I could hardly believe my ears as I watched the video clip of Rep. Jim Hagedorn’s town hall event.

Hagedorn callously dismissed the issue of gun accessibility and suicide by claiming that his religion teaches that suicide victims go to hell.

His website identifies him as Lutheran. I am not familiar with Lutheran theology but doubt if Hagedorn is current on their teaching.

Most Christian churches discon- tinued using such medieval superstitions decades ago in recognition of the mental health factors regarding suicide.

Hagedorn’s dismissive comment is a cruel insult to all who have lost loved ones to suicide.

Barbara Keating

Mankato

Hagedorn wrong on guns, bad at listening

Congressman Jim Hagedorn’s refusal to meet with constituents is evident in his most recent misstatements. Most recently, at his Winona town hall, he asserted that the gun problem was really an immigration problem: “guns … are flowing over the border from Mexico every day.”

That isn’t true.

In my work with internationally respected human rights organizations, I have been able to travel to Latin America, including regions of Mexico and Colombia, more than a dozen times. I’ve met with coca farmers caught between cartels and reactionary guerrillas, farmers driven off their land by civil wars and political violence, migrants who’ve fled their communities.

I’ve met with the families of the murdered and the disappeared.

Mr. Hagedorn has it backwards. The fact is the United States’ lax gun laws and intentional loopholes fuel the violence in Mexico and much of the hemisphere. Drugs go north to fund guns which are purchased in the United States and then shipped south where they escalate violence in political and regional conflicts.

And the economics of gun manufacturing depend on massive and illegal exports of firearms along with the tactical ad-ons like extended magazines.

The rhetoric over the Second Amendment and self-defense is just that, empty rhetoric. The reality is that Hagedorn and his supporters at the NRA are about profits, the profits that would dry up if we closed the loopholes that let people stockpile guns and ammunition and weapons of war.

The same loopholes that let lone wolves and white supremacist terrorists buy guns are used by gun runners to buy the guns and bullets that amp up the orgy of violence in Mexico and Colombia and elsewhere.

Hagedorn’s attempts to blame Mexico for the epidemic of gun violence is more than just uninformed. It’s irresponsible.

Jim Dimock

Mankato

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