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December 18, 2012 at 8:00 AM

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Unthinkable loss at Connecticut school massacre

Time to confront the issue
Danny Westneat's blunt column on guns [“Finally, will we do something?” NWSaturday, Dec. 16] was both bracing and correct. Unlike every other advanced nation on the planet, we are doing exactly nothing to reduce the prevalence and destructiveness of guns in our culture.

Why are assault weapons allowed outside of the police and military? Why is it that Michigan is considering allowing concealed weapons in schools?

The Second Amendment to the Constitution is about armed militias, not protecting the rights of virtually anyone to buy and possess a deadly arsenal. This is not a question of rights; it is a question of where we are headed as a country.

Let's make Sandy Hook the turning point, the school that will forever mark the moment when outrage sparked a new national purpose. Let's finally show the courage to confront this issue head-on.

—Kevin Schafer, Seattle

Should not keep score
I am sick of the media ranking mass murders relative to the number killed [“Guns, violence: 11 facts,” News, Dec. 15]. It is little more than a space-filler with no use other than to generalize and even trivialize what is individually horrible.
Maybe killers keep score, but we should not. How many are impacted by each event is significant to report, but each is its own story though sadly, each is one of many stories.
—Frank Jose, Seattle

Stricter gun-control laws
Look around you. Find anything that you may be able to use if you decide to kill someone. It could be a knife, a chair, a rock, a rope, a pen, a book, your hand, your leg or water. .

We are human beings and we are smart or wicked enough to use almost anything in unintended ways to kill someone. Then there are guns. Guns are made to kill or to injure someone far more effectively than anything else in our daily lives.

We have to accept the fact that killing will not go away no matter what we do, but we do not need to make killing easier. Some people say that guns don’t kill people, that people kill people. You can say whatever you want to say. Still, a gun will be a choice of weapon for most of us.

What is wrong with an idea of making killing difficult? I believe we are smart enough to find what to do to achieve it.

—Tadamasa Ichikawa, Bellevue

Focus on mental-health care
What about mental health? We have closed many of our mental hospitals. The Community Service Officers were eliminated from the Seattle Police Department for budget reasons. Mentally-ill people are walking around Belltown, Second Avenue and the city screaming, yelling, fighting and talking to themselves or not communicating at all. Who is going to deal with these folks?

Almost every one of today’s mass killers has shown significant signs of psychological problems, but nothing can be done because they have the right to refuse to take medication or treatment. Their families are nearly powerless to take control of them. Nothing can be done unless they pose a danger to themselves or others; a fact usually ascertained after a negative event.

The country may have too many guns but we also have so many rights — we are losing our freedom to be safe. Surely we can professionalize the issues of mentally-ill people without slipping into the legal dark ages.

—Hugh Brannon, Seattle

Do not glorify perpetrator
It seems to me that as the nation morns the tragic loss of innocent young lives in Connecticut, the media, including The Seattle Times, put too much time and effort in to publicizing the perpetrator and not enough time and effort into chronicling the lives of those women and children who lost their lives that fateful day.

I, for one, would be happy to never again hear the name, see the picture, or hear the life story of the sociopath who committed these heinous crimes. As a nation grieves, it is up to our main form of information, the news media, to give the lives of these victims a few fleeting moments of glory, rather than publicizing the despicable acts of a mass murder.

—Jon Price, Auburn

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