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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Letter to the editor: Response to

Published: October 5, 2007
Section: Opinions

Dear Editor,

Tal Zaken's piece, “More Guns Do Not Equal More Safety,” really was an interesting position on what is essentially the question of how we as a society should confront evil.

Zaken holds up that feeble icon of free speech, Andrew Meyer, as an example of one committed to confronting a supposed evil. Zaken links Meyer by association with past Brandeis luminaries (and Herbert Marcuse proteges) Angela Davis and Abbie Hoffman.
(A reach to be sure.)

Zaken suggests that guns are the source of much evil, something Davis' history suggests that she would not. Which, all-in-all, is a reasonable, pragmatic view.

In a world confronted with violence, crime and terror, Zaken asks if we should, “fight guns with guns or fight guns with peace.”

Looking down the barrel of a gun, I think Zaken would regret his choice. History has proven that good intentions, a kind heart and the belief in the humanity of man, will not stop an evil force that is armed and intent on imposing its will.

Someone with a gun however, just might.

There is some original logic presented in Jeffrey Dobereiner's article, “Better Lighting and Stakeouts More Effective than Police and Bullets.” He suggests that an armed police force is not an increased deterrent to crime, and that arming campus police will cause the criminal element to ratchet-up and start packing themselves.

But, he does not offer why he feels that criminals are not already armed! Does he believe that the average crook has a sense of fair play? That they just want to keep it even, and will not carry a gun unless the cops do? (I don't think it works that way.)

I also don't think Mr. Dobereiner has had much experience with crime of criminals. Or, that he even recognizes the nature of the conflicts inherent in law enforcement.

But that's okay. He can go on believing that lighting is a more effective counter to crime than armed police. That is, until someone sticks a pistol in his face and demands his wallet…or more. And then, when the poor soul on stakeout watching this unfold can do nothing more than call 911, I'll bet Mr. Dobereiner's opinion changes.

– Ray Hicks