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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: What societal factors are creating these monsters?

With the tragedy of another horrific mass shooting, our thoughts as a nation naturally turn what we can do to prevent this from happening again. For many, that means a renewed call for gun control. If only solving the problem we are seeing had a simple solution like that.

Without a doubt, removing all 300 million firearms from America would be a superhuman feet. But let’s say, for argument’s sake, that it was possible. Would our problem go away?

The answer is no. Removing all firearms from society would not magically transform individuals determined to engage in mass murder into well-conditioned citizens. Instead, they would look to other means to satisfy their depraved urge. With a 3D printer they could make a new gun. They could buy an illegally imported gun. They could build a bomb or set fire in a theater or drive a truck into a crowd of people. The possibilities are nearly endless.

I suppose we could respond by closing our borders and ceasing all foreign commerce to keep illegal firearms out. We could confiscate all 3D printers, household chemicals, fertilizer, fuel and automobiles from society and create a safe utopian bubble in which to live.

But even then, our would-be killers’ predispositions would still manifest themselves in ways harmful to those around them. Not to speak of the fact that they themselves would still not lead happy or fulfilling lives.

As you know, gun ownership is not a recent phenomenon in America. We have had roughly as many guns per capita in our country for a very long time. But we have not had random mass shootings for very long at all.

Calling for gun control as the solution to premeditated mass murder is like planning a course of aspirin as your treatment plan for cancer. You hope to dull the pain of the symptom, which may temporarily make it more comfortable to ignore the disease.

We must react to the disease we are facing like we would to cancer, not with pain killers but with hard questions. What societal factors are creating these monsters? And what changes are needed so to reverse this trend? This is the discussion that we must hold as a nation in response to the horrific incidents of mass murder that we are witnessing.

Ken Cobb

Bemidji

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