To the editor:

Jeff Gerritt’s op-ed piece in the Gloucester Daily Times of Aug. 10 (“With every fatal shot, we all bleed”), is right on in his description of how easy it is to buy guns and related equipment in our country. But he makes his own fatal error by writing “President Trump is not responsible for 22 dead and 24 injured in El Paso. If he were, we could solve this problem simply by electing a new president.”

No, there is a direct connection between the racism and violence that spews out of these mouths that creates tipping points in the minds of people already steeped in hate, like the shooters in El Paso and Dayton. To deny this is like saying “this is not who we are,” because this is who we are. Every time our current president uses words like “send her back” or “lock her up” or “we are facing an invasion on our southern border,” every time he refuses to stand up to those in his base who believe this, his words are played back to him, sadly on occasion by a white man whose belief in white supremacy and his easy connection to guns results in mass killings. As the entire front page of last Monday’s Boston Globe said: “What Have We Become?”

We have become what we have let ourselves become and we need to change. We badly need to change.

Of course there are many good people among us ... like the Walmart store manager in El Paso, himself a person of color, who did all he could to help victims. There are many good people in politics — and yes, Mr. Trump, on both sides of the aisle, and among members of the NRA as well.

But there are also too many elected officials whose spine has vanished as they quiver, worrying that they will face primary opposition in the next election.

I believe that we can, ought to be, and will be better than this; and yes, Mr. Gerritt, elections are one way to achieve this; but another and quicker way is to convince those already in Congress, especially members of his own party, to end this president’s racist screeds and make us again an America the rest of the world can look up to and respect.

Warren Salinger