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To the Editor:

I would like to respond to Steve Wetzel’s letter excoriating “March for Our Lives” protesters. He claims the real solution to the killings in schools is that students just need to get along and love each other, to “include instead of exclude.” He blames “liberals” for their “lazy thinking” and accuses them of creating hate in schools which is part of the “latest liberal agenda.”

There are several logical fallacies on display here. The first is his ad hominem attack on the protestors as being “ill-informed” and “hysterical.” He accuses the kids of being “viciously mean” to each other, yet demonstrates the same characteristics to liberals and protestors. Although I agree with part of his solution — that we need to be more inclusive — he doesn’t practice it himself and helps to create the situation he criticizes. Where do kids get their judgmental, exclusive attitudes? Instead of being accusatory and antagonistic to “liberals,” he might try to get to know them; he merely verbally bullies the protestors and liberals, doing what the kids do in high school that cause this exclusivity.

The second fallacy is his “slippery slope reasoning” — the idea is that if one thing happens, a whole host of further things will certainly follow. The idea that putting a ban on assault rifles and bump stocks will make people “give up their rights” generalizes a small act into a large one: a repeal of the Second Amendment. One regulation doesn’t mean a dozen will follow; few people would advocate giving up guns in America, but eliminating ones whose main purpose is mass murder is worth considering.

A third fallacy is over-generalization. He asserts that the list for banning “gets bigger every day.” Calling every protestor “ill-informed” and “hysterical” does the same thing; thinking that all liberals want every gun in America banned does it again. Poll number say that 89 percent of the people want some kind of assault weapon regulation. Clearly, many Republicans want some regulation too.

Protest is what this country was founded on: our emancipation from unfair treatment by the British. Any major social change has demanded some protest: civil rights, women getting the vote, etc. Students rightly feel targeted by assault weapons; we have a school shooting in this country almost every week. And, yes, how we listen is a matter of being inclusive.

Joe Powell



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