Handguns our own WMD for self-destruction
I happened to receive a membership solicitation from the National Rifle Association on the Saturday of the Tucson massacre. The letter advised me of the terrible things the "radical billionaires and the freedom-hating Hollywood elite," were trying to do. These rascals wanted to restrict or eliminate guns, "just like they did in England, Canada and Australia."
I was mortified and wanted to find out for myself how you could possibly enjoy a peaceful, safe existence without handguns. The numbers were eye-opening.
In Canada in 2006, there were 190 firearm homicides with approximately 142 of those being by handguns. In Australia in 2005-06, there were a reported 42 handgun homicides. In England for the years 2004-05 there were 22 handgun fatalities. The three-nation total was 206 handgun homicides.
By comparison, the FBI reported 10,100 firearm homicides in the U.S. in 2005, about 7,500 of those by handguns. In one year alone, we equaled (or exceeded with all firearm homicides considered) the American deaths from 9/11 and all the years of armed conflict in Iraq.
The Taliban, al-Qaida and the insurgents are not nearly as efficient at killing us as we are.
The Tucson massacre will be forgotten because another one will take its place. We have not mentioned the accidental deaths that occur or the life-altering non-lethal injuries or the robberies made possible with the use of handguns.
Handguns are America's weapons of mass destruction, and it is within our ability to begin slowing the insanity, if we choose to do so.
Benjamin P. Hicks
Fair rents needed
At this time when so many people are out of work, losing their homes and everything they thought they were working for, I can't help noticing the price of rental housing.
Once again, money-grubbing so-called human beings are trying to cash in on other people's suffering.
If some are losing their homes because they can't afford the mortgages, how in heaven's name can they afford exorbitant rents?
It seems to me this human race will always find a way to profit from others' suffering. Where are the jobless, homeless people expected to go? They can't hover invisibly in some kind of void until things get better. They need help now. If they were undocumented immigrants, they could get some help.
In Europe, illegal immigrants are flooding countries, getting housed and free medical treatment while people who worked and paid into the system can be left out in the cold.
Charity begins at home, and it's time to take care of our own.
Remove U.S. troops
I urge President Barack Obama to stand firm and remain committed to removing all troops from Iraq by the end of 2011 as he pledged in his address to the Marines at Camp Lejeune in 2009.
As a veteran of the Iraq war with the 101st Airborne Division, I plan to watch very closely that this pledge is fulfilled. The sacrifices by our military in Iraq have been great. The military has done all that has been asked of it. We have accomplished mission after mission.
I hope the president will not be persuaded by those at the Pentagon and in Congress who want to see permanent bases in Iraq. Iraq has never been a serious threat to our national security, and any danger it once posed to its Middle East neighbors has long since been eliminated.
If the absence of a security threat isn't reason enough to warrant withdrawal of all troops from Iraq, consider the fact that this nation simply does not have the financial resources to waste by maintaining permanent bases there.
I give credit to Obama for reducing the level of troops in Iraq to 50,000 as he did in August 2010. Now it's time to finish the job.
Capitalism needs reform
In a Jan. 9 letter, the writer described a free-enterprise wonderland straight from the playbook of Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman. In this paradise, capitalism is just simple free trade, wherein "individual men and women build their homes, their companies, their communities and their nations out of nothing."
These beneficent interactions "cement the bonds of society, foster mutual benefits and create wealth for all." All of these good things happen under capitalism, said the writer, only if that nasty old government refrains from taxing anybody or regulating anything.
I don't know which cloud the writer has been living on, but the American free enterprise system I have lived and worked under for the past 72 years is a system that has created a tiny class of the super-rich who now control our political system as well as our economy.
And it has left tens of millions of the rest of us without homes, jobs, adequate education, medical care or any prospects for the future.
Our corporate rulers have also poisoned our air, our soil and our waters, and have killed or injured tens of thousands of citizens by refusing to allow reasonable health and safety regulations for our foods and medicines and in our workplaces.
Overseas, they have carried on an endless series of brutal and self-destructive — but for some, highly profitable — wars and interventions in other nations' political systems.
Anyone who claims this system doesn't need radical change is an accomplice in its crimes.
Caring, not ranting
I appreciate John Calipari's apology for his demeanor and foul language during the Alabama game. However, here are a few points to consider: I am very proud to have a coach who cares and is as enthusiastic about University of Kentucky basketball as the fans.
It beats one who just walks the sidelines or stares. Also, you rarely catch anyone's attention by speaking softly. I love the Cats, but I saw the way they were playing. I'm sure more than a few of the fans used some foul language.
We have a great team, but any team will have an off game and not listen to the coach. The Cats should continue to improve and play with heart. And thanks to Coach Cal for caring enough about the game to throw a fit every now and then.
I recently received a three-page letter from Monica Burdette, whose position with the Humane Society of the United States is membership and customer loyalty. The letter is a blog post, "Michael Vick and having a pet," written by Wayne Pacelle, HSUS president and CEO.
Having read the blog, it seems the HSUS is more concerned about Vick's rehabilitation than the poor animal that might land in Vick's home as a test case.
The penal system dictates when a person has been rehabilitated. The primary concern of HSUS should be the protection and humane treatment of innocent animals. I don't believe God forgives evil nor can evil be rehabilitated.
Find Pacelle's blog by going to Humanesociety.org. I believe you will find it very interesting.