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Letters to the Editor

Letter: Reaction worse

September 25, 2013

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To the editor:

Prof. David Guth’s Twitter comment about the National Rifle Association was intemperate, but the reaction to it was much worse. He was not threatening anybody and was exercising his right to free speech according to the First Amendment. Since by far the most deaths by shooting, except for gun-related ones, are caused by mentally unbalanced individuals, I trust that a positive psychiatric statement for gun buyers will be mandatory asap.

Comments

Phoghorn 1 year, 4 months ago

Do you mean the reaction by KU to place him on administrative leave, or the decision by private citizens to send him death threats in retaliation?

I wholeheartedly agree with the letter writer if she means the retaliatory death threats. Nobody deserves death threats.

But I must disagree with her if she means the reaction of KU administrators. When you accept a job, whether public sector or private sector, you agree to abide by a code of conduct. Thus, if you are say something that makes your employer look bad (KU in this case), then you can be disciplined, even if the employer is in the public sector. The First Amendment protects you from criminal charges, but it does not grant you total immunity from any and all repercussions.

The real problem we are facing is the closing of mental health facilities. Granted, medicines have allowed many people to live outside such institutions, but not all people are willing to take medicines. More importantly, some conditions can not be fully resolved with medicines.

This leaves two choices: Live at home End up in prison

Unfortunately, neither option is ideal - especially the latter. The sad fact is that mental health facilities are still needed in our society - but of course without the bizarre experiments that marred the practice in the distant past.

Keeping guns out of the hands of those with severe mental conditions is important, and it is advocated by many gun owners and gun rights organizations. The gun is just a very small part of the equation, however.

tomatogrower 1 year, 4 months ago

Well this is going against the Libertarian/Tea Party view point. I went to a Libertarian Party convention in LA in 1969. One of their heroes is Thomas Szasz who has been instrumental in our society going too far the other way in not really caring for mentally ill people. So the Tea Party and Libertarians are going to have to resolve this dilemma.

Phoghorn 1 year, 4 months ago

So, how many Libertarian and Tea Party folks do you see rallying around him today? I am willing to bet that very few of the younger Libertarians (ie 18-35) even know who this guy is - let alone consider him to be some sort of hero.

Centerville 1 year, 4 months ago

A shoots B. If the children of C are murdered, that would make me feel all smug and sanctimonious. Said no rational person. Ever.

avarom 1 year, 4 months ago

Guth should get the same punishment Virgil Peck received............NONE!

jemediah 1 year, 4 months ago

When you actually diagram the logic of what he was really saying (including passive "let," etc.), he was essentially doing the same thing that people did during Vietnam when they said that senator's sons should have to go to war. While it may have been a better-crafted message in light of the vested political interests of people who had the power and incentive to find reasons to tear him apart for his views, he was simply saying that those in a position of power to control an inevitable and tragic situation (i.e. the death of soldiers in Vietnam) should NOT be exempt themselves from the body of people that their decisions effect.

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