Letter to the Editor: Time has come for Indiana lawmakers, residents to take action

Dear Senator Braun and Congressman Banks,

We are living in a difficult time in our country’s history where extreme rhetoric is sensationalized and used as both a weapon for politicians and a source of revenue for media outlets through biased opinion pieces masquerading as news. I appreciate both of your statements on the recent shootings and recognition of the extremist undercurrent that exists in our country today.

As a veteran of Iraq and a responsible gun owner I understand the awesome and deadly power of firearms. Our founders included the second amendment with this understanding as well. Guns are tools designed to kill. Any other interpretation distorts this truth.

We as a nation have upheld this right to own and carry deadly weapons throughout our history. This right is one of great individual and collective power. However, with great power comes great responsibility. This responsibility has eroded over the last 40-plus years resulting in a situation where mass and school shootings have become relatively commonplace. Easy access to guns, extreme cultural/racial discrimination, hyperbolic speech by politicians/media, mental health treatment defunding, and a general breakdown in basic kindness/community are all factors.

We can do better. Federal universal background checks, tax stamps for high capacity magazines plus their associated rifles (just like we do for silencers now) and increased federal funding for state/locally run mental health facilities/programs will all help.

However, we as a nation need to look at how we speak to and interact with each other as well. Regardless of our opinions about the right way to continue the prosperity of our country, we need to remember that we are all members of a national community called the United States of America. We must treat each other with the respect and love of a Nation of free humans united in the pursuit of happiness in order to continue to thrive.

Words are easy. Actions can be much more difficult. Have we finally reached the threshold of hate and death to act? I for one hope so.

Josh Jeffrey

Fort Wayne