The lives we keep los­ing

The Washington Post - - POWER POST -

Re­gard­ing the Nov. 12 edi­to­rial “The list grows again”:

I read each and ev­ery name on the list. From churches to night­clubs, from con­certs to el­e­men­tary schools, from colleges to movie the­aters, the list pro­vided tes­ti­mony to the pro­found loss of chil­dren, the el­derly, stu­dents, church at­ten­dees and oth­ers to their fam­i­lies, com­mu­ni­ties and the na­tion. The num­ber of those mur­dered in each in­ci­dent has grown over the years. The cause of these mur­ders may be men­tal ill­ness among the per­pe­tra­tors but, more sig­nif­i­cantly, it is tied to their pos­ses­sion of guns.

Why in the world does Congress not see that the en­act­ment of com­mon-sense gun con­trol, specif­i­cally ban­ning au­to­matic or semi­au­to­matic arms for use by the gen­eral pub­lic, could po­ten­tially de­crease the num­ber of peo­ple mur­dered? Even a “po­ten­tial de­crease” is bet­ter than none at all. Congress en­acts all sorts of leg­is­la­tion that has a “po­ten­tial” for pos­i­tive re­sults; mem­bers of Congress do not have cer­tainty about the re­sults of leg­is­la­tion — they have goals to im­prove things for the Amer­i­can pub­lic. Why don’t they at least try to “po­ten­tially” im­prove com­mu­ni­ties by re­strict­ing weapons of mur­der? Do they just sit by and wait for the next in­ci­dent? I will not be vot­ing for any can­di­date who does not spon­sor leg­is­la­tion to con­trol lethal weapons, and I en­cour­age my fel­low cit­i­zens to do the same. Carol V. O’Shaugh­nessy, Alexan­dria

Why is this hap­pen­ing? For the umpteenth time, what’s the prob­lem? You pick the an­swer: guns, men­tal ill­ness, the Sec­ond Amend­ment, the me­dia, Hol­ly­wood, the Na­tional Ri­fle As­so­ci­a­tion, gun lob­by­ists, politi­cians. For each, “schol­arly ar­ti­cles” ref­er­ence the re­search that sup­ports the opin­ion be­ing of­fered: why gun own­er­ship re­sults in fewer gun-re­lated crimes; why it re­sults in more gun-re­lated crimes; why the Sec­ond Amend­ment is es­sen­tial to our free­dom; why it is out­moded and the pri­mary cause of ram­pant, un­con­trolled gun own­er­ship in the United States.

It is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly ob­vi­ous that we don’t know the an­swer, or per­haps more omi­nous, we don’t want to know — be­cause we have reached the point in our zeal for tol­er­ance where act­ing out, even in a de­struc­tive man­ner, is okay. This prob­lem is not solv­able by con­sti­tu­tional amend­ments, leg­is­la­tion or plat­i­tudes from the bully pul­pit. It re­quires a change in ex­pec­ta­tions for in­di­vid­ual moral re­straint, back to those that were once built into the fab­ric of our in­sti­tu­tional struc­ture. Un­til we re­al­ize that and make the nec­es­sary changes, the prob­lem will per­sist. Robert J. Muzzio, Po­tomac Falls

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