You can now read 10 articles a month for free. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Letters | Gun-control debate rages

Graham invokes post-Katrina rumors in defense of assault weapons

I was curious about what you described as Senator Lindsey Graham’s claim that “semi-automatic weapons are essential for personal protection” (“Prospects limited for gun control,” Page A1, March 7). Graham, a South Carolina Republican, “used post-Katrina New Orleans as an example, saying, ‘If my family was in the crosshairs of gangs roaming around neighborhoods . . . the deterrent effect of an AR-15’ is greater than a shotgun.”

My initial reaction was to wonder why Graham wouldn’t have evacuated his family prior to a Katrina-like disaster, as most citizens of means did. Next, I wondered how many New Orleans families actually did have to protect themselves from roaming gangs.

Continue reading below

A quick Google search led me to: “Rumor to Fact in Tales of Post-Katrina Violence” (New York Times, Aug. 26, 2010). Apparently, “rumors and half-baked anecdotes” led to “a kind of ugly consensus: poor blacks and looters were murdering innocents and terrorizing whoever crossed their path.” The truth turned out to be quite the opposite: US Justice Department investigations revealed “white vigilante violence, police killings, official cover-ups, and a suffering population far more brutalized than many were willing to believe.”

Graham’s pronouncements have a profound impact on the debate about gun control. With that power comes an obligation to get his facts straight.

Janice Blake

Milton

Loading comments...

You have reached the limit of 10 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week