This missive responds in part, to Ronald O'Leary’s most sincere and well-meaning letter of Aug. 29, favoring limiting “long weapon” civilian use to bolt-action. It might well be wise to keep in mind that the horrible casualties during mass attacks of World War I involved assaults of bolt-action rifle-equipped soldiers often futilely dying while charging automatic weapon defended positions. The successes of U.S. Marines at the end of that terrible conflict can be attributed, at least in part, to their use of the BAR, a heavy but a fully automatic weapon, and shotguns in the trenches, which in essence were also recoil-triggered fully automatic weapons.
British infantry, during the even more lethal World War II, still used the bolt action Enfield; however then this weapon was supplemented by the short range STEN, and the longer-range, hand-carried, Czech-designed Bren light machine gun.
Still, Mr. O’Leary is in essence correct in that we must find ways to end mass killings in war and in peace. And yet that must be done without bringing about all-controlling tyranny and snuffing out freedom.
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I can offer no solutions, just memories of terrible fear; please advise.
Corvallis (Aug. 31)