To the editor:
I feel compelled to respond to the letter written by Gary Lewis (Record, Feb. 23).
The core philosophy of Mr. Lewis’ letter is the NRA mantra “the answer to gun violence is more guns” or in the words of Mr. Lewis, “Citizens have to protect themselves ... It is the law of the jungle.”
Not exactly an upbeat view of human nature or society. Certainly not an appeal to “the better angels of our being.” It is a view that everyone is a threat, particularly if they think or look different. This perspective also lacks a sense of community.
However, there is an alternative to the disturbing view of human nature and society espoused by Mr. Lewis. In January and February each year we honor two individuals and a movement that reflect our “better angels.”
Abraham Lincoln in his second Inaugural Address, despite the fact that over 600,000 lives had been lost in a Civil War, resisted the temptation to appeal to vengeance, war fervor and hate, but instead called for healing and compassion.
A century later a Baptist preacher articulated to America the nonviolent philosophy and tactics of a movement seeking to assert the dignity of all human beings. Faced with death threats and violence by those who would deny racial justice and human dignity, The Rev. Martin Luther King chose nonviolence not just as a tactic but as a way of life. The movement envisioned a Beloved Community of brother and sisterhood. Dr. King’s response to Mr. Lewis is, “Together we must learn to live as brothers (and sisters) or perish together as fools.”
I would add, we don’t live together or survive together as community by packing heat.