Letters to the Editor: English is ‘riddled’ with gun metaphors. Let’s stop using them
To the editor: I signed my first gun-control petition in the summer of 1968 after the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. That I’m still signing these petitions more than 50 years later is unbelievable and terribly sad. (“Want more gun control? Don’t make it about AR-15s,” Opinion, April 16)
Our culture fetishizes guns. Our very use of the English language is “riddled” with gun-related phrases that are so ubiquitous we hardly notice anymore. Columnist Harry Litman even wrote that better background checks and smart guns “are our best shot for a substantial reduction in America’s scandalous rate of gun violence” (the italics are mine).
Litman is correct that we must start with small, incremental gun-control measures and keep going. Perhaps we could also become more aware of our own unconscious acceptance of gun-related expressions that have numbed our thinking and attitudes.
Genie Saffren, Los Angeles
To the editor: I agree with Litman about the need for more background checks to prevent gun violence and the particular impact of guns on domestic violence victims.
However, the need for the background checks is only half the problem. Such checks are only as good as the records held by the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS.
For example, in 2002, when I was living in Washington, we had the “D.C. sniper” attacks. John Allen Muhammad, who was responsible for 10 deaths in the attacks, had been issued a domestic violence protection order on behalf of his wife, which should have led to him being denied the purchase of the guns.
However, the protection order did not prevent Muhammad from buying his gun. This is only one example of many. Under the current laws, state sharing of records with the NICS is generally voluntary.
Marnie Shiels, Long Beach
To the editor: I noticed The Times published in its print edition a safe photo of a body being carried out of the Fedex facility in Indianapolis, site of the most recent high-profile mass killing. In the photo, the body was fully covered and no blood was visible.
Maybe it’s time to show us what actually happens when an assault rifle is used for killing. I don’t want to see it, but nothing else works to get this carnage to end. Show us what happened to these people. Show us what the first responders had to see.
Our society needs to be shocked into action about gun safety.
Craig Schwarz, Camarillo
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