Letters to the editor: How can we prevent more mass shootings? Our readers react.

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How will more mental health care

prevent more mass shootings?

As a licensed mental health provider for the past 16 years, I would like some help understanding how increasing mental health services will prevent more mass shootings.

We cannot identify every potential gunman and prevent them from being able to purchase a weapon that can instantly kill dozens of people. Mental health providers are already bound by law to report to authorities any suspicion of potential violence toward themselves and others. The devastating mass shooting in Uvalde is an unfortunate example of this point: The young gunman had no reported history of mental illness and was able to easily purchase enough weaponry to murder 19 young children and two adults.

Easy access to purchase a semiautomatic weapon, capable of killing people quickly and in large numbers, is the cause for this disastrous event.

Janey Marks, Austin

More mental health care can help;

gun restrictions would help more

Are there any solutions to mass murder in Texas? Abbott says more funding for mental health. OK fine, let's see how much additional funding is actually given to mental health and the results.

Cruz says more training and guns for teachers. OK, but will you give them AR-15s? I would hate to see a second grade teacher go up against an AR-15 with a pistol.

More mental health care can help, gun control would help more. I don't want to take your guns, I want sensible gun control.

RC Johnson, Lago Vista

Yes, mental health is an issue,

but it's guns that kill our children

I am a conservative. I have been voting for 62 years. Many of those years I voted Republican. Right now I am so ashamed.

Our governor says this crime against humanity is because we have people who are mentally ill. If that's true, we must have the highest rate of mental illness in the world.

That says a lot about who we vote into office. I guess we have gotten what we deserve.

We are not the only country with mental health issues.

We have too many guns. We need red flag laws and actual background checks no matter where a gun is purchased. And please think about who we allow to purchase automatic weapons. I've never heard of a deer returning fire.

Those children who are all dead now deserve politicians who care about them and the rest of us.

Annette Naish, Austin

The most important thing we can do

is replace Texas' current leadership

The single most important thing we can do to prevent future massacres like that at Robb Elementary in Uvalde is work to replace Greg Abbott, Dan Patrick, Ken Paxton, Ted Cruz and all Texas politicians on the National Rifle Association's leash with those who have a more common-sense understanding of the Second Amendment.

The current leadership's efforts to make gun ownership as free of restrictions and responsibilities as possible ensure the massacres will continue.

"Harden" schools? What, and keep kids inside for recess, gym, sports activities and marching band practice?

And who in their right mind thinks arming as many people as possible in public settings leads to good outcomes? How about hardening access to guns instead?

Greg McCarty, Buda

We can do something about guns;

we can vote out the politicians

As our hearts go out to the families in Uvalde mourning their losses, we cannot sit idly by without holding the politicians who enabled this and other similar horrific crimes accountable.

Those politicians have blood on their hands for supporting the unfettered possession of deadly weapons by anyone over age 18. Such laws mock the Second Amendment, wherein the right to bear arms is granted in order to maintain a well-regulated militia.

In contrast, the laws in Texas have done away with virtually all regulation of firearms, including AR-15s, for which the guns of the guards at the school in Uvalde were no match. To say nothing can be done is a lie. In November, replace the politicians who, as Rochelle Garza says, "[care] more about lobbyists and donors than the lives of our children."

Mike Field, Austin

Can we not apply common-sense

logic to restricting access to guns?

I am sure that most of your readers remember the "shoe bomber," the guy who unsuccessfully tried to detonate a bomb from his shoe. Ever since then, we have all been taking off our shoes to get on an airplane. No one screamed about the Constitution and freedom from searches, we all buckled under for the greater good. Can we not apply the same logic to gun control?

Restricting guns to those with a license, restricting access to assault rifles and doing background checks. Under 21 can't buy beer in most states, why can he buy a gun? We are insane.

Helen Carvell, Austin

Politicians want teachers to protect kids;

a nationwide teachers strike would do this

I am calling for an immediate nationwide teachers strike, for the children.

If members of Congress think it’s the responsibility of teachers to protect their students, then teachers can do just that by going on strike. Call for an immediate ban on AR-15 rifles, mandatory universal background checks, mandatory gun training, raising the gun ownership age to 21, creating a national gun registry. All the “common sense laws” that Americans of all political stripes overwhelming demand and deserve.

Even the youngest schoolchildren understand what is at stake. They feel the fear. They know the dangers.

A nationwide strike would bind not only all the pain the country is reeling from, but unite the country in a force never seen before.

If not for the children, who then?

Jono David, Rockville, Maryland

There's no need for a private citizen

to own a semiautomatic firearm

An 11-year-old girl takes the blood of a murdered classmate, wipes it on herself, and plays dead. So goes a school day in Texas. If that unimaginable horror isn’t sufficient to cause you to examine your position on gun control, you are beyond help.

There is no reason under the sun why a private citizen, much less an 18-year-old, needs to own an AR-15 or an AK-47. Our political leaders in this country have devolved into caricatures. Just look at the number of political ads featuring a gun-toting candidate (usually invoking the name of Jesus at the same time).

I will never understand how the Second Amendment has been elevated to holy status. Please re-read it in its entirety and note the phrase “well-regulated.” Fellow Christians, I don’t care how often you quote scripture to back up your arguments, you are wrong.

Ann G. Young, Austin

Protect the kids, not the politicians;

put an armed guard at every school

Since our politicians don't have much to offer besides thoughts and prayers to protect our children in our schools, why don't we use all of the money we spend on law enforcement and security services to protect the politicians to instead place a law enforcement officer in all of our schools?

The politicians can protect themselves, our children can't. I would think an officer at the front door of every school would help discourage the cowards who attack the innocent. Politicians don't deserve the money we spend on their security when they won't protect those they are supposed to serve.

Bill Banowsky, Austin

We cannot signal acceptance

of what was once unacceptable

We, including the press, must stop calling what is happening in our schools, churches, grocery stores, etc., tragedies. A tragedy is a piteous event, but not always a crime.

A massacre is the murder of innocents. Calling these massacres, these crimes, tragedies has the effect of softening the crime, thereby making it just another line added to the sorrowful litany of life that we all must bear to some extent.

By calling each massacre a tragedy, we signal our acceptance of what was once unacceptable.

Pat Oakes, Austin

Maybe it's time to see our own dead

and the carnage weapons inflict

Perhaps it's time we start sending photos of the victims' bullet-riddled bodies to Gov. Abbott and other politicians who refuse to enact any guns restrictions. Let them see what the bullet from an AR-15-style rifle does to the body of a 10-year-old child.

We seem to have no issues with showing the dead bodies laying in the streets and fields of Ukraine, or any other war.

Perhaps it's time we start seeing our own dead. Then maybe, just maybe, our elected officials, our "leaders," will find within themselves the tiniest ounce of courage needed to do something — anything.

Scott Richard, Buda

This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: Austin American-Statesman Letters to the Editor: June 5, 2022