Letter to Editor 07

As I listened to the coverage of yet another mass shooting, this time in El Paso, Texas, we were again told by experts that we all play a role in preventing such events by following the edict “if you see something, say something.”

Well, I see something and I am led to say something.

I see an ever-emerging culture in America of suspicion and hate against “others” … the “others” are dehumanized, demeaned, feared and demonized. Prejudice, which is a key component to hate crimes, is complex. The presence of prejudice is the culmination of distant historical events, social/cultural events, learned behaviors, personal beliefs and immediate triggers. It is a sort of funnel from the distant reasons to the more immediate causes. While we cannot change the historical causes, we could try to address the more immediate contributors.

It is these that I see and want to say something about. It is often said that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. But people who have problems and guns are immediate risks for something bad to happen.

I truly believe that it is time for our federal government to “modernize” Second Amendment rights via legislation to reflect that, while Americans have the right to bear arms, we also have the right to safety in the pursuit of happiness.

National polls clearly show that the majority of Americans do want gun legislation to better ensure their safety.

I also see our current president’s ongoing litany of incendiary comments about “others” and politicizing our immigrant policies (which are in need of being constructively addressed) as another immediate trigger needing to be addressed.

I say please stop this behavior. I have no idea what is in the president’s heart, but I see his behaviors as contributory to the current culture of fear and hate of “others” that is emerging again in America. I also say that we all need to examine our own hearts and souls as we grapple with these complex issues.

In the secular world we often say “we are all created equal” — no one is better than any one else. In the religious world, we often hear that God loves all of his creations/people.

If we can behave our best toward our fellow man, then we diminish another trigger to prejudice that can lead to violence.

Carole Serbin