Regarding Richard McKee’s March 6 letter, which blamed Israel’s purported nuclear weapons capability for touching off a nuclear arms race in the Mideast:

The real issue is not that Israel armed itself first but whether another Middle Eastern power with nuclear weapons would have acted as responsibly as Israel has acted. Since it is presumed to have armed itself with nuclear weapons in the mid-1960s, Israel has fought three major wars and several smaller military campaigns without threatening its enemies with nuclear weapons, much less using them. Can Islamic Iran, which has so often called for the end of the Jewish state, be counted on to show such restraint?

Jonathan F. Keiler, Bowie

Richard McKee questioned “unproven assertions regarding Iran’s nuclear weapons capability and ambitions.” Despite evidence, he is sanguine about Iran’s intentions. Furthermore, he claimed that Israel, which reportedly has nuclear weapons, has “sparked whatever regional nuclear arms race may eventually occur” in its part of the world.

I’d like to put this assertion in relatable terms. Let’s say you live in a neighborhood where you are outnumbered 40 to 1 by people whose attitude toward you ranges from unfriendly to murderous. You can’t move — you won’t move — because it’s your home, you’ve made it a fine home, and you’re caring for a lot of family and friends who have moved in with you from other inhospitable neighborhoods.

So you stay, though you are repeatedly threatened, and not just with words. On a good day, the bad neighbors throw rocks at your house. But they also have sometimes gotten inside your house and attacked your family. You decide to buy a gun. You keep it at home and hidden, and you hope to never have to use it because that would mean that your very life is near to being ended.

If there then is a proliferation of guns in the neighborhood, are you responsible?

Jack Lichtenstein, Alexandria