Manuel and Patricia Oliver are gun reform activists. Their son, Joaquin, was killed in 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. They recently attracted two National Rifle Association bigwigs to address the graduating class of the James Madison Academy in Nevada, a sham institution.

Telling them it was a dress rehearsal, they had them don robes and address more than 3,000 empty seats, each commemorating a victim of gun violence.

It is difficult to comprehend the pain the Olivers have suffered since the killing of their son. Indeed, the English language has no word for a parent predeceased by their child. Nothing comparable to widow, widower or orphan. It is hard to find any other familiar concept or idea for which the English language has no word.

The work of the Olivers has gone viral. It is hoped that their efforts will be a catalyst to help unblock Congress’ ongoing refusal to institute gun reforms desired by the vast majority of Americans.

Background checks are just the beginning, but a worthwhile place to start.

Paul Lazarus

Santa Fe

No gloom

I heard with horror that Santa Fe plans to have a great show in early September, the burning of Zozobra, in the old tradition in Fort Marcy park.

Are they crazy? We have a lot of problems with hooligans from Santa Fe and Albuquerque coming to get drunk and cause trouble. Can you imagine what trouble we would have this year?

Margit Good

Santa Fe

Mitch is the problem

Who is the country’s most dangerous man? Many would say former President Donald Trump. The January insurrection was a culmination of a career with two impeachments, a deadly pandemic, an inhumane immigration policy, steps taken to increase global warming, worsening foreign relations, etc. However, he may eventually be out of sight, out of mind. His cult followers, even though they number in the millions, are not all stupid and will begin to move on. His eventual indictment and prosecution for illegal behavior should help.

My vote for the most dangerous goes to Sen. Mitch McConnell. Apparently, he is here to stay. He is single-handedly keeping the federal government from functioning. Although he will sometimes explain his views for not supporting a bill, his real reason was revealed long ago. He wants Democratic presidents to fail.

Bills before the Senate may have overwhelming public support, but McConnell is able to prevent a single Republican from approving. So, we have elected a president and hoped he would improve things. Instead, we have a dictator we didn’t vote for, whose only votes came from the small state of Kentucky.

Bill Maxon

Santa Fe

Development questions

Mayor Alan Webber recently sent out a letter extolling his administration’s foresight to move the city government into the 21st century, but he doesn’t explain how this new technology will provide water, roads, schools and environmental care for the over 1,000 housing permits issued, plus the 3,000 to 4,000 more units in the pipeline.

Developers already have paid money to avoid building affordable units. Are they suddenly going to provide affordable housing that is truly affordable? Are developers of these thousand units going to build new roads to alleviate the already crowded roads? Are the developers going to find new water when we are already rationing water in the midst of a drought predicted to worsen over the foreseeable future?

Residents of Santa Fe deserve to have these questions answered satisfactorily before more housing units are built.

Those who work in Santa Fe need to be able to live in Santa Fe. The health of our city depends on this.

Nancy King

Santa Fe

For the fountain

As a longtime Santa Fe resident, I would like to suggest a solution to the problem of what should replace the obelisk on the Plaza: a fountain. In cities all over Europe, Central and South America, you see fountains. A fountain would bring joy and beauty without a political agenda.

Miriam McCaffrey

Santa Fe

(17) comments

Skye Goodrich

Yep, so glad we already have background checks in place as standard practice for buying firearms.

Jerrie Eaton

Background checks accomplish nothing. Never have never will.

Khal Spencer

Also, speaking of background checks, a person is disqualified from buying or possessing a gun if they are convicted of a felony or misdemeanor domestic violence offense. So if a court accepts a plea bargain to a lesser charge, which seems to be quite normal around here, it means a person is still able to pass a background check and buy a gun. So in order for the UBC system to function, we can't be letting folks off with a wrist slap. Even if they are cowards...

Its complicated.

Joseph Tafoya

Miriam, I was born in Santa Fe longer than you probably even heard of Santa Fe. I have watched “Mi Raza” sell their homes and souls for the sake of money that they probably no longer have. They now live in trailer courts in south-side Santa Fe or worst. The homes they used to lived in have been modernized by the carpetbaggers so they can sell these homes at outrageous prices by New Mexico standards. They sell these homes to many people from the west coast, east coast, Chicago, and so on. Living there comes at a premium. That premium is less than what they can live in Santa Fe for. Above all, they bring their perceptions of what Santa Fe should look like without consideration for those who have lived here for generations. They call it progress. Many native Santa Feans are of mixed blood both Indian and Spanish-Mexican and yes Anglo. For decades we have tried to live in harmony. That is until the outside influences started to become the majority. We don't need a fountain! What we need is for the Obelisk to be repaired to its former state. You may have lived here for some time, but you will never experience what Santa Fe was really like.

Richard Reinders

Your so right[thumbup][thumbup]

Andrew Lucero


Joseph Tafoya

Paul, it's obvious your not a gun enthusiast nor are you familiar with existing gun laws. For a starter, we already have background checks, but criminals don't do background checks. According to the Brooking Institute in the USA, there have been approximately 20,000 gun laws since 1965. So how many more laws do we need? The problem here in New Mexico is with the legal system that routinely releases violent criminals. We the people voted to put laws in our system that release violent criminals back out into the population and with drugs becoming more available since Biden opened up our borders, this is a recipe for disaster. Until our legislature corrects the “Constitutional Amendment”, (known as pretrial release and detention), the problem will only get worst. Since Biden opened our borders the Border Patrol has been preoccupied more with processing and less time combating the Mexican Cartel's flow of drugs.

Khal Spencer

The law of supply and demand ensures that regardless of what our border policy may be, the drugs will find a way across. But I agree with you on the pretrial release and detention policies being a disaster. My comment below, for example, shows that this guy was already a felon before his violent behavior with a firearm earlier this year. I think the newspaper should do its due diligence and find out why he was released after that crime spree.

In New Mexico, the criminal justice system is the criminal's best friend.

mark Coble

Too true. Drug lords love SF courts. Nothing to fear from Hector Balderas, that's for certain.

Khal Spencer

" A fountain would bring joy and beauty without a political agenda."

A fountain in the Plaza, willfully evaporating water into the sky, would bring a bit of additional cognitive dissonance to a city that is already entering the throes of a long term water shortage. Sure, why not? Let's prove to the world that it is not just red states that are entering the lunatic asylum.

Khal Spencer

Paul Lazarus should do a little research before he writes such a shoddy letter. A one minute search confirms that Nikolas Cruz, the Marjorie Stoneman Douglass shooter, bought his gun legally after passing a background check.

And as Mr. Lazarus says, as far as he and his compatriots are concerned, "background checks" are just the beginning. My guess is the end is to disarm law abiding citizens.

As an aside, there is a related article in this paper about the Santa Fe gentleman who was shot by the APD after stealing a bait car and getting into a shootout with the police. He was back on the street after, to quote the story, "...In May, he was charged with aggravated assault, negligent use of a weapon, criminal damage to property and being a felon in possession of a firearm after he was accused of shooting at the father of his pregnant girlfriend’s unborn baby, according to a criminal complaint filed in Santa Fe County Magistrate Court.

He is suspected of stealing a car from the parking lot of Owl’s Liquors that same evening and crashing it near Trader Joe’s before fleeing on foot. He was charged with unlawful taking of a motor vehicle."

Of course since Cunningham was charged with Felon in Possession in May, he already had a felony when caught trying to shoot someone. Yet our esteemed criminal justice system put him on the street.

Well, Paul Lazarus, as long as there are absolutely no consequences for incredibly violent actors, you can pass any law you want and it will do....nada. We neither control the acts of hardened criminals nor do we reform the society that grew them.

Have a nice day.

Charlotte Rowe

Anyone so cowardly as to fear a background check probably shouldn't have a gun.

Khal Spencer

Anyone who writes such insipid comments should offer something more substantial.

Richard Reinders


Joseph Tafoya

Charlotte, I have had a high-security clearance in the past, and I went thru an FBI background check every year 5 years for 38 years, and I was randomly drug tested for the last 15 years of the 38 years, but every time I go thru a background check (form 4473) to purchase a firearm from a big box store, I am put on delay. In every case, the delay extended for over 30 days. The application is only good for 30 days, so by law, it must be destroyed, or so we are told, and then I must re-apply. Federal law requires the FFL ( store) to hold the firearm 3 days after a delayed response from the FBI -NICS Section. The FFL (store) at their discretion and state law permitting may on the 5th day release the firearm to the purchaser. Most gun shops for a fee will follow the federal process. Many big box stores do not. So you see, it's not a matter of cowardice, it's a matter of fairness. In some cases, I would have to spend $50-$100 more to purchase the same firearm thru an FFL (gun dealer) that would ship it to a local FFL (gun shop) for that extra fee. So your paying shipping and the extra background fee charges.

Stefanie Beninato

Water (rights) are often fraught with politics. Although water is a universal need, it is not necessarily a healing subject in NM. Why not be creative--how about a torreon that the public could have access for a view (maybe 20 ft high) with restrooms inside! [smile]

mark Coble

We have background checks here in NM. Problem is AG Baldera and SF DA are pro criminal first. No arrests of high level narcos in NM. Why?

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