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Occupied with guns 

Street Smarts

Armed extremists seem to be invading our public spaces with more frequency in the past few years. From schools and churches to government workplaces and neighborhood sidewalks, guns are increasingly at the center of day-to-day life in the United States.

click to enlarge Glenn Capers
  • Glenn Capers

Glenn Capers of Ivywild is a photographer.

What is your read of the heavily armed, anti-government radicals occupying the animal refuge facility in Oregon? They need to leave. They're illegally occupying a government facility. That kind of behavior leads to anarchy.

Which poses the greater threat to America: the erosion of gun rights or the erosion of environmental protection laws? You can have all the guns you want, but what'll you do when you can't get food?

What's the greatest threat awaiting America in 2016? Hostility to immigration. Remember, over 16 million people immigrated throughout Europe and to the United States in World War II. This country was largely built by Irish, Italian, Caribbean, Chinese, Mexican and Jewish immigrants.

click to enlarge Lacie Richardson
  • Lacie Richardson

Lacie Richardson of central Colorado Springs is a seafood distributor.

What's your view of the facility in Oregon being occupied by armed, anti-government radicals? Laws and regulations have to be enforced if we want safe communities. The police should do whatever necessary to enforce the law.

Which poses the greatest threat to America: the erosion of gun rights or the erosion of environmental protection laws? I deal with a lot of environmental stuff because my livelihood depends on a sustainable resource in Alaska. The future of the environment is far more important than whether Joe down the road has unrestricted access to guns.

What's the most pressing threat awaiting us in 2016? Our growing hostility toward other countries. I lived in Asia a couple years, including in Bali with a Muslim family. I can tell you that news reportage here is more fear-based than in the rest of the world. The media here spurs a lot of paranoia about people coming over here to blow us up.

click to enlarge Tracy Turin
  • Tracy Turin

Tracy Turin of Rumson, New Jersey, works for a nonprofit.

How do you interpret the armed, anti-government radicals taking over the wildlife refuge facility in Oregon? I have Mormons in my family. A lot of the language they're using is cloaked in 19th-century Mormon rhetoric of persecution. Native Americans and blacks, however, could use similar persecution rhetoric with equal legitimacy.

What is the most pressing problem awaiting us in 2016? Extremism of all kinds. Groups who feel disenfranchised violently dictating their norms on everyone else. It's undermining the ideals that hold us together.

If you could snap your fingers one time to bring about one change in the world, what would it be? The inability of people to live together — Palestinians and Israelis, Sunnis and Shias, and so on.

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