Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images
Re “Barbarity in the pews: 26 slain in shooting” (Page A1, Nov. 6): The county sheriff for Sutherland Springs, Texas, said, ”It’s something we all say does not happen in small communities.” People in Las Vegas thought it wouldn’t happen at a concert. Gays at the Pulse nightclub (Orlando 2016) thought it was a safe place to dance. African-American churchgoers in Charleston, S.C., thought they were in a safe place to pray (2015). Families in Sandy Hook, Conn. (2012), thought their children were in a safe suburban school.
Republicans say that we must not politicize this moment, and it’s not about guns. Greg Abbott, governor of Texas, said the problem is complex, and we need to ask “for God’s comfort.” Giving comfort to distraught mourners is essential, and prayers will help many. But these actions will not prevent the next mass shooting.
Republican officials must get out of the pockets of the National Rifle Association. We Americans deserve to be safe in our communities. In the United States, one in three women suffers domestic abuse, 42.5 million people suffer from mental illness, and hate crimes have risen nearly 20 percent in major cities in 2017. We will not reduce mass shootings by angry, violent, racist, or otherwise unstable individuals without universal background checks for all gun sales and the banning of military-style assault weapons
It is not so complex.
It’s not enough that we have to listen to the NRA supplicants on Capitol Hill worship at the altar of gun violence. Now we have our president tweeting from the other side of the world, when he should be dealing with issues of world peace, the environment, economic cooperation, and nuclear arms, to let us know that the massacre of 26 innocents in a church in Texas was not about guns.
Are we such fools that we can overlook this use of a tragedy to advance Trump’s position with his base? Will we continue to sit idly by while innocents are gunned down, all for the sake of a false interpretation of the Second Amendment? Where is our will to make a change, to rid ourselves of weapons of mass violence and control access to firearms? Real Americans need to reach out to Capitol Hill and demand change.
Do you think there might be a connection between the rise in recent years of deadliest mass shootings and the lifting of the assault rifle ban in 2004? President Trump thinks the main issue is mental health, yet earlier this year he overturned restrictions that make it difficult for people with mental health issues to obtain guns. I wonder what the next front-page chart of “deadliest mass shootings” will look like.
It is time for the president and the rest of our elected officials to stop the carnage running rampant across America. We need legislation that would label semiautomatic and AR-type weapons as weapons of mass destruction, and would ban their sale to anyone who is not a member of law enforcement or the military.
President Trump, speaking from Japan, said Monday morning that “this is a mental health problem,” and not about guns. Well, Mr. President, it is all about guns — AR-type weapons, bump stocks, and magazines that hold ridiculous amounts of ammunition. Anyone who commits murder is to some degree mentally ill, and Devin Kelley, the alleged gunman in this case, was court-martialed in 2012 and discharged from the Air Force, for domestic abuse. To say that the system of background checks failed in this instance would be a major understatement, but even if the gunman lied and was able to purchase a weapon, if that weapon had not been an AR type, he would not have been able to kill so many innocent men, women, and children.
To remove these weapons from circulation, the government could offer owners of AR-type weapons a turn-in-your-firearm program, which would pay them some kind of premium above the weapon’s current value. Unfortunately, Trump, for all his bravado, has no spine, and neither do House Speaker Paul Ryan or Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell.
The shooting in Texas has been called at least the third deadly church shooting in recent history. Does it bother anyone else that shootings occur so often in this country that we have to categorize them now? Deadliest shooting by church, school, military installation, theater, nightclub, health care facility, etc., etc.
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