Since gun rights advocates often raise the issue of knives, here are some questions for advocates for semiautomatic guns. When have you heard of a family annihilator destroying his family with a knife? When were 20 or more people killed in a single knife attack? When was the last reported drive-by knifing? When was a school on lockdown over a knife-wielding student? The answer, never.

All these incidents involved either a semiautomatic rifle or a semiautomatic pistol, both of which were developed for military use. Once machine guns, also developed for the military, started being used by gangsters, they were outlawed. Those gangsters were the earliest domestic terrorists, being described at the time as terrorizing cities.

The modern-day domestic terrorist, using semiautomatic weapons, shoots from a hotel window into a massed crowd, or shoots up a synagogue or church, or attacks children in school, or runs rampant in inner cities terrorizing the community, or attacks shoppers while politicians cry foul whenever there is a suggestion that these weapons have no place in a modern, civilized society.

There have been mass shootings for decades, when you include family annihilators who kill four or more people before killing himself. And yes, almost all mass shootings are committed by white men, even allowing for gang violence among minorities.

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One must ask why the rabid demand to protect these instruments of death. The answer, irrational fear of some unidentifiable threat to one’s masculinity, nothing more than that.

Robert B. Harris, Ph.D.

Albany (Sept. 4)

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