Shortly after Reporter Newspapers published Dan Whisenhunt’s  “One Nation Under the Gun” editorial in all four of its editions, readers wrote in disagreeing with the author’s views. Reporter Newspapers published those letters online and one of them in print.

The letter that appeared in the print edition, written by Price R. Potter, prompted six readers to write letters defending the column. In some cases the readers expressed disappointment in Reporter Newspapers’ decision to run Potter’s letter.

To read the column, click here. To read Potter’s letter to the editor, click here. To read all of the responses to the column, click here.

People who wish to submit letters to the editor can email them to  editor@reporternewspapers.net.

Here are the responses to Potter’s letter.

To the editor:

The recent letter by Mr. Potter, which addressed a prior letter on gun control, was a good example of making a point by name calling and attacking the intelligence and emotional balance of someone with whom we disagree. Mr. Potter presumes to know what is in Mr. Whisenhunt’s mind and emotions. He calls him “scared, a squeamish progressive, weak-willed liberal, of selective and highly irrational emotion who should cry himself to sleep every night worrying his pretty little head…, one for whom lawful gun ownership is cause for hysteria, hand-wringing and bed wetting, ill-informed, people like this, with a need to feel good.” All this is name-calling and inappropriate, but an increasingly common strategy. Belittle your opponent to make yourself look better is the approach. Never mind that your opponent may have good reasons for his opinion. Respect for another person’s right to verbalize his opinion is not important.

Actually, Mr. Potter’s argument about firearms is accurate. Cars cause thousands of times more fatalities each year than firearms. Citizens do have a constitutional right to own firearms and to use them for our own protection. Increasing numbers of us citizens are exercising our right to own firearms and know how to use them. We understand that criminals will obtain and use firearms, no matter what the law is. Criminals already show disregard for the law by the very act of shooting someone, which is illegal. They obtain guns illegally. Outlawing guns will not change the behavior of evil people, and our government could not possibly remove every firearm from the face of the earth.

Mr. Potter would have made a much better case by just stating the facts and skipping the name-calling.

Respectfully,

Faye Sklar

To the editor of the Buckhead Reporter:

Price Potter’s extreme and bizarre arguments presented in the last issue of this newspaper are a frustrating example of why meaningful controls on guns and gun ownership in this country are so hard to achieve in the face of obvious and overwhelming evidence that the costs of the status quo exceed any benefits derived by multiple fold. The benefits cited by Mr. Price (defense of home and the unspecified fear of some theoretical tyrannical government) are typical of the genre and are somewhere between dubious and miniscule. The costs are huge and occur every single day in terms of lives needlessly destroyed or snuffed out by gun violence, gun accidents, suicide, and over-zealous self-defense.

Our elected representatives (Mr. Gingrey, Mr. Lindsey, and Mr. Hill in my particular case) have proven spineless and lacking in leadership on this issue as they pander for special interest votes and hope to avoid the ire of the NRA. Surely we can do better than this.

Indeed, according to Mr. Price, those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it: more than 82 times each and every day from gun deaths alone.

Scott Satterwhite

RE: Mr. Potter’s commentary

Mr Potter’s call for logic rather than emotion is neither logical nor unemotional. Quite the contrary. What could be more illogical than comparing cars to guns? Do we have other uses for cars than killing things?

But the greatest contradiction is the totally emotional, irrational argument that we need guns to protect us from government. Talk about fearful bed wetting devoid of reason! If this were the case Mr. Potter needs RPGs, tanks, drones and F-16s not to mention 50-100K like minded comrades. Dispensing with all of the fear mongering and name calling there are only a few facts (facts meaning items that are actually true, supported by evidence rather than ideas that have been repeated so many times that many people think they are true) related to this subject.

Countries with the closest cultural, language and religious ties to the US include Canada, Australia and UK. Their gun death rates compared to the US are 1/5, 1/10 and 1/40 respectively. Why? Go look at their guns laws and nobody would ever call any of these people bed wetters.

Isn’t it interesting that those screaming the loudest about freedom and liberties are the first to promote government control of women’s bodies, corporate subsidies (oil companies, large corporate farmers, defense contractors, etc) and bogus obstacles to voting. If the gun dispute were a formal, interscholastic debate with rules requiring evidence, logic and unemotional discourse the gun lobby would lose that debate hands down.

R. Bays

To the editor:

I was somewhat taken aback by the commentary “Cars cause more harm than firearms do” in your Jan 25-Feb 7 Letters to the Editor section. This commentary was in response to an earlier article written by Dan Whisenhunt.

I had to review the article that Mr. Whisenhunt wrote, in order to try and determine what it was that set off his detractor.

There was nothing particularly provocative in the article by Mr. Whisenhunt, in fact his closing comment was, “If we don’t begin having a constructive discussion about this, that day may come sooner than any of us would like”.

In response to the call for “constructive criticism” the commentator last week attacked Mr. Whisenhunt on a personal level. “Squeamish progressives and weak-willed liberals”, “his pretty little head”, “hysteria, hand-wringing and bed wetting” were some of the unfortunate comments directed towards Mr. Whisenhunt.

This is a prime example of what is wrong in 2013 America. Instead of having a dialog with a healthy give and take of ideas and solutions, we have instead sunk to the lowest common denominator. We excoriate our politicians for being implacable and taking absolute stances instead of reaching a consensus, but the reality is that our representatives truly reflect what we as a society have become. If someone states an opinion contrary to our own, they must be imbeciles and subjected to incivility.

I do not blame the author, he is clearly an intelligent man with a passion for his position. I have nothing but disdain for your newspaper for printing an attack piece rather than a thoughtful commentary. Was that commentary the best one submitted to your newspaper? I suspect it was chosen to stir the pot and create more controversy. You are part of the problem and contribute to the “reality show” hostile mentality that is slowly choking us all and leading to the dumbing down of America.

Shame on you.

Chris Arapoglou

To the Editor:

I wanted to express my disappointment in your running the screed written by Price R. Potter concerning gun control. Rather than his responding rationally to an earlier Commentary by Dan Whisenhunt, it was purely an ad hominem attack on Mr. Whisenhunt. Unfortunately, this sort of response is all too common within the gun control debate.

Admittedly, I am biased in favor of more control of the type of guns that people can buy and our deplorably inadequate means of stopping those who should not have guns from accessing them. This bias comes from my professional experience. I provide consultation to major (Fortune 100) companies when they have a concern about an employee’s–or ex-employee’s–becoming violent. And unfortunately, I have attended funerals of people who were killed following what otherwise would have been an insignificant quarrel.

I would hope that other Commentaries you choose to print are more reasoned, measured, and thoughtful.

Sincerely,

Carol H. Beavers, Ph.D.

To the editor:

Price R. Potter’s editorial regarding the 2nd amendment is a knee-jerk, emotional reaction similar to the criticism he used to deride Mr. Whisenhunt’s editorial. He uses name calling (“squeamish progressives” and “weak-willed liberals”) and false logic to argue for gun rights.

By definition our freedoms and liberties (the root word of liberal) end when they affect another’s freedom. Where your right infringes upon another’s is where your privilege ceases to exist. One’s right to feel safe by carrying a firearm is just as valid as one’s right to feel safe by living in a world free of fire arms. One just happens to be written in the Constitution, a chosen selection of 18th century natural rights put forth by Enlightenment thinkers and not a comprehensive list. Heck, if the founding fathers had gotten everything right we would not have had African Americans only counted as 3/5 of a person and women could have voted, but we know that because of historical context. A right to bear arms in 1791 made sense, but in the 21st century its relevance ought to be debated since the context has changed.

The equivocation of the dangers of driving with the dangers of firearms is invalid as well. Cars are necessary parts of our existence and in no way could have been included in our Constitution because they did not exist. I am confident that if an amendment proposed that we had a right to drive cars that it would pass without issue. However, this is only a distraction from the fact that transportation is requirement for our modern world and economy. There are dangers from cars, but without them our economy would collapse. Cars are intended for transportation and have the secondary effect of accidents. Guns are created to shoot things. That is the primary purpose. Ladders are intended to raise people up. Because someone dies on one does not make it equal to a gun and the same for a car. Equating something intended to cause death with something intended to move people and goods is logically inaccurate at best and manipulative at worst, regardless of outcome.

Potter’s historical examples are also problematic – they only focus on specific incidences of totalitarian regimes and government-led genocides. While tragic, he ignores all history prior to 20th century and all the peaceful, successful countries that currently have weapon bans. England, Japan, and most of Scandinavia represent current and historical examples of industrialized nations that are peace and freedom-loving while having significantly lower rates of gun violence, incarceration, and non-accidental homicide. Bhutan is an example of a small developing nation with tight gun regulations and similar characteristics. Potter also ignores the economic barriers many of those oppressed peoples faced when attempting to purchase weapons given that nearly all were developing nations prior to their own Industrial Revolutions – guns were scarce and cost prohibitive for the agrarian common folk. In addition, he seems to forget that in the event of progressive-led violent overthrow of democracy any weapon one is able to procure legally today (including assault rifles) would not stand up against the modern weaponry of a 21st century United States military force or almost any nation state. In all the examples Potter provided the governments had sophisticated weaponry to which a humble commoner’s musket would stand no chance. When the Bill of Rights was ratified, the difference in weapons between the British or U.S. military and a plebeian farmer was negligible.

Accusations of irrationality by Price Potter hit surprisingly close to home given his unwillingness to examine the other side of the issue while declaring opposing arguments nothing more than the whining of liberal wussies. I am confident after Price Potter’s paranoia subsides that he may be able to engage in civil discourse based on facts and logical argument. Just because all of our news outlets refuse to be civil it does not mean that we cannot be.

Eric Heintz

Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt wrote for Reporter Newspapers from 2011 - 2014. He is the founder and editor of Decaturish.com