Reading about the Sandy Hook massacre in Sunday’s newspaper, I turned to page A9 and saw a big, full-color ad from a gun dealer.
Prominent were two models of the killer’s weapon of choice: the Bushmaster .223 assault rifle with a 30-round magazine. The ad was just one of many such ads I’ve seen recently, and was notable only in the context of this recent tragedy.
The cop-out would be to scold the Beacon Journal for allowing such advertising to run. But the ad wouldn’t be there, and such weapons promoted, were it not for the consumer demand. The Beacon Journal is a business, and has bills to pay.
My conservative streak makes me disinclined to dictate to businesses what they can or cannot do. Why kill the messenger?
The real culprit is us, the American voters, for allowing our policies on gun control to be dictated by narrow interest groups such as the National Rifle Association.
The NRA is well-funded and uses its power to influence elections. Any politician who wants to win is reluctant to oppose it.
But if enough Americans let it be known that at least some gun control is needed — such as renewing the ban on assault weapons — our representatives would find the strength to do the right thing.
Why ban assault weapons? Simply because they enable bad people to kill or injure a lot more people in a very short time. Having a large magazine or clip means you don’t have to stop to reload. That’s precious time that the victims could use to get away or even overpower the assailant.
Other than the military or police, I can’t imagine why law-abiding people need that capability.
I am not anti-gun. I own several myself, mainly to protect my family in the event of a home invasion. While I’ve heard many reasoned arguments against that, I still want to be able to “fire back” just in case.
My father owned a .44 magnum, six-shot revolver. I always thought that an effective deterrent. If you can’t chase the bad guys away with that, then you’re probably not going to come out on top anyway.
My point is that it takes a fair amount of time to reload a revolver or load additional rounds into a normal rifle or shotgun. That alone would have reduced the body count of Sandy Hook and other tragedies.
Why do we allow assault weapons to be freely sold to the general populace? I don’t know of any self-respecting hunter who would use such a weapon for, say, deer-hunting.
Part of that sport is the marksmanship, a clean kill with a single shot. The challenge is the skill involved. Hunting with an assault rifle is about as sporting as fishing with dynamite.
If you agree, contact your representatives, sign a petition and talk with friends. Politicians listen to the polls. Let them know that a ban on assault weapons is needed. Silence just enables the next wacko.
Striking out with strike fighter
I read with interest the Dec. 16 letter, headlined “Fighter force,” on the need for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The letter writer encourages the public to support the military’s purchase of the plane because of its economic importance to Ohio (jobs, jobs, jobs).
However, he fails to mention that the cost of the plane is very high (billions to build, maybe trillions with maintenance over its lifespan). Given America’s air superiority, one might question the need for such a plane at any time in the future, near or far.
I also wonder why no one questions how many jobs are produced by the “entitlement” programs that are being reviewed under budget-cutting proposals. Almost all the money spent on “entitlements” does not go to corporate welfare, retirement accounts, the stock market and executive salaries, as much of the defense spending does.
This nation spends more on defense than the next 10 nations combined. How much do we really need to spend to be safe from the rest of the world? Most of the threats this country faces do not come from beyond our borders but from within.
Maybe we would be safer if we paid more attention to creating a better quality of life for everyone.
Family problems lead to violence
I am responding to the Dec. 16 front-page article, “Could Connecticut mass murder be tipping point for gun control?”
As one who owns no guns, I strongly feel the answer is no, on the grounds that there are enough laws on the books, yet the problem with violence continues.
In my judgment, the crux of the problem lies in the fact that our society continues to lower itself to the level of animals.
There are too many “kids having kids,” and they are unable to learn how to be parents.
All children need parenting. Even cats and dogs care for their young. If a mother and father can’t get along — married or not — the environment is bound to have a negative impact on a child’s upbringing.
We all know that there are thousands of single-parent families that have raised successful children.
What kind of family life did Adam Lanza have? It is reported that his mother taught him how to use firearms, but what has been revealed about his father? Was there a relationship between them?
I would like to see research conducted on the background of each perpetrator of the most horrific mass murders, to determine if that person had parents, or a parent, who contributed to the task of teaching the child how to be a useful, productive adult. I would be surprised if a common denominator was not revealed.
John E. Malene
Children at work
Congress deciding what to do about the fiscal cliff reminds me of a bunch of 5-year-olds riding on a sled approaching a creek, arguing about who gets to bail out first.
NRA must take responsibility
If the National Rifle Association intends to promote the continued availability of firearms, it must also come forth with a serious solution to the epidemic of mass shootings.
The increased availability of guns does not appear to be protecting our citizens, with mass shootings occurring everywhere people congregate.
What solution has the NRA proposed to protect innocent people from yet another shooting like that at an elementary school, a high school (in Chardon), a movie theater, a mall, a workplace, a coffee shop, a religious gathering, a soccer tournament and multiple universities — all of these and more occurring in 2012?
It is easy to understand why the NRA waited to offer a statement in response to the most recent attack.
Its policies, including the elimination of bans on assault weapons, have only contributed to, rather than prevented, mass gun violence, more accurately described as mass murder.
The NRA has a responsibility to serve as a partner to end gun violence, rather than simply battle any regulation that attempts to provide safer distribution of firearms.
Its solutions should not take away our freedoms. More security gates and metal detectors, which impede our freedom of mobility, are not acceptable solutions. Neither are more security personnel in every public space.
It is time that the NRA take responsibility for the consequences of the policies it has promoted.
Breathe easier about soot
As we close out 2012, we all can breathe a little easier because the voices of the public overcame the powerful efforts of big polluters.
The Environmental Protection Agency Friday released new standards for soot emissions to protect the health of our communities.
Coal-burning power plants are the leading source of soot pollution, which has serious impacts on Ohioans’ health.
Soot is a mix of acid, metal and chemical droplets released when fossil fuels are burned. Soot particulates are incredibly small, less than one-hundredth the width of a hair.
As a result, they enter deep into the lungs and reach the blood stream, allowing them to harm other organs.
Soot pollution already sends 9,700 people to hospitals yearly for air quality-related illnesses like chronic bronchitis, asthma and irregular heartbeat.
Another 20,000 heart attacks are caused annually from soot pollution. The costs for medical care of these pollution-induced illnesses are at an alarming $100 billion annually.
By limiting the amount of soot being spewed into our air, the EPA rules not only keep us safe and healthy, but also encourage cities and states to invest in clean-energy options that don’t endanger the public health.
Puck stops here
What if there were a lockout in hockey and nearly no one cared?
Oops! I guess we know the answer to that one. Life goes on without a glitch as if the NHL never existed.
Michael E. White