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To the Editor:

Like most of you, I am deeply saddened and disturbed by the horrific events that occurred in Texas and Ohio. I am also disturbed by the rampant gun violence in our inner cities and other parts of the country. Mass shootings are taking place with alarming frequency. Unfortunately, with every occurrence, our country becomes embroiled in divisive rhetoric on how best to ameliorate the conditions that lead to such tragedies.

From my perspective, the debate is often oversimplified. Some blame the types of weapons. However, that is only part of the problem. While it is absolutely true that some firearms are intrinsically more devastating than others, one cannot ignore the individuals behind them. Sadly, mental health treatment access has oftentimes been underfunded and not made a higher priority as it pertains to budgets. It is also important for proper vetting to be done to ensure firearms are kept out of the hands of those who pose an inherent threat to society.

Gun violence is a rather complex problem. Therefore, it is going to necessitate implementing a comprehensive strategy to combat it. That will entail common sense ideas such as background checks, mental health treatment access, and other measures that do not infringe upon Second Amendment rights.

What is not helpful, is the divisive discourse that pervades much of our country anytime a mass shooting occurs. Division only serves to undermine us as a nation. It's high time that we band together and collectively say, enough!

Angelo Hightower

Marion

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