We need to dilute the extreme partisanship that divides our country and find common ground for civil conversations, but it’s challenging to engage with someone whose grasp of reality is distorted by misinformation, anger and hatred.

In a recent Sunday Telegram letter to the editor, Ernest Lamarre portrays himself and other NRA members as non-racist victims of “Democratic Socialists” who want to limit freedom, release prisoners and allow illegal immigrants to vote. He appears to subscribe to Donald Trump’s lie that the 2020 election was “rigged.” Space limitations prevent refutation of each of his contentions.

We live in a country in which systemic racism, historically and currently, affects the attitudes, opportunities and rights to fair and equal treatment of all our citizens. Discrimination against people of color – in housing, employment, education, criminal justice and social life – is well documented, as are the racist public comments of various NRA members.

Statistics on gun-related deaths, including suicides, reveal that we are not any safer because of all the guns in circulation. Regulating gun ownership with sensible laws is no more an infringement on freedom than regulating drivers’ licenses. Both are intended to promote public safety.

Speaking of freedoms, the freedoms of speech, assembly and protest, and the rights to easily accessible voting, equal opportunity and equal justice are threatened, not by those on Mr. Lamarre’s enemies list but by those on the political right whom he probably considers to be allies. Where are the common grounds for civil conversations?

Will Fritzmeier

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