Letter to the Editor: Missing the Mark in the Nation’s Gun Debate


Letter writer Bruce Peterson misses the point. Gun violence in America has nothing to do with how Australians illegally got guns to commit 200 murders last year. Nor does it have anything to do with how many people sadly died of drug overdoses in Seattle last year. 

Mr. Peterson states it is the desensitization of our youth by exposure to video games that is at the root of gun violence. But in all the other countries that Joseph Tipler cited in his letter with vastly less gun violence than the United States their youth is exposed to exactly the same media desensitization to gun violence as our own youth, yet the outcome is different. Why is that?

Could it be that we have hundreds of times more lethal weapons floating around in our country to be used in a moment of anger or perceived grievance than they do? Could it be that we have a gun manufacturing industry that is mercilessly amoral like the tobacco companies, profiteering off of death? Could it be that we have a right wing whose only political ploy is to drive wedges between us and exacerbate our racial, social, religious and economic differences to the point of pure hatred? The right wing has been torching the “ middle ground” Mr. Peterson laments the loss of for decades.

Many incidents of gun violence are perpetrated by older people. This is not a problem that is limited to the youth of America. The youth of America are the ones providing the most passionate and vocal opposition to gun violence.

As is customary with the right wing, Mr. Peterson employs deflection and distraction to obscure the issue. He cites a Yahoo News report that America has a low crime rate compared to other countries and “remains one of the safest countries in the world.” That is likely true, but the remainder of his letter portrays America as a drug-infested hellscape. Donald Trump’s dystopian “American Carnage.” Which is it?

The ascendency of the Second Amendment in the courts has not, as he states, been going on for over 100 years. It is very recent. Since the Supreme Court ruling in 2008 that granted virtually unfettered access to guns of any type, things have changed. Even that ruling allowed that the government has the right to ban some weapons. 

Mr. Peterson’s letter suggests that it is the mental health of our citizens, particularly the youth, that he and Sen. John Braun are concerned about. The current proposed Republican budget in the U.S. House of Representatives that President Joe Biden is pushing back against proposes deep cuts for veterans services, including mental health. Schools are the place most young people access mental health services. Their budget proposes deep cuts for the education programs low income students use to access much needed mental health care. The GOP budget does protect Trump’s deep tax cuts for very wealthy Americans and corporations.

The overarching view of our founders was that divine intervention in earthly affairs, be it from on high directly or through some hereditary monarch intermediary was nonsense. Humans must make the laws that will govern us. So it will be with guns.  


Marty Ansley