‘Skeptic’ denies that deniers are denying

It is understandable that Larry Kirkland doesn’t want to be called a denier and would prefer to be considered a skeptic (Letters, Aug. 2 ). A skeptic maintains a questioning attitude and an open mind, and has the humility to change their position after they have impartially and honestly evaluated the facts. This is the opposite of a denier who chooses their position and then uses biased and dishonest methods to support it.

Skeptic versus denier is a behavioral, not a positional, distinction. And this is good because every reader of Mr. Kirkland’s letter can decide for themselves whether it is open-minded, impartial, and honest, and realize exactly why Mr. Kirkland might be so concerned about being labeled a denier.

However, Mr. Kirkland’s letter is more than just a simple attempt to avoid accountability because it might also mislead some people enough that they lose their best remaining opportunities to help stabilize their future climate.

That would be bad enough, but it goes even deeper in that the increasingly common use of dishonest arguments and falsehoods also undermine the rationality and shared objectivity required for civil society. Take, for instance, Mr. Kirkland’s agreement with Dale Courtney’s argument (His View, July 10) that denied that deniers are denying anything, which sounds like it is already well down the road to chaos and confusion.

Nevertheless, despite their demonstrating a depraved indifference to the facts, it would be a mistake to dismiss deniers as amoral. Because, as Mr. Kirkland’s letter clearly shows, at least one denier does know that this behavior is wrong. And wrong enough to prefer not to be called out on it.

Simon Smith



Why El Paso? Because it is America at its best

The people killed in El Paso and Dayton, including numbers of Latinos and black people, are our fellow Americans. And those who are not U.S. citizens are fellow human beings. As readers know, the El Paso massacre took place at a Walmart, a business that deliberately tries to simulate public space, offering a peaceful, nonjudgmental, come-one-come-all environment receptive to what used to be called “the mixing of the races.”

The El Paso murderer stated point-blank that he drove 10 hours to target “Mexicans,” though there are plenty of Latinos anywhere in Texas, including in Dallas, his home at the time of his arrest. So why El Paso? El Paso earned its place on the white supremacist hit-list because it shows what a successful, racially integrated American city can look like — prosperous, inclusive, free, and forward-thinking.

Black, Latino, and other nonwhite families want the same things you and I do — mainly a good life for their kids. The NRA’s push for loaded, ready-to-shoot guns being waved around at Idaho county fairs, in the wake of these recent massacres, is beyond me. Not racist? Prove it.

Chris Norden



Legislators need to show moral courage

The Heller case clearly said there were legitimate statutory restrictions on the right to bear arms — just as we are not permitted to use our right of free speech to cry “fire” in a crowded theater.

What we need is legislators of moral courage. Let them cover their behinds with a unanimous pledge not to take any further campaign funding from the gun lobby.

We also need an outraged populace drowning the in-boxes of every lawmaker with demands for common-sense gun possession laws. You can find their contact info online by typing “my reps” in Google. That site will give you complete contact info for all our representatives. Just do it.

Ronald Hufham



Woodstock editorial cartoon was poor choice

I am writing to challenge the editorial board to choose better editorial cartoons than the one published on Aug. 8 that mocked those of us old enough to remember Woodstock as decrepit seniors gumming our food and napping away the hours until the Grim Reaper comes for us.

Some people who graduated from college in 1969 as I did face serious physical challenges brought on by age, but many of us are able to lead very active lives with only minor adjustments to account for chronic injuries.

Perhaps someone on your editorial board would like to join me, and a lot of other people, in the Parks and Recreation program to run a marathon during the course of the month of September.

I enjoyed concerts in 1969 and still do. Perhaps a member of the editorial board would like to join me in Reaney Park tonight to hear Soulstice as part of the regular concerts in the park series. Maybe we can hear some songs that were performed at Woodstock.

I was going to ask my wife if she wanted to co-sign this letter, but she is playing golf at the moment along with some other people our age.

John Anderson


Editor’s note: Managing editor Craig Staszkow agrees the cartoon was a poor choice and has accepted the marathon challenge. He can’t make tonight’s concert, but trusts Soulstice will bring a Woodstock vibe.

Recommended for you