Readers write: Addressing gun control debate, easy-to-understand astronomy, beautifully crafted review

Letters to the editor for the Nov. 27, 2017 weekly magazine.

'Devotions' is by Mary Oliver.

Addressing gun control debate

The substance and engaging writing of the Oct. 18 Monitor Daily article “A New Yorker’s first sight of a gun range” represents Monitor writing at its best. The writer told his story in a very straightforward way, without drama, which proved to be both insightful and empathetic. He respected the emotional involvement of many with their guns. All readers can learn the most from his ending paragraphs, particularly this: “My heart is still pounding, and I’m thinking of what it means to wield such power, relatively speaking, over life and death.”

It has been more than 50 years since I first (and last) held a gun – a Colt 45 “service revolver,” more or less like the 9 mm semiautomatic pistol the writer used. I had the weapon for security in transporting cash for Navy payrolls and I never needed to fire it, except in qualification practice. To this day, I remember the awesome destructiveness of the ammunition. It will permanently puzzle me that the trio of weapons with even greater destructive power the writer next shot are so commonly in use. My hope is that large numbers of the 72 percent of US adults who have fired a gun will someday come to realize the folly of the path they have set out upon. Thank you for this compellingly relevant story.

David K. McClurkin

Beachwood, Ohio

Easy-to-understand astronomy

Regarding the Oct. 16 Monitor Daily story “An astronomical finding that’s making (more) waves”: I was surprised I could understand the concepts. You did a beautiful job of explaining them. Thank you!

Kathleen Anderson

Fair Oaks, Calif.

Beautifully crafted review

The Nov. 6 review of Mary Oliver’s book “Devotions” is probably the most beautifully crafted review of a body of work that I have ever read. I’m heading out today to buy the book.

Anne Babcock

Fairview, N.C.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

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