Trump, guns and the mentally ill

I’m a little confused by Betty Knight's Aug. 30 letter to the editor, "Stop the anti-Trump blame game."

She says that President Trump is not to blame. The mass shooters are all mentally ill, and we just need to monitor their social media accounts so we can identify and stop them.

The El Paso shooter’s manifesto repeatedly quoted Donald Trump’s statements and positions on migrants as justification for his murderous rampage.

So the question is this: If his repeating Trump's inflammatory statements would make us declare him mentally ill, what does that make the one who says such things the loudest and most often in this country?

Trump has claimed that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose any supporters. That doesn’t sound to me like a normal statement by a sane person. Would he be allowed to buy a gun? Not by Knight’s criteria.

Unfortunately we have given him a whole lot more power than just owning a gun would give him. And let’s be honest, for a lot of people, owning a gun does give them power in a world where lots of us feel pretty powerless over our situations.

I am tired of hearing that guns don’t kill people. Of course they do. The only real purpose of a gun is to kill something. They kill people because they make it so easy -- just move one finger a quarter inch. You can kill with a knife or a baseball bat, but that would take work and you have to get up close and personal. But if you have a weapon designed for war with a extra large magazine, you can kill dozens in seconds from quite a distance away. That’s why assault weapons are the first choice of these mass murderers.

JIM TODD

Pamplin

Pence's canned response

"Our hearts break." That's Vice President Mike Pence's response to the Labor Day weekend shooting in Texas, which killed seven more and injured 21. No disrespect intended to the vice president, but I suspect he has the emotional sincerity of a politician. (And the countenance of a cigar store Indian.)

Pence will stand resolute in his defense of an amendment which has provided a well-regulated militia of mentally-ill assault-rifle owners. It may be worth noting that many Americans are one traffic ticket away from going postal.

WILLIAM MILLER

Forest

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