Asking the question "why" when there has been a mass shooting seems to blur the source of the problem. Would you ask a toddler who just threw a jar of tacks at another child "why?" No, you would just take the jar of tacks away and never let a child have them. If 70% of mass shootings are not linked to mental illness, the answer to "why" is this: because a firearm was easily obtained and he just could do it. Around 98% of shooters are male, majority white. Our culture, particularly Hollywood, has taught boys that real men go into situations with guns blazing and they will come out the hero.
The real question is: What happened to " a well regulated militia"? There seems to be nothing well regulated about current firearms management. What about the right to peaceable assembly without the fear being shot and killed (like in Las Vegas)? What happened to the right to life?
What happened to the liberty to go to the movies, to school?
The "why" you could ask is: Why is the Second Amendment more important than the First or Ninth? Why are firearm proponents so fearful of some management?
It is time to stop asking why and ask how: how to preserve life.
Jane E. Odgers, Princeton, Minn.
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People say that "a gun kills." So then these statements must also be true:
• A knife cut me while I was cleaning a walleye.
• A car was caught speeding.
• A pencil answered the test questions wrong.
• A check overdrew my bank account.
Do we accept placing blame on a knife, a car, a pencil and a check? Try blaming a check for overdrawing your bank account and see how far that goes. So why, then, is it acceptable to blame a gun?
Richard Burton, Ramsey
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I read Monday's letter "Facts, not grief, must guide us" and knew I had to respond simply because his facts are muddied. He complained that semi-automatic weapons have been available to the public for 100 years, which is true, but goes on to imply assault weapons and semi-automatic weapons are the same. The truth is that all legal assault weapons are semi-automatic, but not all semi-automatic are assault weapons. Some of the things that separate them are that assault weapons can take high-capacity magazines so shooters can fire more rounds before reloading, a big benefit for mass shootings. Assault weapons typically fire a higher-velocity round that is capable of doing more damage to people and upping death tolls. Many assault weapons can also be modified to become automatic instead of semi-automatic.
Next, we do not blame the weapon, we blame the fact that the lunatic was allowed to take possession of the weapon.
Next, the writer complained that more people are killed with personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.) than with rifles and went on to say more people are killed with blunt objects than all rifles combined. Statista reported in 2019 that 6,368 were murdered with handguns; 3,281 with "firearms, type not stated"; 600 with personal weapons; 397 with blunt objects, and 364 with rifles. So, yes, personal weapons and blunt objects may kill more than rifles. But also, assault weapons are often not considered rifles.
Canada, which has around 0.47 violent gun deaths per 100,000 people compared to around 4 per 100,000 in the U.S., treats assault weapons with much stricter controls than rifles, unlike the U.S. Maybe we could learn something from our neighbors to the north?
Jim Weygand, Carver
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Regarding a recent letter about reporting the race of mass shooters and their victims, I believe the reason for the disparity in the reporting in the shooting incidents in the Atlanta spas and in the grocery store in Boulder was more about public safety rather than politics. If you report that a crazy white guy shot a bunch of people who were mostly Asian, there isn't any group of people who are going to take up arms and go out and shoot down innocent white guys in attempt to make the world safer. However, if you report that a Syrian American shot a group of white people, there are crazy white guys who might possibly take up arms and attack innocent Syrians for that same purpose. That being said, I do agree with the letter writer that it will be a finer world when we can judge all shooters by their character and not the color of their skin or ethnicity.
William Voje, Newport, Minn.
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A Monday letter writer offered reasons why assault weapons should not be banned, since they've been available to the American public for well over 100 years. The writer goes on to claim that banning an inanimate object that millions of people use for lawful purposes isn't the proper response.
I've been a hunter for 55-plus years, which also makes me a gun owner. I've never understood or recognized the necessity of owning an assault weapon. I question how these so-called millions of people are finding lawful purposes for assault weapons. What exactly are these lawful purposes? The writer offers reasons why we should not ban such "inanimate objects" but seems to come up empty-handed as to the value of keeping these inanimate objects available to the American public when they have a tendency to surface as a weapon of choice in mass killings.
Patrick Bloomfield, Chisolm, Minn.
FEDERAL VOTING LAWS
Only bad when you want them to be
If Kim Crockett were to be believed ("States should make voting rules, not D.C.," Opinion Exchange, March 31) HR 1 would be unprecedented because "Congress has been mostly hands-off on the detailed administration of elections — until now." In reality, this bill follows a whole series of federal laws that, like HR 1, constrain state election laws. Examples include the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), Help America Vote Act (HAVA), Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, and Military and Overseas Voters Empowerment Act.
Crockett surely knows this. Allies of hers have sued states under NVRA to demand states purge inactive voters. Her own organization, Minnesota Voters Alliance, regularly points to HAVA's requirement of provisional ballots — a federal requirement about which their only complaint is that Minnesota is exempted by virtue of its longstanding Election Day registration. And most recently, the Minnesota Voters Alliance cited both NVRA and HAVA in its unsuccessful suit against the city of Minneapolis for accepting private funds, alleging that these federal laws pre-empted the city's ability to fund its election administration as it saw fit.
Why, then, is Crockett silent about these laws, instead pointing only to civil rights legislation? Their existence suggests that federal election laws need to be debated on their merits, rather than dismissed out of hand. And that, it seems, does not suit her.
Max Hailperin, Minneapolis
Bravo to true talent
I want to express how moving and powerful the front-page photo on the March 30 issue of the Star Tribune was. Jerry Holt captured a powerful scene that really drew me in, not just to the photo but to the accompanying articles about the trial of Derek Chauvin. He truly is an extraordinarily talented photojournalist, and I have been enjoying and following his work for years.
He is one of several highly skilled photographers on your staff, which also includes Brian Peterson, Liz Flores, Renée Jones Schneider, Richard Tsong-Taatarii, Jeff Wheeler and Glen Stubbe. I am a fan of your entire staff of photojournalists. I am a photojournalist myself, but not of their caliber. I do try to be inspired by their work, and the photography is one of the things I most enjoy about the Star Tribune. Well done, Jerry, and all of you, keep up your great work!
Dave Hrbacek, St. Anthony
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