"Guns don't kill people, people kill people." This was a comment I read frequently in response to Gil Smart's poignant column on NRA extremism. This seems to overwhelmingly be the attitude of those who claim the Second Amendment gives us the unalienable right to have any type and number of guns and to bring them to anywhere we please. Well, I think this mentality gives you two options: people are the problem, or guns are the problem.

One study showed the U.S. has 88 guns per 100 people, and 10 gun deaths per 100,000 people — higher than the 27 other developed countries studied. In fact, the U.S. has the highest gun ownership per capita in the world. Our gun homicide rate may not top the world list (we hover somewhere around 20th), but some of our cities certainly would. Our national rate is not actually much lower than the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Iraq.

I'm a Manheim Township grad and now live abroad. I have met people from dozens of countries; from big cities and small towns. My sample size may be small, but I don't think that the people I have met from around the world are inherently better than Americans. They're not smarter or more generous or friendlier. I am certain that America was built by some of the world's greatest minds, and I think she is still home to some of the greatest minds of today.

We are a country "by the people, for the people," so if people are truly the problem, then I think we should be gravely concerned; but, if you believe in America, then it's hard to conclude that people are the cause. So, in the end, the question is what do we believe in: America, or guns?

Rachel Meyer

Manheim Township