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Letters: Gun rights and school shootings

It is time for the government to step up in a real way with public service announcements geared toward family members of potential mass shooters ["School gunfire can't be the status quo," Opinion, June 15].

Family members and friends are the first line of defense to stop a mass killer. Many times the killers are not hiding the fact that they want to do harm. Family members need to be educated to call law enforcement.

In November 2012, Tricia Lammers of Bolivar, Missouri, contacted law enforcement about her son's purchase of a gun. In a videotaped confession, 21-year-old Blaec Lammers told police about his plan to open fire at a Walmart and possibly a movie theater.

His mother saved those people..

Kimberly Podlinski, Rockville Centre

Guns alone aren't responsible for shootings.

We need enhanced, publicly provided mental health services and less glorification of violence in the public arena (movies, books, television, song lyrics, etc.). We also need a greater sense of community and less self-centered thinking.

A gun standing alone is just one more piece of unused junk. A gun in the hands of a deranged anti-social person is a weapon of potential mass destruction.

Edward B. "Woody" Ryder IV, Greenlawn

It is beyond nutty to think that there can be millions of people conducting their daily lives amid gun carriers who may be deranged, hostile, argumentative, drunk, stoned or intent on criminal activity and that more and more innocent people will not be killed or maimed.

The National Rifle Association and like-minded people talk about their Second Amendment rights. Hey! The rest of us have rights, too, and among them are the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Too many innocent victims have had those rights completely taken away.

The right to carry machine guns, the right to stand your ground and kill, the right to concealed weapons, the right to unlimited gun types in public places -- are just a few unreasonable extensions of the Second Amendment.

Ruth Karter, Floral Park

I read that there is a near-record number of illegal guns on the street ["Aid for police vests," News, June 9]. I guess the brain trust in Albany never considered that criminals do not purchase guns legally; only law-abiding citizens do that.

New York's Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act does more to protect a criminal. Career felons must love gun restrictions on magazine capacity and assault weapons, because the restrictions don't affect them.

Bob Gardner, Bohemia

Cantor's loss signals vexation

This House of Representatives, under Eric Cantor's leadership, has received the lowest popular rating in its history from the American public ["Cantor speaks on LI," News, June 15]. If a restaurant received a one-star rating, wouldn't you get rid of the chef and manager? Why are we surprised?

Sy Rosen, Port Washington

Israel as a beacon of democracy, or not

Columnist Cathy Young refers to the "displacement of . . . Arabs" and "violence by Arabs" during Israel's "founding," when she more accurately and fairly should have referred to the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous majority Palestinian population during the transformation of Palestine ["In Israel, a dreamer longs for peace," Opinion, June 10].

She might also have mentioned that the non-Jewish towns in Israel today receive less funding for government and education than Jewish towns, that access to 13 percent of the land in Israel is restricted just to Jews under the ownership of the Jewish National Fund and that non-Jewish citizens do not have the right to bring relatives to live in Israel while any Jew in the world can "return" at will to the country.

The "ethnic and religious tensions" arise from the fact that non-Jews are second-class citizens in Israel and that their inferior status is a form of apartheid.

Gennaro Pasquale, Oyster Bay

Tali Zaid's grassroots peace activism, which embodies the original Zionist ideal, is as inclusive as it is humanistic. For all of Israel's many miscues and flaws, the Jewish state remains the shining star of the Middle East.

In addition to forging a prosperous technological giant out of a dusty strip of arid land in the eastern Mediterranean, the Israelis have promoted democratic values, civil liberties and economic growth among Muslims, Arab Christians and Bedouins.

Yet Tel Aviv remains a flinty occupying power, oppressing a beleaguered Palestinian populace that has watched historic Palestine nearly disappear from the pages of history. In many respects, the Nakba of 1948 continues, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu punishes the Palestinians -- with electricity blackouts, increased checkpoint humiliations and de facto economic sanctions -- for the recent rapprochement between Hamas and Fatah.

In fact, Netanyahu scuttled the ill-fated John Kerry peace talks when he had Housing Minister Uri Ariel make way for 3,300 new housing units in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. If "Reason and judgment are the qualities of a leader," as Tacitus averred long ago, then Zaid is the true stateswoman.

Rosario A. Iaconis, Mineola

Editor's note: The writer is an adjunct professor of political science at Briarcliffe College.