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Letters: Reaction To Gun Series


Our series this week, on guns in America, has sent many of you to your keyboards. And every day, a new batch of stories sparked conversation and some heated debate at our website. Some listeners complained that our coverage was pro gun control; some, that it was pro National Rifle Association.


And Melissa, your story Monday about the shooting death of Charles Foster Jr. drew praise from many, including Joy Paccini of Houston, Texas. She writes this: I didn't expect to hear about a district attorney who believes that background checks are not a panacea; a coroner who carries two guns for protection but would readily give them up, if necessary; or a reverend who, as a result of his crusade against gun deaths, now must protect his own life with that very same weapon.

BLOCK: As with everything we did on this tough subject, the story also drew complaints. One common theme among them: Guns don't kill people, people kill people; stop blaming guns. Arizona West in Carney, Mo., writes: I wish NPR, as well as the other participants of this national discussion, could refocus on the root issue at hand - violence, not gun violence. The death of Charles Foster Jr. is a tragic event, but what caused those shots to be fired?

West continues: Solving the root cause of these violent outbursts, instead of focusing on inanimate objects, would be more productive for the nation and civilized people the world over.

SIEGEL: Pamela Cant of Cheyenne, Wyo., wrote in response to reporter Kirk Siegler's story about suicide by gun in Wyoming. And she wondered why we didn't address the relationship between suicide and alcohol abuse. Cant writes this: As a chaplain with a front-row seat to these tragedies, I can say unequivocally that every gun suicide of an adult male that I've witnessed, involved alcohol. The victim was so intoxicated that when the impulse to suicide hit and a gun was readily available, the individual had no restraining defenses. If we are to seriously address our raging suicide rate, we need to start being honest about the lethal mix between booze and guns.

BLOCK: And finally, listener Hank Gray of Phoenix City, Ala., wrote in response to my story yesterday, which took me to a shooting range in Virginia.

SIEGEL: He says: As a competitive shooter in Olympic-style competition, I was excited to hear Melissa discuss this being her first time actually handling and firing a firearm. I'm not sure how many reporters would actually go this far for a story. No matter what her views on guns, it is nice to see her willing to try something new. Keep up the good work, NPR.

BLOCK: Thanks to all who wrote in, and please do keep the letters coming. Go to npr.org, and click on "contact us." Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.