LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Shooters undeterred by threat of punishment

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I sympathize with Felipe Fernandez’s frustration with the gun control debate (“Solutions to mass killings: Capital punishment,” Letters, Friday), but the sad fact is that the recent mass killings have been perpetrated by people who are mentally unstable, if not outright crazy.

To think, as Mr. Fernandez apparently does, that approving mandatory capital punishment would have deterred such individuals is seriously misguided. To the extent that the gun laws we have on the books do deter crime, it is because those laws come with severe punishments like incarceration and execution. That’s one reason rational people don’t commit gun-related crimes.

Mentally unbalanced people, however, have no such fear. Their thought processes don’t make a connection between the actions they take and the legal consequences — meaning our gun laws have little effect on them. Indeed, many of them end their killing sprees by killing themselves. In that sense, they are willingly sentencing themselves to capital punishment.

BRUCE G. KAUFFMANN

Alexandria

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