Letters for June 23, 2016

Civil unrest

Re “Sorrow and rage” by Rachel Leibrock (SN&R Editor’s Note, June 16):

America leads the world in mass shootings. Why? National news media attention is like a vector that reaches people who are vulnerable. These disaffected people can be infected by the attention other angry, disturbed people get by becoming mass killers.

Killing former colleagues, schoolmates or groups of strangers in a final, suicidal spasm serves not only as an act of revenge but as a way of forcing the world to be aware of the killer’s inner torment. These very public attacks also give the killer the fame that eluded him in his failed life. They fantasize about going out in a blaze of glory.

Revenge over real and imagined slights, the desire for attention and fame, and delusions—all can play a role.

The United States is by far the world leader in this gruesome category. The U.S. has five times the number of mass shootings as the next-highest country. Why? The most obvious reason is the U.S.’s unique gun culture. The U.S. easily has the most guns per capita of any country in the world, with an estimated 310 million guns in circulation—roughly one for every American—and lax gun laws. It’s not hard for delusional or vengeful people to procure a semi-automatic handgun or rifle.

Can anything be done? In a civil society, what does anyone need with a military-style weapon?

Ron Lowe

Nevada City

Watershed action

Re “Arsenic and a bad taste” by Corey Rodda (SN&R News, June 9):

Thank you for raising awareness about the problem of unsafe water in schools and the vital need for California to track and address the problem. It is unfortunate that this story suggests our report (available at http://bit.ly/1T1bSNv) was flawed, but we appreciate that in this misunderstanding of the data, a key issue is raised. State agencies, local school districts, and advocates like ourselves lack access to sufficient information to adequately assess the magnitude of the problem of unsafe drinking water in schools. Better state-level monitoring of water quality in schools is needed to ensure that our children have safe drinking water at school. Luckily, the State Assembly, with active support from the Community Water Center and a broad coalition of advocates, has advanced a budget package that prioritizes improved drinking-water data collection as well as funding to address the problem of unsafe water in schools. This funding is crucial to ensuring that schools across California with stories like the one at Franklin Elementary School will receive the funds they need to secure interim and lasting drinking-water solutions.

Jenny Rempel

Community Water Center

Teach them morals

Re “Locks and chains” by Dave Kempa (SN&R News, June 9):

Theft is not about socioeconomic standing. It’s not about race. It’s about morals. Thieves have no morals. There is no rationalizing theft.

Jim Ireland