Editor’s Note: Welcome to our letters to the editor page. Here you’ll find reader comments on Advocate articles and other news. We collect readers’ opinions from emails, letters, Facebook comments, and comments to valleyadvocate.com. Want to get in on this? Email editor@valleyadvocate.com and put “BackTalk” or “letter to the editor” in the subject.

Keep Your Thoughts and Prayers. Act on Gun Control

(via email)

Well, it has happened again. A law-abiding citizen with no criminal record has legally purchased some 41 weapons, some converted into machine guns, and used his Second Amendment right to massacre 59 people and injure 127 more, some permanently.

The Second Amendment was never intended to be used this way. It was put in place because there was no standing army at the time and if the government needed a fighting force men would have to show up with their own muskets because there were none to be issued. The muskets had to be loaded with gun powder, tapped down and a bullet added, taking several minutes before one shot could be fired. Now, there is a standing army that issues guns so the public no longer needs arms.

This shooter in Las Vegas released 90 bullets in ten seconds with his machine guns. He had magazines set up in guns so he could drop each gun as he emptied it. No “good guy with a gun was going to take him down.” This level of weaponry is not for hunting animals.

Why can’t anyone in the Congress stand up to the NRA? They have a lot of money because there is so much profit in gun manufacturing and they are not afraid to use that money to smear the career of anyone that gets a low NRA rating. Ninety percent of the public wants gun control. We have to control the guns because we cannot control every individual, especially people like Stephen Paddock — who seem to be socially well adjusted and normal. Leaning on the Second Amendment, the NRA is claiming that every citizen has the legal right to at least one massacre. It’s really all about money. People become fearful after each shooting and buy more guns.

We don’t send people to Washington for their thoughts and prayers. We want them to do something ! Why can’t anyone stand up to the gun lobby and the NRA.?

— Malita Brown, Wilbraham


How Long Will it Take the Rich to Exploit Puerto Rico?

(via the good ol’ fashioned Postal Service)

No one can say for sure what tomorrow will bring but one can speculate, based on previous experiences, with some accuracy. The island of Puerto Rico will not remain uninhabitable forever. Entrepreneurs and opportunists including perhaps some in the White House might take advantage of the situation in buying up portions of Puerto Rico dirt cheap and transforming the island into resort hotels and golf courses accommodating the very rich, all the while aware that those who left their homes may never have the means to ever be able to return. Deal makers must be licking their chops at the prospects of a sound investment even on the misfortunes of others.

— Bill Paul, Chicopee


Open the NoHo Bike Path Underpass Already!

(website comment on “Northampton Bike Path Update: Yanking Our Chain,” Sept. 21-27)

This is insane. Why all the fence and angry “No Trespassing: Camera Surveillance” signs? (Where are they getting the electricity for the camera surveillance, anyway?) Why not just put up fences around the unfinished electric boxes and let us finally have access to this critical intersection?

I mean, what is safer? (a) An illegal path across active train tracks, (b) a half-mile detour, half on city streets, that gets quite busy during rush hour, or (c) an unlit underpass?

Editor’s note: The underpass opened Saturday, Oct. 7, shortly after this letter was written.

— Sara X. Langseth