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Misrepresenting facts to make an argument


Gary Wechter takes his own liberties with Wikipedia data ("Gun-free Australia," March 8). He cleverly lumps all mass killings together, failing to mention that of the total 13, only four involved guns. And of those four, they involved respectively three, two, five, and three victims. This is not "mass murder" in the form seen in the USA, where 10 to 60 victims have been recently slaughtered in each event. They are local disputes, usually between people who know each other, and are not the same as mass slaughter of school children or random murder from a Las Vegas skyscraper.

Gary Wechter also takes great liberties in his character assassination of Ken McCalip, the author of the original letter ("Australia got tough," March 1).

"Ken McCalip either lied or failed to check his facts when he stated that since 1996, when Australia banned and confiscated certain types of weapons, they've 'had "zero" mass shootings,'" Wechter states.

Since all of the "mass shootings" involved five or fewer victims, which do not represent "mass shootings" by our recent standards, Mr. Wechter could easily be accused of the same "lies and failures" that he accuses Mr. McCalip of.

His final attack on Mr. McCalip: "If Mr. McCalip wants to argue to confiscate and ban the sale of certain types of guns, I'm all for hearing his and other opinions. But for his argument to have any validity it needs to be based on real, not fake, facts, and he just didn't live up to that standard in his commentary."

It truly leaves one in bewilderment, wondering if Mr. Wechter has read his own writing. Having based his entire attack on misdirection and misrepresentation, it is unclear what standard he is trying to uphold in his own letter.

Dan Cook


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