Twice the negativity

In a recent letter, (“Feel angst, not good about gun violence,” Oct. 31) a writer compared the references to the “epidemic or pandemic of gun violence” to “fear-mongering.” Then the letter said, “I don’t think there is no ‘epidemic.’” I don’t know if the double negative was your typo or his, but it is most accurate.  

The letter then stated that “We are much more likely to be killed in or by a motor vehicle than by a firearm.” My research shows that is patently false. The latest data from Pew Research shows that in 2017 there were 39,773 gun-related deaths. In that same year, there were 37,133 vehicle-related deaths. That would not be “much more likely,” in my view. Additionally, unlike gun deaths, vehicle-related deaths are almost never either deliberate or targeted. So the statement is a non sequitur of the first order.

As a substitute teacher in Alameda, I know that the statement “Our children are safe in their classrooms” is obviously based on neither fact nor experience. The unusual position of a substitute allows me to be in classes of any grade from kindergarten to 12th grade on any given day. I have personally experienced test lock-downs and actual “this is not a drill” lock-downs in several different grades. Until you’ve actually squatted down with 25 to 35 kids in a classroom’s “hard spot” you have absolutely no idea of how that feels. In first grade, some were almost in tears. In 12th grade, many were trembling and holding hands with their worst enemies in the school.

There have been 32 school shootings so far this year according to CNN.

Many of my associates, many regular teachers whom I know, feel angst, and rightfully so. We’d like gun laws that eliminate unnecessary weapons, perform deep background checks, require gun owners to store their weapons responsibly and prevent anyone with any dubious background in this regard from ever being near a weapon.

I’ve been involved with the anti-gun violence movement since the 1993 101 California St. shooting in San Francisco, when a friend’s husband lost his life to someone who should never have been able to possess a weapon of any sort.

So, I agree with the writer when he says “Let’s stop the madness.” And the madness is the gun lobby that has made lapdogs of our legal process.


Arthur W. Lenhardt

Editor’s note: The double negative referenced was a mistake made in the final editing process of the page by Alameda Sun staff, not the letter writer.