Letters to the editor on guns, NRA, Middle East policy, critical thinking, GOP insanity, one people

08/10/2012 5:44 PM

08/10/2012 5:44 PM

Comparing guns to cars is ludicrous

So we have had yet another mass shooting in our nation. And this latest tragic event is being met with the standard rationalizations and excuses. There are those who actually compare guns to cars and knives and pencils, saying anything can be used to harm another person. These analogies are just plain ludicrous.

The bottom line is this: The only reason a gun exists is to kill. Those who possess a gun are ready to kill at any moment, or else why would one have a gun? It is obvious that one insurmountable bad day or psychotic moment and any person with a gun in his possession can become a lethal weapon of mass destruction.

The fact is that the United States has more gun deaths each year than any other country on Earth, except for war-torn nations. And we now seem to be getting to the lunatic point of having mass shootings every other week. This is tragic and it is insane, pure and simple. It is also just plain embarrassing in the court of world opinion.

LEIGH CARLSON BURGESS

Wichita

Don’t blame guns

The growing trend in the media whenever there is a gun-related tragedy is to blame the gun. The other trend is to demonize pro-gun groups and even responsible gun owners.

I suppose it makes good copy. It also causes division and solves nothing.

Why people kill people, whatever the means, is beyond me. What makes people snap at a given point in their lives? One thing is for sure: You can’t legislate responsibility and accountability. They are both an adjunct of conscious choice, and the price we pay for freedom.

There are those who would trade freedom for supposed security. They would use government to take that freedom, when our government was formed to protect that freedom that is already inherently ours.

There is no cure-all answer to avert or prevent people from harming others. It’s going to happen. But I firmly believe licensed concealed-carry holders are part of a positive answer.

No business that caters to the public should restrict that freedom. I would welcome any individual who would take the responsibility to help me, my family and the public at large in a dire situation.

CHARLES GIRRENS

Bentley

NRA hostages

There seems to be a wicked irony in the notion that the National Rifle Association is holding hostage the votes of so many state and national-level legislators without using a single rifle.

The NRA is arguably among the most powerful lobby groups operating in our country, controlling passage of any legislation that threatens its agenda – primarily issues that might reduce what it considers to be Second Amendment rights. And these issues can be far-reaching in form and content – shades of the infamous Grover Norquist anti-tax pledge.

The idea that our lawmakers are the pawns of lobbyists with such incredible clout flies in the face of the democratic process. The reality of this phenomenon breeds citizen and voter cynicism, leaving us to wonder about the real value of our grassroots participation in government through campaigning and voting.

JOHN H. WILSON

Wichita

Know gun laws

The city of Wichita rewrote City Code 5.88.010 to comply with a recent Kansas attorney general opinion of Wichita’s firearms laws (July 29 Eagle). I am in favor of this change in the open-carry law. But there are some things that people should know about the state’s laws on firearms and use of force in self-defense.

If a person is 21 or older, he can take the eight-hour class required for applicants for a concealed-handgun license. But if you’re 18, you have a right to defend your life.

Parents might want their daughter to be able to avail herself of a weapon. To buy a handgun from a dealer, a person must be 21 or older. But a parent can legally provide a firearm and ammunition to a young person 18 or older.

Ignorance of the law is not an excuse. A concealed-carry instructor guide, which contains the material you should know including law and safety, is available on the Kansas attorney general’s website.

The new city ordinance does not provide an exception to the federal gun-free school zone law. This law is complex, and a violation is a felony.

JAMES H. MACKLIN

Wichita

Betrayal of ideals

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney is not only blind to the needs of America. He now has clearly shown a complete lack of understanding of international policy and diplomacy.

During his recent trip to Israel, he said that Israel’s higher standard of living compared with its Palestinian neighbors was because of a superior culture and the “hand of providence.” Those words are a betrayal of the highest ideals of fairness and equality for all.

Romney does not know the dynamics and diversity of the Middle East at a time when that knowledge is crucial to world peace and stability. He is supporting the illegal and violent actions of “colonization” as Israel continues Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s goal of annexing the entire West Bank and starving the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

The leadership of the United States must bring a courage to the White House that will stand up to destructive, racist and armed responses to domestic and world issues. Romney would not, as president, improve on President Obama’s Middle East policy, which has been disappointing in its absolute support of Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and violation of international law. Wisdom and courage must trump military arms sales and political cowardice.

MICHAEL POAGE

Wichita

GOP insanity

Bernie Koch of the Kansas Economic Progress Council noted how Moody’s and other national organizations warn that they may downgrade Kansas’ credit rating because of the governor’s insane tax cuts (Aug. 5 Opinion). What I want the governor to answer is when his plan will produce the magic that he claims it will produce.

The fact is that a modern society must have reasonable and workable government. I am as much in favor as any other citizen of making our government efficient and capable. But no society exists in which the government can be made small enough to be “drowned in a bathtub.”

It follows that we must also be willing to pay our fair share in taxes as we go along so that we do not run deficits.

The tea party insanity that the Republicans are espousing is going to destroy our country if it is left unchecked. It’s a huge threat to true freedom, and it’s pretty clear that the overall intention of the tea partiers is to make sure the government cannot function. Then they can cry out how well they proved their point.

PATRICK J. PIROTTE

Wichita

Many object

It seems that columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. would like to condemn half the country, discounting Republicans as unworthy people with all the ugly things he spouted about the whole lot (“GOP war on thinking explains a lot,” Aug. 6 Opinion).

Many people besides Republicans object to the part of the critical thinking skills that are sometimes taught that focuses on behavior modification with the purpose of challenging the students’ religious beliefs and undermining parental authority.

We really need more critical thinking with enough skill to teach right from wrong.

MARY C. FRAZIER

Wichita

All one people

We come in all shapes, sizes and colors. We’re going to think, say and hear what we want to. But most of all, you can’t be enough, do enough or give enough to make us happy. And that is what constitutes a human.

RICHARD THURBER

Wichita

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