In response to Ralph E. Stone’s letter of March 29, let me emphasize that I am not a gun enthusiast. But blaming mass shootings on guns is like blaming war on bombs. It misses the larger and more important point of why anyone would want to randomly kill total strangers.
I am reminded of Bertrand Russell’s observation (circa 1920) that his children and future generations were incapable of happiness, because they would live in the shadow of “The Great War” — that four-year orgy of bloodletting, trench warfare, poison gas and other then unprecedented horrors, now known as World War I.
Russell, of course, could not have imagined the Holocaust, the still unacknowledged war crimes of Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a human-caused mass extinction, catastrophic climate change or seawater that contains more plastic than plankton. Russell never dreamed that 100 years after “The Great War,” mainstream scientists would be predicting a 40% global water shortage by 2030 (U.N. figures), virtually total human sterility by 2040 (multiple sources, based on a 60% decline since 1970), between 200 million and 700 million hunger refugees by 2050 (IPBES), and the total and irreversible collapse of civilization, between 2040 and 2060 (“Scientific Reports,” May 2020).
In our lust for convenience, profit and “progress,” we humans have, in less than a century, threatened the life of the only planet on which it is known to exist. Given this, is the real surprise that we have so many homicidal maniacs, or so few?