Opinions aren't facts
In my opinion, Dana D. Kelley's Aug. 9 column concerning the recent mass shootings is a good illustration of why, as a nation, we cannot act to stem the violence that is engulfing our country. It only takes one sentence from his column to see the problem. And I quote, "The disconsolate fact is there's not a firearm-restriction law in the most fervent gun-control fanatic's fertile imagination that would have prevented either Dayton or El Paso."
"Fact" is a thing that is known or proved to be true. I acknowledge Kelley's right to his opinion on this matter, but it is not a "fact" that no firearm-restriction law could have prevented Dayton or El Paso. The "fact" is that we don't know if any firearm-restriction law could have prevented the shootings because as a nation we haven't tried to see what might work.
After laying out the "fact," Kelley goes further to denigrate anyone who disagrees with him as being a "fanatic"--a "fanatic" is defined as being a person filled with excessive and single-minded zeal, especially for an extreme religious or political cause.
Claiming your opinions to be facts and claiming people with different opinions to be fanatics is no way to come together as a nation to solve a serious problem that is engulfing our country.
What we've come to
It is a sad commentary on our nation, the most powerful nation in the world in terms of political influence; in terms of economy, it has the largest economy in the world; and in terms of military strength, we have the most powerful military in the world, the most modernized and sophisticated military weapon systems and a huge number of nuclear warheads.
It's a sad commentary that we have been reduced to a "run and hide" nation as in New York where the governor (Andrew Cuomo) said you hear a noise, you run. We are the home of the brave. I heard a song titled "You Can Run, But You Can't Hide." I took an oath never to take a step backward, always advance, and overpower--only retreat when you have been overpowered.
We all have a responsibility to make this world a better place, for ourselves and for future generations, and there are ways to make a difference, but running and hiding is not one of them. We just cannot live our lives in fear and we cannot expect the president or the Congress to legislate laws to combat random acts of violence.
"Guns don't kill, people kill" is true, and we are a nation that by our own Constitution has a right to bear arms. I agree, but guns and mental illness don't mix, if we are attributing all the mass shootings to mental illness, which I don't. What I think is simple, and that is we are a nation of people that was founded on religious principles or based on the right to worship, but as we have prospered we have became too sophisticated to worship and have become so prim and proper that we no longer acknowledge that there is a God. Everything goes, and I mean everything.
My thinking is that it's not mental illness; it's ideology/doctrine. Remember Jim Jones, David Koresh and Charles Manson--just three that come to mind, but there are others that are mind-altering. Once they get your mind, they have you.
Yes, it is a sad commentary that we have been reduced to run and hide.
Belief isn't knowledge
The worst sort of misinformation may be conveyed in these pages if one chooses one's words. There is not a shred of evidence for a truly worldwide flood, not since people have inhabited the planet, despite the anecdotal assertions of various ancient writings. The "Four Humors" were a concept from ancient philosophy, not science. Ditto the flat-earth model. Errors of philosophy do not constitute proof or demonstration of anything except the developing sense humankind has of its place in the cosmos.
It is not possible to fit Earth's geology into the supposed timeframe of biblical literalists. Those people are of necessity, by definition if you will, catastrophists, and their views are "wrong" philosophy having nothing whatever to do with science.
The complement to such ideas, geologically, is uniformitarianism, equally "wrong" on its own. But some interplay between the two ways is a pretty good descriptor of geologic changes over time.
"Catastrophic" changes punctuate the slow and steady movements of the planet's surface. It takes both kinds of activity to produce the continents, the mountains and other terrain that actually exist. All action, of whatever kind, prompts corresponding reaction. (Now that's science.) Much of Barack Obama's presidency constituted a catastrophe in the eyes of many people, and we are now witnessing the reaction. But we're still a long way from equilibrium.
STANLEY G. JOHNSON
Who directs policies?
The NRA, as usual, has disappointed me. I used to be a member, but quit when it started politicizing everything and I realized it didn't speak for me and the majority of gun owners. The majority of Americans overwhelmingly support universal background checks, and support for an assault-rifle ban is at 65 percent. The majority of NRA members also support background checks.
The NRA supposedly has 5 million members, but it's not listening to its majority. I guess that means that our gun policy is directed by the gun lobby and maybe 2 million gun-rights absolutists in a nation of more than 320 million people.
Anybody else see something wrong with that?
Editorial on 08/14/2019