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Dear Editor,

I am writing this to express my opinion and concerns regarding Mr. Danny Taylor and his weekly demonstration of weapons on the corner of First and F Street in downtown Salida.

In Mr. Taylor’s own words his intention is, “to normalize the open carry of these weapons (AR-15 style 5.56mm military) in order to reduce the community fear of them”.

I then asked if that was not then normalizing violence? He responded that “nowhere in my reply did I use the word violence”.

What Mr. Taylor is saying and what his actions are representing are at odds with one another.

The weapon Mr. Taylor and his friends carry is a weapon of war, designed for one purpose, the effective, accurate killing of human beings. The very act of carrying such a weapon says you are anticipating violence.

I am not opposed to Mr. Taylor owning such a weapon. However, his open display of weapons on our streets is both dangerous and vulgar. Dangerous because the possibility of someone else with different viewpoints, but similarly armed, deciding to confront Mr. Taylor could quite easily escalate into violence and end in tragedy for our community.

Vulgar because the open carrying of weapons of war has long been considered vulgar and inappropriate in public and not that dissimilar to public indecency; no one wants to see either one on our streets.

I would ask our community this: does the idea of normalizing the open carry of these weapons make you feel safer and is that the kind of town you wish to live in?

I, for one do not wish to live in some sort of post-apocalyptic society. All one must do is look at your news feed to see so many people around the world who are suffering horribly due to violence to appreciate just how fortunate and peaceful our lives are.

The “normalizing” of openly carrying these weapons is, in fact, the normalizing of violence. Contrary to Mr. Taylor’s opinion, a peaceful society has no place for such behavior and puts its focus on peaceful communication, not adversarial armed confrontation.

I believe a community has a right to determine what is acceptable behavior in public, and if Mr. Taylor continues to insist on “exercising his rights” it will then fall to the community to decide if his “right” to free speech includes the wholesale intimidation of our town.

Harry Hansen

Salida resident and business owner