I just sent off a letter to the editor of the Albuquerque Journal. It is in response to a column in today’s paper, http://www.abqjournal.com/main/2012/12/16/opinion/gun-arguments-die-in-latest-massacre.html
I usually read the column and think about sending in a letter, but never do. I have no idea if it will be published, but I thought I would share.
In Leslie Linthicum’s December 16th column, she espouses the debate of gun control after the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut. Reading her column it was clearly a knee jerk reaction. Ms. Linthicum writes that 9000 to 10,000 people die every year in firearm homicides and uses this statistic as a debate for more gun control. What about people who are killed every year by drunk drivers? According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), 10,228 people were killed in 2010 and 9,878 people were killed in 2011 from drunk drivers. On Friday, the same day as the shooting in Connecticut, my community lost a caring and compassionate woman due to injuries sustained when she and her husband were hit by a drunk driver. So when the hearings begin in Congress about banning guns than maybe we can go a step further and include alcohol. This may seem a silly and flawed argument to many, but so is Ms. Linthicum’s. We already have background checks in place and banning guns and ammunition clips doesn’t mean that a person who is intent on harm won’t find a way to carry out their attack. Maybe what we really need to be talking about is not gun control, but the state of mental health in this country. Ms. Linthicum says oh well people snap and it’s the “human condition”. That is not acceptable. The debate on how to treat those with mental health issues is what we need to focus on and how to help those who suffer. My heart aches for the families who lost loves ones in this senseless tragedy. I have two elementary school aged children and cannot imagine what it would be like to have to go through the pain and loss. I just believe that before we begin on another debate of gun control we take a closer look and put things into perspective. We will never understand this tragedy or the others that came before or may come after. As a country we will never accept children dying and we will never understand why a person decides to harm others. We can start talking about our “collective responsibilities” to help and protect one another, but more gun control is not the answer.