The following is my reaction to the Jan. 31 column titled “Walker willfully misrepresents bow and arrow incident.” The opinion piece attacked Gov. Scott Walker’s Jan. 10 comments regarding how the tragedy at [Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.,] affected his stance on gun control; Walker said too much focus is put on the weapon rather than on the individuals wielding them. He then cited a recent domestic dispute near Neenah, in which a son shot an arrow at his father but missed. However, when Walker made the comment, he said a murder took place when, in fact, everyone survived. 

I will be forward. My stance is it is the right of a law-abiding citizen to own and carry firearms for his own safety, his family’s safety and the protection of his rights. That is an issue I would gladly discuss, but in this letter I am not addressing the comments made about gun control, but rather the petty attack on the governor for being misinformed on a minor issue.

Here at the University of Wisconsin, we pride ourselves on our political activism and open debate. It is an important part of the Wisconsin Experience. Over the course of our debate here on campus, facts will inevitably be innocently misrepresented. Either we are misinformed or our memory serves us poorly. It happens to all of us, but when that happens, does our misstatement instantly become the focus of the conversation? No. We double-check the facts; if we are wrong, we admit it and we move on, focusing again on the debate at hand.

Now consider the governor’s statement. Yes, he did say a murder took place. No, a killing did not occur, but his office later admitted the mistake, stating he was misinformed. Is the next step then to blast the governor for his admitted mistake, or is it to move on and again focus on the debate at hand? Clearly, the latter is the sensible choice.

Do we need to hold our leaders to a high standard? Yes. However, the governor simply misspoke, and he owned up to his mistake. So to then assert he is part of the problem because he was misinformed on a minor incident is downright petty. Come on. Stay on task. Let’s keep the debate on the right to keep and bear arms, not petty bickering.

Caleb Gerbitz ([email protected]) is a freshman majoring in civil engineering and economics.