Letter to the editor: Change our culture

To the editor:

I am encouraged by the widespread demands for restrictions on gun availability, especially regarding assault rifles. There is no need for regular citizens to have weapons intended to kill large numbers of people. I would like to see AR-15s and all the bump stocks vanished. That certainly would have helped the tragic victims of mass shootings in Florida and Las Vegas and a few other places. But what about the many thousands of other people who die from gunshots yearly? I reluctantly agree with the NRA that the main problem is with the shooters.

Still, the outrage at the NRA is appropriate. The NRA has played a useful role in supporting gun safety, hunting and sport shooting; but the organization has found new life promoting a false sense of paranoia and with it the idea that any governmental restriction of guns is just a step away from loss of all our rights. Beyond that, our country seems to have developed a tolerance for violence along with a perception of those who are different and those who hold different opinions as ignorant, unpatriotic and potentially dangerous. People who feel vulnerable, threatened, ostracized, hopeless may well see violence as a reasonable, acceptable course of action. Someone who struggles, for whatever reason, to succeed in life may find scapegoats and may take out his frustration and anger on them or himself in murderous fashion. We have to change our society’s attitudes. Implementing gun restrictions is at least a symbolic start.