How much longer will we tolerate this slaughter? (Opinion)

Second Amendment

Regarding “Police: 8 killed in Texas mall shooting, gunman also dead,” (May 6): I am without words to describe the combination of sorrow and rage that flooded me in the aftermath of this latest horror. The frustration of living in a state where leaders scramble to pass laws prohibiting drag shows and certain medical care for youth, while the truly “unspeakable” reality of little girls with their faces obliterated by assault rifles and little boys covered in their dead parents’ blood is met only with “thoughts and prayers.” If indeed God helps those who help themselves, how much longer will we tolerate this slaughter?

Sylvia S. Villarreal, Houston

Gather around, children, and I will tell you a story of not long ago. It wasn’t so long ago that kids like you could go to school and only worry if you had remembered the sack lunch that your mom made and that you had gotten your math homework solved right.

It wasn’t so long ago that children like you could go shopping with your family and only worry about having enough allowance money to buy that Snickers bar at the checkout counter.

It wasn’t so long ago that kids like you could go to church and only worry about the fact that you’d rather sleep in. 

It wasn’t so long ago that kids like you could go to the parade downtown, and your only worry was to find the best spot to set up your chair so your little sister could see the brightly colored floats.

It wasn’t so long ago that children like you could go to your doctor’s office and only worry about how much pinch you would feel from the vaccine shot and what color of sucker to pick after.

It wasn’t so long ago that kids like you could go to the movie theater and the popping sound of the popcorn machine would not startle you.

It wasn’t so long ago.

Sherry Andresen, Katy

The NRA really loves it when Gov. Abbott talks about guns. Right after the Uvalde massacre, he said that gun restrictions aren’t “real solutions.” According to him, “L.A. and New York disprove that thesis.” Once again, Abbott doesn’t have his facts straight.

California actually ranks among the nation’s lowest, when you look at the rate of firearm deaths. The statistics for 2021 (and I doubt they’ve changed greatly) showed that California had 9 deaths per 100,000 people. Texas had 15.6 per 100,000 people.  

California has enacted multiple policies to lower gun deaths; Texas has gone in the opposite direction. I guess facts don’t matter when you’re in the grip of the NRA. You can be embarrassed that Texas isn’t number one in gun sales.

Carl Lloyd, San Antonio

Cleveland victims

Regarding “Remembering the 5 Texas mass shooting victims, killed after dispute with neighbor,” (May 1): Sincere thanks to the writers of  “In Remembrance” who so beautifully humanized the five victims of the horrendous, senseless massacre in Cleveland — victims previously only characterized by our heartless governor as immigrants unauthorized to live in the U.S., as if that made it excusable to kill them.

Lorraine Wulfe, Houston

Mental health

Regarding “Magnolia mother accused of killing 5-year-old displayed erratic behavior from child’s birth, report says,” (May 5): In the wake of yet another mass shooting in Allen, Gov. Abbott wants to focus on quelling the anger and fixing the mental health of those who might pick up another killing instrument and succumb to their evil thoughts.

The Sunday article about Melissa Towne, a woman who had been institutionalized nine times in this state but was still allowed to be in contact with her young daughter, whom she eventually killed, was one telling example of how mental health is handled currently in some parts of Texas.

Addressing mental health issues is admirable, but mental health issues are murky, complex and require months or years of therapy, along with proper diagnosis and medication — no small feat. Many of these tortured people don’t seek help perhaps because they have no one to lead them there, or because they cannot afford ridiculous costs of medical/mental health care. Some, like Towne, may just skip their medication because they don’t possess the responsibility, concern or the memory for that daily regimen. As near as I can tell, Texas has miles to go before it is effectively addressing and treating those who need it the most.

If Abbott thinks he is going to curb mass shootings by fixing the mental health of unstable potential killers in this state, I believe we are in for much, much more heartache.

Raise the age of firearm purchase to 21, regardless of type. Complete mandatory background checks on gun purchases, no matter where the guns are purchased. Strengthen red flag laws for those who have histories of mental health issues or for those who have committed crimes in the past. Do something meaningful and effective now, instead of hiding behind the Second Amendment and blaming mental health.

Brenden McBride, Katy

Regarding “ER visits surge for young people in mental distress,” (May 7): We’ve long refused actions to address fears and emotions fueled by mass shootings, gender-shaming, violence and substance abuse. The absence of reasonable gun regulations, the criminalization of LGBTQ people, and a limitation of medical access along with the failure to sufficiently fund and staff facilities and programs have all contributed to this nightmare. 

We are suffering the neglect of poor stewardship. 

Cliff Bodin, Humble

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