Franklin County for nearly 30 years), and I am offended by the assertion that rural folks either can’t understand or don’t care about the facts and the complexity of statistics on gun violence.
As long as we accept (and in an editorial, perpetuate) this divisiveness, we will not solve our problems.
I regret, dear editorialist, that arguments about gun regulation seem “tedious” to you, but the fact is that progress is not being made, while the body count climbs.
You may view gun violence as a predominately urban problem, but in the last fifteen years (as one of my Facebook friends pointed out), residents of this county have witnessed the on-air murder of two journalists and a school shooting of record-setting proportions just over the mountain in Blacksburg.
I feel sure that most county residents care deeply about our ability to go to schools and shopping centers safely. We are dismayed that some other countries now issue travel warnings to their citizens about visiting our nation.
Problems like these will never be solved by underestimating your readership and your fellow citizens.