“Figures shed light on mass murder ‘epidemic'” (Our Views, Dec. 22) suggests that the occurrence of mass killings “is exploited for political gain,” specifically “to beat a drum for gun control,” and that the infrequency of mass killing deaths relative to total murders annually in the U.S. fails to justify these calls for action and any resultant gun laws. As a gun owner and public health researcher, I agree: No amount of regulation and — for the NRA devotees who would posit otherwise — no amount of mental health coverage can prevent occasional, disturbed persons from committing public atrocities.
The 100 or so yearly deaths from mass killings shouldn't serve as the primary impetus for discourse on preventing firearm-related violence. The 31,000 Americans gunned down annually in our backyards and private homes should serve as that impetus. Space doesn't allow for exploring gun regulation approaches, but many exist and have strong scientific support. The larger issue is that research and legislative activities related to firearms are needed. Constructing as a defense against these activities an argument based on a recondite (something understood only by experts) mortality statistic is deceptive.
Tyler Schwartz, Mustang