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Editor

Ken Tingley is Editor of The Post-Star in Glens Falls, N.Y. and writes a regular blog called "The Front Page."

The letter came across my desk Friday, six days after the Capital Gazette shooting.

The writer wrote he had read my column about the harassment newspapers like The Post-Star experience all the time, and how institutions — not specific people — are often the target.

What he suggested next surprised me.

He wrote that I should arm myself.

He suggested I should go through the process and see how difficult it is to get a gun permit.

He suggested I contact people in the community like Bob Henke and Sean Garvey to help me with firearms training.

“Believe me, I think it would be a wonderful idea for you to do this as it would give first-hand experience for your articles on the Second Amendment and its importance,” he wrote.

Maybe, I’m a little touchy about this, but they had not even buried the dead in Annapolis on Friday, and this reader was already using the shooting to support his own position on gun rights.

I guess he was trying to embarrass me.

I guess he was trying to communicate that if you don’t carry a gun, you have it coming, but maybe I’m overreacting.

What the reader did not know was that I used to be a member of Dunham’s Bay Fish and Game Club. When my son expressed interest in firearms years ago, I reached out to Garvey for training. Garvey not only obliged us, he did the training personally. If my son was going to use a firearm, I wanted him to be safe.

Here is something else the letter writer does not know about me.

My first thought after hearing about the shooting in Maryland had nothing to do with arming myself.

Despite often heated criticism, angry verbal attacks and even occasional threats of physical violence against me and members of my staff, I have never considered arming myself.

That’s not who I am.

I actually don’t give guns a lot of thought. I do know that there are a lot of them out there and people keep dying from them. But I will not be a party to that.

I live in a wonderful community that I believe is safer than almost anywhere in the world.

I don’t want a firearm.

I don’t believe I need it.

I will continue to arm myself with the best words I can muster. I will be straightforward, honest and fair in what I write.

And while it is possible for bad things to happen to anyone anywhere, I don’t fear it, and refuse to live my life that way.

When the shooter blasted out the glass in the front door at the Capital Gazette, 65-year-old Wendi Winters stood up, grabbed a trash can and charged the assailant.

She had recently had active shooter training at her local church.

We’ve probably all wondered what we would do in such a situation.

I’d like to think I would be like Wendi Winters.

I’d like to think I would defend the newsroom and the people who work there.

But none of us know for sure what we would do.

I do know I won’t be doing it with a gun, and my letter writer should be ashamed of making a political point before the bodies are even buried.

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Ken Tingley is the editor of The Post-Star and may be reached via email at tingley@poststar.com. You can read his blog “The Front Page” daily at www.poststar.com or his updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/kentingley

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