Gail Collins takes a whole column to say what my grandmother said in one sentence. “Think before you act.” Collins’ article boils down to: what pro-gun activists need is a mandatory 72-hour waiting period before they take any action.

Ms. Collins’ argument could have been stronger if she had added that there seems to be an increasing tendency among people and our government to react rather than use reason or thought. Using our basest inclinations and the “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” philosophy of life may lead us to the Wild West, but it won’t set a peaceful example for our children to follow. Nor will it lead to safer schools and public areas in our increasingly densely populated cities.

Individuals should all be using their brains, not their lowest, gut instinct to create brilliant new ways to outsmart our enemies; affirm young males, making their roles crucially important in civil society; and embrace and facilitate independence among those trying to escape despotism and death.

It takes patience to wait and mental effort to engage with people who have different values. But time-consuming serious consideration, conferring with others who have similar goals, and perseverance in the face of adversity are signs of wisdom in an increasingly solipsistic society.

Hayden D. Shook

Regatta Road

Charleston