Regarding the editorial "Gun Lobby 'Logic Oct. 22: Our horror over the recent tragedy in Killeen, Texas, should not blind us to far more significant events. A horrific use of gasoline took place in New York in March 1990; an arsonist killed 87 people at a nightclub.No amount of regulation can prevent access to gasoline and the many other means of destruction that modern industry provides. Clearly, as we grope for ways to deal with madmen, we should see that the people who are advocating general restrictions on the availability of firearms are not providing answers. William G. Dennis, Kelso, Wash.
Several years ago three terrorists entered a restaurant in Israel and opened fire, intending to commit the same type of atrocity as recently occurred in Killeen, Texas. Within seconds, two of the terrorists were dead. The wounded survivor complained he had not been told that the Israelis were allowed to carry guns. The tragic loss of innocent lives in Texas is the direct result of useless gun laws that deny our citizens the right of self-defense. Now Congress, in its infinite idiocy, is piling on another batch of illegal restrictions of our Constitutional rights. We need less congressional hypocrisy, not more absurd gun laws. Luke Asbury, Mill Valley, Calif.
A glimmer of hope The opinion-page column "Options in the Face of Abuse," Oct. 21, is the best I've seen on the dilemma facing sexual-abuse victims. It offers a realistic glimmer of hope to the women of all races who saw in the Thomas-Hill confrontation only second-class citizenship for our gender. Nancy Leussler, Glendale, Wis.
This column may sound lofty and clear-minded, but women who have experienced years of victimization know that real courage is rarely timely or that simple. The author buys into Thomas supporters' specious argument that Anita Hill should have exposed Thomas's (alleged) behavior at the time. Human nature always moves toward healing and "making things right," so we repress the pain. Ask anyone who works with abused children or spouses. Abusive behavior will never be right, and transferring responsibility to the victim will never heal. The author's suggestions are belittling to victims, and leave all of us sitting on a fence, rather than walking on in liberty. Sudie Butchenhart, Philadelphia
Benefactor, not founder Regarding the article "Harvard Ushers In New President," Oct 18: I would not expect the Monitor, sitting cheek by jowl to Harvard University, to make the mistake so common to outlanders and refer to John Harvard as the individual "who founded the college in 1636." The Rev. Mr. Harvard, who had a parish in Charlestown, became the college's first large benefactor in the year after the college's founding. In grateful appreciation of his gift, the founders named the infant college after him. George R. Plagenz, Columbus, Ohio
Alternative spelling The review "Heat-Moon Plumbs the Plains," Oct. 16, of William Least Heat-Moon's new book "PrairyErth" recounts a tale about Congressman "Sockless" Simpson who, when asked why he misspelled the name of his own home town, replied, "I wouldn't give a tinker's durn for a man who can't spell a word more than one way." That same sentiment was expressed some years earlier by Mark Twain, whose words were: "I don't give a hoot for a man who can spell a word only one way." Beatrice Duffy, Glide, Ore.