Letters to the editor: Dec. 26, 2012 edition

But everything’s quite leg­al, you say
It’s so sad that so many chil­dren and oth­ers lost their lives in New­town, Conn., by such a sense­less vi­ol­ent act via guns. They won’t be cel­eb­rat­ing Christ­mas this year or any oth­er year. But guns are leg­al, you say.
 What is also sad and rips a hole in my heart every day is all the little cher­ubs who are murdered by way of abor­tion on a daily basis. They will nev­er, ever get to ex­per­i­ence a Christ­mas or a hol­i­day. Ever. But abor­tion is leg­al, you say.
 Sad are the fam­il­ies and friends at the hol­i­days whose loved ones were killed by someone who thought they were bet­ter than you and got be­hind a wheel of a car drunk as a skunk. But al­co­hol is leg­al, you say.
 Now let us add to all the fu­ture Christ­mases without loved ones who will be killed by some pot­head who was high as a kite and did something un­speak­able (yet to be de­term­ined, but soon will be com­ing to a neigh­bor­hood near you). But yet again, marijuana is leg­al or will be leg­al in your state.
 I guess it all comes down to the ir­re­spons­ible per­son who has no re­gard for his/her or any­one else’s life and how he/she chooses to com­mit murder.
Murder is murder. Case closed.
Di­ane Mc­Dow­ell

High emo­tions after the Con­necti­c­ut mas­sacre
You people who are us­ing the Con­necti­c­ut school tragedy to ar­gue for gun con­trol dis­gust me. You dis­gust me be­cause:
• You are will­ing to sac­ri­fice your rights for a false sense of  “se­cur­ity.”
• You not only want to sac­ri­fice your own rights, you also want to force oth­ers to give up their rights.
• You re­sort to name call­ing and mak­ing ad hom­inem at­tacks against those who dis­agree with you.
• You are al­low­ing the acts of crim­in­als and lun­at­ics to dic­tate policy.
• You want to ban “as­sault” weapons and “semi-auto­mat­ic” fire­arms  when you don’t even know what an as­sault weapon or a semi-auto­mat­ic fire­arm is.
• You think that a fire­arms ap­pear­ance dic­tates how dan­ger­ous it is.
• You have nev­er per­son­ally handled, fired or owned a fire­arm, nor do you un­der­stand how one func­tions, yet you are sud­denly philo­soph­ic­al ex­perts on gun con­trol.
• You want to re­in­state the Clin­ton gun ban, when Obama’s own Justice De­part­ment ad­mits that the ban had an ab­so­lutely zero ef­fect on pre­vent­ing crime, and be­grudgingly ad­mits that it ac­tu­ally con­trib­uted to in­creased vic­tim­iz­a­tion, es­pe­cially by wo­men and the eld­erly.
• You pon­ti­fic­ate about how we need more gun con­trol laws yet you com­pletely ig­nore the fact that crim­in­als and crazy people ig­nore and break laws.
• You ig­nore the fact that every mass shoot­ing in the U.S. has oc­curred in a gun-free zone.
• You en­gage in men­tal mas­turb­a­tion by com­pletely ig­nor­ing all of the facts that prove gun con­trol does sig­ni­fic­antly more harm than any ima­gined good.
• You would rather make it more dif­fi­cult for people to de­fend them­selves and oth­ers, in­stead of em­power­ing them.
• You sup­port gun con­trol laws that have their found­a­tion in ra­cism and eth­nic cleans­ing.
• You are the ones that made it so that not one single adult in Sandy Hook Ele­ment­ary School could have been armed and in all like­li­hood would have been able to pre­vent or greatly re­duce that mur­der­ous ram­page.
• You ig­nore the fact that fire­arms are used to pre­vent or stop crimes far more of­ten than they are used to com­mit crimes.
• You even think you have the right to take my guns and you would rather people like me be un­armed in the face of crim­in­als and tyr­ants.
• You are ig­nor­ant to the fact that gov­ern­ments have slaughtered hun­dreds of mil­lions of un­armed peoples and you have some fantasy that could nev­er hap­pen in this coun­try.
Lt. Wil­li­am J. Lawl­er II
Sol­dier, edu­cat­or, gun own­er

* * *

The fol­low­ing is a speech U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz de­livered on the floor of the U.S. House last week:
 The Sandy Hook Ele­ment­ary School shoot­ing was shat­ter­ing for Amer­ic­ans every­where. For such an un­speak­able act of vi­ol­ence to take place at an ele­ment­ary school: a place of safety, learn­ing and lively spir­it, was dev­ast­at­ing. My sons are grown, but my memor­ies from their first days at school are still vivid.
 The shoot­ing is both a deeply per­son­al, fam­ily tragedy; and a tragedy for the com­munity of New­town and for our na­tion. I, along with all Amer­ic­an par­ents, felt the loss per­son­ally. It brought not only tears, but also deep sad­ness and shared loss.
 The young­est vic­tims were 6 and 7 — it is un­ac­cept­able. We feel the loss of each child. So in­no­cent, so joy­ful, their hopes, their dreams and their po­ten­tial nev­er to be ful­filled. And, we mourn the loss of the teach­ers and staff, who were a com­fort to their stu­dents, and who did all they could to pro­tect them. My thoughts and pray­ers are with each of the fam­il­ies and all of New­town.
 We have seen far too many mo­ments of vi­ol­ence and loss. This loss is too dev­ast­at­ing to ig­nore.
I be­lieve that even in this time of deep sad­ness and grief, we must re­solve to end such vi­ol­ence. We must do bet­ter to un­der­stand and treat men­tal ill­ness. And we must come to­geth­er to move our na­tion to­wards com­mon sense, re­spons­ible gun laws. Laws that re­cog­nize the re­spons­ib­il­ity of gun-own­er­ship and en­sure safety and se­cur­ity in our homes, schools, com­munit­ies and pub­lic spaces.
 One of our greatest strengths is that as Amer­ic­ans and as a na­tion we are re­si­li­ent. And we must use that re­si­li­ence to not only grieve to­geth­er at this really dif­fi­cult time, but to work to­geth­er to pre­vent yet an­oth­er dev­ast­at­ing act of vi­ol­ence. We should act, and I join with my col­leagues in a will­ing­ness and a com­mit­ment to do so.
U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz
D-13th dist.

* * *

I wrote to the North­east Times after the Au­rora mas­sacre and pre­dicted no ac­tion would be taken to mit­ig­ate sim­il­ar tra­gedies in the fu­ture. But it seems the re­cent slaughter of little chil­dren in New­town, Conn., is prompt­ing a paradigm shift in how we ad­dress the gun is­sue in Amer­ica. I’m hope­ful that our politi­cians ex­per­i­ence a sim­il­ar shift in how they op­er­ate, so they can cre­ate some use­ful laws.
To the politi­cians on the left: Don’t mis­read the re­cent calls for sens­ible re­forms as a man­date to im­pose rad­ic­al changes. Don’t ex­ploit this tragedy as an op­por­tun­ity to re­sus­cit­ate old, fool­ish ideas like gun-free zones that keep law-abid­ing cit­izens vul­ner­able and do noth­ing to de­ter crim­in­als.  Overzeal­ous op­por­tunism will only ali­en­ate in­de­pend­ents, gal­van­ize your op­pos­i­tion and stifle any hope for mean­ing­ful change.
To the politi­cians on the right: It’s time to stop ca­ter­ing to gun man­u­fac­tur­ers and the fringe, e.g., guys who hang out at the shoot­ing range quot­ing Thomas Paine and fan­tas­ize about Red Dawn be­com­ing real­ity.
The 2012 elec­tion was proof that the tight­er you squeeze onto your base, the more reg­u­lar people slip through your fin­gers. Bans on as­sault weapons and ex­ten­ded am­muni­tion clips are no-brain­ers. Clearly, such bans will not pre­vent the next mass shoot­ing; but they can at least mit­ig­ate the death toll and im­prove the odds that someone will be able to fight back.
Speak­ing of those reg­u­lar people, it’s time for this si­lent ma­jor­ity to rise up and counter the in­cess­ant noise com­ing from the lob­by­ists, the wing nuts and the full-time act­iv­ists with too much free time on their hands. Take a minute to write, call or e-mail your elec­ted of­fi­cials and pull them out of their echo cham­bers.
Of course, guns are just one piece of the puzzle for pre­vent­ing fu­ture mas­sacres. There is still much work to be done re­gard­ing men­tal health care and school safety pro­to­cols. But I sup­pose we must walk be­fore we can run.
Mat­thew Mc­Grath

* * *

We are all hor­ri­fied at the at­tacks on help­less teach­ers and chil­dren that oc­curred in Con­necti­c­ut, but it does no good to de­mon­ize the NRA and gun own­ers, as some re­cent let­ter writers (and na­tion­al me­dia) have chosen to do.
I worked for the Phil­adelphia crim­in­al justice sys­tem, and the city has used the NRA for staff train­ing. In fact, one train­er told me she was very im­pressed by the NRA’s pro­fes­sion­al­ism and re­spons­ible ap­proach to the use of guns. It would help if the NRA em­phas­ized this even more.
There are close to 300 mil­lion guns in this coun­try. (Kids ac­tu­ally used to take rifles to high school for gun clubs.)
It is also easy to modi­fy a gun to make it more po­tent. Most gun con­trol rules pro­posed, are like clos­ing the barn door after the horse has bolted.
By the way, 40 per­cent of all murders in this coun­try oc­cur without guns. Think Timothy Mc­Veigh, or the fan­at­ics with box cut­ters on 9/11. Mass mur­der­ers find ways to murder. Just the gas­ol­ine in your gas tank is a power­ful weapon.
The last four mass killings were the res­ult of men­tally ill people who gave clear ad­vance signs that they were dis­turbed. Noth­ing was done to deal with their ill­nesses. This is an area we need to fo­cus on, as well as the de­cline of mor­als, and the fam­ily.
Get rid of guns? That used to ap­peal to me be­fore I looked at the facts, not my emo­tions.
Just ima­gine a Phil­adelphia where all law-abid­ing cit­izens were denied guns, and only the crim­in­als — who won’t obey any gun laws — had them. It would be open-sea­son on small busi­ness, and home in­va­sions would oc­cur in the thou­sands.
Richard Iac­on­elli

Kudos to the coun­cil­man for help­ing May­fair
I need to com­mend Bobby Hen­on for try­ing to bring back the neigh­bor­hood I grew up in. I have lived in May­fair my en­tire life. My moth­er and her sis­ter grew up in my grand­par­ents’ house five minutes from mine. And yet I look around me lately and see only a shad­ow of what was the beau­ti­ful neigh­bor­hood I re­mem­ber.
My hus­band and I have owned our home for four­teen years. The prop­erty to our left is a rent­al prop­erty owned by a land­lord who calls Brook­lyn, N.Y., home. So it makes per­fect sense that she has no reas­on to care what hap­pens to our neigh­bor­hood.
She has had a nev­er-end­ing string of bad renters in this prop­erty. One group of eight to 10 men dis­ap­peared in the middle of the night. One single moth­er lived out of state while her two young chil­dren resided in the home alone. The last pair used the wa­ter from our hose as well as our neigh­bors’ hoses while we were all at work be­cause they had no run­ning wa­ter in the house. And the cur­rent ten­ants, well, let’s just say we were forced to go to court to ob­tain stay away or­ders be­cause of nu­mer­ous phys­ic­al and verbal as­saults at the hands and mouths of them.
Every single time we have had an is­sue, the land­lord ig­nored us. She does not an­swer our calls, or the calls of the neigh­bors any longer. She re­fuses cer­ti­fied mail from us. When told her ten­ant as­saul­ted my hus­band, she calmly re­spon­ded, “well, you can call the po­lice.” The only per­son she will re­spond to is our law­yer. As long as she re­ceives her rent, she seems con­tent with who­ever and whatever oc­cu­pies her prop­erty.
The ten­ants cur­rently resid­ing next door to us have lengthy ar­rest re­cords. One of them is on the cur­rent lease. I found this in­form­a­tion at my home in less than 10 minutes by per­form­ing a simple search on­line. How then is she not aware who she is rent­ing to? And, more im­port­antly, how does she not care? Maybe if she were forced to live next to ab­us­ive ten­ants who al­lowed drugs to seep in­to her home, near her chil­dren, she would both­er to do something.
I am tired of see­ing prop­er­ties waste away. I hate look­ing out­side my door and see­ing a mix­ture of Hal­loween and Christ­mas dec­or­a­tions mingled to­geth­er on an un­kempt lawn. I hate wor­ry­ing that something will hap­pen to my hus­band, my chil­dren, my pets, my prop­erty (and not for the first time), at the hands of the renters next door.
It is time to take back our neigh­bor­hoods. I com­mend Bobby Hen­on for work­ing so hard to re­store our com­munity, and I will gladly fight along­side him to do so.
Kate Weso­lowski

Get tough on scrap deal­ers
I read the art­icle in the Dec. 12 edi­tion about thieves steal­ing cop­per, etc. (AC units tar­geted for cop­per).
One solu­tion to this prob­lem is simple. The city can crack down on the scrap deal­ers who ac­cept these ma­ter­i­als.
It’s ob­vi­ous that a man­hole cov­er is not scrap. If these ma­ter­i­als are not ac­cep­ted by the deal­ers, it may help with this prob­lem.
The city checks on pawn­shops. Why not scrap yards?
Patrick O’Con­nor

Speak your mind  …
Let­ters should be 300 words or less. Short let­ters have a bet­ter chance of get­ting pub­lished. All let­ters are sub­ject to edit­ing and MUST in­clude the writer’s full name along with day­time and even­ing phone num­bers for veri­fic­a­tion pur­poses. An­onym­ous or il­legible let­ters will NOT be pub­lished. Mail to: Let­ters to the Ed­it­or, North­east Times, 2512 Met­ro­pol­it­an Drive, Tre­vose, PA 19053. E-mail: pronews@bsmphilly.com

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