Gun buybacks: Why they cut violence

Your May 4 article "New gun trade: turning them in" pretty much answers your question as to whether gun buybacks work.

They do. The reason is that they highlight the danger of having guns because the buybacks get good press coverage, and families who do not want guns can turn them in, no questions asked. And deadly weapons are retired.

When gun fanatics say buybacks do not work because "criminals don't turn them in," that kind of response is an indication of the speaker's mentality. Of course they don't. And for $50, the safest offer, you are not going to get a lot of vicious .357 magnums. Properly run buybacks accept only working guns, no junk, no old inventories. And they don't offer enough so that the seller can buy a new one.

What you are going to get are the deadly weapons in bureau drawers, under mattresses, in cabinets, where kids or crooks get hold of them - 40 to 50 percent of crime guns are stolen - that result in homicides, suicides, or fatal accidents. When half of today's 100 daily firearm deaths are not homicides, getting the deadly weapons off the street and out of homes becomes critical.

Lewis Dabney Chestnut Hill, Mass.

Birth mothers' right to privacy

After reading Susan Oyer's opinion piece "A reply to a birth mother" (April 24), I feel it is important to support the "birth mother" in her request to remain anonymous.

My husband and I are the parents of four adopted children who are all in their 50s now. I also became a social worker, working in the field of adoption.

Although I empathize with those "children" who feel they are not complete until they locate their birthparents, I also applaud those birth mothers who so bravely surrendered their children to what they hoped would be a better life for them.

Sure, there are cases that have settled down to joy in meeting an unknown member of the family. But there are also cases where the family has been destroyed because of the revelation. Is it fair to risk such an outcome when a birth mother has stated that she does not ever want to be contacted? For those who feel a need to contact a birth mother, please understand that she has a right to privacy, if that is what she wants.

Dorothy Goetz Reno, Nev.

Positive trends in the arts

Your May 12 article "What does it all mean?" is superb, and I thought the graphics illustrating the article were outstanding. I love the quote about the end of postmodernism. But even if this is overly optimistic, it is reassuring to see some positive trends in the arts.

I also loved the contrasting reviews of "The Miracle Maker" (April 21) and "Jesus" (May 12). TV may not be the best medium through which to learn about the life of Jesus, but clearly some attempts at presenting his story come closer than others in catching its true meaning. The Monitor is providing a great service in pointing out these "signs of the times."

John J. Johnson, Jr. Evanston, Ill.

Dearth of student counselors

Regarding your May 9 article "Brother, can you spare me a college counselor?": Congrats on a well-done and important story. As a concerned former professor who is developing an online counseling program for urban students, I found that the conclusions drawn by your interviewees corroborate much of what I have contended. Urban students are at a real disadvantage without proper counseling. Thanks again for the insights - and the updated statistics, too.

Barry Beckham Silver Spring, Md.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Due to the volume of mail, only a selection can be published, and we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number.

Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to oped@csps.com

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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