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Whatever happened to respect? 

San Luis Obispo

Since the Tucson shooting, there has been much speculation about gun violence and disrespect in general society. Left-winger Paul Krugman blames conservatives by making fancied distinctions between nonviolent and violent disrespect. But there is none. After the 1981 assassination attempt on President Reagan, some liberals were heard saying it was too bad Reagan wasn’t killed.

People can differ, but tactfully within agreed-to boundaries. Name-calling, ad hominem attacks, ridicule, and slander do inflame passion and provoke violence whether “intended” or not. Slips of the tongue and jokes about shooting often reveal violent hostility in subconscious and unconscious minds.

And disrespect is rampant among ordinary people. When Adam Hill took over the Los Osos sewer controversy, he requested mutual respect with no potty-mouth behavior or name-calling. I commend him for that. But several outspoken residents warned Hill not to obstruct their “free speech rights” while hinting they would not observe this basic decorum.

Shooting our national leaders is the ultimate in disrespect. Some gun advocates believe the Second Amendment justifies murder, even of people they happen only to dislike. Right now, I may be on someone’s hit list for advocating some gun restrictions, like forbidding children to fire machine guns

-- Steve T. Kobara - San Luis Obispo

-- Steve T. Kobara - San Luis Obispo

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