Critique my letter


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only1asterisk
February 25, 2008, 10:24 AM
I don't have anyone to proof this right now ans I'd like to get it off today. Please read and offer suggestions. If there is a structural, spelling or grammer issue, please copy and highlight the problem.

Thanks!

Here is the op-ed:
http://www.da.wvu.edu/show_article.php?&story_id=33147&archive_date=2008-02-22

And my response:

Ms. Swisher’s Friday editorial espousing her views on the university’s concealed handgun policy is rife with omissions and contains serious factual errors that should be addressed. She seems to be under the impression that carrying a concealed handgun on the campus of West Virginia University is against the law. If so, she is very much mistaken. Although it is a serious violation of school policy, there is no law prohibiting licensed individuals from possessing a concealed handgun on campus.

Ms. Swisher further appears to be confused on the current requirements for obtaining a West Virginia concealed handgun license. Regarding mandatory training and licensing she writes: “If these things were made mandatory and enforced [concealed weapons on campus] might work.” Had Ms. Swiger done some rudimentary research, she might have discovered that these requirements are already part of the requirements when applying for a concealed handgun license in West Virginia. In addition, applicants must be fingerprinted , submit to a background check and pay a $90 fee.

As I understand her, Ms. Swisher’s main objection to permitting lawful concealed carry on campus is the irresponsible nature of her fellow students. I would agree that there are irresponsible individuals on campus. Fortunately, irresponsible people have been anticipated by the legislature and numerous restrictions have been written into state code. People under 21 are not generally eligible. This disqualifies the majority traditional undergraduate students. Also ineligible is anyone with a felony conviction, anyone convicted of domestic violence or subject to a restraining order. Drug users, the mentally ill, people under indictment for a felony or convicted of certain violent misdemeanors are all unable to acquire licenses.

Ms. Swisher is not alone in her fears of escalated violence caused by reduced restrictions on concealed handguns. Similar concerns have been voiced in each of the 20 or so states that have liberalized their permit systems since 1987. In each case, those opposed predicted a bloodbath, with western movie style shootouts erupting from every argument, traffic accident or other minor conflict. In each case, this scenario failed to develop. Several states collected detailed data on people licensed to carry handguns. The results of these studies show that licensees are many times less likely to commit crimes than the general public. In fact, per capita they are less likely to commit crimes than police or members of the state legislature in some states.

Millions of people in the United States are either licensed to carry a handgun in one or more states or can legally carry without licenses. Chances are, you’ve sat next to one at a movie or stood in checkout line with one of them at some point. As a rule, they aren’t crazed with paranoia or inept wannabe heroes. Individuals that take upon themselves the grave responsibility of carrying a firearm seldom do so lightly.
For the most part they view carrying a handgun in the same light a having a first aid kit in their car or a fire extinguisher in their home. They are artist, nurses, grandmothers, teachers, and retired factory workers. They deliver your pizzas, drive your taxi, fix your computer networks and write your novels. The only aspect that consistently sets them apart is their choice to take personal responsibility for their own safety and prepare for full extent of possibilities that their decision entails.

It proven impossible to secure a single building such as a courthouse against motivated killers with no regard for their own lives. WVU could adopt additional security measures until it more closely resembles a prison than a place of higher education and still be unable to prevent such tragedies as occurred at Virginia Tech or NIU. While changing university policy to permit members of the campus community to legally arm themselves may not fully deter suicidal mass murderers, it is exceedingly unlikely to cause any harm and should be given real consideration.

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oda226
February 25, 2008, 10:57 AM
Solid,factual and to the point!

moojpg2
February 25, 2008, 11:08 AM
Nice job, :D

well written, and concise

looks good grammatically also

skwab
February 25, 2008, 11:13 AM
Great letter - a well thought out, educated response-

a few nit picky grammaticals I found:

2nd paragraph: "...concealed weapons on campus] might work.” Had Ms. Swiger done some...." I assume that should be Swisher.

5th paragraph - "They are artist, nurses, grandmothers, teachers, and retired factory" - artists

Last para - "It proven impossible to secure a single building ..." It has been proven... or Security experts have shown it is impossible... something like that maybe

Let us know if it gets printed

bogie
February 25, 2008, 11:25 AM
Didn't read it. It's too long.

SERIOUSLY. Trim that puppy down some. Go look at the letters to the editor in your intended target. Count the words in the average response. Yow!

atk
February 25, 2008, 11:42 AM
That looks pretty well written, and may swing some fence-sitters.


Ms. Swisher’s Friday editorial espousing her views on the university’s concealed handgun policy is rife with omissions and contains serious factual errors that should be addressed. She seems to be under the impression that carrying a concealed handgun on the campus of West Virginia University is against the law. If so, she is very much mistaken. Although it is a serious violation of school policy, there is no law prohibiting licensed individuals from possessing a concealed handgun on campus.


Maybe I'm misremembering, but I thought there was a federal law that specifically allowed public universities to ban firearms on campus.

Also, some readers will probably find your letter to be a little long. I'd suggest compacting whatever you can - I didn't read Swisher's editorial, after the first paragraph, due to the length; a fence-sitter or anti may not read all of yours.

only1asterisk
February 25, 2008, 11:45 AM
Didn't read it. It's too long.

Maybe, had you read it, you might be able to offer helpful suggestions on what to cut.

The paper in question makes a habit of printing full letters. I get the feeling they are thankful for the help filling the pages.

skwab,

I found the other two, but the mistake in the fifth paragraph would have been hard for me.

Thanks!

David

highorder
February 25, 2008, 11:46 AM
it was great, but lost its oomph in the last paragraph. cut the last paragraph and end on a great note. the second to last stanza was very compelling.

only1asterisk
February 25, 2008, 11:59 AM
Maybe I'm misremembering, but I thought there was a federal law that specifically allowed public universities to ban firearms on campus.

The university does prohibit firearms on campus but there is nothing in WV state code that prevents you from carrying there. The buildings don't even have "no guns allowed " signage. If a person unaffiliated with the university was somehow found to be carrying, the worst the university can do is ask them to leave the property. If a student, employee or other person beholding to university policy were found out, that person could be expelled, fired or have their contract revoked. Better people than I have yet to find any specific state law or local ordinance with which a licensed individual could be charged with breaking.

David

strat81
February 25, 2008, 12:06 PM
My edited version:

Ms. Swisher’s Friday editorial espousing her views on the university’s concealed handgun policy is rife with omissions and contains serious factual errors that should be addressed. Although it is a serious violation of school policy, there is no law prohibiting licensed individuals from possessing a concealed handgun on campus. Are you sure about this? I thought Utah was the only state that allowed it. There is no federal law; check your state statute.

Regarding mandatory training and licensing, Ms. Swisher writes: “If these things were made mandatory and enforced [concealed weapons on campus] might work.” Had Ms. Swiger done some rudimentary research, she might have discovered that these requirements are already part of the requirements when applying for a concealed handgun license in West Virginia. In addition, applicants must be fingerprinted, submit to a background check and pay a $90 fee.

As I understand her, Ms. Swisher’s main objection to permitting lawful concealed carry on campus is the irresponsible nature of her fellow students. Fortunately, irresponsible people have been anticipated by the legislature and numerous restrictions have been written into state code. People under 21 are not generally eligible. This disqualifies the majority traditional undergraduate students. Also ineligible is anyone with a felony conviction, anyone convicted of domestic violence or subject to a restraining order. Drug users, the mentally ill, people under indictment for a felony or convicted of certain violent misdemeanors are all unable to acquire licenses.

Ms. Swisher is not alone in her fears of escalated violence caused by reduced restrictions on concealed handguns. Similar concerns have been voiced in each of the 20 or so states that have liberalized their permit systems since 1987. In each case, those opposed predicted a bloodbath, with western movie style shootouts erupting from every argument, traffic accident or other minor conflict. In each case, this scenario failed to develop. Several states collected detailed data on people licensed to carry handguns. The results of these studies show that licensees are many times less likely to commit crimes than the general public. In fact, per capita they are less likely to commit crimes than police or members of the state legislature in some states.

Millions of people in the United States are either licensed to carry a handgun in one or more states or can legally carry without licenses. Chances are, you’ve sat next to one at a movie or stood in checkout line with one of them at some point. As a rule, they aren’t crazed with paranoia or inept wannabe heroes. Individuals that take upon themselves the grave responsibility of carrying a firearm seldom do so lightly.
For the most part they view carrying a handgun in the same light a having a first aid kit in their car or a fire extinguisher in their home. They are artists, nurses, grandmothers, teachers, and retired factory workers. They deliver your pizzas, drive your taxi, fix your computer networks and write your novels. The only aspect that consistently sets them apart is their choice to take personal responsibility for their own safety and prepare for full extent of possibilities that their decision entails.

only1asterisk
February 25, 2008, 12:09 PM
it was great, but lost its oomph in the last paragraph. cut the last paragraph and end on a great note. the second to last stanza was very compelling.

So you want the you want the warmfuzzy feel-good at the end? That works for me. The last 2 paragraphs can actually swap places would that be better?
I think, since the subject is policy change, shouldn't the call for reevaluation of the policy came at the end?

Feel free to chop it up and rework it to whatever extent you feel like. It doesn't hurt my feelings. I'll happily incorporate any change for the better.

David

only1asterisk
February 25, 2008, 12:21 PM
Are you sure about this? I thought Utah was the only state that allowed it. There is no federal law; check your state statute.

I have checked the state code and had others far more qualified look into as well.

The Utah case prevents the school from prohibiting concealed handguns. I don't think it was a matter of law there either, but my memory in not be trusted.

David

eventer289
February 25, 2008, 12:22 PM
I would suggest citing some actual statistics and giving numbers instead of just saying some states didn't see this happen. Give some facts and statistics from various states and cite them.

only1asterisk
February 25, 2008, 12:25 PM
I would suggest citing some actual statistics and giving numbers instead of just saying some states didn't see this happen. Give some facts and statistics from various states and cite them.

I'd love to, but I'm pushing length already.

RLsnow
February 25, 2008, 12:48 PM
maybe you can reference to sources? like

bla bla bla (as shown in this over there about that)

Southern6er
February 25, 2008, 01:28 PM
"movie or stood in checkout line with one of them at some point. "

... stood in A or THE checkout line...

only1asterisk
February 25, 2008, 01:46 PM
"movie or stood in checkout line with one of them at some point. "

... stood in A or THE checkout line...

Another one I was unlikely to catch... Thanks!

David

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