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SST LTRAugust 27, 2019

Dear Editor, 

In a response to my Letter To The Editor about ridding the nation of the kinds of weapons used by mass shooters, Ruth Sellers asks in her Letter To The Editor "why would anyone promote his political agenda based on such tragedies?"

What "agenda" would not appear political?  It's all political. 95% of domestic terrorists who cause these dreadful tragedies are doing so for political reasons  - to keep America white and to intimidate minorities. In the last week, the F.B.I. reported the arrest of five suspects who intended mass shootings of religious minorities and brown people. Gay people have been political targets of hate. Ruth Sellers appears to suggest that my using a peaceful method (to encourage voting, writing letters) to forward the goal of ridding ourselves of the required equipment used in mass shootings of innocent people is out of line. Who is the real patriot here?

Ms. Sellers is way off mark to reduce my Letter to "hate rhetoric". Every single one of us should be doing everything we can to eliminate the senseless, family-destroying deaths of our kids in schools.  WalMart shoppers, concert and movie go-ers, co-workers, church attendees and nightclubbing fun-lovers have been executed by crazy persons with high capacity rapid-fire rifles that they bought legally.  Refining anyone's attempt to save lives with universal background checks as a "political agenda" is stunning, sad and lacks basic empathy. Some students are wearing shirts that say "If I Die By Mass Shooting Bring My Body To The Steps Of Congress". Is that too political Ms. Sellers? Brave young people who survived the Parkland shooting have been getting loud, and getting political about gun violence because this is still a democracy, for now.

With regards to the military-type of high capacity automatic weapons that are used by civilians to cause mass murder within minutes, it should be obvious that politics is at the very heart of these tragic events if anything is going to be done to prevent them. The political divide over mass shootings has been around for decades, long before the Bill Clinton Assault Weapons Ban that lasted ten years (1994-2004) and much, much longer ago than the publishing of my Letter. The most likely reason that firearm tragedies have continued through decades is because one political party is at the receiving end of millions of dollars of campaign donations from the NRA Gun Lobby.  Of our two main political parties, Democrats generally vote in favor of stronger gun control that has resulted in fewer deaths per capita by state as I evidenced in my original letter - compared to other states' death by firearms per capita where the Republicans vote for looser gun laws. So yes, one political party is using their votes to prevent these tragedies, while the other political party hasn't done much beyond offering 'thoughts & prayers'.

Democrats in Congress this year passed their bi-partisan universal background checks bill in the House Of Representatives last February. A bill that could possibly have saved lives this year by keeping rapid fire rifles out of the hands of the mentally ill and felons. Isn't that what we all want? That bill is still awaiting a senate floor vote to be brought by Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a major receiver of campaign donations by the NRA to the tune of 1.26 million over his career, through 2018 only.

While the NRA contributes to members of both parties, the lion's share goes to the GOP. Of the top 85 members of Congress with the most career NRA contributions, 82 are Republicans, according to a database from the Center for Responsive Politics. 
See:  www.businessinsider.com/nra-political-contributions-congressional-candidates-house-senate-2018-2

Ms. Sellers should have done her homework in her reference to Adolph Hitler. Like many Americans, some believe all the talking points from the side of politics they choose to adhere to.  Hitler could not have made the reported large-scale confiscation of personally owned guns in Germany because few German citizens were allowed to own guns in the Weimer Republic (1918 to 1933)  that preceded the Hitler regime. Why do people so easily believe these fallacies? Because they've been conditioned to fear government, minorities and immigrants.

More facts about immigrants: Since 1911, large nationwide federal immigration commissions have asked whether immigrants are more crime-prone than native-born Americans and each one of them answered "No".  From the 1911 Immigration Commission, also known as the Dillingham Commission, to the 1931 Wickersham Commission, and 1994’s Barbara Jordan Commission, each has reported that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than native-born Americans, as reported by the conservative Cato Institute.

To attempt to sell the idea about how blessed America is with our pure and unlimited Freedom Of Speech and Right To Bear Arms proves just how uniformed many Americans are.  Our freedom of speech, granted by the First Amendment, is limited. You cannot make threats, you cannot incite violence in the public forum, one can be sued for slander and liable. It is illegal to talk someone into suicide. Our Right To Bear Arms is also limited. I don't think that it's necessary to list those limitations, is it?  So, with the long list of current firearm limitations, why can't we rid ourselves of these weapons of mass shootings and end the grief of thousands of American family members? Money from gun lobbyists, perhaps?

Lastly, to think that anyone possessing a home arsenal of assault weapons is going to protect their family from a tyrannical government, and then actually attempt to do just that, is bonkers.  A corrupt government isn't going be deeply threatened by your home arsenal, okay? The government has tear-gas, rocket launchers, smart-bombs, flame throwers, sound-wave amplifiers - and that's the small stuff.  That doesn't include the tanks and other vehicles at their disposal. Protecting our right to vote is the best way to prevent a tyrannical government from forming. Trump and Republican-led states are fine with closing polling places in left-leaning districts, running out of ballots, publishing incorrect voting dates in brochures.  The Republican Party also claims 'voter fraud' is a huge problem with "millions of votes being cast illegally" while only 44 actual cases of voter fraud have been found since 2000. This big lie is intended to weaken faith in our voting system setting up the possibility of a real coup.  One of those few caught for voter fraud was right-winger Ann Coulter by the way.  Ann Coulter committed third degree felony voter registration fraud, along with a first degree voter fraud misdemeanor, when she lied about her residency and then knowingly voted at the wrong polling place in Palm Beach County, FL in 2005. Why isn't she in prison for that?

Our current president is the biggest threat to the nation right now as to our economic well being, individual rights, a free press, the corruption at the D.O.J., EPA and every cabinet position, attempts to control private business and more.  Scary stuff.  Yah sure, Obama was bad, too, threatening to give every American affordable health care. Tyrannical!

Victor Krag
Mariposa, CA