Opinion | When Mass Shootings Become Almost Daily Events

More from our inbox:

To the Editor:

Re “A New Massacre, but Texas Shuns Gun Restraints” (front page, May 8):

Once again, the nation is traumatized by senseless killings by a man using an assault weapon — this time, of eight innocent shoppers at an Allen, Texas, outlet mall. Once again, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statement after a mass shooting, saying, “Our hearts are with the people of Allen, Texas, tonight during this unspeakable tragedy.”

Time after time we hear about thoughts and prayers after mass killings. At no time in the past two decades has there been any meaningful gun control legislation in this country to curtail such tragedies.

The assault weapon and large-capacity magazine ban was the law of the land from 1994 to 2004. Data shows that during that period there was a decrease in mass killings by weapons of war. The data also shows that since the expiration of the ban, there has been a significant increase in mass killings with assault weapons.

Proponents of gun rights often comment that a good guy with a gun is how to stop a bad guy with a gun. That is simply not true as proven by what has occurred in Texas since the legislature there enacted an open-carry law that took effect in 2016.

2017 — Sutherland Springs, 26 killed

2018 — Santa Fe High School, 10 killed

2019 — El Paso Walmart, 23 killed

2019 — Midland-Odessa, 7 killed

2022 — Uvalde, 21 killed

2023 — Allen, 8 killed

Thoughts and prayers are not the answer in stopping this carnage. Common-sense gun control legislation at the state and federal levels is necessary.

Bob Hersh
Lake Worth, Fla.

To the Editor:

Re “At Least 8 Are Killed After Gunfire Erupts at a Crowded Texas Mall” (news article, May 7):

“As Americans, we’re used to this, because everyone knew exactly what to do.”

This quote from a mall patron about the mass shooting in Allen, Texas, was chilling. Is this what we have come to? Just another day in America, where we have learned how to react if a mass shooting occurs.

How many of us have been in a crowded public space and tried to work out where to run if such an attack occurs? Searching for the closest exit, for the back door or for a piece of furniture that might provide a shield. In a conversation with my neighbor last week, he told me he won’t visit the downtown of our closest city out of fear of being shot. He himself has an AR-15 in a gun safe in his home to use on intruders.

I participated in a large arts event in this same city several weeks ago, during which time more than 60,000 people visited the event over four days. Some of my fellow exhibitors were uneasy about being in a space packed with so many people, fearful of possible gun violence.

We are starting to normalize these events. And the reality is that they are to be expected, because no one in leadership will confront this public health danger. This is the United States, land of the free and the brave. From where I sit, we are neither free nor brave.

Brenda Sussna
White Bear Lake, Minn.

To the Editor:

You report that Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas said there would be no new effort by his administration to limit access to firearms because it would not work.

Governor Abbott is wrong. Studies have consistently shown that states with strong gun control laws have less gun violence than states with lax gun laws. Similarly, most developed countries have far less gun violence than the U.S. for the same reason — strong gun control.

The Republican focus on mental health is a red herring. The only way we will significantly reduce the epidemic of gun violence is with strong national gun control. The only way to truly rid the county of gun violence is to disarm the country, as Australia did after a mass shooting in the mid-1990s.

Eric Beldoch

To the Editor:

President Biden has ordered the flag to be flown at half-staff until May 11 to honor the shooting victims in Allen, Texas.

He might as well just leave it at half-staff permanently. We had 647 mass shootings last year.

Doug McLaughlin
Shoreline, Wash.

A Peaceful Coronation

To the Editor:

Re “A Crowning Moment With Medieval Pomp and Modern Twists” (front page, May 7):

Watching King Charles III’s coronation on TV on Saturday was made even nicer noticing that while there were anti-monarchy protests, there were no domestic terrorists breaking in, attacking, injuring, wanting to kill, destroying.

And tomorrow and thereafter, there will be no British political leaders challenging whether Charles is their rightful king and keeping turmoil and hate going for years.

Carolina C. Butler
Scottsdale, Ariz.

7 Horses Dead at Churchill Downs

To the Editor:

Re “7 Horses Dead, Zero Responsibility Taken, and a Moment Tarnished,” by Joe Drape (On Horse Racing column, Sports, May 8):

The Kentucky Derby and Churchill Downs should be shut down. Greedy owners and trainers, hungry for a purse, push these animals beyond their limits. They have proved to be incompetent stewards of the great athletes in their care.

As you report, seven horses died at Churchill Downs in the lead-up to this year’s Derby. These horses are akin to the Roman gladiators; coming out alive is the victory in this blood sport. The only winners are the gamblers and the State of Kentucky.

Mary Ann Bieksza
Bernardsville, N.J.

A 9/11 Victim’s Son: Close Guantánamo

To the Editor:

Re “Biden Can Close the Legal Black Hole at Guantánamo” (editorial, April 30):

I was 4 years old when my father, John Patrick Salamone, was killed on 9/11. I doubt my grieving mother could have possibly imagined that, 22 years later, her teddy-bear-clutching little one would still need to call for 9/11 justice. But, as the editorial board noted, the time has come for the Guantánamo military commission proceedings to end.

They are a profound failure and a cruel irony. I don’t know any victim family members pleased with the camp’s military commissions. Concerns about classified information have mired them in procedural hell and frustrated anyone who actually sought truth and retribution.

If anything, the tribunals have shed more light on the terrible extent of the detainees’ abuse. Plea agreements are the only realistic path to judicial finality.

It has been a year of waiting for a decision on “policy principles” from the Biden administration. But as the editorial notes, an approaching election might be closing a window of opportunity. The commissions must come to an end, and President Biden can make that happen now.

Aidan Salamone
The writer is a law student.

Religion in Court

To the Editor:

Re “Religion Has Friends in High Places Within America’s Judiciary,” by Linda Greenhouse (Opinion guest essay, April 24):

Kudos to Ms. Greenhouse for making it clear that religion — not law — is driving the decisions of many conservative judges today. Not surprising, given the former president’s outsourcing of his critical appointment obligation to right-wing organizations.

I hope that soon it will become clear to all that forcing any individual to comply with the religious biases of any government officials (not excluding judges) is an obvious and patent violation of the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of religion.

William Andersen
The writer is emeritus professor at the University of Washington Law School.

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