Reader Says To Act On All Fronts To End Gun Violence

To The Reader’s Forum:

The P-J opinion from Wednesday, Aug. 7 has a good heading, but is generally devoid of substance. If you want to make a “commitment” to end “violence”, presumably gun violence, studying why mass murderers kill has always been elusive as a means of prevention.

First, the murders have already occurred – we can’t stop victims from harm. Second, health and education professionals, including government entities, have studied cause and effect for years – listen to them. Third, you already acknowledge we may never learn “answers to those questions”; then what? Fourth, you say “we doubt [gun control laws] would do any good”, but if we don’t try new and prolonged efforts, we’ll never know will we? And, what if they don’t?

No one’s “civil liberties” have been harmed since all actions would have to pass Constitutional muster, and you already cast at least as much or more doubt that further study will find tangible solutions. Fifth, you clearly acknowledge failure to make a “commitment”, or even the long, “difficult soul-searching work” itself means “the killings will continue”. Don’t you understand that without more immediate action you’re giving license to continued killing? Your arguments that only further analysis may help belie common sense.

The reason we separate “gun violence” from other forms of violence is the simple fact that the gun, the inanimate object, is the common denominator. I agree you can’t “blame” any inanimate object for violence, but neither can you ignore the fact that a gun is used most often in murders and suicides – nearly 40,000 per year.

Other inanimate objects pale by comparison. Some reasons why guns are used, I believe, are 1) there are so many available per capita; 2) manufacturers are not liable; 3) they are meant to kill; 4) they are the most effective even at substantial distance; 5) they are easily transported and concealed.

So, if we want a national commitment to end gun violence then we must act on all fronts including addressing gun control as well as addressing the reasons “why” people commit gun violence. Half-commitment is, essentially, no commitment. It’s an excuse that simply lets the killings continue. I agree with one thing: “It’s time”.

Paul L. Demler