February 7, 2013

Like many gun owners, Rob Farago [“Always on alert,” front page, Feb. 3] seems to be operating under the false notion that possessing a gun can protect him from violence. It can’t. Take it from this Vietnam veteran, who learned how to handle firearms at age 8 and owned several until about 30 years ago: The truth is no one can defend himself from an attacker who is prepared to do violence with a firearm.

The attacker always has the advantage. He has intent to do harm, capability and surprise in his favor. The potential victim cannot be alert to possible attack 24 hours a day. Even a squad of highly trained, fully armed soldiers cannot be certain of a positive outcome when attacked even by a lone enemy. Consider the Navy SEAL assault on Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden had no chance of survival even though he had arms and was within his compound in what was essentially an around-the-clock defensive posture.

We must come to accept our vulnerability to disaster, be it a natural disaster, accident or assault, and realize that our only defense lies in the systematic reduction of risk factors — which include firearms. Mr. Farago has only a powerful illusion of safety.

Bob Ruhl, Barnesville

I was disheartened by the profile of Rob Farago. As a teacher and mother, I continue to be dismayed by the suggestion, made by Mr. Farago and others, that teachers should be armed. This view ignores and trivializes the months of training undergone by our school resource officers in order to respond to emergency situations. I was troubled further by Mr. Farago’s response to buying his first gun: “I felt grown up. It was a coming-of-age thing. I felt like an adult.”

I cannot believe that a father would feel like an adult not when he became a parent, not when he first held a job, but when he first carried a firearm. The cultural divide that exists between mothers like me and gun enthusiasts like Mr. Farago is deep. It is my dearest hope that Congress can bridge this divide with common-sense reforms.

Corey Thornblad, Arlington

It makes me uncomfortable to think that everywhere I go people could be carrying guns, and I or a loved one might be shot by someone firing at a perceived threat. I’m sure the Founding Fathers never envisioned the arsenals of assault weapons that some people think they must have.

The fact that we are not trying to curb this gun obsession is a black mark on our country, our Congress, gun owners and the rest of us who observe the slaughter, shake our heads and say there is nothing we can do about it.

Shirley Lytle, Falls Church