Letters to the Editor

Letter: Civil discourse

September 27, 2013


To the editor:

In reference to the controversial Tweet by Kansas University journalist professor David Guth, I believe the concept of the Second Amendment should encourage civil discourse, as his actions have. But how that discourse takes place is vital to the health of our democracy. The outlandish and provocative approach brought forth by Guth does nothing to help our society fix the problem we face of mass shootings, a problem I think we can all readily agree our country needs to face regardless of partisan politics.

The real issue with our epidemic, if you will, of mass shootings could be argued on a basis of many different political perspectives. To find which perspective would be best requires civil discourse. With civil discourse comes a responsibility to not demonize or express poisonous thoughts about one’s political opponents. These outlandish remarks, even by means of social media do nothing to help the rule of law and our ability to clearly see, debate, and understand issues dealing with mass violence our society has seen time and time again.

As a matter of fact, on behalf of KU Young Americans for Liberty, we formally invite Professor Guth to debate gun control with us. I contend a different approach than a Twitter post attacking the NRA would be more helpful to everyone. Maybe then we can get closer to the heart of the problem America faces today with its epidemic of mass shootings.


Ken Lassman 4 years, 7 months ago

How refreshing! If this is truly an honest attempt to initiate civil dialogue on a topic that is important and yet difficult to speak about without polarizing, then perhaps this could be the best thing to come out of this whole series of events.

Kathy Theis-Getto 4 years, 7 months ago

The mission of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) is to identify, educate, train, and mobilize youth activists committed to "winning on principle." Our goal is to cast the leaders of tomorrow and reclaim the policies, candidates, and direction of our government.

YAL Statement of Principles

We are the Young Americans for Liberty. We recognize the God-given natural rights of life, liberty, and property set forth by our Founding Fathers. Our country was created to protect the freedoms of the individual and be directed by We the People.

We recognize that freedom requires responsibility, and therefore we hold ourselves to a high standard of character and conduct. Integrity motivates our action. Principle defines our outlook towards government. Peace and prosperity drive our ambitions towards our countrymen.

We inherit a corrupt, coercive world that has lost respect for voluntary action. Our government has failed and dragged our country into moral decay. The political class dominates the agenda with a violent, callous, controlling grip. For this we do not stand.

We welcome limited government conservatives, classical liberals, and libertarians who trust in the creed we set forth.

WE, as Young Americans for Liberty believe:

that government is the negation of liberty;

that voluntary action is the only ethical behavior;

that respect for the individual's property is fundamental to a peaceful society;

that violent action is only warranted in defense of one's property;

that the individual owns his/her body and is therefore responsible for his/her actions;

that society is a responsibility of the people, not the government. Yaliberty.org

Strategic partners. http://www.yaliberty.org/about/partners

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 4 years, 7 months ago

You know what, I agree with you. I was one of the first people to respond to the article about Guth. I was quite angry when I wrote my response. I have settled down since that letter. I would not be opposed to the civil discourse you recommend. I do not think it would change the minds of conservative gun collectors like myself, and liberals like Guth. If you have this discourse please post the time and date in the LJW. I might come and watch or participate. During my entire career I had to control myself and look at things from the other person's viewpoint. In other words I practiced the golden rule. I try and practice it in my life. I screwed up when I got so furious at Guth's tweet about NRA members children. I shouldn't have let that tweet bait me into losing my kool. For that I apologize. I agree with you that getting angry and screaming at each other accomplishes nothing. These mass shootings are about people with serious mental problems obtaining guns. We should concentrate on getting these people into the background check system anyone buying a gun from a dealer, or at a gun show, must go through. I am not opposed to that. I am against people blaming the gun, a tool, rather than the person who used it. Criminals do not obey the law. Passing laws against guns, that only law abiding people will obey, will not help stop these mass shootings.

buffalo63 4 years, 7 months ago

Lynn731, it seems that Va. has some sensible gun control laws. If the news reports were correct, the Navy yard shooter wanted to purchase an AK47, but state gun laws prohibit anyone from out-of-state to buy that gun. Think about how much worse it might have been had he obtained that "tool". Glad the gun shop followed the law in that situation. I agree with at least background checks. It might stop these types of shooting.

BigDog 4 years, 7 months ago

Often these cases are because of the background check system per se .... It is the fact that many states don't connect the mental health records to the background check system.

That along with people not being served for their major mental health needs when the system recognizes a problem. Navy Yard concerns were expressed about this person months before it happened. In Virginia the mother was trying to get the son involuntarily committed when the attack occurred.

oldvet 4 years, 7 months ago

"The blood is on the hands of the #NRA. Next time, let it be YOUR sons and daughters. Shame on you. May God damn you,” Guth tweeted.

Jacob, this is what Guth tweeted. Since I am the NRA, Guth attacked me and and wished violent death onto my children. Furthermore, he invoked God to damn me. But this is the type of person and the actions that the University of Kansas promotes and protects. His supporters claim that his vitriolic post is his 1st amendment right. Maybe so, but I suspect that if I posted the same wishes to him on this website, the LJW would remove it at once, regardless of my 1st amendment rights.

This hate-speech is promoted and protected by the University of Kansas. The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. The University of Kansas chooses to do nothing.

Jacob Fox 4 years, 7 months ago

In response to oldvet, I don't believe the university did promote or protect the hate speech. They released a statement distancing themselves from the comments. Further, Professor Guth was placed on administrative leave. So could you clarify or specifically give an example of how the university promoted or protected the hate speech? Further, good men are doing something about it. Hence why I wrote this piece and worked hard to get it into a public forum.

oldvet 4 years, 7 months ago

Guth was not placed on administrative leave for what he said, but rather to avoid any potential disruption in the classes he teaches. Reference:
http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2013/sep... In that same piece, his colleagues issue statements in support of his right to speak out in this manner. They say that they may not agree with his comments but it is OK to say them. Guth says that he has not been placed on disciplinary leave. And Tim Caboni says a group will be formed to determine WHEN Guth can return, not IF he can return. The University of Kansas has NOT issued any statement condemning WHAT he said.

You will get the behavior that you reward and eliminate the behavior you punish. KU is rewarding Guth for what he said. The good people who are doing something are the Board of Regents who express disgust and offense at the statement made by Guth and multiple State legislators who have also spoken out about his hate-filled rant. I believe that KU will eventually pay a price for continuing to support Guth.

Mike Ford 4 years, 6 months ago

I went into the same Olathe gunshop today where I heard nonsense spoken about the federal government buying all of the ammunition up and storing it in a closed Native American boarding school, Chilocco, on the Kansas-Oklahoma border a couple of weeks ago. Today the crazy rant was about how the federal government couldn't tell states what to do with guns and ATF compliance. When did these people take the US Constitution class and who didn't tell them about the Supremacy Clause in the US Constitution? This line of thinking is what drives the paranoid view of not being reasonable which is what the NRA thrives on. One makes pliable people afraid enough and these people believe the fear and nonsense hook, line, and sinker. The inappropriate yet protected comment Mr. Guth made can be construed that these people are so far gone with paranoia that maybe there own kids being attacked might wake them up to the lunacy of this whole gun debacle and bring reasonability to the whole discussion. It's sad that these paranoid gun people weren't swayed by Gabrielle Giffords, the Omaha Mall shooting, the Northern Illinois campus shootings, the VA Tech shootings, the Portland Mall shooting, or Newtown. The NRA has created an impervious line of paranoid thinking that no massacre can penetrate with logic. This logic is tied up in End Times paranoia tied together with religious and racial fears into this political froth that logical gun owners like myself just shake my head at. Switzerland which is armed to the teeth to maintain neutrality with compulsory military service and the like has nothing on the crazy that is concocted in the US. It is a crazy world where a journalism teacher with first amendment rights and the ability in an academic environment to think and criticize and observe society and speak about it has his own words spun by the supporters of the problem and is attacked while they live in their paranoid world of denial and not giving up one inch as innocent people are killed left and right by an over proliferation of firearms and the cutting of mental health services and closure of state mental hospitals by state and federal GOP politicians. I guess if these politicians are fighting the ACA they don't want needed mental health care to be provided either. This gun problem simply goes out in many directions.

Mike Ford 4 years, 6 months ago

I love how the whole paranoia thing plays into the constitutional issue. yeah the ninth and tenth amendment stuff. I say this mockingly because there is a deluded view that states can successfully secede again. one knows that the Articles of Confederation didn't work and that's why there was a US Constitution passed seven years later right? like all the states could print their own currency, have their own military, and be their own fiefdom in some Libertarian galaxy far, far away. I wouldn't be proud of breaking up a country over the issue of slavery and being on the wrong side of it historically. oh well.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.