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In response
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Dear Editor: In the July 8 edition of The News, I found a response from Mr. Heaton to my letter printed July 6. This will be my first and final response in regards to this topic.

First, while appreciate the opinion that Mr. Heaton puts forth, I must reiterate my earlier argument: please pay closer attention to the meaning behind the words you use. If Mr. Heaton would care to look more closely at his thesaurus, he would find that the words "opinion, "supposed," "assume" and "hearsay" are nearly interchangeable and that the word "columnist" directs you to see "journalist" which lists a journalist as a person who "writes about factual events for a living." Note that they do not necessarily write the "facts" of the event, but that the event itself should actually have happened or be happening. If we choose to, we can argue semantics all day and still have differing opinions on the subject: so why don't we just let it be settled?

Second, yes, instead of simply stating that the piece was an article or column, Mr. Heaton should have used the word "opinion." It is an opinion piece after all, and no opinion writer expects everyone to agree with them. The University of Virginia has an article entitled "Ten Tips on Writing Opinion Pieces" posted on its website. It states, "No one has to read an opinion piece." If in the future Mr. Heaton doesn't like the writer's opinion, he should simply move on.

Finally, Mr. Heaton misquoted me in his letter. I would ask that in the future he have the integrity to at least quote enough of a statement to make sense and not add to or subtract from it. Also, please do not make unverified claims about my stance on the issue. I believe that differences of opinion built this country. What is "wrong" with it now is that too many follow ideologues blindly, not bothering to form an opinion for themselves. Why should one bother if someone else can form it for them?

James R. Hays