Plain Dealer letter-writers let 'em have it

Readers passionate about shooting

By Regina Brett
April 27, 2007

Off. The. Scale.

The reaction to the shooting of 15-year-old Arthur Buford has everyone up in arms.

More than 400 readers told me Damon Wells had every right to shoot and kill Buford. Only 20 disagreed.

Wells was not sitting on his porch when he was attacked, as I wrote Wednesday. He was returning from the store and walking across his yard when two teens approached. At the porch, one pulled a gun and said, "Don't move or I'll pop you."

Wells, who has a concealed-carry permit, fired his Smith & Wesson at "Ace Boogie" Buford, who was still on probation for aggravated robbery.

Black and white, male and female, Clevelanders and suburbanites are tired of thugs - thugs of any race - terrorizing neighborhoods.

Both Wells and Buford are black. Both black and white readers asked why the black ministers and politicians hadn't shown support for Wells. Someone smashed all the front windows of Wells' home.

A 71-year-old widow called me to offer money to help fix them.

Eleanor R. from Cleveland Heights wanted to be the first to help Mr. Wells. A widow on a fixed income, she offered $25.

Bless her heart.

Click here to read Brett's entire op-ed.

Click 'Read More' for a few letters to the editor that the Plain Dealer chose to publish.

Friday, April 27, 2007
Gun-wielding teen is not the victim here

Plain Dealer bias

Five Plain Dealer staffers packed 18 sandbag paragraphs under a headline extremely misleading in its passive voice: "A boy dies, and a gun debate is reignited." Who "reignited" what debate? Since when is lawful self-defense debatable?

One anti-defense-rights mouthpiece said she'd never heard of such a thing, positing it must be "one of the few" where a gun stopped a crime. One of the few? How about a few million? Studies indicate that people use firearms more than 2 million times a year for protection. Often, no shots are fired. Sometimes, criminals are wounded. Occasionally, they die. That's the regrettable consequence of an action the criminal initiated.

Why don't we read about these usages? Because some editors do not consider them "news." Other editors do. For decades, the National Rifle Association has compiled monthly these thousands of articles in its "Armed Citizen" column. An enterprising reporter might use them to present a balanced account of firearms self-defense use.

For the past week or so, "Non Sequitur," a comic strip that appears in this very newspaper, has skewered this "some say" approach to slanting the news. Perhaps your editors ought to look to their own funny pages to see how transparent their tilt truly is.

Jim Strang

Not the first time

The Plain Dealer reported that this is "the first time a concealed-carry permit holder has shot and killed an attacker" (Tuesday). That is incorrect. This is at least the third time in Cleveland since the CCW law took effect three years ago.

Bill Singleton was ambushed by criminals and managed to return fire, killing one of his ambushers before succumbing to his wounds.

Last year, a store owner returned fire against a robber who had just shot the owner's son in the head. The son survived; the robber didn't.

Rick Troha
North Olmsted

Where were the parents?

What was a 15-year-old doing with a handgun? And why was he committing a crime with it? Do average citizens no longer have the right to protect themselves against criminals? This young man died unnecessarily because no one effectively taught him the difference between right and wrong.

Bernie Freeman
Chester Township

Rein in the gun culture

Let's not overlook the fact that the loser in this gun fight was only 15 years old. Now, maybe the gun lobby can do all of us, including law-abiding gun owners, a favor and stop obstructing efforts to curb the unhindered backdoor pipeline that too easily puts handguns in the hands of 15-year-olds in the first place.

Dan Goulder

Editor's Note: Dan - Arthur Buford was committing multiple crimes. He and his accomplice were in possession of a firearm (possibly a stolen one) as minors. They were committing aggravated robbery with gun specification. They were committing aggravated menacing. They may also have been in the process of committing attempted murder or murder (the gun was loaded). Buford's accomplice can now be charged with murder. It isn't tough gun laws that could have stopped this criminial before he atacked Damon Wells - it is tougher parents and judges.

The 'gun lobby' (volunteer individuals from all across Ohio who just want to protect their families) is all for punishing violent, dangerous criminals like this to the full extent of the law, rather than putting them back on the street to strike again, multiple times, only 8 months after their previous armed robbery.

Related Stories:
Plain Dealer journalistic integrity update: No new corrections, another error

Plain Dealer columnists defend self-defense; AP continues to report bad info

Plain Dealer Abandons Journalistic Ideals in Coverage of Self-Defense News

Ohio CHL-holder protects self with gun; lazy media buys lie that it's a "first"

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