A big problem

Regarding the Aug. 6 article, “Ohio gunman’s ex-classmates saw signs,” I was struck by the statement, “The accounts emerged after police said there was nothing in the background of 24-year-old Connor Betts that would have prevented him from purchasing an AR-15-style rifle with an extended ammunition magazine...”

Why does anyone need an AR-15-style rifle with an extended ammunition magazine? That is the problem. Take them off the market.

How many people have to die? When is it going to be enough?

Joanne Floch

Clemmons

How to unite?

I hate the divisiveness in America today. Liberals and conservatives have never been as far apart, in my lifetime, as they are today.

We could unite on one very important cause: Protecting our election from foreign influence (“Our elections must be secure,” Aug. 2). You would think this is something on which all Americans could agree.

But we can’t, because President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refuse to acknowledge the reality of the problem to start with.

You’d think we could unite against them, but that would be asking too much from Americans who want nothing more than to blindly follow wherever their leaders say.

Barney Harper

Winston-Salem

Medicaid expansion is needed

As a nurse practicing in a large academic medical center, I see first-hand what happens to those who do not have access to affordable insurance. The uninsured wait longer to seek help. When they arrive, they are often much sicker and require more expensive treatment. As they recover, they worry about how they will pay for it.

Paying for health care can be financially devastating for families, and uncompensated care is becoming increasingly problematic for hospitals. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, over 1 million North Carolinians remain uninsured, yet North Carolina remains one of the 13 states that has not yet adopted a plan to expand Medicaid. This legislation would close the gap for North Carolina residents who make too much money to qualify for traditional Medicaid programs, but not enough to qualify for marketplace subsidies created through the Affordable Care Act.

There is a growing body of research that shows Medicaid expansion improves access to care, affordability and health outcomes. The health of our state population is not a partisan issue — both Republicans and Democrats have been engaged in drafting this important legislation; it has just not made it to a vote.

I encourage our legislators to stay engaged and prioritize this work to ensure the health of our state.

Libby Pearsall

Winston-Salem

Pearsall is director of nursing at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center — the editor

Commonplace

I am old enough to remember when Charles Whitman, a former Marine sharpshooter, climbed the tower at the University of Texas on Aug. 1, 1966, and shot 14 people on the campus below. (He had shot his wife and mother earlier.)

That was such an astonishing memory that when I went to Austin in 2014 and walked from the town to the capital to the campus, the first thing I saw was the tower. I knew immediately what it signified.

Mass murders were unusual in 1966.

Not so in 2019.

The 1994 Assault Weapon Ban expired in 2004, and mass murders using AR weapons have now become commonplace.

Background checks are useful, for sure.

But an assault weapon ban is more critical.

Why would any civilian purchase an assault weapon if not to murder countless people?

Margaret Supplee Smith

Winston-Salem

El Paso

In his February State of the Union address to Congress, President Trump derided El Paso as one of America’s “most dangerous cities” with an “extremely high” crime rate before a barrier was constructed along its boundary with Mexico.

None of that was true. Crime statistics show El Paso has been one of the nation’s safest cities for decades, and its officials quickly slammed Trump’s lies about it.

Is that maybe why a shooter went to El Paso — because of Trump’s complaints?

Rebecca Minor

Winston-Salem

Please submit letters online, with full name, address and telephone number, to Letters@wsjournal.com or mail letters to: The Readers’ Forum, 418 N. Marshall St., Winston-Salem, NC 27101. Letters are subject to editing and are limited to 250 words. For more guidelines and advice on writing letters, go to journalnow.com/site/forms/online_services/letter/

Get today’s top stories right in your inbox. Sign up for our daily morning newsletter.

Load comments