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“The sky is falling, the sky is falling” cried Chicken Licken. Or, the big, bad Obama Administration will huff and puff and blow your house down to take away all of your guns. These folk tales are what I think of when I read letters from gun ownership advocates like Ken Harmon (Jan. 9) and his partisan, misguided, self-serving ilk.

Harmon accused the left of supposedly exploiting the recent slaughter of innocents for better gun control laws, God forbid. But he failed to admit that the National Rifle Association and others are employing these same heart-breaking events to incite their own ranks with ridiculous perceived threats to their interpretation of our constitutional rights. This is no new ploy as we have seen conservatives do this with any social issue they oppose. Consequently, we now witness the perverse stampede for guns.

Harmon elaborated how a 98-pound woman would unlikely be a victim of rape if she had a gun. Most rape is committed by individuals known to the victim, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, and in situations where a woman would not necessarily have a gun. Many rapes are committed by men who wait in hiding and attack from behind or who carry a weapon in threat. Sir, you need to research the reality of rape. This is not the Old West.

Evidence for Harmon’s preference for living in the 19th century continues. Today we don’t normally refer to people who live with the challenges of a mental illness as “mentally defective.” In general, people with a mental illness are no more prone to violence than anyone else; rather they are more often victims than perpetrators, according to the World Psychiatric Association. I know this as I worked for several years with adults who lived with a mental illness.

I find it interesting that no one is addressing the elephant in the room, and that is gender, sex roles and violence. Violence, and gun violence especially, is indisputably and overwhelmingly perpetrated by males, not only in this nation but across this planet. Until boys are raised much differently and cultures change their emphasis on male domination, fighting, violence and mayhem, we will continue to have these conversations.

I urge Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) and other like-minded legislators of any political hue to do everything possible to minimize gun violence. I hope this includes banning both assault and semi-assault style weapons (and I know the difference between the two). If new or renewed legislation saves just one life, I am in unshakable support.

Diane Fadeley, Lexington Park