Letters to the editor on gun ownership, NRA, bigger killer, Jamie Foxx, teachers

01/02/2013 5:42 PM

01/02/2013 5:42 PM

Owning guns part of being free people

It has been suggested that American citizens don’t need tactical (assault) rifles, or that we don’t need magazines of large capacity. In reality, we don’t really need many items that we take for granted and use in our daily lives. As an example, we don’t need automobiles with large engines. With the scarcity and price of oil, why not have the government limit the size of automobile engines to 100 horsepower or less?

It has also been suggested that citizens of the United States own 50 percent of the world’s guns. The implication is that this may be out of proportion.

The short answer to both well-meaning suggestions is that we are a free democracy. We own guns because we are free to do so.

Make no mistake – restricting citizens’ ownership of firearms would diminish us all. Firearm ownership equates directly to being a free people. The freedom to own our firearms of choice defines the American people. Sadly, firearm ownership is being challenged by both the government and well-intentioned people alike.

To blame firearms as the reason for unspeakable acts such as the school shooting is a gross misdirection of blame.

An individual who deliberately sets out to cause harm to others is not mentally stable. Maybe our focus should be more on dealing with mental health issues and why individuals commit such horrific acts.



Overrule NRA

I constantly try to believe that America is a civilized country and Americans are civilized people. The National Rifle Association just as consistently seeks to ensure that neither is so. Its aim seems to be to arm all Americans with lethal gun power.

The NRA’s response to the horror of Sandy Hook Elementary School and the murder of 20 children and six heroic defenders is to put more weapons of mass destruction in more hands – to supply armed patrols in schools to kill any intruder before the intruder can kill children and teachers.

Civilized citizens do not need a military assault weapon or multiple-shot magazines. Civilized countries provide a strong military to defend the nation from outside attack. A civilized community provides a well-trained police force to protect its citizens.

We must overrule the callous and cruel, rabid rhetoric of the NRA that protects assault weapons and semi-automatic handguns instead of protecting our children.



A bigger killer

Now that folks are all spun up about banning things that supposedly kill, maybe we are forgetting one of the most vicious killers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website: “Tobacco smoke contains a deadly mix of more than 7,000 chemicals. Hundreds are toxic, and about 70 cause cancer. The adverse health effects from cigarette smoking account for an estimated 443,000 deaths, or nearly one of every five deaths, each year in the United States. More deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by all deaths from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides and murders combined.”



Part of problem

Jamie Foxx is a hypocrite. His character in the movie “Django Unchained,” a former slave turned bounty hunter, shoots and kills scores of people. One of his more disgusting lines: “Kill white folks and they pay you for it? What’s not to like?”

Though this is only a script line, Foxx glorifies gun violence and they pay him for it. It is maddening to me that he kills on the movie screen while he is also part of the campaign “Demand a Plan to End Gun Violence.” How does he justify this?

I have a plan. Foxx should call for the film’s cancellation and donate his personal income from this movie to Newtown, Conn., families.

Foxx can do better than this. He is gifted in his craft and has played many great roles. He could be part of the answer. Right now, he is part of the problem.



Support teachers

I am concerned that Kansas kids will not be able to compete in the global job market because of the reluctance of our Legislature in promoting continued education for our teachers.

Several of our state leaders are opposed to spending money on professional development for the Common Core state standards, which have been our adopted standards since June 2010. These standards are rigorous and focused, and require critical thinking skills for students and instructional shifts for teachers.

Everyone wants the best for students, and it starts with our educators. Teachers need to study the most up-to-date practices and techniques for this constantly changing and expanding world. I know Kansas kids can compete globally, but teachers need development to hone skills and strategies.

I don’t believe anyone would want his doctor, plumber, dentist or electrician using archaic practices and tools, so why is this acceptable in education? Supporting teachers so they are better prepared to instruct students does incur some costs, but aren’t our kids worth it?

As past president of the Kansas Association of Teachers of Mathematics, I am asking those who want the best for students to contact their state representatives and plead for support for teachers. Our future depends on it.



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