Gun Owners Want Some Respect

The author describes a barrage of hate mail and threats he received from members of the NRA during the debate on the crime bill. His description of the NRA's violent tactics should come as no surprise to readers: The extreme right has consistently resorted to such bullying in recent years over a number of issues.

Environmentalists, for example, have met with more and more violence in debates over public land use throughout the country. The increase in violence over environmental issues has been largely due to the growth of the ``wise use'' movement. The rise of this industry-backed, pseudo-grass-roots campaign during the mid-'80s was marked by a sharp increase in threats, hate mail, and outright violence faced by activists and environmentalist organizations.

The extreme right has historically used divisive tactics and hate to mobilize an element in the population who would otherwise have little interest in political issues. In recent years, the type of treatment received by Senator Campbell has become more and more widespread. It may soon become a common component of mainstream political ``debate'' if people don't stand up and take notice. Daniel M. Vernon, Stillwater, Okla.

Your letters are welcome. For publication they must be signed and include your address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published, and none acknowledged. Letters should be addressed to ``Readers Write,'' and can be sent by Internet E-mail (200 word maximum) to OPED@RACHEL.CSPS.COM, by fax to 617-450-2317, or by mail to One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115

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