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Representatives of law enforcement, schools and mental health organizations discuss examples of cases that the threat assessment team they have formed would typically handle.

Schools need to change

Nearly half of public schools in the U.S. have put together teams to prevent shootings. These teams flag threats made by students, but they don’t address the real cause of school shootings: despair.

In his book, “The Vanishing American Adult,” Sen. Ben Sasse explains that schools are often poor environments for children. The number of children who have become mass murderers should convince us that the senator is right.

We need threat assessment teams, but we also have to change our schools. Sasse’s book is good place to start.

Nikolaos Piperis, Omaha

Get back to work

Now that the GOP elites have had their party for U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse, could we suppose that they could get themselves back to D.C. now and work on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to pass gun legislation? Our country is in crisis.

Jean Miller, Blair, Neb.

Can’t compare guns, cars

In his Aug. 7 Public Pulse letter “Cars kill more people,” Randy Rodgers argues that the push for sensible gun legislation is futile since cars kill more people each year than guns.

Unlike guns, the functional purpose of a car is not to threaten, maim or kill. Even so, the government recognizes the potential hazards of driving and requires drivers to pass both a written and practical test before receiving a license.

Drivers are legally required to carry car insurance coverage, intended to mitigate any future damages. In Nebraska, auto registration fees and taxes provide a net good to the state, including funding for infrastructure, schools and the community. Auto manufacturers continually improve and upgrade the safety standards of vehicles.

Laws and regulations surrounding gun ownership are nowhere near as robust. The collection and disbursement of hunting license fees are an exception and can perhaps serve as a partial model for future gun regulations.

It is erroneous to compare gun deaths to vehicle deaths. Over 90% of households own a car, and the average driver spends nearly 300 hours per year behind the wheel.

Because there’s no federal database, we can only approximate how many citizens own guns: about 32% to 42%.

So until the majority of the population is spending 48 minutes per day using guns that are highly regulated and tracked, equating cars to guns remains a straw man argument.

Jordan LaBarr-Olshansky, Omaha

What makes a correlation?

The Aug. 6 World-Herald contained a Washington Post article regarding video games not being linked to violence. The article greatly disturbed me.

It stated that a study in 2004 found that “only 12 percent of perpetrators in more than three dozen school shootings showed an interest in violent games” and that Oxford University psychologist Andrew Przybylski says there is no correlation between time spent playing video games and aggressive behavior.

Only 12%? Imagine this headline: “Only 12% of immigrant children die while crossing the border.” Or this one: “Only 12% of gun owners use their weapons to shoot other people.”

Makes me wonder what percentage level the professor thinks would constitute correlation between violent video games and aggressive behavior, and whether he has a hidden agenda.

Scott Darden, Omaha

Moderates criticized

As a lifelong Republican, the reaction by state Republican leaders to State Sen. John McCollister simply voicing his opinion is discouraging. I’ve known McCollister for over 25 years, and while I have not always agreed with his opinions and positions, I respect his right to voice the same.

Instead of absolute rejection, state Republican leaders should acknowledge that there can be different opinions within a political party and work to come up with compromised solutions.

It’s unfortunate that it seems that both of the two major political parties refuse to consider the opinions of moderates or anyone that doesn’t blindly adhere to their positions within, and certainly outside of, their parties.

I believe this is the major reason why we have had “do-nothing” legislative bodies at both the federal and state levels for years. At the federal level, among other major issues, the funding issues with the deficit, Social Security and Medicare have gone unaddressed and have only grown worse. At the state level, in the most recent session of the Legislature, Nebraska taxpayers missed out on significant property tax relief and a new tax incentive bill for businesses, because of the polar positions taken by our elected officials and refusing to “meet somewhere in the middle.“

As long as those attitudes persist, I see little getting done until we reach a crisis stage that mandates action.

Ron Bucher, Omaha

Beautiful melting pot

I commend State Sen. John McCollister for speaking out about the majority of the GOP’s failure to call out this president and some in the party for fanning the flames of racism and white supremacy.

It may take a generation or more to recover, but it starts when good men and women stand up and call it out for what it is — cowardice. It’s the fear of losing support from “the base” when there are many more of us who know that hatred and fear are the way of the past and the road to our destruction.

We should be celebrating the beautiful melting pot of a country we are. Yes, change is scary. Yes, whites will be outnumbered at the ballot box someday soon. This is why embracing tolerance and working towards true equality is the only way forward.

Sara Terkelsen, Omaha


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