Forum, Oct. 4: How Many More Mass Killings?

Tuesday, October 03, 2017
How Many More Mass Killings?

How long can we postpone enacting sensible gun control legislation? How many more mass killings must we witness and mourn? The power of the gun lobby has created a society where one person can “legally” massacre hundreds. Universal background checks, age restrictions on purchases, a ban on assault rifles — these are only a few of the many measures that must be put into place to ensure the safety of the general public without threatening the Second Amendment.

Lianne Moccia


Long, Sad History of Violence

Ho-hum. Another shooting. Fifty-nine dead, more than 500 hurt. Hundreds of rounds sprayed from a high place by a shooter with an automatic weapon. The deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. But hey — we Americans love records, right? Bigger, better, best. That’s us. “Bigger than Sandy Hook!” How ’bout that! High officials momentarily wring their hands, tell their aides to issue the usual “T&P” and make sure the media know it. Thoughts and prayers. God Bless America.

If this shooting seems senseless to you, just ask your local alt-right neighbor or your friendly NRA rep. He or she will explain it all, tell you the shooting was a one-off by a madman. Nothing to worry about. No reason for federal laws to limit assault weapons, or require extensive background checks, or long waiting periods, or airtight registration. You’ll be convinced by their logic. You’ll feel like a fool for asking.

Meanwhile, Congress is about to consider a bill (sponsored by your friendly, and very powerful, NRA) to allow silencers. Their ludicrous rationale — the NRA says this with a straight face — is to “protect the hearing” of gun users.

This episode is just another installment in our long, sad history of violence, a mile marker until the next mass shooting occurs. Which it will. You can bet your car and paycheck on that. And hold your anger. Remember, loyal American, that gun ownership is enshrined in the Bill of Rights. Drafted 200-odd years ago, when “a well-ordered militia” was necessary. This once-useful citizens’ protection has become a dangerous anachronism in a country teeming with guns. But the Second Amendment, a sacrament to gun owners, will never be altered or, heaven forfend, rescinded entirely until (maybe) four or five thousand more of these incidents occur. Or until (maybe) the immediate family members of senior elected officials, or the officials themselves, become victims.

And maybe not even then.

A.E. Norton


Guns Are a Scourge

What does it take, what event is the tipping point to bring about serious gun law reform? Many of us thought it would have been Sandy Hook, but it wasn’t.

Now there are, at this writing, 59 dead in Las Vegas. Did you read the number and types of guns the killer had in his room at the hotel overlooking the concert audience? All bought legally. How did he get them up to the 32nd floor? What is wrong with this picture? We need a national register of gun and ammunition purchases and limitations on those purchases. We need a ban on automatic weapons. Pistols and hunting rifles are legitimate purchases with legislative limitations. How many guns does any one person need?

Guns are a scourge in this country. They kill people, from toddlers to the elderly. Why do we put up with it? The Second Amendment is not sacred writ. It’s only in recent years that the Supreme Court made it so. Up to then the court had linked the two phrases of the amendment holding that in order to maintain a militia, the right to bear arms shall not be infringed upon. Any English teacher will parse the amendment that way. Given that militias are out of fashion, where does that leave gun rights? This country must come to its senses, as many other countries have (I hear buying a gun in Canada is very difficult), and institute reasonable restrictions on gun and ammunition ownership. All our lives depend on it.

Anne Harms


Letting the Light In

I appreciated Nicola Smith’s thoughtful piece, “A Monumental Task” in Saturday’s paper (Sept. 30) and found the information on the Hovey mural at Dartmouth College of particular interest. The final paragraph of her article was memorable: “What I thought I knew was incomplete and often in error, and what I did not know was vast. If one can relinquish one’s absolute certainty, and allow for ambiguity, more light comes in.”

Pat McGovern


Because He Is Donald Trump


How is it that a man who did everything he could to avoid serving in the military, at a time when 50,000 of his contemporaries were dying in Vietnam, and hundreds of thousands were suffering life-altering injuries, both mental and physical, can call it unpatriotic for football players, or anyone else, to exercise their First Amendment rights in protest?

Because he is Donald Trump is the only answer I can come up with. Pretty sad.

Tim Eliassen


Simple Generosity

I just read the letter in Tuesday’s edition from Sandi Pierson (“Random Acts of Flowers,” Oct. 2). She volunteers at a local nursing home and wrote about the generosity of Cedar Circle Farm folks who provided free cut wildflowers for residents at a local nursing home.

A loved one of mine happens to be a recipient of this very kind act, and I can speak first-hand of how much joy it brought to her. As Pierson wrote, they are given to residents who might be having an off day and need a bit a kindness.

I would like to thank the folks at Cedar Circle Farm for providing the flowers as well as Pierson for volunteering and going the extra mile to bring a ray of sunshine to these residents who often don’t have much to look forward to.

The simplest of acts means so much to these residents and providing free flowers and then delivering them is huge.

Kathy Belding