Weather Forecast


Letter: Green, Utke 'morally complicit' in gun deaths

At a recent public forum in Mahnomen, State Rep. Steve Green blamed the high school shootings in Parkland, Florida — which killed 17 students and staff — on a lack of process to identify likely shooters.

Mr. Green was mouthing the diversionary tactic of the National Rifle Association to shift the blame away from the easy availability of assault rifles designed only to kill people. Anyone with even a nodding acquaintance with mental health — unlike Mr. Green — knows that psychology lacks the predictive power to identify most such perpetrators before the fact.

Mr. Green had better hope that psychology never attains that predictive power. His psychotic rant during the 2014 campaign about Ebola-infected terrorists crossing our southern borders to kill families of our overseas soldiers would seriously question his fitness for public office.

State Sen. Paul Utke blamed the shootings on the "moral decay of society." Mr. Utke's attribution of blame merits more serious consideration than Mr. Green's. A leading indicator of the moral decay in a society is the behavior of its legislators. When legislators such as Mr. Utke and Mr. Green not only refuse to address the real moral problems of society, but block other legislators from passing legislation to alleviate them. Moral issues such as poverty, homelessness, living wage, addiction, universal healthcare, creation care (I'm out of gas. I need help with this list of preventable problems which are markers of a just society) and yes, mental health funding and reasonable gun control.

I am a gun owner. The NRA and I separated decades ago, when that politicized organization lobbied successfully to defeat legislation to ban cop-killer bullets, those teflon-coated bullets which worm their way through the protective vests worn by policemen. Imagine, being against a ban on ammunition whose only purpose is to kill police. What else do you need to know about the NRA?

Concert-goers, church-goers, and schoolchildren ought to have the security of not being mown down for their simple attendance. If those and other mass-killers only had weapons designed for hunting and self-protection, the carnage would have been massively reduced. And may not have happened at all.

Rapid-fire, high-capacity weapons with military-purpose ammunition needs to be banned from civilian possession. Period. And if criminals use such in any crime, they need to have multiple years tacked on to their sentence.

Taking their marching orders from the NRA, both Mr. Green and Mr. Utke do not support gun control of any kind. They are therefore morally complicit in these crimes. They each should be voted out of office in their next elections on that count alone—Peter Hovde, rural Bagley