Letters to the editor: Jan. 12

January 12, 2013 

Media unwittingly provoke more gun violence

Two days before the shooting in Newtown, Conn., I briefly caught a television discussion of the shooter and his weapons in Portland, Ore. I found myself screaming: "Stop it, now: they are just encouraging a copycat killer."

After nearly 40 years of professional dealings with criminals and mentally troubled individuals, I am convinced that televised mention of killers' names and their circumstances during periods of high emotional anxiety (particularly during the Christmas holiday) triggers similarly stupid, tragic, glory-seeking behavior.

Perhaps the apparently discarded British judicial sanctions against mentioning alleged killers' names and their circumstances until after their trials and inquests have run their course (sometimes years or months after the events) would make for appropriately dispassionate and less-dangerous responses in this nation.

Ideally, all guns should be disassembled, cleaned and kept in a locked gun safe, with ammunition locked in another safe, except during times of hunting, marksmanship events or sales. I recognize that many feel unsafe in their homes and want loaded weapons handy.

Unfortunately, my experiences and those of police acquaintances in 40 years of criminal court appearances have been that, more often than self-protection uses, children, relatives and family friends have become the victims and the victimizers.

I admit familiarity with some gun show tradesmen, but additionally, I worry about unregistered transfers to felons, other criminals, juveniles and the mentally unstable. Perhaps Chris Rock's joking remark that guns don't kill people, bullets do, so we should make ammunition prohibitively costly, might be worth a more serious consideration.

Jon Larson

Fayette County Judge-Executive


Worth protecting

A question of values?

We have armed guards at many of our banks to protect our assets. Yet, we don't want to spend the money to have armed guards at our schools to protect our most precious assets?

J. Doug Fay

Bronston


Keep up good work

Thank you, neighbors, for reporting the graffiti/vandalism in Mary Todd Park.

In 2006, many neighbors, our council members, Kentucky Safe Kids and Allstate employees came together to build this playground.

In addition, Allstate supported us with a grant and our parks department designed Mary Todd Park as a play area for kids of all ages. With the help of all neighbors and friends, let's keep this a safe and clean place to play.

Once again, thank you for reporting the incident and let's all continue to watch out for each other as good neighbors should.

Josie Giurgevich Jones

President, Joyland Neighborhood Association

Lexington


Stop sandhill hunts

I would like to commend the editorial, "Sandhill hunt not worth the effort." I have lived in Kentucky most of my life and have never seen a sandhill crane in the state. I cannot imagine them being a nuisance that needs to be destroyed.

I have seen these birds in Florida and New Mexico. They are beautiful to watch and photograph. They are also part of my lectures to civic clubs.

Whooping cranes, which are an endangered species, travel with sandhill cranes and could be eradicated through this misguided policy.

Eradicating such beautiful birds is not a policy to which Kentucky should aspire.

Dr. Ullin Leavell

Lexington


Ison not racist

The letter writer who spit out venom regarding Donna Ison, former editor of Skirt magazine, must have some personal vendetta. Ison joked that after being in a suntan booth, she was more of a Latina color, and then later was more the shade of Tina Turner.

This venomous woman indicated that Ison was racist because of these remarks.

She further declared that there were all shades of the African American race. True, and Turner is certainly a lighter shade than that of Seal, which I'm sure Ison would have clarified if she had turned as dark as the latter mentioned African American singer.

I don't know what point she was grasping for here, but the vengeful woman missed the mark. Anyone who knows Ison, or is familiar with her work, knows that she is surely not racist, being married to a very nice Hispanic gentleman for a 10-year period (and they still remain friends). The shade of coloring of the African American community is correct, but Ison surely meant no harm in what she said.

To be blunt, Ison is too smart too compassionate and too cool to be a racist. Sounds like there were some sour grapes going on and a good portion of jealousy. I haven't mentioned the letter writer's name, simply because I don't even think she's worth mentioning.

JaneEthel Johnson

Lexington


Coal facts outdated

I recently contacted my senator to ask him to renew the Wind Production Tax Credits, an effort that gives this clean energy a more competitive edge in today's market.

Wind energy does not create air pollution and is better for public health.

In turn, Sen. Mitch McConnell's office responded with a list of reasons why we need to continue to support coal. The problem is, McConnell didn't have the facts right.

The letter I received stated that, "over half of the nation's electricity comes from coal, and coal constitutes more than 85 percent of U.S. fossil fuel resources, which is enough to provide the United States with inexpensive electricity for more than 250 years at current consumption rates."

In 2010, coal constituted 68 percent, not 85 percent, of our available fossil fuel resources according to a Congressional Research Service report.

Since this time, coal's share would have diminished with the increasing availability of natural gas. It's also important to note that availability of a resource does not equate to economic viability.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration also shows that:

• As of September, coal makes up just 37 percent of our nation's energy portfolio.

• While coal declines, renewable energies continue to rise and are helping the economy grow.

• While the cost of coal has been arguably low in Kentucky, the cost of health care as a result of coal pollution has been excessively high.

Kentucky needs to look for a healthier, cleaner energy future. Are McConnell and other legislators paying attention to this national transition?

Deborah Payne

Berea

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