Letter supportive of restaurant carry legislation yields death threat from anti-gun reader

by Chad D. Baus

A letter to the editor of The Columbus Dispatch, written in response to that newspaper's negative take on Ohio's restaurant carry legislation (SB239) has earned the man who wrote it a death threat.

After Mark McGlone's letter, entitled "Editorial off-base about guns in bars," was published on December 15, his family received a startling phone call.

In correspondence with BFA, McGlone said that at 9:30AM on the same morning his letter was published, "I received a phone call at my home. The caller asked if this was Mark and if I wrote the editorial. I replied yes. Than the caller said 'well I hope someone shoots you and your family'!"

McGlone promptly contacted the police, who came out and made a report.

"I must say the responding officer was fantastic and very supportive," McGlone told BFA. "He said I did the right thing by getting it on record. In addition, he told me that if I saw anything that was out of the ordinary to call and they would return. He also promised to read my editorial on his break!"

McGlone summarized his thoughts on the threatening phone call by saying "I guess emotions are running high!"

Emotions indeed run high among anti-gun individuals. In fact, several years ago, psychiatrist Sarah Thompson, M.D wrote an article which examined the anti-gun mentality, with a particular focus on the emotional bent of anti-gun people, and the defense mechanisms they use to protect themselves from feelings that they cannot consciously accept.

From Thompson's article, entitled "Raging Against Self Defense - A Psychiatrist Examines The Anti-Gun Mentality":

About a year ago I received an e-mail from a member of a local Jewish organization. The author, who chose to remain anonymous, insisted that people have no right to carry firearms because he didn't want to be murdered if one of his neighbors had a "bad day". (I don't know that this person is a "he", but I'm assuming so for the sake of simplicity.) I responded by asking him why he thought his neighbors wanted to murder him, and, of course, got no response. The truth is that he's statistically more likely to be murdered by a neighbor who doesn't legally carry a firearm and more likely to be shot accidentally by a law enforcement officer.

How does my correspondent "know" that his neighbors would murder him if they had guns? He doesn't. What he was really saying was that if he had a gun, he might murder his neighbors if he had a bad day, or if they took his parking space, or played their stereos too loud. This is an example of what mental health professionals call projection - unconsciously projecting one's own unacceptable feelings onto other people, so that one doesn't have to own them. In some cases, the intolerable feelings are projected not onto a person, but onto an inanimate object, such as a gun, so that the projector believes the gun itself will murder him.

After examining projection, and other defense mechanisms Thompson observes in anti-gun individuals, she focuses on the common element that she says runs through most anti-gun people:

In my experience, the common thread in anti-gun people is rage. Either anti-gun people harbor more rage than others, or they're less able to cope with it appropriately. Because they can't handle their own feelings of rage, they are forced to use defense mechanisms in an unhealthy manner. Because they wrongly perceive others as seeking to harm them, they advocate the disarmament of ordinary people who have no desire to harm anyone.

What else but rage could prompt an editorial page reader to take the time to look up a letter-writer's number, pick up the phone and call for the purpose of expressing hopes that he and his family suffer an attack by an armed assailant?

The rest of Thompson's excellent article focuses on how to communicate with anti-gun people, and includes techniques for reversing irrational thoughts, defusing emotional reactions, and offering corrective experiences.

Whether he knew it or not, Mark McGlone's letter to the editor employed several of the techniques suggested by Thompson. The letter is provided below in its entirety:

The Dispatch Thursday editorial "Shoot them down" was wrong. As long as there have been guns and as long as there have been bars, there have been guns in bars. Ohio Senate Bill 239 is not about guns in bars.

Those who are licensed concealed-carry holders have no felony convictions, no felony drug convictions and no history of domestic violence. Most important, all have passed criminal-background checks.

Twenty-nine states permit concealed-carry in restaurants that serve alcohol. To date, they have had zero problems.

Keep in mind, this bill forbids the permit holder from consuming any alcohol.

All we are asking is for the continued right to carry and protect our families. I would ask everyone to research articles about the massacre in which 24 people died at Luby's cafeteria in Killeen, Texas.

Mark McGlone
Columbus

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