How many more American children will be slaughtered because we do not recognize a basic truth that all the other industrialized democracies in the world recognized long ago? The more firearms there are in circulation, the more homicides by gun will occur.
The Founding Fathers enacted the Second Amendment at a time when “arms” meant a single-shot, muzzle-loaded rifle. Applying the amendment to authorize the keeping and bearing of modern weapons that are designed for mass killing is senseless.
It is not difficult to regulate traffic in firearms. Those countries that prohibit them regulate such traffic with great efficiency and are almost gun-free.
Those countries that have meaningful gun control count their annual homicides by guns in the low hundreds or lower, whereas we, without gun control, have between 12,000 and 13,000.
The arguments used by the gun lobby and gun advocates are extremely weak. They say guns don’t kill people, people do. Of course people do, but guns make it incredibly easier to do so, which is why there are so many more killings where they are not prohibited.
If guns are prohibited, only criminals will have them, they argue. That hasn’t happened in countries that have banned guns. The criminals can’t get them, either, so there is no demand by the law-abiding for guns to defend themselves.
Half-measures and piecemeal legislation in various cities and states are not working. This is a national problem and therefore requires a national solution.
We need federal legislation prohibiting the manufacture, distribution, possession and use of all firearms, with these exceptions: the military, law enforcement, collectors, hunters and farmers, for the control of predators. Rifles for hunters and farmers should be registered.
There should be triple penalties for crimes committed using firearms, one for the crime itself, one for using a firearm and one for possessing a firearm.
With these measures, we would soon be a gun-free society, and, in that respect, join the rest of the civilized world.
There need be no forced confiscation. Other countries have had success with voluntary surrender of firearms. The sooner we act, the sooner the carnage on our streets and in our parks, schools and other public places will cease or at least be substantially reduced.
John C. Fazio
Change the Electoral College
I read with great interest the Dec. 13 commentary by Silvio Laccetti (“Updating the Electoral College”).
For years, I have advocated against the winner-take-all format for a state’s electoral votes.
I agreed with almost every point in Laccetti’s article and feel the remaining 48 states need to remove the winner-take-all format by the next election. There is a certain unfairness that a candidate who gets just over 50 percent of the vote in a state can get 100 percent of the electoral votes.
Historically, some candidates have won a state’s electoral votes with less than 50 percent, when there has been a presence of a strong third party.
This presents a clear disadvantage to the minority party of a given state, as Laccetti pointed out.
However, I respectfully disagree on one point. Rather than a proportional distribution of a state’s electoral votes, I recommend that electoral votes be awarded based on which congressional district the candidate wins.
For example, Ohio has 18 electoral votes. These 18 votes represent Ohio’s 16 U.S. House districts and the two Senate seats. A Democratic candidate is likely to win in Marcia Fudge’s district, while a Republican candidate is likely to win in John Boehner’s district. These districts should assign their electoral votes to the candidate who wins them. The candidate who wins the popular vote in the state should win the two electoral votes that represent a state’s two Senate seats.
That way, it is still possible for a candidate to win all the state’s electoral votes if he or she can win all the state’s congressional districts.
Using this method rewards local majorities within a state who garner enough support for their candidate, the most fair practice for voters.
However, as Laccetti pointed out, this would only be effective if all 50 states and the District of Columbia agreed to do this.
Duane V. Grassell
Pray for Christians persecuted in Iraq
As Christmas nears, Christians worldwide are preparing for the upcoming holiday. For most, it is a time of joy and celebration but for a group of Christians in Iraq, this Christmas will be filled with uncertainty and insecurity. This is because an ayatollah (a type of religious leader) in Iraq has issued an Islamic ruling that Christians in Iraq must choose between conversion to Islam or death.
It is a tragedy that these politically motivated extremists, who claim to be the leaders of Islam, have actually strayed far from Islam’s true message.
There is no basis for this ruling in the Quran or Prophet Muhammad’s practice. Rather, the Quran clearly states, “There is no compulsion in religion.” Once, when a group of Christians visited the Prophet to discuss matters of faith, the Prophet did not give them the choice between conversion or death.
On the contrary, he invited them to hold their prayer service in his mosque, as they wished, as it was a house made for the remembrance of the Almighty God.
As a Muslim, my prayers are with the persecuted Christians in Iraq. May they have the opportunity to celebrate their holiday in peace.
Fault lines in shootings
This is in response to the Dec. 17 article, “Police face investigation in shootings.”
We know only what the article contained. However, some black Clevelanders and the NAACP are calling the shootings racially motivated, which causes one to wonder if those shot had obeyed the police order to stop, would they be alive?
Fleeing only raises suspicion with the police. So whose fault is it, those shot or the police?