Letters to the Editor

To the Editor:
In theory, I am a believer in the axiom that states, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." After reading last week's letters to the editor, however, I can't resist the urge to lash out.

I am referring specifically to the two letters to the editor concerning the concealed-weapons issue. These are the latest installments in a long line of inane rants penned by unenlightened and misguided conservatives who apparently have devoted disturbingly large amounts of time to spewing venom at Ray Hartmann and us foolish liberals who actually buy into his hippie propaganda. I wish that these aforementioned individuals would do themselves a favor by not baring their ignorance for all to see, as well as doing the rest of us a favor by allowing us the opportunity to read letters which might convey intelligent thoughts based in truth and reality.

Sal Sawyer claims that those opposed to Proposition B are "for stripping people of basic human rights ... (and) for the continued existence of one of the last Jim Crow laws on the books." The last time I checked, basic human rights involved things like food, clean water and protection from torture. As far as the Jim Crow allegation is concerned, the minor detail of racial inequity seems to be missing from the picture. Either Mr. Sawyer is frighteningly ignorant or he is just trying to conjure up some sort of justification for the fact that he thinks the idea of carrying around a big, mean gun is really cool.

Nick Kasoff points to "the infants and children shot in recent drive-by incidents" as evidence that the current policy of prohibiting concealed weapons must not be working. Maybe he's right; had these innocent toddlers been strapped, they could have opened fire at the first sign of the big, bad thugs creeping around dark street corners in their low-riders. Otherwise, I fail to see the logic behind the assertion that the presence of more guns will help to safeguard children who could potentially get caught in the crossfire. As if this were not convincing enough, Mr. Kasoff reminds us that "to the landlord who collects cash rent in dangerous neighborhoods, a concealed weapon will protect him from the hungry robber." Simply the thought of this feeble, industrious soul navigating the urban battlefield without his trusty revolver is enough to bring a tear to my eye.

Great job, guys; as if it weren't logically destitute already, your statements have exposed yet more deficiencies in your position. If you insist on reading a newspaper whose editorial stance is obviously contrary to your beliefs, at least spare the rest of us the agony of reading your incoherent diatribes. Besides, I'm sure that they would be met with a much warmer reception in Rush Limbaugh's newsletter or the NRA weekly.

Aaron Breakstone

To the Editor:
I believe Proposition B has two major defects and should be defeated.
First, it does not restrict the caliber of firearm one may carry. If passed, Prop B will permit a licensed individual to carry a high-caliber weapon, like a 357 Magnum. Those familiar with the power of this weapon will recognize that it has the force to penetrate multiple surfaces. A weapon such as this could go through an individual, a wall or two, and strike another individual, causing grievous harm or death.

Second, I feel the minimum age required under Prop B to carry a concealed weapon, 21, is too low. Insurance companies recognize that the majority of automobile accidents involve individuals 25 and under. One of the contributing factors being that, as the adage states, the older you get the wiser you get. Requiring a minimum age of 26 to carry a concealed weapon would provide an increased level of personal maturity those 21 and under have not yet attained.

Proposition B should be voted down and resubmitted with a restriction on the caliber of handgun one may carry, and an increase in the age requirement.

John R. Stoeffler

To the Editor:
In response to the anti-NRA "Commentary" by Mr. Hartmann ("A Dangerous Call to Arms," RFT, March 3), I would like to say I was concerned about the "shall-carry" vote coming up April 6. I got some information (from a police officer) about the real statistics in states that allow their citizens to protect themselves, as is provided by our Second Amendment.

Crime is down in the carry states, even Florida, in spite of what the Bradys say. New York City, with the Sullivan Law, has the strictest gun-control laws on the books, but that hasn't helped them control crime. In fact, New York City has 23 homicides per 100,000 people, while Seattle, in Washington state, a right-to-carry state, has 11 homicides per 100,000 people. If the purpose of gun control is to reduce crime and stop criminals, it hasn't worked. In a survey of prisoners locked up for crimes against people involving bodily injury, the majority of those imprisoned stated their greatest fear was that the person they were planning to attack would have a gun. They feared privately owned guns more than police guns. Now that's a deterrent! It's not just an accident that Switzerland has never been in a war and has the lowest crime rates in the entire world. Each Swiss citizen is provided a rifle and ammunition and is considered an able part of a militia of normal citizens. Switzerland has no standing army: The people stand up for themselves. It is interesting to note that in situations where tyranny over the people exists today, such as Cuba, stripping the people of their guns was the first step. The Nazi Weapon Law of 1938, signed by Adolf Hitler, required police permission to own a handgun. Had the Jews not been stripped of their guns, they might have been able to protect themselves from slaughter.

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