Voice of the people: Responses to letter on guns

August 8, 2019 9:31:52 AM



· In Lee Roy Lollar's August 6th letter to the Dispatch -- in response to a letter from Jerry Fortenberry printed the previous day -- Mr. Lollar makes, in my view, some highly unreasonable comments. First, he claims that Mr. Fortenberry blamed the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton on President Trump and the NRA. That is not true. Although Fortenberry did clearly imply that the President and the NRA were factors that enhanced the likelihood of such a shooting, he absolutely did not say that either was literally to blame. No one person or organization can be held responsible for the actions of another.


Like Mr. Lollar, Mr. Fortenberry merely stated an opinion. Here's a fact: there have been 255 mass shootings in the US so far in 2019 and fewer than 20 in the rest of the world combined. In a recent analysis, University of Alabama researcher Adam Lankford found that the United States has six times as many mass shootings as the global average based on its population -- after correcting, as best he could, for differences among countries in definition of what constitutes a mass shooting and eliminating some (mainly in the US) that were fundamentally different from what occurred this past weekend. Importantly, the only real difference among countries is the prevalence of guns, and particularly, of automatic weapons -- that is, no difference in the incidence of mental health. A 2018 analysis found that US citizens own 46% of the world's guns. Sobering.


Mr. Lollar goes further. Ironically, in the very act of criticizing Fortenberry's "irresponsible statements," he makes several of his own. Specifically, he decides that he knows what Fortenberry really means -- that Fortenberry: i) would do away with the 2nd amendment; ii) wants only criminals to have guns; iii) wants to kill babies; and iv) is for open borders. Wow. That's pretty stunning. I didn't see a single one of those topics raised in Mr. Fortenberry's letter. Talk about irresponsible statements.



Nevertheless, getting back to back to guns - and by that I really mean high-caliber automatic weapons - when 70% of Americans want stronger background checks and we still don't have them in place, something is wrong. I'm not blaming the NRA -- they don't have a vote in Congress per se. But it is more than reasonable to assume that the NRA has had some -- and likely significant -- influence over those votes.


I sincerely commend Mr. Lollar's watchdog approach to our city council. But it appears to me that despite Mr. Lollar's claim to have "thought long and hard about a response," he has virtually abandoned the objective reasoning he so skillfully employs in his comments about how our city government functions.


Paul Mack





· This is in reply to Mr. Lollar's analogy that "[blaming] President Trump and the NRA for the shootings this past week is as crazy as blaming the Jews for the Holocaust." I didn't follow the logic in that analogy. Perhaps, "blaming the victims of the shooting this past week is as crazy as blaming the Jews for the Holocaust" would be a better analogy. However, if you'd like, "blaming President Trump and the NRA for the shootings this past weekend is as crazy as blaming Hitler for the Holocaust" might also be considered.


Bonnie Oppenheimer





· Mr. Lee Roy Lollar of course immediately responded to my demand that something be done to curb mass shootings in this country. In the typical right wing fashion, he goes on to tell me I believe in killing babies and letting people freely enter the country with no rules and regulations at all. Is this all you have?? Because if this is all you have then you have not addressed in any form or fashion the gun violence so prevalent in this country.


I do not want to take away your right to have a gun. I want to take away everyone's right to own an assault weapon made specifically to be a killing machine. Why must you get off the subject at hand? I'll tell you why: You have nothing else. All the guns in this country have done nothing to make it safer -- only more dangerous. And yes, this President you adore has incited hate and violence and the NRA has blood on their hands for fighting against any sensible gun control for years!


Jerry Fortenberry