Letters to the Editor — January 8, 2016

Accept the new normal or act to change it


There will be more mass shootings in this country, and there will be more children shot to death in our streets. This is now what Americans expect and what the rest of the world expects to happen in the U.S. It is the new normal.

We also know what to expect from our elected officials after each shooting. They will tell us that their “hearts break for the families.” They will ask us to “take a moment to reflect on the lives that were taken from us by a senseless act.” They will tell us they “refuse to accept this as normal,” and then they will say, “I’m not sure of the solution, but we must have a serious conversation.”

That’s the pattern: a shooting, followed by our elected leaders posting pictures of the victims on Facebook and telling us to reflect, pray and have a serious conversation.

I’d like to suggest a few guidelines to our elected representatives if we have to have another conversation. Let’s not talk about background checks or better mental health care or lifting the ban on gun violence research. Let’s not debate whether it was domestic or international terrorism. And let’s not blame the NRA.

Citing how many sales were stopped by background checks ignores the fact that 75 percent of guns used in mass shootings were obtained legally.

Let’s face reality and accept that the NRA is the front for the weapons manufacturers, who can stay in the background selling guns while the NRA is out there doing what lobbyists are paid to do.

Before focusing on improved mental health care as a solution, consider the research of Dr. Jeffrey Swanson, professor of psychiatry at Duke University School of Medicine: “If you were to back out all the risk associated with mental illness that’s contributing to the 300,000 people killed by gunshot wounds in the last 10 years, you could probably reduce deaths by about 100,000 people. 95 percent of the reduction would be from suicide. Only 5 percent would be from reducing homicide. Mental illness is a strong risk factor for suicide. It’s not a strong risk factor for homicide.”

So let’s agree that background checks and better mental health care services are not going to reduce homicides. But one way to reduce the number of murders is to ban large-capacity magazine clips. This law would not reduce shootings, but it could reduce the carnage.

We urge Delaware legislators to pass a bill this session that would ban the importation, sale, manufacture, transfer, or possession of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

We believe the Second Amendment, like all amendments to the U.S. Constitution, has parameters. We know our legislators will have to stand up to the pressure of those who think all gun legislation is unconstitutional, but unless they are willing to do just that, we will continue to pathetically light electronic candles on Facebook.

One last thought… On Jan. 8, 2011, six people were murdered and 13 wounded in an assassination attempt on U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford. The gunman carried two 33-round magazines. He was tackled while he tried to reload. One of his murder victims was 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green. She was killed with the 13th bullet.

Would it have made a difference if the killer had to reload after 10 rounds? No one can answer that question, but if banning large-capacity magazines could save a child’s life next year, we need to ban them this year.

Joanne Cabry, Chair
Progressive Democrats of Sussex County

Hattier responds to previous letter


I feel compelled to respond to Rev. Shull’s recent letter to the editor. In it he takes issue with Sen. Hocker’s letter to our Gov. Markell regarding letting more immigrants in.

In an ideal world, I would consider Rev. Shull’s compassion the highest of Christian ideals. He does try to make the case that many of these people need our help and that we as nation have been a haven for immigrants since we were founded.

That is where agreement stops. The writer states our strength comes from the diversity of peoples who have come here.

All previous migrations have wanted to become essentially part of the American culture and by their choice had their own ethnic and foreign backgrounds seconded to being an American. Remember the classes to learn English? Parents telling their kids to learn English to better be part of our American society (no hyphens there)?

Today we spend an inordinate amount of time dealing with ethnic backgrounds and celebrating those and not the achievements that were made in an American name. We are either Americans or not.

Those previous waves came in, were duly sponsored at no cost to the American taxpayer and made their way into the American mainstream. I am the son of an immigrant who was told just that in 1948.

Today’s immigrant, legal or otherwise, comes in to a whole host of paid benefits at the taxpayer expense. We are trillions in debt — double what it was before Obama took office. Shouldn’t the American taxpayer be given the chance to vote whether to continue spending on something, anything? Or do we live in a dictatorship where the powerful tell us what we are going to do with our taxes?

Further, previous migrations were not importing a high percentage of individuals who wished us no good. Even the Pew Research Institute — hardly a conservative bastion — states that 13 to 15 percent of American Muslims would be happy to have sharia law in place and support violent jihad.

The so-called refugees are largely male, single and under 25. I support letting in families with good records and needs, but not that population from which the terrorists are taken. This is not a group of people I want as neighbors, nor in my country. As an American, my government should be protecting my from people like that. Considering the due care that was exercised with Tashfeen several weeks ago, the record is very poor.

There are those who would say that 13 to 15 percent is a small number. Wouldn’t it be nice if Powerball odds were that high?

I say no to more immigrants from troubled places that wish us no good and are using our openness and friendliness to subvert us from with in. And I want the right to vote on this, as is my American privilege. No disrespect intended.

Donald G. Hattier
Ocean View

Reader urges a new look at fear, values


I want to thank Kerry Shull for his letter to the editor concerning immigrants. It was published in the Dec. 25 edition, and I encourage anyone who didn’t have a chance to read it, to find it and read it. I would suggest that possibly the Coastal Point would reprint it again as a guest columnist, since Christmas is such a busy time that many people may not have read it.

He gives us much to think about, especially who we are as a nation. We speak of our American values and say others want to come to our country and look up to us because of our values, but if we don’t practice them, we look like hypocrites. I’m not really sure what we mean by American values but think we need to decide what they are and live up to them.

I live in South Bethany and think it is the greatest place in the world, but it isn’t really living in the world most people experience. We as a nation need to find a way to ensure that everyone has an opportunity for an education, a decent job, health care and a place to call home.

I don’t mean just give it to them, I mean give them a realistic opportunity to achieve them. Most people anywhere in the world just want to lead their lives without fear. Can you imagine being one of the Syrians, uprooted from your country and walking to somewhere that, hopefully, will keep you safe? Having people not wanting you and living in a refugee camp perhaps for years? This is not the way that terrorists are going to sneak into this country.

Take some time in the New Year to think about your fears and do some research to find out what can be done to alleviate that fear, so we live in a country and community full of hope and love, not fear.

Rose Mary Hendrix
South Bethany