Letters to the editor on gun vote, gun facts, powerful weapon, Palestinian occupation, Binchy review

04/24/2013 5:40 PM

04/24/2013 5:40 PM

Shame on Senate for gun vote

The past week was a violent and tragic one, including the shooting death of a friend here in Wichita on April 18. Many prayers and comforting thoughts need to be offered to everyone involved, even those we might not consider worthy of prayers, forgiveness or compassion.

In my opinion, one of the most violent events was the tragic and cowardly action by the U.S. Senate to vote down the Manchin-Toomey amendment to a Senate gun-regulation bill that would require background checks at gun shows (which take place regularly in Wichita and Sedgwick County) and for online sales of weapons. Lori Haas, whose daughter was wounded in the Virginia Tech shooting, had it right when she yelled out from the Senate gallery after the amendment was defeated: “Shame on you.”

Ninety percent of the U.S. public supports exactly what the amendment would have required. So I join Haas and say: Shame on you, U.S. Senate. Where is your little bit of courage? Shame on you, Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran.



Wake up to facts

Ignorance is bliss, I guess. Nothing in the recently defeated Senate anti-gun legislation would have prevented the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting or any others.

When “military assault rifles” were banned for sale under the Clinton administration, Columbine occurred. What makes people think that keeping semi-automatic weapons out of the hands of law-abiding citizens is going to make our society safer?

No background check would have stopped Sandy Hook. The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Gun sales have climbed in Virginia while the gun-related crime rate has dropped. Bad guys are afraid of good guys with guns.

We think nothing of seeing armed guards protecting celebrities, banks and politicians, but will leave our most precious possession, children, vulnerable to armed attack. We even advertise our gun-free zones with signs so the mentally deranged know they’re safe to gun down anyone they want. All of the American mass shootings except one that have occurred since 1950 have been committed in gun-free zones.

It’s time we wake up to the facts. If our children are going to be attacked with guns, they should be protected with guns. In Israel, the teachers are armed. And guess what? No mass shooting like Sandy Hook has ever occurred in their grade schools – and never will. The perpetrator will be shot dead first. It’s the only language the criminally insane understand.



Powerful weapon

A reader wrote about “Why I need AR-15” (April 20 Letters to the Editor). His primary reason was to protect himself from the U.S. government. Setting aside any arguments as to the intent of the Second Amendment, I would suggest that his reliance upon an AR-15 for security against the government is misplaced. That is an arms race any citizen is bound to lose. An AR-15 versus a Blackhawk helicopter is not a fair fight, no matter how big the magazine.

I would instead suggest that all of us have a much more powerful weapon to protect us against any government that might seek to deprive us of our rights. That weapon is the rule of law – the ability to petition the government for redress of our grievances, the ability to haul the government into court if necessary in order to secure our rights. That ability itself is secured by the balance of power between the three branches of government. And, most important, all of this is secured by the fact that in America, we elect those who govern us.

Our democracy has endured and our freedom has been held secure not because we possess a powerful gun but because of the power of the vote.



Occupation injustice

What restricts the media from telling us what makes anti-American terrorists?

Consider soldiers coming to your neighborhood and declaring it a “firing range.” They post demolition orders on your house, church, your children’s schools. They drive large vehicles across planted fields; confiscate residents’ cars, cameras, phones and livestock; and threaten families with eviction and home demolition.

This is what Palestinians in eight villages in the Masafer Yatta region of South Hebron Hills face because their villages are within the area Israel claims is firing zone 918. Israeli settlers do crop destruction, cut water supplies and throw stones at Palestinian children on their way to school.

Our church relief workers report what the news media ignore about the U.S.-supported Israeli occupation of Palestine. Complete reporting could explain much of the anti-Americanism that brought the Sept. 11 disaster. If the news reported these examples of unpunished occupation injustice, many would insist that this encouragement to terrorist recruitment has to end.


North Newton

‘Latest’ also last

How interesting it was to read the headline “Binchy’s latest a cozy, satisfying tale of Ireland” (April 21 Arts & Leisure), which seemed to imply author Maeve Binchy has forthcoming work. Also, the entire review referred to Binchy in the present tense. There was no mention of the fact that Binchy died in July 2012. I’m sure her fans are well aware of this, but Binchy’s “latest” work is also her last.



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