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Walter Rodgers

Florida-style 'Stand Your Ground' gun laws sub impulse for intelligent thinking

Even as George Zimmerman stands trial for fatally shooting Trayvon Martin, many Americans argue these laws make us safe. I've had pistols held to my head from Bosnia to Beirut. Your best self-defense is your tongue. Those who put their faith in guns will ultimately be outgunned.

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This note from the Monitor's editor ran in the April 30 edition of the print Monitor Weekly:

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The columns of John Hughes and Walter Rodgers have anchored the Commentary pages every other week since the Monitor Weekly was launched three years ago. As of this issue, we are saying goodbye to their scheduled contributions; instead, our editors will turn to them and a larger group of writers, depending on the expertise needed to tackle a particular topic. And talk about expertise!

Many of you knew Walt over the years as an intrepid correspondent for CNN, and before that ABC News and AP Radio. He was stationed in Berlin, Jerusalem, and Moscow, and covered conflicts from Sarajevo to Beirut to Tora Bora. As a columnist, Monitor readers know, he is not afraid to say what he thinks. His last regular column, for instance, takes a strong position against the belief that carrying firearms is a good idea.

And John Hughes? His is one of the most distinguished careers in journalism. A native of Wales, John was editor of the Monitor from 1970 to 1979, served as US assistant secretary of State and assistant secretary-general of the United Nations, and won a Pulitzer Prize in 1967 for his reporting on a coup in Indonesia and the government-backed killing of more than 200,000 people.

John also owned and ran a string of newspapers on Cape Cod before shifting to a diplomatic career. He ran the Voice of America, served as State Department spokesman, and chaired a presidential-congressional panel on broadcasting to the People’s Republic of China before becoming editor of The Deseret News in Salt Lake City. He is now a professor of communications at Brigham Young University.

Like all journalists, Walt and John prize the front row seat to history that journalism gave them. As John puts it: “I can’t believe I got paid to travel the world, interview everyone from presidents to kings, good guys and bad guys. It’s a magical profession.”

Walt sees things this way: “Journalism has been the best time in the world. Where else could I have met every American president since JFK?”

Thank you, gentlemen. Monitor readers have been enriched by your experience, your deft touch as writers, and your interesting observations. We hope to continue hearing from you.

– John Yemma, Editor

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