Anti-gun Plain Dealer readers upset over politician's pro-gun conversion

On Tuesday, May 15, Plain Dealer columnist Phillip Morris published a story detailing State Rep. Michael DeBose's mugging and subsequent conversion experience to a pro-gun point of view.

There appear to be a few Plain Dealer readers who - much like DeBose before that fateful night - have likely never experienced a violent attack, yet think they know better than DeBose about how to survive one.

Following are letters published under the headline "Lawmaker who's packin' doesn't solve a thing".

Sunday, May 20, 2007
Lawmaker who's packin' doesn't solve a thing

Phillip Morris' Tuesday column "Run-in changes lawmaker's stance" misses the mark. Morris recounts how liberal Democratic State Rep. Michael DeBose embraced gun ownership after being attacked by gun-wielding thugs. Yet in the same day's "Nation" briefs, we learn that 48 police officers were intentionally gunned down last year.

Now, it is my understanding that police officers carry weapons, are highly skilled at using them and would be less hesitant to draw their guns when required than would be average citizens, the latter having basically no real experience or training regarding the use of lethal force.

The question is not why more people don't have guns in Dodge City. The question is why so much of America is coming to resemble Dodge City.

Why are guns so easily purchased, even by the mentally disturbed, leading to shootings such as those at Virginia Tech? Why do we have no answers to urban sprawl leading to urban decay? Why do we continue to buy the far-right mantra that anything goes, that it is every man for himself? Why do we continue to think like survivalists in an allegedly advanced society?

The world is growing up and passing us by even as we continue to embrace our violent past.

Paul Crouser
North Ridgeville

I applaud State Rep. Michael DeBose for twice voting against the measure to allow Ohioans to carry concealed weapons. However, Phillip Morris' Tuesday column confounds me. Morris reports that DeBose now regrets these two votes. Morris tells how DeBose took a late-evening walk in his neighborhood and was confronted by two armed thugs. DeBose does the right thing. He runs away, makes a lot of noise, and when his neighbors respond with porch lights, the gun-toting assailants leave. No one gets hurt. End of story.

Imagine if DeBose had been carrying a weapon. What might have happened? Well, I imagine that someone would have been shot, most likely DeBose.

Guns do not make us safer. Guns increase the likelihood that someone will die.

Two studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that keeping a gun in the home makes it 2.7 times more likely that someone will be a victim of homicide in your home. Morris' equation doesn't add up.

Joyce Roper
Cleveland Heights

I read with interest about State Rep. Michael DeBose's terrifying experience. Now he intends to get a permit to carry a concealed weapon for himself and his wife as soon as possible. I worry greatly that this type of reaction is going to lead to nothing but more violence with dire consequences.

I would hope that Rep. DeBose and the rest of our legislators would look toward the problems of illegal gun trafficking and ask the questions, "Where do these guns come from? How have these young men been able to secure weapons to be used against the citizens of our community?"

There are loopholes in our gun system that allow for the selling of guns outside of background checks and registrations. I would hope that Rep. DeBose's energy would go toward solving this problem.

Judi Wolf

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