Auric Gold lists three situations that made him "feel vulnerable" and caused him to begin carrying a gun ("Locked and Loaded," 12/3/10). Gold was not carrying a gun when any of the incidents occurred and they all ended peacefully.
When the motorist tailgated him, would his pulling out a gun have allowed the situation to end peacefully? When the hunters took a shot in his direction, would his aiming a gun in theirs have helped? How about when he found himself in the middle of a police shootout?
If anything, the peaceful ending to these three situations makes a strong case against carrying a gun. It seems obvious that if Gold had had a gun, the situations would have escalated and he would have put himself in much more danger.
Open-carry advocates say they feel unsafe without their guns. Thousands of us in Madison - kids and adults of all ages (I'm 71) - go virtually everywhere virtually any time without guns, without feeling unsafe! Open-carry advocates must be extreme fraidy cats.
I didn't get a gun even though: I was physically abused by my husband; my daughter was murdered in 1987 and there has been no arrest; I worked in a forensic mental health facility, then a prison; I was intimidated with a car in my own parking lot, by a neighbor; and many other events. What wusses!
Ruth E. Wagner
Auric Gold is what is known as a "constitutional fanatic" - one who selfishly only cares about himself.
He may feel he is a responsible gun owner, but how do we know he is? How do we know that people like him are capable of dealing with a crisis situation, where he would need to use his gun? How do we know people like him won't crack and go out of control someday?
I am all for constitutional rights, but we must weigh the safety and concerns of the public versus one's own personal rights.
The carrying of guns, either concealed or openly, is too fervently embraced by too many people to disappear. My bottom line: If someone wants to carry a gun, I have no objection as long as they don't shoot an innocent person, however that phrase might be described.
However, I suggest that the label for this "right" is misleading. It is now "conceal carry" or "open carry." It should be "conceal maybe kill" or "open maybe kill." If the purpose of using the gun is not to kill, then the person carrying it doesn't need the bullets.
Joe Tarr notes that Auric Gold "spends what seems an inordinate amount of time preparing to shoot his way out of dangerous situations" that will almost certainly never arise. Yet compared to the average airline passenger - who puts up with long lines and delays, virtual strip-searches with carcinogenic X-rays, and even TSA sexual assaults, despite being 30 times more likely to be struck by lightning than be killed by a terrorist - Gold is a paragon of sensible risk assessment.
Thank you so much for illustrating the plight of the severely mentally ill man in your recent cover story. Perhaps now the good people at Mendota Mental Health can intervene and commit him so that we - I mean he - will feel safe.