It makes me furious to read about the attack at Reynolds High School (City mourns ‘tragic day,’ June 12). This kind of thing is becoming frequent in America, and I want passionately for your readers to know that the underlying cause has been understood.

Eli Siegel, founder of the educational organization Aesthetic Realism, explains that every person has a desire to have contempt: “the addition to self through the lessening of something else.” Contempt can be ordinary like laughing at another’s mistake, but taken further by a person, it is also the cause of all cruelty and violence.

In a recent opinion piece in your paper about the recent shootings in California (Another massacre, another blame game, June 10), writer Diane Dimond says, “Until we can figure out a way to identify, isolate and treat sick minds like (the shooter), we will continue to suffer the gut-wrenching and deadly aftereffects of their maniacal breaks with reality.”

The understanding so needed is given by Siegel, who wrote: “As soon as you have contempt, as soon as you don’t want to see another person as having the fullness that you have, you can rob that person, hurt that person, kill that person.”

Everyone needs to learn to criticize contempt in others and ourselves, and to make choices for respect.

Marion Fennell

Riverdale, N.Y.

It’s a tragedy, but more laws aren’t answer

Our hearts go out to the families and community impacted by the recent tragedy at Reynolds High School. How can these be prevented? (City mourns ‘tragic day,’ June 12).

With each new tragedy comes a renewed cry for more laws. But more laws have never cured lawlessness. We need instead the Good News that changes people from the inside out.

This Good News is that Jesus died so that we can have a right relationship with God and with those around us. As we repent and accept God’s gift of forgiveness, the transforming power of God’s Holy Spirit gives us the power to do what is right.

Craig Ewoldt


Violence, music harm youth’s mental health

Regarding the violence at Reynolds High School (City mourns ‘tragic day,’ June 12): Violence comes to another of our country’s schools. We live in a violence-filled culture. Music, movies and TV are full of violence.

Coming to the Portland area this summer are music festivals full of pop rock music. Music styles of hard rock, heavy metal, indie, grunge, funk and punk. The music will be pounding images and sensations into the minds of young people. Music matters to our mental health. We have come a long way from easy listening music to hard rock and heavy metal music.

The media should inform of the harm to mental health from our hard rock culture.

Robert Shaw

Deland, Fla.

Intervention must be a new avenue

I watched a distraught grief-stricken father on television whose son was killed May 23 in the recent mass shooting in Isla Vista, Calif. (Another massacre, another blame game, June 10).

It happens over and over with these rampages by disturbed, delusional people just full of hate. We all grieve with those families whose lives are torn apart, but we don’t insist on changes in the law that can help to reduce the chances of more and more of the same.

While we must respect a person’s privacy, professionals involved in mental health should collaborate on better ways to legally intervene with those disturbed individuals that may be on the verge of violence.

Sensible people should also agree that while the right to own guns for protection or sport will never change in this country, nobody but law enforcement or our military needs guns that can fire hundreds of rounds a minute. The arguments that the government is going to “come after my guns” are not close to logical.

Nothing will stop these senseless acts entirely, but for us to do nothing but feel sorry for the next group of victims and their families is a dereliction of duty.

A sense of outrage has to start with us. If Sandy Hook caused no real change, is there hope? Not unless reasonable people get off their rear ends and demand it. Pray to God that we are not the next distraught mother or father on television after some other violent episode.

Murray Calhoun III

Columbus, Ga.

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