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What Tucson Teaches Us

Thank you for your issue on the Tucson shootings [Jan. 24]. The articles and their well-executed interconnectedness helped me clarify my own chaotic thoughts. For those National Rifle Association members who didn't notice one salient fact: the ordinary Americans who subdued Loughner had no guns, just guts.

Sue Boulais, LADY LAKE, FLA.

Your accurate, unbiased, uncontrived lead article on the shootings here made me smile and cry. This tragedy has left Tucson residents asking for answers and praying for one another. Thanks for getting it right.

Rhonda Wilkie, TUCSON, ARIZ.

Given the increasing drug-related violence in the wilderness of the Arizona-Mexico border region, I carry a semiautomatic handgun when hiking and camping south of my Tucson home. I value this right. That said, the NRA does not represent this gun owner. The organization's irrational, paranoid position on gun ownership is bewildering. My gun has been fetishized by the NRA. It's creepy.

Bryan Starrett, TUCSON, ARIZ.

Every so often, you come across insight dressed as news that changes your whole way of looking at things. David Von Drehle's masterly "One Madman and a Gun," which exposes the destructive forces of extremism on both the right and the left as being more at war with "normal" than with each other, is such a piece.

Robert A. Idol, CARY, N.C.

"Go ahead and cry." Four incredibly powerful words. Von Drehle's account of the shooting in Tucson was sad and tragic--yet uplifting. It is a source of pride that the average, normal American inevitably steps up when needed. I wonder, however, what will push normal Americans to fight back against the left- and right-wing ideologues who are tearing our country apart. Normal Americans want to get along. We don't need to point fingers after a tragedy. We want to be strong. We want to be better.

Shawn Fernance, BRISTOL, CONN.

Your cover showing Jared Loughner is just one more reason I turn away from the media after tragedies like the one in Tucson. Loughner is so obviously mentally ill; your exploiting him in such a way makes me wonder if TIME has lost its footing. If you really wanted to make your point, a photo of the Tucson gun show that took place soon after the shootings would have been a better illustration of what went so horribly wrong.

Paula Palmer, PENSACOLA, FLA.

Joe Klein's "Arms and the Unbalanced" demeans those suffering from mental illness. People can recover from even the most serious mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, major depression and bipolar disorder, but forced treatment--a substitute for poor public funding--isn't the answer. Given access to appropriate treatments, individuals recovering from mental illnesses are able to successfully live and work, enjoy active social lives, attend school and maintain healthy lifestyles while managing their conditions.

Marcie Granahan, CEO, U.S. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association, LINTHICUM, MD.

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