High Schoolers Prone To Manipulation By Savvy Survey Takers

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Editor:

My thanks go out to Susan Grubbs for responding to my letter to the editor re: "Children 'may have the answer' to gun violence."

First of all, she "respectfully" disagreed with my position. That in and of itself is an excellent beginning point for a civil discussion on this or any topic. She also went on to reinforce my underlying premise relative to the survey, that most high-school-aged kids can be approached by any sophisticated, agenda-prone survey taker and the result the administrator of that survey is looking for will prevail whether it is the NRA, Gun Control, Inc. or National Right to Life.

And I agree that the responses from the kids to the questions will reflect their family and social values. We are not at odds over that point. My concern from the outset is the methodology, application, and formulation of the questions in the survey, and if that survey's results should be given serious consideration in making critical socio/political decisions.

I could perhaps make my point by asking, if most Americans would give much credence to a survey conducted with high-school-aged kids regarding their thoughts relative to, say, violence in video games. Appreciating of course that the survey would be conducted by the producers/marketers of such games and their questions would be phrased to illicit an answer appropriate to the desired results.

"Hey mom and dad! Your kids love violent video games by a nine to one margin. Why aren't you moms and dads more supportive of the kids' opinions?

"Hey kids! Do you think violence in video games and movies leads to violent behavior in kids, as some are saying?"

"Naw, man. I play those games all the time and I haven't killed anybody, so that premise is all bogus."

I think you begin to see my point.

My final point would be that Ms. Grubbs should examine the FBI/Justice Department statistics relative to gun violence in this country. They are available on their respective Web sites. Making exception for the notoriously publicized exceptions, gun violence in this country has been on the decline for the last two decades.

Not that we should rest until it is zero, but I believe Ms. Grubbs touched on the key relative to the kids' "experience" with regard to these tragedies, and that was "through the telling of such violence in the news." Sometimes the "media" also have agendas and therefore make graphic use of tragic social incidents to further their agendas. The Roundup is not immune from that approach.

Final thought: God bless all the children. And may their lives be violence free.

Ron Hamric, Pine

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