LETTER: ‘Our shame is having endured another massacre’

To the Editor:

I was in Florida Feb. 14. Following the Parkland massacre, newspapers contained many articles about  traumatized children who were hidden in closets, stepping over classmates’ bodies, not being able to sleep, not wanting to leave the house. Parkland was a dream community. Nationwide, 53 percent of kids under 18 cite gun violence as a major worry.

Florida’s “school safety” law will cost taxpayers $500 million, millions more each year. Banning military weapons would cost $0, as would total background checks. Recent Florida polling: 96 percent favor expanded background checks, 69 percent want military weapons banned. 

Mental health experts are dismayed about accusations that mentally ill people should be feared, saying they’d more likely be victims, not perps. There are mentally ill people worldwide; few become mass killers. American jails and hospitals are overrun by mentally ill people, partly because certain politicians favored tax cuts over true mental health plans.

Scientific American reported 50 years of scientific literature showed children to be safer in states with tighter firearm restrictions. The myth of “more guns, more safety” would be even stronger disproved, but since 1996, at the NRA’s request, Congress blocked the CDC from using funds to study gun issues.

Other, civilized countries don’t have this problem. Australia had one mass shooting, passed laws against guns, none since. Job No. 1 of the government is keeping people safe. No American is safe, anywhere. Our shame is having endured another massacre, being told by one million young people: “Grow up.”

Tom Dolen, Shoreview

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