Conflict resolution won't childproof guns

Katie Davis misses the point in her opinion piece "Arm children with a better weapon" (Feb. 28).I don't disagree that conflict resolution and other violence reduction tactics are worth implementing.But it won't end and probably won't much reduce the incidences of children killing children.

Ms. Davis' belief that unmanaged anger is the main culprit in youth violence is probably not accurate.Instantaneous, uncontrolled fury has not been a factor in the high-profile child-on-child killings which have shocked the country recently.To the contrary, theywere uniformly premeditated, carried out at carefully calibrated times and carefully selected locations, with weaponsacquiredwell in advance.The two teenagers Daviswrites about were not killedduring the after-game fight she mentions.They were shot in a drive-by, hours after passions had a chance tocool.

The problem is not that kids get angry, it's that they get guns. The easy availability ofhandgunsis the primarycause of thespiral of deadly violence, and, as Columbine showed, it doesn't end at handguns.

Davis is kidding herself if she believes talking it out works better at reducing deaths than eliminatingchildren's access to lethal weapons.

Key leaders ofboth major political parties pursue endorsements and campaign contributionsfrom the National Rifle Association, which had supported a proposed Utah law (which would have allowed adults to carry concealed handguns in schools with the principals' knowledge) and opposes federal requirements that guns besold with childproof trigger-locks.

Until our leadership catches up with thepeople we will continue tohave children's funerals as a staple on the evening news.

Tim Culver Bloomington, Minn.

Katie Davis' opinion piece "Arm children with a better weapon" makes an excellent point about teaching kids how to avoid conflict. If only the school boards would buy into it.

Kristabel Ng Plano, Texas

Darwin's thesis still stands

In response to Dr. Robert J. Graham's letter on Feb 15: Most informed scientists of every science support evolution. Many of these are not godless atheists, though they do not accept Genesis as literal truth. Darwin was not the sole founder of the theory of evolution. Some of the best thought of scientists of his time influenced what he published. Moreover, the theory of evolution itself has evolved in the past century, based on new information from paleontology, geology, biology, and other sources not available to Darwin.

Not all that Darwin proposed is accepted by modern-day biologists, though much of his thesis stands. Science grows and is self-correcting. Most of the "devastating criticism of evolution theory" that Dr. Graham mentions is by advocates of creationism, and has been repeatedly refuted by reputable scientists. Creationism may be an anchor of faith for fine people, but it is not science.

Dr. Kenneth D. Williamson St. Albans, W.Va.

Why wait to lower gas prices?

Regarding your March 2 editorial "Pump prices this summer": Why doesn't the Clinton administration reduce the tax on fuel immediately? They profess to be looking out for the poor, but are doing nothing on this issue but posturing while the working poor and truck drivers are gouged.

The 1993 Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act created a 4.3 cent per gallon fuel surtax for "deficit reduction." This tax continues even though we supposedly have a federal budget surplus.

Louis Didier Yuma, Ariz.

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