January 15, 2013

Letters to the editor: Practice of open carry unnerves readers

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

A runner passes an exercise station along Back Cove. A Dec. 24 incident in which a man carried a gun along the Back Cove trail and through other parts of Portland continues to prompt discussion.

2012 file photo/Gordon Chibroski

North Waterford

I am one of the hundreds of millions of Americans who do not carry a gun while going about my daily business. Would someone please tell me how I am supposed to figure out if I am in danger when I see someone carrying a gun?

Neither I nor the police, upon seeing a man with a gun, have the authority to determine if he is carrying it legally or if the gun is legal or loaded.

Worse, I cannot determine simply by looking at this man whether he is paranoid, delusional, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or otherwise out of touch with reality. I cannot determine if he is super-angry or otherwise out of control.

Considering that one out of four Americans has suffered from some kind of mental problem, the odds of this guy not being rational or in control are substantial.

One doesn't have to be a convicted felon or a person legally determined to be "a danger to himself or others" to shoot someone. One simply needs to be out of touch with reality, out of control, a klutz or just plain evil.

One example of our not being able to determine if someone is dangerous is James Pak, whom neither the police nor his victims thought was dangerous before he allegedly killed his victims.

In other words, when I see a man carrying a gun, I have no way of knowing whether he is an Adam Lanza or not.

If the United States Supreme Court will not allow guns in its courtroom, why should I, by law, be exposed to guns almost everywhere I go?

We are not at war. I should not have to be more afraid of being shot than my family was in occupied Denmark during World War II.

Anne Richmond

Cape Elizabeth

So let me get this right: Three members of the Portland City Council's Public Safety, Health and Human Services Committee voted to recommend adoption of a smoking ban in all city parks and public spaces and are sending it on to the full council to address ("Smoking ban heads to full council," Jan. 9).

Yet a person can walk into any park or public space, carry a loaded AR-15 rifle and not even be questioned, let alone searched or fined.

Am I the only one who has a problem with this picture?

Chake K. Higgison



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