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Letters to the Editor: His family owned a gun shop. ‘I feel lingering guilt,’ he says

 Protesters demonstrate at the National Rifle Assn. conference in Houston on May 27.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Allowing weapons of mass destruction to be in the hands of young people whose brains are not yet fully formed will kill too many of us. I have kids who are not yet 25 years old, and while they are responsible young adults, I don’t trust all their decision making. (“Don’t look away from the Texas school shooting. Don’t wait in silence until the next massacre,” column, May 24)

Also, I feel lingering guilt. My father was a gun shop owner. I’m afraid to ask him how many military-style weapons he sold legally. He used to be a big supporter of the National Rifle Assn., but he changed his mind. He was a Republican, so perhaps it was out of rebellion that I always voted for Democrats and supported gun control.

Many years after my father sold his shop, I had a violent, deranged neighbor and wanted to buy a small handgun for self-protection. My father refused to help me buy one. I notified the police, but they could not do anything for years until the neighbor finally threatened to shoot himself and others.

Is this what life in the U.S. is supposed to about? Americans shooting Americans?

Im Jung Kwuon, Porter Ranch

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To the editor: Early in my 40-year career as a high school physical education teacher and coach, we had fire drills and earthquake drills. After the Columbine shooting in 1999, we had to add a new drill.

One year I was going over my checklist with students of what to do if a shooter came onto our field or into the locker room, the gym or the fitness room. Some of my students said they wanted to be the heroes and tackle the shooter; others stared ahead in disbelief and fear.

Even now, I shake my head over this. Even though I defused the passion of the would-be heroes to save the day and calmed the fears of others, our awareness was heightened. I prayed my students were better prepared as a result of the discussion and the safe possibilities laid out before them.

It became my greatest fear as a teacher to have one of my students shot and killed in my classroom.

I know teachers Irma Garcia and Eva Mireles, both killed in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24, prepared as best as they could for this deadly event. The fact that teachers have to deal with this should be a sign to our government that something is wrong.

Our students and teachers are not safe. We must call our senators and tell them to take action.

Judy Thomsen, Glendora

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To the editor: I was a victim of gun violence when I was 16 years old in 1969. I have been writing senators and whoever else I thought would listen and tell them to stop making it so easy for people to get guns.

I am now 69 years old. It breaks my heart that we have not progressed much further than when I first fought for victims’ rights.

These mass shootings must stop now. No excuses. Please, no more deaths.

Lisa Shoemaker, Mission Viejo


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