Terrorism is the use of violence and intimation for political aims. Columnist Cathy Young suggests in “Violence tests America’s tolerance” [Opinion, Dec. 1] that John Lewis Dear, the suspect in the recent killings at a Colorado Planned Parenthood office, “evidently struggled with mental illness.”

Why is every American-born mass shooting suspect “mentally ill”? Maybe he is just a violent, hateful domestic terrorist. Dear has a history of violence against women. He was also fervently anti-abortion and made anti-government comments. His targets were the Planned Parenthood clinic, women and the police, which are an arm of the government. He is the definition of a terrorist.

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Leigh Gholson, Baldwin

In the wake of the recent gun violence, much will be made — and rightfully so — of the National Rifle Association and how its political contributions prevent Congress from enacting sensible gun control laws [“LI officials, Cuomo express sadness at California massacre,” News, Dec. 3]. But we must realize that the NRA can exert this influence because of our extremely lax laws regarding campaign contributions.

Whether it be big pharma, Wall Street, banking, big agriculture, etc., our political process is thoroughly corrupted by the influence of big money and lobbying. Incumbent politicians have no interest in changing the system. We have a government of, for and by special interests.

William F. Hempflin, East Moriches