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Sunday, May 10, 1998; Page W02

GUN SHOTS

IF ONLY EVERY LAW-ABIDING citizen eating lunch at a Texas cafeteria or riding home to Long Island on the train carried a pistol, runs the usual National Rifle Association argument, these places would be safer ones, since their populations would spontaneously and effectively resist criminal attack. By extension then, the Jonesboro, Ark., school board must bear final responsibility for the deaths of four students and one teacher, since its school firearm policy infringed on the "sacred" Second Amendment freedoms of fifth-, sixth- and seventh-graders and prevented them from returning fire when ambushed by their schoolmates. Of course, in truth and among adults as surely as among children, the ability to readily rely on deadly force to decide every petty but impassioned dispute would yield up a far greater carnage than would issuing a weapon to every sociopath, of any age, and telling them to let the bullets fly.

BRIAN BROADUS
Charlottesville

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