Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

September 26, 2013

Editorial did not reflect community

The Andover Townsman

---- — Editor, Townsman:

Last week’s Andover Townsman opinion editorial on the Washington, D.C., Navy Yard mass killing tragedy made us question if the paper still reflects the sentiments of our community. The headline and lead-in blamed Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein for opportunism, but in reality demonstrated a partisan journalistic bias for scoring political points, rather than delving into an important societal issue.

The real issue is that this senseless tragedy is part of an unacceptable and unnecessary pattern in our society, which requires response. We elect political leaders to develop solutions to make our society safer and more civil. The role of the press should be to help educate the electorate, not to engage in political rhetoric. And local papers do best when they provide and reflect local perspective.

I would hope that our community newspaper would promote civil discourse and avoid channeling the political poison of talk radio. Andover is committed to open Town Meeting — and what greater demonstration is there to endorsing free exchange of ideas. And regarding gun control, we have long had a law prohibiting discharging firearms. Even a proposal for bow hunting created extensive debate.

The Townsman is way off base if it does not recognize that our community wants a constructive solution to curtailing the epidemic of mass shooting and that solutions require nonpartisan civil exchange. Please do not encourage our elected officials on Beacon Hill and D.C. to polarize and politicize every issue — resulting in persistent gridlock. Last week’s editorial made these longtime subscribers question if our local paper is still serving the community.

Steve Golden and Carol Tanski

13 Robandy Road