I am horrified to hear a man was stabbed to death on the 300 block of Broadway at 7:30 pm Monday evening. According to the Santa Monica Daily Press’s reporting, the altercation began at the Pier. Were the streets not full of people? Did no one try to stop the violence?

I would never be a bystander to an assault. I always step in between violence when I see it because that’s what prevents attacks. I don’t think everyone needs to be as committed as I am to physically putting their body on the line to stop violence in their vicinity, but I won’t let others prevent me from acting on my convictions and doing so. I left downtown around 6 p.m. that day, and wasn’t there. Perhaps it wasn’t apparent what was going on.

What troubles me most about this story, beside the fact that a person lost his life to murder, is that there were shots fired. I made a big loud fuss stopping two men from assaulting a man on the ground at 4th and Broadway last year in the middle of the day. Violence in the town I love offends me a lot. Only after I yelled the attackers down the street did I realize if there was a firearm things could have been very different.

The chance there might be a gun prevents people like me from intervening and preventing violence. In downtown Santa Monica it never would occur to me anyone would need to carry a firearm. Bullets don’t discriminate between “good guys” and “bad guys.” Individuals can be brave, but once a gun is involved courage is defeated. Criminals have guns, and people who aren’t criminals yet have guns, and people who will never be convicted of a crime have guns. And the way math works if there are more guns, there will be more guns used, and there will be more people shot. Let’s reverse the American-neighborhood arms race and allow us who wish to step in between violence when we see it, every time. A lot of us will!

Lauren C. Akmaeva, Santa Monica