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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 15, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Shooting at Holocaust Museum

Guards, not killer, should be memorialized

In an article titled “Museum shooter had history of hate” [Close Up, June 12], I saw two photos of the Holocaust Museum shooter: a small photo as James von Brunn appeared recently and a larger photo of him as a younger man holding up a cookbook cover he illustrated, where we could all admire his art abilities and his youthful good looks.

But there was no photo of the security guard who sacrificed his life for the protection of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Nor were there pictures of the other two armed security guards who heroically fired back, wounding von Brunn and likely saving the lives of many people who were in the museum at the time.

This felt so wrong to me. While the text of the article explains the event clearly, the photos memorialize the killer, while the man who stood for goodness and loyalty gets no visual for us to remember him by, nor do the other guards who brought the killer down before he did even more damage.

The guards’ photos deserve to be seen and stored in our visual memories — not the neo-Nazi and his book-cover illustrations.

— Annette Peizer, Seattle

More background checks would prevent violence

This is in response to the letter to the editor by Larry Clemens [“Don’t make new laws, enforce existing ones,” Northwest Voices, June 12], in which he says we need enforcement of existing gun laws rather than new ones.

Although felons are, as he says, prohibited from having guns, that prohibition alone is not, in fact, adequate. It’s like an honor code for felons. Sure, if James von Brunn [“Suspect in shooting linked to neo-Nazis,” front page, June 11] was observed with a weapon, he would have been arrested. But do felons make a point of letting the police know they have the prohibited weaponry before using it? Enforcement is often, by necessity, after the fact — and is too late for those shot.

The law requires gun dealers to do background checks. So how did the Holocaust Museum shooter get his gun? The fact is that we do not have laws that require all sellers to do background checks. Felons go to those sellers.

On this one point alone (and there are many others), the law is currently inadequate to reduce gun violence. This “enforce existing laws” argument only protects those who wish the option to initiate force — and the gun industry, which must be afraid that if such people are denied guns, their sales will suffer.

— Judi Edwards, Bremerton

Comments | More in crime/justice, Gun control, Public safety

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