Statistics offer small comfort
Tinsley E. Yarbrough, 252-756-7642, Greenville
Sunday, September 8, 2019
Thanks so much, Mr. Koegel! (Public Forum, Aug. 27) Silly me! There I was following the New York Times, Washington Post, Associated Press, TV networks and Daily Reflector in claiming that there already had been over 250 mass shootings in the country at the time of the El Paso and Dayton tragedies. (In fact, in an attachment to Mr. Koegel’s letter, the Reflector notes that “several (sources) put the number of mass shootings at more than one per day in 2019.”)
Instead, I should have contacted Mr. Koegel to learn that, according to Mother Jones, there had actually been only 115 mass shootings by that point. How comforting that statistic will be to the grieving families of mass shooting victims. In fact, by defining “mass shootings” very, very narrowly, we could even eliminate the concept entirely. Problem solved!
As usual, though, no thanks to Dr. Soderstrom (Reflector, September 3) for claiming that a ban on military-style assault weapons will leave “normal citizens ... defenseless,” that “effective weapons in the hands of responsible Americans” might have prevented the Dayton tragedy “that took six police officers firing 55 times in 30 seconds” to end the carnage, and that any effort to eliminate such weapons is “futile” anyway, “given that tens of millions of these are already in private hands.” How comforting! And how relaxing it would be to take a walk in a mall or other public place while “responsible Americans” like Dr. Soderstrom wander around, “protecting” us with their AR15s and other military-style assault weapons.
After El Paso and Dayton, President Trump suggested that we need more mental institutions. The more I read and hear from him and his followers, the more I think he may be right— but not in the way he thinks.
Tinsley E. Yarbrough