Letters to the Editor

Please, no pro-gun column about Aurora tragedy | Letters

Here’s a request for the Federal Way Mirror. Before we have to read the inevitable “blame the victims for not being armed” article from the self-named “Firearms Lawyer” in reference to the new mass murder in Aurora, could you please at least publish a response from another point of view (certainly, the other side is well-represented by Washington CeaseFire) that might permit such commentary to be presented in a balanced format?

On Dec. 3, 2009, I recall quite clearly being stunned that you gave Mr. Knapp a pro-gun column that suggested that the four well-armed, well-trained, brave Lakewood police officers gunned down by Maurice Clemmons were somehow negligent in not defending themselves.

In praising the “situational awareness” of the officer that later shot Clemmons (who was actively engaged in the manhunt for a murderer at the time), Mr. Knapp implicitly challenged the actions of the dead officers, stating: “Did any of the four victims look up and make eye contact with Clemmons as he entered the coffee shop, passing by them moments before he started shooting?”

In reviewing Mr. Knapp’s columns since, it appears there is literally no instance for which he won’t blame the victims for failing to have a gun and/or being “situationally aware” enough to use it. His most recent article, following the killings at Cafe Racer, follows the same, blame-the-victim-first illogic — suggesting the hero that used a bar stool should have had a gun, and suggesting the musicians should have been armed as well.

There is nothing to suggest that the musicians killed at the bar had any notice they were going to be shot. Mr. Knapp appears to simply denigrate them: “it is unfortunate that most alternative lifestyle types in Seattle choose to be unarmed.” He does argue in the entire article that the shooter should not have had a gun.

If we learned anything from Lakewood and Cafe Racer (or any of the other gun-fueled mass murders in recent history), it would seem we learned that too many guns in too many of the wrong hands leads to too many deaths — and being a member of our elite class of law enforcement officers won’t prevent the inevitable outcome of having such lethal weaponry so easily and readily available to criminals, the mentally ill, or those simply and instantly inflamed by anger.

Mr. Knapp’s Cafe Racer piece attacks the media for being one-sided against his pro-gun opinions. Given the column space he is routinely provided by The Mirror, that certainly is not true in Federal Way.

He’s entitled to his viewpoint. But are Mr. Knapp’s editorial views in fact the views of The Mirror as well?

Steve Edmiston, Federal Way


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