To the editor: It was disconcerting to hear President Trump say that the gunman who killed 26 people in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday was mentally ill. It was inexcusable that the media and scientific community did not chastise him quickly for making such a remark. ("'This isn't a guns situation': Trump says Texas shooter was 'deranged,'" Nov. 6)
Many people have asked the psychological community to diagnose Trump from afar but have always been told that doing so would fall far short of the scientific standard for validity. Yet we allow a president who has no formal education on mental health to make these pronouncements from the greatest seat of authority.
Trump is not qualified to make such a judgment; he does so only out of convenience. For him, it's convenient to judge this gunman insane just as it was convenient to judge the alleged New York attacker as a product of this country's diversity visa program.
Michael Davidson, Altadena
To the editor: Trump jumped at the chance after the Texas shooting to say that it is not a gun problem, it is a mental health problem.
Aside from the fact that most people with mental illness are more likely to be the victims and not the perpetrators of violence, Trump's statement seems odd and hypocritical when one realizes that the administration's proposed budget includes a cut in block grant funding for mental health services of greater than 20%.
Andrew E. Rubin, Marina del Rey
To the editor: I was a docent at the Los Angeles Zoo for seven years. Before I started I had to take a 23-week course in zoology. Furthermore, I was given a thorough background check and had to present a note from my doctor stating my mental and physical condition.
These safeguards were undertaken just so I could enlighten schoolchildren about the wonders of animal life. How is it that I can simply attend a gun show and buy an assault rifle in about the amount of time it takes me to buy a bag of peanuts?
Animal lives are precious; so are human lives. When will the powers that be put their collective feet down and make it as difficult to arm the citizenry as it is to explain the difference between a monkey and an ape?
Maxine Schneiderman, Woodland Hills