Readers respond to the Las Vegas shootings
The day after the latest gun carnage, I saw a window sticker on a SUV that read "piss off a liberal, buy a gun." Well, it worked. I was pissed off.
I wonder if that SUV driver realized how close he might be to the Vegas shooter. We are all just a stroke or severe head trauma or chemically confused thyroid away from a drastically altered personality that could radically compromise our judgement.
My job requires a yearly physical and bi-yearly testing to assess my competence to safely operate a school bus. Airline pilots and railroad engineers are similarly tested periodically, because lives are at stake.
When you get behind the wheel of a vehicle or pick up a loaded firearm, regardless of your intentions, you have people's lives in your hands. Yet when you suggest regular psychological and competency testing for gun owners, any kind of rational dialogue becomes impossible. It's as if their guns are welded to their hearts.
I know gun people. I have them in my family. Two of my best friends are gun owners. They are good people, and I love them. Even though I am a vegetarian, I understand the deep human drive to hunt. I also understand hunting's vital role in maintaining a balanced ecology.
But gun owners defend semiautomatic military weapons with 30- and 100-round magazines and 1000-round stockpiles of ammunition as necessary deterrents to governmental interference with their constitutional liberties. They cannot be disabused of this fantasy, even when you ask them to consider how well the rebellion in Syria is going or how well our own civil war went in terms of the colossal suffering on both sides.
I wonder how many gun owners have actually seen some one shot by a firearm – like the young mother I saw shot to death by her preschool son, who had found daddy's loaded .22 caliber rifle. Or the woman whose angry boyfriend shoved his gun up her vagina and pulled the trigger. Or the severely disturbed father who put his .357 magnum in his mouth and blew himself away in front of his wife and 13-year-old daughter.
What could gun lovers say to the families of these people that would justify their opposition to even the barest of measures to stem this national disgrace?
I'm damn tired of "thoughts and prayers" and flags at half-staff and people who think guns are for pissing off liberals and wienie politicians who are too afraid to stand up to gun lobbies to protect children. This is cowardly, irresponsible behavior in the face of a continuing national tragedy.
Towler's statement [in Urban Journal's "Las Vegas, Guns, and the Evil of Inaction"] that the president could do something about mass shootings is emotional at best. Just what is that "something" that could have kept this maniac from committing his killing spree? What gun law not already on the books would have prevented this tragedy? None.
In reference to Towler's assertion that more background-check legislation is needed, the next time there is a gun show in Rochester, she should try buying a gun without undergoing a background check. I guarantee it'll never happen.
Automatic weapons are already illegal to possess in the US. So are armor-piercing bullets in handguns. The reason that they are not illegal for rifles is that just about every type of rifle ammunition can already pierce most body armor.
Outlaw semi-automatic weapons from law-abiding citizens? Why? So that they will be only available to criminals who purchase them on the streets illegally?
Yes, outlaw semi-automatic weapons from law-abiding citizens. Because law-abiding citizens can snap... can have mental illnesses... and can kill just as easily as any criminal on the street. When nothing was done after Newtown, I pretty much gave up on this country doing any kind of gun legislation.
I don't want your pistols. I don't want your rifles. I want automatic and semi-automatic weapons gone. Someone or some company is making a lot of money off these guns, and that is the real evil.
The blame lies with the US Supreme Court (or rather five members of the high court) who, in their landmark 2008 decision in District of Columbia v Heller, misread the clear language of the Second Amendment which made a direct link between service in a "well regulated militia" and the right to "keep and bear arms." The five justices created the wholly new "right" of "personal protection" to justify the ownership of massive private arsenals by every gun nut in America.
Maybe automatic and semi-automatic guns are responsible for only 2 percent of homicides and 1 percent of injuries, but keep in mind that they kill and injure vast numbers of people in one fell swoop.
Handguns kill one or two people at a time and are rarely random. No one yet has been able to present a legitimate argument for anyone having semi-automatic or automatic guns in their homes or a reason to stock pile those weapons – unless, of course, you honestly believe Armageddon is right around the corner.
What killed 3000 people in the Twin Towers in NYC? What killed over 200 people when a co-pilot slammed into the Alps? Airplanes. What killed and injured over 200 people in Paris, France, and at Ohio State University? Trucks.
And what has killed over 50 million innocent unborn children? Planned Parenthood.
Over 60 percent of the homicides by a gun are suicides. On average, there are 12,000 gun homicides per year in the US. If my math is correct, 7200 are suicides. I would prefer politicians to focus on mental-health funding.
Make no mistake: I am full of sorrow for the tragic event that occurred in Las Vegas. But a knee-jerk reaction to pass something based on emotion, and just for the sake of some politicians to aggrandize themselves isn't going to solve a problem like this.
Every gun show I have been to does and immediate NIC check for a rifle or shotgun if you make a purchase. For a pistol, you have to buy and pay for the pistol, then go to the county clerk's office to register it on your permit before you receive the gun from the dealer, then go back to the dealer to pick up the gun, which they give you after they register it.
If only gun ownership were as well-regulated as car ownership or plane ownership. We'd have mandatory safety training, periodic relicensing, loss of access if convinced of serious misuse that put the public at risk, required liability insurance, manufacturer civil liability, government data collection and research, etc.
I would be happy to turn in my gun if the government could protect me from any violent crime – every second of the day. Until that happens, I will fight for my right to protect myself and my family from violent acts. And I'm not an NRA member, or wish to be. I'm just a person who loves my family and friends, and will protect them if need be. I've had a pistol permit for 40 years, which I obtained for protection, not hunting.
Should something be done? Of course, but what? Put a chip in the forehead of every gun owner, one that will analyze evil thoughts?
Banning guns will do nothing except increase the number of deaths, because the common citizens have no way to protect themselves now, until the police finally get to the scene. Criminals will have easy access to buy illegal guns, just like they do now.
You can't legislate against evil effectively. Nut jobs will find another method to attain their goal. Remember the 87 people killed in the 1990's, due to a fire a jealous boyfriend started at a club? Or what about the arson fire at the Holiday Inn in Greece that killed 10?
Until you can corral the evil thoughts in people's minds, deaths will occur through various means.