Letters to the Editor 


It would be nice if John Wilson's letter in the April 2nd issue had cited some events that would back his supposition that if Tennessee allows more liberalized concealed-carry firearms laws, it will result in more shootings. States that have concealed-carry laws see reductions in crime overall, not increases.

While there are numerous criminals that somehow obtain a permit, that is a failure of the issuing agency responsible for verifying that the applicant has no disqualifying criminal history, not because of the law that allows concealed carry.

Colorado had the Columbine mass murder by two ostracized students; Virginia Tech had a mass shooting by an enraged student; Jonesboro, Arkansas, had two kids steal guns and a minivan to carry them to the scene where they killed a teacher and classmates; and Heath Middle School, near my hometown of Paducah, Kentucky, had a multiple shooting by a student.

Besides the fact that all events were conducted by a student or students who thought they had a grudge that could be solved with gunfire, they had one other commonality: All these murders, along with the recent mass shooting at a New York immigrant center, took place in areas designated as "Gun Free Zones," where no one could carry a firearm and have the chance at defending themselves from such attacks.

Such designated areas did nothing to help the situation. Rather, they provided a place where the murderers knew that no one would be legally carrying a gun and could do something to stop them.

Doug Hesson


This afternoon, I thought of writing a letter pointing out that every gunman responsible for his share of the recent carnage had the legal right to own a gun. But we've all heard the comebacks: Guns don't kill people; people do. If someone set someone on fire with gasoline, would you outlaw gasoline?

I thought, enough of that debate. It never goes anywhere. However, in the hours while I sat drumming my fingers in contemplation, a gunman opened fire at a church camp in California, killing one and wounding four, and an Alabama man shot and killed himself and his family of five. Minutes later, as if not to be outdone, a Florida woman at a shooting range shot her son at close range, then turned the gun on herself.

Each of these massacres creates more support for guns in the home, guns in the glove compartment, and guns in teachers' desks. The idea is that if only one of those convalescent hospital employees or immigration-center teachers had thought to bring their AK-47 to work with them, then the crazy shooter would have been dead after a round or two.

Which raises the question: Who are the crazy shooters? Well, those other people, not the good gun owners. The crazy shooters are those who have trouble controlling their impulses, who wake up feeling that they have nothing to live for, who come home from work in a rage and decide to make others as miserable as they are. You know, those misfits who have a fight with their boss and wish they could do something about it.

Funny thing. I feel that way about twice a week. When that happens, I reach for my video games, punching bag, or gym-membership card. I'm one of those increasingly rare people who realizes that access to a firearm can only lead to trouble.

Jerome Heyes


Raze Libertyland!

Urgent action is needed to raze Libertyland ("Eyesores," April 2nd issue) before some super-villain makes it his hideout. They always go for the old abandoned amusement park.

Ed Bosch


The Rant

I tended to agree with Tim Sampson on most of his points (The Rant, April 9th issue). But I find it arbitrary that he condemned the Bush administration as having worse "sin" than Eliot Spitzer.

What moral standard differentiates the two? It is true that Spitzer is shunned by the public now, and Sampson is correct that he may be able to offer some economic advice that is helpful. The Bush administration was treated pretty much the same after the Iraq invasion started. The media still condemn them.

In my worldview of Christian theism, once restitution is recognized, forgiveness must ensue. Spitzer's sin or crime of prostitution was against the nature of the Christian God's character. This worldview has an entity that is both personal and absolute, therefore, the ethics imposed are not arbitrary and subjective. They cohere with reality, not like an arbitrary ethical system that is irrational.

Charles Gillihan


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