While America searches its conscience to find a reason for the tragedy in Las Vegas, it may be helpful to search even deeper — into the consciousness of our culture to find the ultimate reason. That reason would be, in short, a lack of empathy.
Our culture has so evolved over the years that its members feel increasingly cut off from one another. We don’t identify anymore with our neighbor and her or his plight. If the shooter, while looking down on the concert crowd, had stopped for a moment and realized that his own brother could be among those he was about to shoot, the massacre might not have happened.
CHRIS HINES, BASTROP
Let’s admit it: We don’t give a damn about firearm deaths and mass shootings in this country.
If we did, we would elect people and support policies that prevent them. As a society, we have an obsession with firearms and violent behavior. War movies, gangster movies, shooter games. The endless fetish with cops, robbers and murderers. An almost pathological devotion to the military industrial complex. We love violence. It is baked into our consciousness.
Yet, after every one of these so called “events” there are the same heartfelt platitudes and a society in crisis asking collectively, “Why? How?” We are all in denial and full of it.
MATTHEW BRACHT, AUSTIN
It is really sad how money and the need for power can change the narrative in an individual. Lamar Smith, the House Representative for District 21, introduced a bipartisan bill to support the spread of hybrid electric cars citing global warming as one of his concerns.
He has taken more than $700,000 in contributions from the coal and gas industries over the course of his career — and has become a large opponent of climate change and all the data that scientist have proven about climate change. Unfortunately, he holds the chairmanship of the Science, Space and Technology committee. He has been bought. We need to replace him for the good of our grandchildren.
KAY SMITH, AUSTIN
Re: Sept. 26 commentary, “Dell Medical School delivers on promise of healthier city.”
Does Dell Medical deliver?
In the commentary, the dean claims Dell serves low-income areas and that the number of “medical residents” providing care has increased 32 percent since 2012.
Search “Travis County CommunityCare health centers” on the web. Note their location relative to low-income areas and read the comments of those served. A small percent of centers is in low-income areas. One large area has none. There are positive comments, though the negative comments are distressing and hint at a shortage of doctors and skilled personnel.
Three Statesman articles since January 2017 point to a problem: “Critics accuse the UT medical school of misspending local tax dollars.” “Central Health budget hearing sparks debate over medical school funds” (84 percent of Dell salaries/compensation are paid with taxpayer dollars.) “Travis County commissioners can protect taxpayers and poor” Enough said. You decide.
DOUG GOODGAME, AUSTIN