Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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‘Fortified bastion’ place for ‘cowardly lot’

To the editor:

Today’s Gazette includes a story headlined, “Survivalists plan to build ‘fortified bastion of liberty’.” In rural Idaho (of all places). Residents of this proposed community, called The Citadel, envision a “martial endeavor designed to protect residents in times of peril.” This project has been proposed through an Internet website and would require that all residents be heavily armed with automatic weapons.

The wonder of the Internet is that it allows individuals of every political, ideological, intellectual or religious stripe to find others who share their views, no matter how bizarre, in virtual communities. When people gather together in physical and local (as opposed to virtual) spaces — markets, workplaces, schools, places of worship and other venues where people actually stop and speak to one another — it is relatively easy to tell the difference between someone who is able to think rationally and someone whose ideas have a few important pieces missing, although it does take some practice out in the real world to recognize the difference.

People who propose to wall themselves up in an armed camp (albeit one that welcomes tourists, presumably for the revenue they would bring), must be very frightened indeed. Their guns and right-wing ideology make them seem pretty frightening, but they themselves must be a very cowardly lot.

That’s the fascinating paradox of the gun-toting, right-wing, live-free-or-die type: Beneath all the aggressive bluster, there is a very scared and isolated person for whom perhaps the most terrifying thing is simply to walk down a busy city sidewalk and to smile and say hello.

Alex Kent

Amherst

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