Perspectives on guns in the home Regarding your May 26 article "At home with guns": Life is very precious and must be affirmed. Therefore, although I can understand the issue of animal population control, I find it difficult to comprehend destroying another creature's life simply for entertainment, sport, or family tradition.

According to the article, hunting ethicist Jim Posewitz claims hunting is a nonviolent sport since more people get hurt playing golf and billiards than they do shooting animals. He argues that in 1997 in his state of Wisconsin, more than 400,000 deer were shot by 700,000 hunters and there was only one human fatality. Four-hundred thousand deer slaughtered in one state in one year? Nonviolence?

Since hunting generally is no longer necessary for sustenance, hunters might consider stalking their prey with cameras instead of firearms.

Harry W. Paulin, Roseville, Calif.

As a young boy I was taught how to use and respect guns. My family also instilled in me a deep respect for life.

It appears our national problem today is that the opposite is happening. Ignorance is leading to a cultural fear of guns, and respect for life is loosing ground to a desensitized, selfish attitude of "no personal responsibility." The irony is in this growing fear of guns and trust of government, while the Second Amendment's expressed purpose is to secure our right, as a people, to protect our republic from tyranny. How confused we've all become.

Scott Laningham, Austin, Texas

Your article's subtitle says "Why are these weapons welcome in the lives of so many families?" as if there is something abnormal about having a firearm in the home. I must remind you that nearly 70 million gun owners in this country did not shoot anybody today. The vast majority are responsible individuals.

In the article you also imply that a 13-year-old girl who is comfortable with a shotgun has something wrong with her. And yet you wait until the very last section of the article before you present even a cursory examination of the training she underwent before she was allowed the privilege of handling that firearm.

Jay A. Kirstein, Clinton Township, Mich.

Pouring money into Russia I enjoyed your opinion article "Rewarding Russia for what?" (May 26). I keep wondering how many more billions of dollars will be funneled to Russia from the International Monetary Fund without adequate controls. Of course, this holds true for many other countries that receive IMF funding.

If I went to a loan agency to borrow money to start a new business, build a house, or resolve a family crisis, the loan company would request accountability and parcel out portions after certain criteria are met.

It's obvious that the present method of pouring more and more money after bad results does not solve anything.

Phil De Martis, Woodside, Calif.

Are pennies worth a cent? Cape Girardeau, Mo., is short of pennies. ("Anteing up the penny," May 20.) Someone should tell them they don't need any!

The penny of midcentury was worth what a nickel or dime is worth today. Pennies have lost so much value some people throw them away. Figuring pennies in transactions has become fatuous, a waste of time and print.

The government should recall them, stop minting them, and thus save considerable amounts of our copper, time, and money for something worthwhile.

Ralph W. Emerson, Tacoma, Wash.

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