I write as a bystander, knowing only information from the Portland Press Herald, and my opinion is based on being an 87-year-old psychiatrist and gun owner (a .22-caliber single-shot rifle with a defective bolt) who is highly concerned about gun violence.

What happened at Brown’s Bee Farm in 2013 was a tragedy for two familiies, and I agree fully with the sense that guns are dangerous. (If any good is to come of this, it may be a more open discussion of that.)

Whether Leon Kelley would have harmed Merrill Kimball, we will never know. But it seems to me that he surely could have, and that Kimball certainly thought he was going to, leading to panic and an emotionally driven tragic mistake.

That Kimball was responsible for the death of Kelley is fact, but I feel the potential punishment – yet to be decided – could be tailored to what happened. Public service in the area of preventing gun violence might gain something of value. A prison term, in my opinion, would not.

Richard K. Jennings, M.D.