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Letter: A little dialogue helps to bridge the gap

I was at the vigil in Concord for those who have died from gun violence since the Newtown shootings (“Mayhem at gun rally,” Monitor, June 19). Tensions had been high throughout the evening to the point that someone was Tased and arrested.

While there, a man referred to me as a “little gay boy” as I was defending those who were reading the names of victims. I was fed up with the hecklers who seemed so ignorant to me, and after the vigil I confronted the man who had brazenly assumed my sexuality. To my surprise he was extremely apologetic and confessed that he had been caught in the moment.

For the next 20 minutes I talked with him and three of his friends who are all staunchly opposed to gun regulation.

While we had practically been at each other’s throats earlier, the five of us had an intelligent, emotional conversation where we shared our personal stories.

Many men and women left the vigil sneering at those with whom they disagreed. The five of us went our separate ways with smiles and strong handshakes because we were able to put aside our stubbornness and pride to have a constructive conversation.

This kind of dialogue is too often lost today. As citizens of a democracy, it’s inevitable that we will disagree, but let’s try to not look down on conflicting opinions and instead listen to why people feel the way they do.

It is this understanding that we are missing in our society today and we all must open our minds and hearts to those around us to bring this compassion back.

CHRISTOPHER WEEKS

Gilmanton Iron Works

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