Letters to the editor: Feb. 5

February 5, 2013 

Commentaries reinforced beliefs, generated hope

Two recent columns in the Herald-Leader have brought hope to my life.

Marty Solomon's commentary about bringing sanity back into schools touched an essential point in my belief.

I have been a teacher throughout much of my adult life. The experience has carved in stone for me the knowledge that teaching for a test is a lost cause among students — college as well as primary and secondary.

Yes, students can pass tests if all they do is swallow material test makers believe to be important and then regurgitate it at test times.

However, real learning and critical thinking are not developed by pure memorization, which is what teaching to the test entails.

Furthermore, students need physical exercise and backgrounds in art and music in order to develop as well-rounded adults.

Roger Guffey's commentary, "Christian 'can't stands no more,'" made me want to rise up and shout "Alleluia!"

If the God of the universe would cause the deaths of 20 little children in order to punish those deemed to be irreverent or sinful, then count me out.

The public practice of religion and its offspring, Christianity, has encroached itself so much into our daily lives that nothing escapes its influence or ability to demonize.

Whatever our belief or non-belief is, it is private, possibly to be shared only with family, friends and fellow church members, but those who use it as a cudgel to beat up those who dare to disagree have set a dangerous precedent.

Marjorie F. Farris


Balancing our rights

There has been much press and not a little concern about the victims in Newtown, Conn.

I was impressed that on the first day of reporting there was no concern expressed about our current gun laws. Later, that concern appeared in abundance.

One newspaper reported a study that claimed almost half of Americans expressed concern for the right of people to own guns — the Second Amendment. I have no problem with that.

My problem is: Do we express concern for the victims or potential victims of gun violence? Do not these people have the right of safety and security?

I cannot see the need of an average American to own an assault rifle or a rapid-fire pistol that can carry 30 rounds of ammunition. Should not these guns be reserved for the military and the police? Why would anyone else need this kind of firepower? Would not an old-fashioned six-shooter be enough for personal protection?

Americans need to learn more about rights. Do people have the right to safety and security when they attend school or a theater or a church? Do people who live near coal plants have the right to clean air and a chemical-free environment? Do those who work in dangerous jobs have a right to as much safety as possible?

Is it not time to put the rights and well-being of all people above the rights of gun owners and the profits of industry? If we do this, we will all feel more safe, secure and happy.

Richard M. Royalty


Look beyond guns

When focusing on guns as the cause of the mass murder problem, we are focusing on the wrong thing.

During all these mass murders, the victims did not have guns — even at Fort Hood the victims were not allowed to have guns.

In a movie theater, a fast-food restaurant or place of business, people don't think of carrying a gun. Then, of course, at schools these young people are not allowed to have guns.

Why are the politicians blaming these terrible killings on guns? You don't hear of mass murders where there are guards.

Let us focus on other reasons for this problem, like someone that just wants to be noticed or just wants their name in the news.

Our society has gone amok, with violence, sex and the entertainer or sports stars who do bizarre things and are idolized for it. We need to start when children are very young to teach them compassion, love and hope, not hate and despair.

Bonnie Hughbanks


Don't give in to hysteria

Politicizing tragedy. That is what Democratic leaders are doing.

They are seeking gun control to please the anti-gun people, a part of the coalition that elects them, people who would ban every gun or make it infeasible to own for hunting, self-protection, target shooting, sports etc. It is to be a payoff.

There is no thought, recommendation or movement to instill morality in the country and public schools. The Founding Fathers gave us freedom of Judeo-Christian religion, not freedom from it.

Doing something about movies, games, news broadcasts, etc., that portray much violence and likely sow the seeds for violent behavior is not going to happen. Powerful drugs exist that can cause extreme abnormal behavior, but nothing is done about them. The number of crazies will increase as the population increases, but there is no emphasis on slowing population growth.

They do not care to adopt solutions suggested by others, like the National Rifle Association. About the only emphasis is to ban, restrict and register guns, and do it quickly.

Gun registration would be another tax. Are you happy with vehicle registrations? If guns were eliminated, violence would not end. Knives, bombs, hammers, etc., would become alternative instruments.

The effect of gun control is to take away the rights of good people. I do not own an assault rifle, but if my neighbors choose to own them then they should have that unencumbered right.

I do not want to see the Second Amendment ended or eroded because of the hysteria of the moment and to aid a political party.

Alfred A. Brown


Find the middle ground

The column by Bob Terrell of Corbin in a recent Kentucky Voices was well reasoned and succinctly presented.

I agree with his assertion that all those who would ban guns altogether should, in the spirit of compromise, find reasonable the concept of gun ownership for home protection. And for hunting and other reasonable activities, I would add.

By the same logic; those who advocate for guns for virtually everyone should be able to accept the premise that ordinary citizens have no real need for a weapon whose sole purpose is to kill as many people as possible.

In a broader sense, I believe that the writer was correct that for our democracy to function, we can't always each have our own way. There must be a willingness to work together and compromise.

This is a principle that many of our elected leaders at all levels could well learn from Terrell, and remember.

Ralph Combs


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