• November 18, 2019

LETTER TO THE EDITOR:To the good folks of Texas, - Odessa American: Letters To Editor

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR:To the good folks of Texas,

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Posted: Sunday, September 8, 2019 6:30 am

Your state has a far better football team (or two) than ours. On the other hand, our skiing, ballooning, and green chile rule. But I think we agree, in the face of what happened in El Paso, Hobbs, N.M., and Odessa/Midland this past month, “something” needs to be done. If we think beyond our state boundaries to all our fellow Americans, mass shootings have skyrocketed these past three years. From Reagan through Obama’s administrations (1981-2016), there were “only” 44 deaths and injuries per year due to mass shootings. That rate of tragedy has grown by 900% in just these most recent three years (2017-2019), ballooning to 377 deaths and injuries per year, more in these three years than the past 20 years. Another year (2020) at this rate will, and one presidential term will have seen as much tragedy as the past nine terms.

Governor Abbott stated yesterday, “We know that words alone are inadequate. Words must be met with action.” Let’s be courageous.

Indiana and Connecticut had the courage to implement “red flag” laws in their states, after which there was a combined 10% reduction in firearm suicides. States with universal background checks for all gun sales had 15% lower homicide rates than states without such laws. And states with laws prohibiting firearm possession by people convicted of violent crimes showed an 18% reduction in homicide rates. Is that sufficient evidence of “what works?” If one, two, or all three of these laws were extended nationally, we might see 5,000 or considerably more lives spared each year, 100 or more each week.

Here in New Mexico, we recently passed legislation on background checks, and “red flag” laws look promising for 2020. If a new medicine showed a reduction in disease, we should try it. If certain gun legislation has the potential to spare over 100 lives a week, what’s to lose? We can always amend legislation. We cannot bring back a lost life. Let’s be courageous.

Odessa, TX

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