The Guns of Arizona
Great Barrington, Mass.
It is certainly important to understand the conditions—psychological, cultural and political—that enabled Jared Loughner’s rampage [“Tragedy in Arizona,” Jan. 31], but it is misleading to focus disproportionately on the intersection of gun rights and mental illness. Bear in mind: while a very small number of people with very specific types of delusions may be attracted to enacting dramatic, high-profile crimes—assassinations of politicians or celebrities, mass school shootings—the mentally ill as a group are not more violent than the population as a whole. Also, the vast majority of injuries and deaths from firearms occur in mundane circumstances such as barroom brawls, domestic disputes, accidents and gang turf battles; intensified screening for psychiatric illness would do nothing to diminish these. The number of instances in which civilians carrying weapons have prevented crime is vanishingly small. Data show incontrovertibly that the proliferation of firearms is a serious public health problem.
In your editorial and all other discussions of the Arizona shooting I’ve read, there is no mention of blame directed at the National Rifle Association. The gun lobby has defeated responsible gun laws in America; the NRA manages the lobby, and the Arizona shooting is only one of many examples of the folly of lax laws.
FRANK N. EGERTON
Corporations Are People!
Thanks to The Nation for Floyd Abrams and Burt Neuborne’s comprehensive “Debating Citizens United” [Jan. 31] on the Supreme Court’s ruling. They provided clarification and explanation of the ruling and its background, much appreciated by me and I’m sure by many others. I still believe our citizenry, wishing to preserve individual citizens’ rights and sustain our democratic republic, must work for a Constitutional amendment.
I particularly liked Neuborne’s final lines: “At the rate the Court is going, soon we will be able to be adopted by a corporation. Maybe even marry one. Until then, I’m afraid we’ll just have to settle for being fucked by them.” The dubious pleasure is a legal rape.
I have a bone to pick with Burt Neuborne. Now, I’m no prude, but he could have used “screwed” instead of that F-word. I’d still have agreed, and without the need to launder my coffee-stained new shirt!
It seems logical that if a corporation is to be considered a person, it should have a “corpus.” But who would that be? The CEO? The board of directors? The stockholders? All three as a unit? Who should go to jail if the corporation commits a crime? Corporations came about precisely to shelter each member from harm; if the whole entity is responsible, no particular individual is liable. Following that line of reasoning, the corporation can’t claim to be a person when it comes to rights but a nonperson with respect to liabilities.