Reader James Ralston ("Seen vs. Unseen," April 16 letters) writes, "Our modern media systems disseminate the (rare) images of gun violence far and wide." Perhaps. Perhaps the 30,694 men, women and children in the United States who died of bullet wounds in 2005 are rare examples. Perhaps the 52,447 people who were wounded and did not die are also rare examples. Perhaps the 85,000 shattered families are rare examples.
More likely, it is time to face the reality that our gun policies are driven by mistake, fiction, illusion and delusion. We mistakenly think that a poorly written, ambiguous sentence in the Second Amendment guarantees our unlimited right to all guns all the time. We endorse the fiction that more guns make us safer. (If this were true, the hundreds of millions of guns in circulation would make us the safest people on Earth.)
We uncritically accept the illusion that an armed citizenry could stop deranged shooters. (Anyone who believes this has never been under fire, or experienced the madness and confusion and horrific mistakes that every gunfight produces.) And at the extreme, there are some delusional enough to think that their weapons are all that stand between them and enslavement by an evil government.
We owe it to ourselves, and to the thousands of Americans who have died needlessly and pointlessly because of the availability of guns, to re-examine these beliefs. It is time that we emphatically and permanently reject these fictions and the catastrophic effects they have had on our lives.