Letters to the editor

Got an opinion or just want to point out something good or bad in our community? Send us a letter. Email to mplemmons@independenttribune.com or jstamey@independenttribune.com

One of the struggles in the United States is our violent death rate. There are many factors contributing to US violence and fixes are often not easily implemented and incorporated into our daily lives. Suicide, domestic violence, and other assaults all contribute to the number of our violent deaths. Of the 36,000 gun deaths per year, 2/3 are suicide. Of the 100,000 gun related injuries per year ¾ are assault related. US gun homicide rates are about 20 times the rate compared to other high income countries.

 Here are a couple of thoughts:

1.Ban assault type weapons. Our Congress will need to craft the definition. By Ban I mean no more sales of assault type weapons and all weapons that meet the criteria must be turned in within 90 days of signed legislation. The penalty for non-compliance should be harsh enough to incent owners of assault type weapons to turn the weapon in. It seems reasonable that the federal government make a standard reimbursement dollar amount for each weapon turned in.

2.While individuals with severe mental health illness are not more prone to violence than the general population I think it is time to re-establish state and / or federally funded mental health institutions. Our country has about 10 million individuals with severe mental health issues. Presently our county Jails end up housing a significant number of the mentally ill. A dedicated mental health institution would be more effective serving mentally ill then confining the person to a local Jail. Our local Jails by default have become mental health institutions.

3. Pay attention to someone you know who may be at risk of suicide and / or drug overdose risk. Ask questions. Care. Help the person at risk get help. It can make a huge difference in someone’s life.

4. We have way too many individuals in the US who want to use a gun to solve a problem, versus talking something out or simply taking time to cool off. It is so important to have respect for your neighbor and your family. It is also important for people to process how they solve an issue in a non-violent manner.

Mark Murphy


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