Tragic mass killings occurred Wednesday in San Bernardino and in Colorado Springs last week. In Minneapolis, a mass shooting occurred against a Black Lives Matter group. More than 88 Americans die by gun violence every day. Tragedies like this remind us of how the easy access to guns can lead to the brutal business of murder. I believe these events are a continuing form of terrorism in America. With over 31,000 gun deaths per year, America is a disgrace. These mass shootings, over one per day, do not typically occur in other developed countries as they do in America. We have no more mental health issues than in other developed countries.
Over 70 percent of gun owners favor reasonable gun violence prevention laws, such as criminal-background checks for all gun sales. President Obama and most of the Democratic presidential candidates seem to get it, but I have not yet heard any Republican who has the guts to speak out about helping prevent gun violence. The only thing they have supported recently was to pass open-carry and stand-your-ground laws in some states, which have only promoted more terror in America.
In Minnesota, up until now, the Republicans and many DFLers appear not to have the guts to speak out on this life-or-death problem. They were mostly silent on proposing any state or national law, such as expanding criminal-background checks for all gun sales, limits on gun magazines and ammunition, assault weapons bans, and safety programs for children where guns are in the home.
I guess too many are scared of the National Rifle Association lobby, which doesn't even speak for most of its members.
Gary Thompson, St. Paul
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Hold on — before I write this, I have to text that person back and check to make sure no big drama has happened over Twitter.
OK, I think I'm good. So, anyway, there have been 354 mass shootings, killing four or more, in the U.S. in 2015. People killing people has become normal — sometimes even expected. So when do we start to lift our heads up and realize people are dying? Are we waiting for the number of deaths in a single attack to reach 30 or more? Or are we glad it was only 14 people, and not 14,000?
I'll be right back! I have to post this hilarious video to Facebook and make sure I get enough likes on it.
Back to what I was saying. Why has it become normal to hear about innocent people being killed for being in the wrong place at the wrong time? We hear on the news about one or two people being killed and shrug it off, because we're glad it wasn't us and it was in a different city, so it doesn't affect us. We have become numb to the value of a human being's life — a life that could change the world.
I just got a notification that my best friend tagged me in a photo, and I have to go check to make sure I look good — just wait two seconds!
OK, enough is enough. Now is the time to start letting our lives get in the way of our cellphones. We need to stop being so desensitized to mass shootings and start caring about when our fellow humans are killed. We have had 354 mass shootings in 336 days. Let's put the phones down and change the world.
Jack Madison, Eden Prairie
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It is time to dig up the corpse of Charlton Heston and pry that insanity from his cold, dead hands. The hate, bigotry and lies that justify ignoring reality are staining the heart and soul of America. As the gun fanatics have been emboldened to further their false agenda of safety by gun proliferation, the only result has been the explosion of gun violence. If everyone is armed, how would the police be able to tell who was the shooter and who were the responders? Only in the make-believe world of Hollywood do the good guys always wear white hats. The fallacy that Hollywood thrust upon Americans of an armed and safer society was never true. Not 100 years ago; not today in modern America. Close the loopholes in our gun laws. Modernize our mental health laws. Choose political leaders who will not cower to the radical gun lobby. Above all else, pray for the victims. Because there will be more if we do not change. Will you or your loved ones be next? When insanity becomes normal — oh wait, it has!
Rob Swart, Mankato
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The National Rifle Association (NRA) claims to be all about individual rights, specifically, the right to bear arms. But what about the individual rights of the victims of these horrific mass shootings and of other gun violence? Does the right for practically anyone to own an assault weapon or even a handgun really supersede another's right to live — and to live without fear of becoming a victim of gun violence? Why is the right of the two San Bernardino shooters to own guns more worthy of protection than the rights of the 14 killed and 17 injured to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?
Michael D. Olsen, Richfield
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Enough! Tell the terrorists they can save the price of travel and munitions. The gun industry, the NRA and gutless legislators are doing their work for them, one mass shooting as a time.
Gloria Ferguson, St. Paul
BLACK LIVES MATTER
First, kudos to the protesters. Now, where do we go from here?
The Fourth Precinct protesters pulled off a nonviolent protest (incredibly, in the face of being shot at). These brave women and men showed that they are willing to suffer, to be arrested, to be ridiculed, to stay out all night in the cold, to deal with retaliation at work — even to face physical danger and death — to call the attention of those in positions of power to the desperate need for transformation, reconciliation and justice. We need systemwide solutions and courage from leaders across the public, private and community sectors to admit what the protesters are suffering to illuminate — that our police and criminal justice system are deeply flawed in how they treat people of color, from police racism and brutality to the financial and civic consequences of incarceration and parole — the new Jim Crow. The protesters are laying bare the corrosive realities that so many people of color face every day as they attempt to live normal lives in their own society. The question is not: What will the protesters do next? The question is: What will we, as a city and a society, do next?
Dave SnYder, Minneapolis
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A Dec. 2 story ("Neighbors bring frustrations over protest to City Hall as police report slower response time") should have highlighted the political gamesmanship taking place in Minneapolis.
City Council Member Linea Palmisano moved to allow public testimony regarding events at the Fourth Precinct, which is an unusual move as the agenda had been set several days in advance. By making this motion at the beginning of the meeting, no prior notice was given to constituents.
As a result, only a select few — such as Minneapolis police union President Bob Kroll — were present to testify regarding the police accountability issues brought up by those occupying the precinct. Committee Chairman Blong Yang "notified at least one of the neighbors who spoke," which indicates he wanted only certain voices to be heard during this meeting.
This disingenuous attempt at political discourse advances the voices of a few at the expense of many who have spent weeks, months and years advocating for better policing in our communities. If Minneapolis wishes to address the important issue of police accountability, all constituents must have a voice in the process. Shame on Council Members Palmisano and Yang for creating this scripted political event.
Anton Schieffer, Minneapolis