Our readers share their thoughts

No longer proud to be an NRA member

To the Editor,
It saddens me to see what the NRA has regressed to over the years since I first joined, life is the art of compromise, a word no longer in the NRA's vocabulary, to make this country safe again both sides of the "gun issue" must reach a middle ground, for the NRA, they must accept that "AR" platform rifles with extended magazines that can fire 150 rd. in 7 min. & bump stocks that simulate full auto. fire are not needed for hunting or home protection & have no place in the hands of civilians.
 I pray to God the day will come when common sense will prevail on both sides of this issue and both sides can reach a compromise that will lead to a end to the mass shooting that have become so common place.
 The proposal to arm teachers is insane, teaching is a full time job, teachers have no time for the training and practice to be competent with a firearm, also who assumes the liability if they should kill a student by mistake. Teachers are trained to mold young lives to create functioning adults not take a life which takes a whole different mind set.
 I hope the day will come I will again be able to say I'm proud to be a NRA member but they will have to put the best interests of our citizens, country and their members before the financial backing of the firearms manufactures before that will happen.

Dave Leiber
El Dorado


Horrific and wildly unfair shot taken at the 3 percent

To the Editor,
Anyone who has – or is impacted by – a mental illness should be very concerned about the on-going effort by legislators and other elected officials to tie mental health together with violent crime.  
97% of crime is perpetrated by those with no mental health diagnosis.  Instead, those with mental illness are 12 times more likely to be victims of crime.  The most reputable studies show that there are maybe three mental health disorders that have any statistically significant correlation to violence at all.  Three.  The Mental Health Association of South Central Kansas alone has 32 programs, each geared toward a different aspect of mental health.
To publicize and blame the 3% with mental health concerns is a horrific and wildly unfair shot taken at those who are already disproportionately targeted in and by society at large.  It exacerbates the unfair and undeserved stigma that remains attached to mental illness, creating a barrier to treatment for those who actually need it.
The only issue of violence among those with a serious and persistent mental health disorder, is suicide.  So if you want to protect your loved ones who are being unfairly targeted by those who want to sensationalize gun violence, start by not buying into it.  Do everything you can – from advocating with your legislators to helping get the word out through your media, civic and social contacts – to communicate the facts out about mental health so that those who need help will be both willing and able to get it.  

Eric Litwiller
Director of Development and Communications
Mental Health Association of South Central Kansas