Opinion | The Massacre at a Thousand Oaks Bar

To the Editor:

Re “12 Slain by California Gunman” (front page, Nov. 9):

We don’t know the motives of the killer, but we do know that he went immediately for the security guard (the “good guy with a gun”). There are just too many guns out there and too many mentally unstable or bad or congenitally violent or drunken or depressed or evil-ideology-driven people willing to use them.

It’s a numbers game, and our Australian friends, who have adopted very strict gun laws, have shown us the way. I grieve for all the victims of this shooting and for their loved ones. We can’t keep waking up to these type of stories.

Matthew Carnicelli

To the Editor:

Just out of curiosity, I have a question for all American citizens. If you were someone living outside the United States who is following the news about a new gun massacre seemingly every other day, would you feel safe visiting as a tourist, or for business or study? What about allowing your child to travel there for study or holiday?

Do you think it would be fair game for other countries to start issuing travel warnings about the United States because of the gun violence?

It seems that this can happen anywhere at any time now. Wealthy suburbs, poor inner-city neighborhoods, concerts, schools, university campuses, bars, theme parks — the list is endless. That’s a sad state of affairs.

In my experience, if this were happening in most other Western countries, the government would fall and there would be huge demonstrations demanding that the laws change to better protect the citizens.

Kostas Giannakakis

To the Editor:

The epidemic of mass shootings in the United States continues. The National Rifle Association thinks the shootings are typically performed by individuals with mental disorders and have nothing to do with the availability of guns. Mental health professionals and advocates think that the limited availability of mental health services may contribute to this surge.

There is no evidence that the instance of mental disorders is greater in the United States than in other Western nations that are not experiencing such an epidemic. As inadequate as our mental health treatment resources are, they are superior to those in many Western nations.

The only way this epidemic can be contained is by significantly reducing the supply and access to guns. Requiring more background checks might help, but most gun buyers meet the requirements. The essential reduction in gun supply will occur only when federal and state legislators and their supporters do not fear recrimination by the N.R.A. and act.

Sidney H. Weissman
The writer is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University.

To the Editor:

I just read an accompanying piece online, originally published last year, looking at mass shootings globally (“What Explains U.S. Mass Shootings? International Comparisons Suggest an Answer,” The Interpreter, Nov. 8, 2017). The piece’s kicker: “‘In retrospect Sandy Hook marked the end of the US gun control debate,’ Dan Hodges, a British journalist, wrote in a post on Twitter two years ago, referring to the 2012 attack that killed 20 young students at an elementary school in Connecticut. ‘Once America decided killing children was bearable, it was over.’”

Chilling and true. Makes me so sad and angry.

Shahryar Motia

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