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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

November 25, 2008 at 4:21 PM

Southcenter shooting

Alan Berner / The Seattle Times

Police crime tape keeps bystanders at bay near the scene of last Saturday’s shooting at Westfield Southcenter.

Time for a compromise

As Jack Olsen so eloquently put it, “give a boy a gun.” The right to bear arms has been lost in the translation [“Southcenter opens after shooting leaves one dead,” News, Nov. 23]. How about a compromise? Ban handguns, concealed or not, and allow rifles only. That way we can see it coming and get out of your murderous ways a little sooner.

Instead of threats to North Korea, how about situating American-owned prisons there and banishing for 10 years Americans who violate the handgun law. That would create employment opportunities for the impoverished nation, and lower the cost and burden of housing prisoners here. Besides, who would want to escape there? Might be worse outside the wall.

— David Gloor, Seattle

Push it to the Legislature

Shooting incidents, random and/or premeditated, seem to happen nearly every day. The same arguments come up every time: People demand stronger gun laws, while the gun lobby says the laws we have are adequate — if they were only enforced.

In order for the general public to see and learn how the Second Amendment works in real life, it should be a requirement that what is known about every shooting incident is made public.

If we have the weapon, the following should be made public: make and type of gun; in whose name it is registered, who bought it and who used it; who sold it to the present registered owner and when; whether it was purchased through a store, trade show, catalog or other; where and how it was stored; the reason given by the registered owner in the application for the need to own a gun, and the situation around the incident.

If the weapon is not found, publish what we can find out: type of bullet, caliber and what type of weapon was used

If this information is published for every incident, the public would learn a lot about the effectiveness of current gun laws and enforcements.

We should then be able to determine if the laws are adequate and, if they are enforced properly, who should own a gun; does the registered owner properly take care of and control the gun; did the seller properly process the applications to purchase the gun; are the laws adequate with regard to what type of guns should be available to the general public; are there any patterns in gun misuse, and should guns clearly designed for combat be made available to the public.

Statistics are available to describe how serious this situation is but if this information is properly published after every incident, an informed public opinion could be formed and possibly influence the Legislature to develop proper gun laws that could protect the general public from gun misuse.

— Johannes Christoffersen, Bellevue

Let’s continue the change

I was at the Southcenter Mall with my family watching a movie when the theater went into lockdown mode because of a shooting.

At the time, we were unaware of the details, and because we were on the top floor, we were oblivious to the chaos and horror going on two floors below us.

The parking lot was gridlocked for hours, and only until we arrived home did I realize that one young man had been killed and one seriously injured.

What disturbs me is the number of racist comments that I’ve been seeing since this incident has happened.

There have been comments within discussion forums regarding Southcenter being a “ghetto mall” and a place for “gangbangers,” and how this was typical of black people.

It just reminds me of the same kind of hatred that I witnessed not so long ago as I was watching those Gov. Sarah Palin rallies, where bigots were coming out of the woodwork, saying President-elect Barack Obama was a terrorist because his middle name was Hussein.

This is 2008 and we’ve just elected an African-American president so I’d like to think we’ve come a long way when it comes to race. But comments like this from small-minded people remind me that we still have a long way to go when it comes to understanding each other cross-culturally and stopping the stereotypes.

— Meg Tapucol-Provo, Des Moines

Comments | More in Pop culture, Public safety, Race


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