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Forum, April 4: Array of opinions of gun violence

Published: 4/3/2021 10:00:14 PM
Modified: 4/3/2021 10:00:14 PM
Array of opinions on gun violence

What an interesting confluence of opinions on the issue of guns in the March 31 Valley News. First we read in Megan McArdle’s syndicated column that we often mistakenly rush to judgment, based upon her evaluation of a database of mass shootings produced with the support of USA Today. Those data address the “whodunit” question but don’t get us any closer to the why of it all.

Willem Lange’s insightful column poses the question differently. He noted it matters little the race, gender or mental state of the person with ill intent, but what seems to be the determining factor is pretty much unfettered access to a gun. As Lange points out, we make it more difficult to get access to driving a car than to owning a gun.

Coupled with those more thoughtful analyses is a Forum letter on the same day (“The left’s wishful thinking on gun control”) in which contributor Anthony Stimson decries any effort to control access to firearms, restating the “canard” that “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” as the National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre said in 2012 and which has been disproved time and time again. The “good guy” wasn’t there in time to save any of the 814 people killed or 1,259 injured in the 101 mass shootings since 1996, as tallied by Mother Jones magazine.

Then comes the letter’s prediction that any attempt to legislate a sane approach to gun ownership will invite increased criminality and armed insurrection. Oh, please! We have done precious little to advance gun safety legislatively in the past decade, yet the average annual number of people killed in mass shootings has gone from about 20 prior to 2010 to more than 60 since. Is this the sort of restrictive legislative environment that caused the actual criminal insurrection we saw on Jan. 6? If so, we are indeed in deep trouble.



A small step toward the truth

While I am a self-professed liberal, I am concerned that the liberal media is suppressing anti-liberal news. Your publication was a breath of fresh air. Megan McArdle’s syndicated column (“Numbers undercut white male shooter myth,” March 31) showed that the “angry white man” is not a statistically valid measure of the number of white mass shooters (64%) relative to the population of white males (67%).

“It’s always an angry white man. Always,” tweeted Hemal Jhaveri of USA Today. Julie DiCaro of Deadspin tweeted, “Extremely tired of people’s lives depending on whether a white man with an AR-15 is having a bad day.” Those and many other tweets were soon deleted after the suspect was identified as a 21-year old Syrian immigrant. Jhaveri was fired. From McArdle’s last paragraph: “We won’t advance the cause of racial justice by propagating false stereotypes about any group — even the majority.” One national rebuttal, and a small step forward for the truth.

What didn’t get as much attention as the Boulder, Colo., mass shooting was the March 25 arrest of a Black man at a Publix grocery store in Atlanta with six guns and much ammunition. Or that many of the “children” sent by Central American parents to our southern border are 15 to 17 years of age. Or that the “white, privileged male” is falling behind on entrance to higher education, with women taking 60% of the slots. Etc.

While we need to restore decency and compassion in our politics, the pendulum has swung far left. Truth abandons the vast majority of reasonable Americans.



The chilling nature of HB 544

I began reading New Hampshire bill HB 544 and I could not get past the date: “In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twenty One.”

I wonder how many people read this and think that this is an acceptable way of dating a government bill. Government should be neutral, but spelling the date out in this way is far from neutral. New Hampshire is sending a message that it operates from a place of exclusiveness at the expense of plurality and diversity. The Legislature seems to fear indoctrination by progressive ideas. Yet sitting in the seat of power they function as an unchecked, supreme Christian body — discriminating in the name of religion against transgender youth; preventing women from making reproductive health care decisions based on their conscience and free from interference by the government or employers.

It is time the Legislature accept that racism and sexism do exist and are a fundamental part of society. And women live in a patriarchal world. Not to be critical is to be in denial. The chilling nature of HB 544 is as intentional as writing a date that is exclusively Christian. Both are meant to assert a fundamentalist Christian perspective in policy-making.

There are so many avenues the Legislature could pursue, such as combating inequality, funding public services and lifting up the marginalized. Instead, the bills it writes are a pathetic grip on social control and create harm. It goes against everything that enlightened and tolerant people understand. HB 544 is a gag rule.



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