(Editor's note--The following Letter to the Editor was submitted by Christian Foley-Beining, proprietor of Chris Foley Fine Leathers in Healdsburg):
What's wrong with this gun loving nation?
Every week there is at least one shooting with semi-automatic weapons. The worst just happened a few days ago in Connecticut. This is a result of the love for guns, love of violent video games and violent movies. Another reason is also that this country is not willing to pay enough taxes to take care of the mentally ill.
Innocent people get killed in schools, movie theaters, in hospital, at work, at any normal place you can think of. This is sick. Is owning a gun the only way for Americans to feel powerful?
America is by far the most violent country of all industrialized nations. In many cases crime is ten fold per capita compared to European countries. And guess what, you gun lovers, although there are strict gun laws in Europe, nobody takes your hunting rifle away. There is a lot of hunting of game in Europe. Although it wouldn't be my choice, I can accept it.
I don't call this freedom when you have to be afraid of a shooting when you drop off your kids at school or at a movie theater. I don't call it freedom when you go hiking in a national park and because recent laws allow guns there you now have to be afraid that some crazy person walks around with a semi-automatic weapon.
More guns is not the answer to this problem, like many NRA members and the gun lobby advocate. We are living in the 21st century and not in the Wild West anymore.
Let's get a movement going to get rid of guns, the same way we changed our attitude about smoking. America was a leader in the anti-smoking movement. Europe finally followed that lead. Let's follow the humane European model and do the right thing: “No Guns.”
It is time to speak up. People, organizations like churches, politicians etc. who don't speak up against this cycle of violence passively enable the horrible crimes. Speak up, Congress, and don't care whether you will be re-elected again next time. President Obama, we need you to lead this movement.
Christian Foley-Beining, Healdsburg