No More Excuses: ‘Get Rid of the Damn Guns’

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  • The Historians’ Plight
  • Republican Tantrums

Police officers investigating a shooting in Half Moon Bay, Calif., on Monday that left seven people dead.Credit…Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group, via Associated Press

To the Editor:

Re “Focus on Whether a Killer Targeted People He Knew” (front page, Jan. 24) and “Seven Die in California’s 2nd Mass Shooting in 3 Days; Suspect Is Held” (news article, Jan. 24):

I have had the good fortune to be living abroad for the past three months, serving as a parish priest. As the date of my return to the U.S. approaches, I cannot help but wonder why I would want to return.

To risk being shot and killed while out dancing, grocery shopping, sitting in a movie theater, attending a concert, or doing any number of things or being in any number of places where one is entitled to the expectation of safety?

The U.S. is filled with guns, indeed more guns than the 333 million men, women and children in the nation. We have allowed this to happen! We’ve appointed judges to the courts and elected people to positions of power and authority in the state legislatures and Congress who have distorted the Bill of Rights and allowed the profits of the gun industry to supersede the rights of the people to live in safety and without fear.

They have practiced bait-and-switch tactics and we’ve bought them: It’s not guns that kill, it’s people; it’s the bad guys against the good guys; we have a mental health crisis, not a gun crisis.

Are we too complacent, too afraid to rise up, to hold them all accountable, and demand that this terror be stopped? The people who have been killed and wounded in these incidents are our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, daughters, sons, grandparents, grandchildren, neighbors, co-workers and friends. Are we so spineless, so impotent, so cowardly that we are unable or unwilling to stand up for them, for their memories, for the sake of those who are still among us?

If there were any reason to take to the streets, to demand change, to hold politicians accountable, it is most certainly this. The kids from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., pointed the way; we marched, and then we apparently dropped the ball. Your presumed right to carry does not trump my right to safety — and no, I do not feel safe because you’re carrying a weapon.

We need protection from one another, and the only way to do that is to get rid of the damn guns!

(Rev.) Douglas A. Greenaway
Taormina, Sicily

To the Editor:

Two more mass shootings, more lives destroyed, and we are back to asking why. We can look into every possible reason for any one of us to go crazy, get a gun and shoot. We can look into grievances, mental health and whatever else can cause one of the 300-plus million of us to do such an act — or we can just make guns harder to get.

I don’t know, but the latter seems easier and more likely to succeed.

George Loisos
Alameda, Calif.

To the Editor:

Trying to predict and prevent future mass killings by discovering the supposed “motivation” of past killers is a fool’s errand. They are almost always based on mental health issues or hatreds and grievances.

The real keys are: first, family, friends, neighbors and co-workers looking for the signs of someone ready to jump off the deep end, and doing something; and second, outlawing all guns unnecessary to reasonable and real self-defense.

These mass shooters are typically not the “bad guy” criminals — they’re the neighbors next door. But the data is clear — fewer guns, fewer mass shootings.

Kent Schielke
Wheaton, Ill.

The Historians’ Plight

Credit…Soohee Cho

To the Editor:

Re “This Is Actually the End of History,” by Daniel Bessner (Opinion guest essay, Jan. 15):

Thank you so much for this essay about the plight of historians and the decline in resources committed to the discipline by institutions of higher education and by the state legislatures that fund colleges and universities.

I’ve had, sadly, a ringside seat on watching this situation worsen over the decades. I entered the graduate program in American history at Stanford in the fall of 1970. Those who’d just obtained doctorates were getting jobs, but it was tough for my cohort. If you wanted an academic position, you might have had to uproot yourself, as I did, and move to a place where you’d never aspired to live.

But things have gone downhill since then, with few holding a history Ph.D. able to secure academic employment that pays a living wage. Fewer institutions require history courses, and much of the teaching is done by poorly paid adjuncts.

Now we see our field under attack by those who want to whitewash our national history. A vigorous democracy requires an educated citizenry. A healthy society invests in historical education and pays the educators enough to live on.

Glenna Matthews
Laguna Beach, Calif.

Republican Tantrums

Credit…Jamie Chung/Trunk Archive

To the Editor:

Re “Don’t Try to Appease Economic Terrorists,” by Paul Krugman (column, Jan. 20):

I’ve come to believe that many Republican members of Congress are extremely similar to petulant children. Always a problem. But there are clear parental means to make them behave.

The first is never, ever accede to their tantrums. Don’t negotiate with them, for God’s sake. Don’t get drawn into discussions about the details of their demands or fantasies. They’re carefully watching you, and if you start to yield to their tantrum, it just encourages them to throw more tantrums.

Matthew O’Brien
Milpitas, Calif.

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