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Don't let me be misunderstood

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After reading Mark Mason's surprising response (Letters, "The 'Gray' village," May 19, 2010, Oklahoma Gazette) to my earlier letter ("'Gray' for gay," May 12, 2010, Gazette), I re-read it to see whether it was reasonably susceptible to the interpretation he gave it, resulting in his accusation that I was guilty of "vile "¦ hate speech." I could find no way to reach his interpretation in my own re-reading of my earlier letter.

The charitable imputation is that Mason misunderstood my original letter, rather than that he deliberately misrepresented it. Therefore, I feel I should make an effort to explain myself for his benefit and that of any others who may have misunderstood.

My intention was to point out that there are many problems that should be of far greater concern than whether two people of the same gender, in a committed relationship, should have the right to be legally married. When I mentioned uncontrolled population growth, I was not writing about eugenics, but about responsible parenting, which is not the same thing.

Bringing children into the world comes with a lot of responsibility, and my point was that far too many parents skip out on these responsibilities, with the result that far too many children suffer from preventable health problems, such as obesity, and far too many children see gangs and crime as an acceptable or even a preferred lifestyle. Potential parents should be aware of these responsibilities, and should be emotionally and otherwise prepared to fulfill them before bringing another child into the world. This is parenting, not eugenics.

At no point did my original letter mention controlled breeding, mandatory sterilization, mandatory limits or any other aspects of the so-called "science" of eugenics. At no point did I make an attempt to link poor dietary choices to reproductive rights. Had I done so, Mason may have had some grounds to accuse me not only of hate speech, but also of fascism.

In point of fact, I made no such statements, and his accusations are without basis. If my letter offended him, I regret that he was offended, but I can only recommend that he should read more carefully in the future, in order to avoid making such unfounded accusations and misrepresentations in a public forum.

"Roger Barton
Oklahoma City

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