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From the Left Hand Corner: Responses

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First I’d like to respond to last week’s column of my Abler conservative cohort on the subject of meetings. On it, we can agree. Like Pete, I’ve attended an awful lot of meetings over a lifetime, and a lot of them have been boring and unproductive.

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I think I started as a 4-H member at age 7, and ever since have attended, and in many cases chaired, political and governmental meetings, neighborhood meetings, church meetings, civic meetings, professional meetings, work meetings and more that I’ve missed or conveniently forgotten.

As with Pete, the somewhat captive and repetitive work meetings leave the most negative memories.

However, it is great to be in a society that freely overwhelms us with a vast choice of meetings to schedule, attend and participate in without stealth and fear.

Good meetings are more than a sharing of information. A major purpose is for exchange of ideas and learning additional facts in formulating decisions. A collection of ideas and opinions is, in almost all cases, better than any single one.

One who chairs meetings should always keep in mind that the meeting belongs to the participants, not the chair or officers. That is why there is a meeting, in order to gain collective consideration and action. I think Pete confirms the adage that, meeting decisions belong to those who show up. If you can’t get off the bar stool or out of the easy chair to attend, don’t complain about the results of meetings you could have attended in your area, any more than you should complain about election results if you didn’t take the time and effort to vote.

I also share Pete’s chagrin that some elections are subject to decision based on votes of “low information voters.” Although probably true, it is still disconcerting.

One can question whether low information voting is better than not voting at all, but to the extent it exists it is subject to exploiting. At the local level at least, meeting attendance and participation will alleviate its existence.

In other response, I’m usually spared the negative comments on columns since I don’t know how to blog, or tweet or twitter, but I do read the paper.

Four weeks ago I read an article in the Minneapolis Tribune that seemed bothersome and caused me to write about guns. I acknowledged that I wasn’t arguing or adding much to the merits of the issue(s) but was concerned about how we as a society are dealing with the serious questions at hand.

I concluded that, as a lifelong “gunner,” I personally can get along fine without a fully automatic high capacity assault rifle. I don’t have an exact limiting shell number in mind, but find the high capacity magazine the most worrisome aspect. I don’t know what was banned in the 1930s and don’t know exactly what was banned following the Reagan years, nor what was unbanned in the 1990s. I stated “fully automatic” to distinguish from the “semi-automatics” we use in deer and duck hunting, a distinction some “anti-gunners” fail to make in their blanketing prohibiting arguments.

The stuff on NRA rating was taken right out of the Minneapolis newspaper article, most of it verbatim. It was reported that the NRA ranked our 10 federal elected officials, every one of them, either A or F. They gave no explanation or qualifying comments. They gave no grade to any of the 10 Senators and Congresspeople of anything between A and F. I don’t know what rating process NRA has, uses, nor how they work, whatever they use. I commented on what they did.

How does that convert to the Week One criticism of Mr. Bertram (at least he was quite civil) and his assumption about “the weapon he describes?" I didn’t describe any particular or specific “weapon”, at least none that I know of. I simply stated disinterest in having anything fully automatic, anything high capacity, anything that was seemingly more designed for hurting people than sporting usage.

I don’t know what a Huldra AR 15 is or where that fits in. It is appalling to even think, as Mr. Bertram suggests, that the shotgun that I use “will kill more students in a classroom” than some gun I’m supposedly “demonizing”. No, it won’t!

As noted above, the only reason I used the term "fully automatic" was to avoid lumping shotguns and deer rifles in with broadbrush prohibiting statements that I’ve heard some anti-gun people make.

Week Two was more derogatory. Mr. Buell accuses me of “an outright ... and deliberate lie” in saying I can get along without a fully automatic high-capacity assault rifle. That is my belief and preference. I made it clear earlier in the column that I want to keep the dozen or so guns and rifles that I now have.

I find it a bit ironic that for quite a number of years, gun ownership and usage was at issue, and quite hotly contested, without the Second Amendment even referenced in argument on the subject. Mr. Buell apparently has a great deal more factual knowledge and insight than the rest of us about express statements of the founders writing amendments and quotes of Washington, Mason and Jefferson. If so, verify and enlighten us.

We can have differing opinion, and different interpretation, but accusation of “outright ... and deliberate lie” when I was only expressing my personal reflection is rather hurtful.

Then Week Three, Mr. Lund attacks for denigrating the NRA “elected official system”. I didn’t know they had one, nor if they followed it, if one existed. What I do know is what I read in the Minneapolis Tribune, and I believe that I referenced from it accurately, and in most aspects verbatim. (I didn’t keep a copy to check again.)

I wasn’t denigrating any unknown to me system as such. I was criticizing the NRA for what they did. All 10 of our federal elected officials were ranked either A or F, nothing in between, no one B, no one C, no one D, and no pluses or minuses as now referenced by Mr. Lund as possible.

That is what they did. That exemplifies the extreme approach of NRA, in this particular instance, which I view as part of pattern to hold to extremes which I believe impedes constructive resolution of the problems we face.

I don’t expect any others’ agreement, but I don’t think my observation, reference to the Trib article and criticism of the NRA justify Mr. Lund’s accusation of “lie” a half dozen times.

The complex issue cries out for a more reasonable approach.

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