Northwest Voices | Letters to the Editor
Guns, mass shootings and the Second Amendment
Fear of the ‘other’
The recent shooting spree at a Sikh temple in suburban Milwaukee [“7 dead in attack at Wisc. Sikh temple,” page one, Aug. 6] points to a terrible condition in our nation. Politicians on the far right have waged a relentless campaign to paint President Obama as an outsider and someone who is “other.” Hateful rhetoric is constantly aimed at Muslims, Blacks and Latinos.
When a U.S. congresswoman can freely attack the patriotism of a devoted Muslim aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, it feeds the notion that we are beset on all sides by persons who are not true Americans.
Is it any wonder that, given such a climate, a member of a hate group felt comfortable in attacking defenseless Sikhs engaged in worship in a suburb of Milwaukee? All Americans, especially those such as Rep. Michele Bachmann and Donald Trump, should answer to themselves whether their free speech might be contributing to this climate of violence and hate. Speech may be free and largely unfettered, but hateful and bigoted speech can have serious consequences.
-- Stephen Adler, Seattle
What the Founding Fathers did and didn’t do
When our forefathers wrote the Bill of Rights, they were trying to make life better for all of us here. They included the right to bear arms because they thought it was necessary for the defense of their young country.
At the time, there was no formal military. When the Second Amendment was written, guns were muskets. The Second Amendment was enacted by men who had no idea that guns would eventually be capable of murdering dozens of people within a minute.
If Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, George Washington and our other Founding Fathers could see the way that guns are used now, do you think they'd still believe that gun ownership for all is a good idea? Think about the gun deaths you've read about in the news recently, including the two children who were killed here in Washington state and the numerous mass murders. Do you imagine that any of the above would be anything other than shocked and horrified?
The National Rifle Association propaganda says that gun ownership for all makes the U.S. a safer place. How many people were saved by NRA members in the Virginia Tech Massacre? Zero. How many were saved by NRA members during the recent shooting spree in Colorado? Zero. How many victims were saved from any other gun-related tragedy in recent memory by NRA members? I can't think of a single instance in which an NRA member stepped forward to rescue anybody in such a situation.
If the NRA is claiming that its members are defending our citizens, why don't we ever see them do it?
-- Jody Harnish, Everett