Printed letters, Jan. 14, 2011

Writer’s logic would prohibit cell phones

I had reservations about responding to Gail Collins’ Jan. 11 column regarding our Second Amendment rights to bear arms. This is, by all rights, a time for prayer by all and reflection by those who were fortunate to know the patriots killed or wounded.

However, I would like to put the right to carry and use a cell phone to the same test as she placed on guns.

According to the National Safety Council, motor vehicle deaths were down 4 percent in first 11 months of 2010. They totaled 31,740, or nearly 87 deaths per day. Of this total, 28 percent involved drivers talking or texting on cell phones.

Because of the extent of the problem, federal transportation officials unveiled an organization, patterned after Mothers Against Drunk Driving, that will combat driver cell phone use. The group, FocusDriven, grew out of a meeting on distracted driving, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation last year.

These numbers, by my calculations, mean 24 people a day are killed in vehicle accidents involving use of a cell phone. Using Collins’ line of reasoning, we should eliminate the sale of cell phones by making more rules. This is her solution to a mad man gone wild.

Research shows there were eight killings in Washington, D.C., on the same day as the shootings in Arizona, and it has among the strictest gun laws in the nation. Common sense and a look into sad events in our history indicate to me a very different conclusion than Collins reached.

The person responsible has a history of social problems, as is so common with the mass murders in our schools and workplaces.

It is not the weapon used, it is the intent of the perpetrator, and we cannot legislate or regulate the behavior of bad people. I am an educator, and I know all the rules in the book won’t change the behavior of a school bully. But I think Collins would agree he or she never picks on someone who is prepared to handle the bully.

I wonder how many shots he would have gotten off had the man with the gun under his armpit (as Collins put it) been present? If it were me, maybe three or four before I had his attention.



Spehar’s arguments not supported by facts

In his Jan. 11 column, Jim Spehar trots out a few of the predictable liberal talking points on the tragic shooting in Arizona last weekend.

He noted the current political climate includes a map drawn up by the Republicans in the last election showing rifle-scope crosshairs on various states. He fails to mention the fact that Democrats, in the 2004 elections, produced an almost identical map targeting various states. Any rational person realizes these are simply campaign maps targeting certain states for more intense campaigning.

Some people also would have us believe conservative radio talk shows poisoned the shooter’s mind and led him to violence. There is not one single shred of evidence to support this claim,  or that he ever even listened to talk radio. In fact, “Mein Kampf” and the “Communist Manifesto” were on his reading list, not really popular reading for a conservative.

Politicians and media people of all stripes describe politics in terms of war and violence. Politicians have war chests, for their campaigns in battleground states. President Obama said in 2008, “if they bring a knife, we’ll bring a gun” in terms of a political battle.

By all accounts, this shooter was a very disturbed, mentally ill person who was ready to explode at any time. Anything could have set him off. For Jim Spehar to try to politicize this tragedy is a good example of simplistic, shallow and lazy journalism. Hopefully he will take the higher road the next time.


Grand Junction

Arizona shooting doesn’t justify losing our rights

It is hilarious to me to see the left scream about how violent, hateful speech somehow caused the shooting in Arizona. Just for the record, I don’t care.

I don’t buy the premise that I should lose more and more of my rights, on the chance that curtailing our God-given, constitutional right to speak our minds, will possibly keep violent people from being violent.

I don’t believe that anyone cares one whit about stopping this kind of thing. I believe that they are using this to gain more control of us.

Odd how, when a Muslim shoots or tries to blow up a bunch of people, the same voices call for tolerance and calm. But, oh how the rhetoric changes when it is us.

As far as I am concerned, there is no reason or event sufficient to remove any of my rights (OK, the ones that are left). What happened in Arizona was terrible, and it should raise a lot of questions. But what about questions about the shooter and the fact that there was no security at the event?

As long as humans exist, these kind of things are going to happen.




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