Why do the news media concentrate on gun deaths and sensationalize them when people are dying every day of many other causes?
In 2011, according to FBI crime statistics, there were 8,583 gun deaths in the United States. In only 317 of these cases was a rifle used. Assault rifles would fall under that category.
Any deaths are too many, but please consider the following:
For 2007, the Centers for Disease Control lists 44,000 automobile-caused deaths in the United States.
The CDC also lists 80,000 deaths each year that were alcohol-related, as well as 2.3 million years of life lost due to drinking.
The center lists 443,000 deaths per year due to smoking tobacco products, and 5.1 million years of life lost.
There seems to be an outcry to ban assault weapons and to limit magazine size, as was done in the past to try to reduce gun violence.
With only 317 deaths caused by rifles, and many of them probably not assault rifles (statistics do not distinguish types), this would seem to be much ado about nothing as far as reducing gun deaths or overall mortality in the United States.
As far as magazine limits, if a person were to walk into a crowded building with a six-shot revolver and kill six people, would it be any less of a tragedy than 26 children and adults being killed?
If five people were shot with a pump shotgun, would this be acceptable? Magazine limits are not the answer, either.
In all the above scenarios, the common denominator is us. We drink, we smoke, we drive while drunk, we murder and, most of all, we make excuses about how we’re not really to blame.
People in general want to point a finger and blame something when tragedies like the killings in Newtown occur.
Perhaps they should look in the mirror and ask themselves what the real issues are. We all are responsible for our actions and should not blame someone else or something else.
Early intervention for troubled youth
As one who worked in the youth and adult criminal justice systems for over 30 years, it is troubling to see that the Ohio Department of Youth Services (the old Ohio Youth Commission) is still unable to provide completely adequate services for the troubled youth of Ohio (“Youth prisons remain violent,” Dec. 30).
Unfortunately, the youth corrections systems in Ohio and other states have been neglected in comparison to adult corrections systems.
More resources have been put into the back end of the criminal justice system than into the front end.
Advocacy for children has historically not been as strong as for adults. Thankfully, that is changing.
It is heartening to see that Ohio is making some progress in dealing with deviant behavior in its juvenile system. As most knowledgeable criminal justice professionals will tell you, the earlier one intervenes to attempt rehabilitation, the more likely it is that intervention will yield positive results.
I am writing in response to the Newtown, Conn., slaughter of 27 people, most of them children.
We are long overdue for strong gun controls. Absolutely no automatic or semi-automatic weapons should be allowed to be sold to anyone other than law enforcement and the military. Everyone should boycott retail outlets that sell these weapons.
Also, we must close the loophole of background checks not being completed at gun shows.
Isn’t it a crime our representatives allowed this to happen after all these school killings?
Power through gerrymandering
Judging from the Dec. 24 letter headlined “Change the Electoral College,” the writer apparently is unaware of the grotesque result of recent Republican gerrymandering.
Despite a million-plus majority of votes for Democratic congressional candidates, Republicans held onto a sizable majority in the House.
Under the writer’s preferred system, 435 of the 535 electoral votes would be allocated by congressional district. It is well established that, under this system, Mitt Romney would have prevailed in the 2012 election — despite losing by millions of votes.
What’s more, the Republicans would be virtually assured of keeping the White House in 2016 and 2020, before the next decade’s gerrymandering takes place.
It’s bad enough having the nation’s second-choice party maintaining iron-fisted control over the House, but even worse if they were all but assured of victory in the next two presidential elections.
Richard V. Levin
Act comprehensively on gun violence
In the wake of the Newtown, Conn. tragedy, the Sunday morning TV shows again have missed the mark. All they talk about is gun control. That is a part of the problem, but not the only thing.
We need to combine many different parts to accomplish a total solution that addresses the safety of our schools. We should not let the lobbyists and our government officials stick their heads in the sand again. They must step up to address this problem.
First, the idea of anyone needing an assault rifle for security is crazy.
A handgun is all that is needed for home security, and a rifle for sport shooting. Assault rifles are not needed nor required for either. What would happen if an assault rifle was used for hunting?
While we are at it, we must address the clips for guns. Why does anyone need them?
We need gun control, video game control, metal health reform and new school security.
I am tired of hearing that we do not need more school security. We have armed deputies at courthouses, metal detectors at sporting events, airport security and air marshals. We we need to address armed security at schools. We should not let lobbyists deflect the issue by talking about violence in restaurants and movie theaters.
Arming teachers, who are not trained, with guns is not the answer. Teachers are in school to teach our children, not to be security guards. I do not like the idea of armed guards in our school, but it is necessary.
Our government officials need to come up with laws that address a total solution for this pressing problem.
Activist of the highest order
Many thanks to Elaine Evans for her tireless work for Let’s Grow Akron. I first met Evans years ago, as I was organizing the West Summit Lake Community Association.
She offered the Children’s Garden as a site for the organizing picnic, and twice later as the location for a picnic following the cleanup of the shoreline around Summit Lake.
She helped with applying for a grant from the city for our group, which was used to purchase cleanup and picnic supplies, and she arranged for the pickup of tires and debris association members pulled from the lake. Her energy and commitment went far beyond what her job required, and she is a community activist of the highest order.
Although I later moved from the Summit Lake area, and the association disbanded, I have since moved back to my home on Manchester Road. I returned because of the diversity of the Kenmore area, the beauty (and great potential) of Summit Lake and, most of all, the good-heartedness of my Kenmore neighbors, who, like Evans, love Akron’s past, present and great potential for the future.
I hope Kenmore will experience the same renewal as downtown Akron and that the association will be reborn. If so, much of the thanks will be due to the loving work of Evans.
The Children’s Garden is but one of her many gifts to the city.
Hold the NRA accountable
Why don’t we call the National Rifle Association what it is: an organization that seeks to protect and expand its own membership regardless of how many innocents are killed daily, weekly or annually by the weapons they protect? This kind of thinking is immoral and destructive to our society.
After every bloodbath such as Newtown, Conn., and others, the NRA insists that any restriction of guns is an attack on our Constitution.
But most people don’t want to take away all guns, just the ones intended to murder innocents quickly. We must continue to protect the right to own weapons for hunting, collecting and self-protection.
When the Second Amendment was drawn up, the founders had only to deal with single-shot muskets, not semi-automatic assault rifles and handguns.
If they had the ability to see the future, they would have written this amendment differently, I’m sure.