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Opinion: Ho-hum, more angry letters after a mass shooting. These won’t be the last

A mourner places her hand on a collection of photos of the people killed in a mass shooting Saturday at Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo, N.Y.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

Tell me where you’ve read this before: After a series of mass shootings, Times readers are lamenting the inability of this country to curb gun violence and racial hatred. In fact, I’ve written what feels like the same introduction to letters on mass shootings about as often as our readers write those letters.

Today, it’s Buffalo, N.Y., and Laguna Woods. A little more than a year ago there was Boulder, Colo.; right around the same time a shooter targeted women of Asian descent in Atlanta. Before then were Thousand Oaks and Parkland, Fla. And each time, readers have lashed out in letters to the editor, wondering when more will be done in this country, the only wealthy democracy where mass shootings are routine, to end this violence beyond expressing our sympathy.

At this point, it feels futile to keep airing this anger and publishing these calls to action. I suppose this is done with the hope that the problem will be fixed one day, and at that time historians will have a record on which to look back and understand the extent to which our fear and outrage went unheeded.

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To the editor: Nothing changes, so what will it take? When will enough finally be enough? When will Congress realize it must no longer be beholden to the gun lobby and finally take action for serious gun control?

It wasn’t enough even when shooters went after one of their own. It wasn’t enough when former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) was almost fatally wounded by a gunman. It wasn’t enough when four people were shot in 2017 while practicing for the congressional baseball game. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) was severely wounded.

So what will it take? Sadly, the answer is harsh and horrible. It just might be enough when gun violence becomes more personal, when the schools attended by their children are targeted, or when a terrorist attacks the supermarket where their spouses or mothers are shopping.

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Then maybe, just maybe, something might change. How sad.

Bonnie Sanders, Malibu

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To the editor: How many more people have to be murdered by someone with a massive amount of guns and ammunition, or who believes whites are being replaced by minorities, before we Americans say “enough”? Does it really matter if it’s a hate crime, if it occurred in a city or a small town, a school, a store or a church? Does it matter if the victims or killers were Black, white, rich or poor?

What does matter is the 2nd Amendment, which we all hold dear and want to uphold, was not created for citizens to have easy access to any amount of guns to massacre our own people.

We need to get more guns off the streets and to stop sales to underage or mentally ill people. We have passed laws quickly, in a bipartisan way, for money to help Ukraine, yet our lawmakers play politics with helping our own people, because they don’t want the other party to get a win.

Until we work together, we all lose.

Barbara Azrialy, Los Angeles

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To the editor: The alleged Buffalo shooter was influenced by racist and antisemitic propaganda from dark corners of the internet, including hateful messages about the “white replacement” theory.

Unfortunately, mainstream Republican political leaders like Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, as well as right-wing pundit Tucker Carlson of Fox News, are spreading a slightly laundered version of the same white supremacist messages to the masses. Extreme anti-immigrant political messages have also led to hate crimes against Asian Americans and Latinos.

It’s no surprise that these hateful messages continue to erupt in violent mass shootings.

We have never had a real reckoning with our long and brutal history of white supremacy. In fact, we seem to be going in the opposite direction, with conservative forces attempting to stamp out any attempts to educate our children about this history, under the guise of banning “critical race theory.”

We must strive to recognize our common humanity.

Joe Wainio, San Diego

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To the editor: Gun violence in this country will never end. It’s become a way of life, and our Constitution guarantees it.

Gun violence is winning because no one in government has the courage to take the first and most important step to help stop it: passing an constitutional amendment to revise the 2nd Amendment. If we start from there, all things are possible.

After every mass shooting, politicians spew the same old rhetoric about how the laws must be changed to make it harder to get a gun, to expand background checks and so forth. But these are only Band-Aids. The root cause is an endless supply of guns.

We the people must rise up to change what our forefathers could not foresee. We are the only ones who can do it. The question is, how? Our politicians can’t even whisper the words “constitutional amendment,” but our Constitution has been amended 27 times, and it must be amended again.

People of means, power and influence need to start a conversation on changing the 2nd Amendment. The Constitution needs to be amended to say something like, “From this day forward, the acquisition of guns is prohibited.” I believe this will not lead to widespread violence, because no one is going to take the guns you already have.

Politicians are quick to make laws to protect life at or near conception, but they emphatically uphold a constitutional provision allowing that same life to be destroyed by guns. It’s about time we stop kidding ourselves and use common sense: Guns kill.

Nicholas Cruz, Kingston, N.Y.


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