There are no quick fixes to America's problems

Your March 29 editorial "Closing a Brady loophole" raises an important question and invites comparison between gun control and campaign-finance reform. The question is what degree of restriction on gun ownership and free speech (campaign contributions) is possible, given that these are specifically protected in the Constitution of the United States?

Tighter regulation of campaign contributions and gun ownership would not have prevented the recent school shootings or the flow of Chinese contributions to former President Clinton in the 1996 presidential race. These activities were already illegal.

These problems require long-term solutions based on fact, not emotional and politicized quick fixes.

Walter Lang St. Louis

I read your March 29 editorial on the supposed loophole within the Brady Bill, and was a bit disappointed. The article drastically oversimplified the complex sociological and psychological reasons behind school violence, and admonishes the reader to accept more ineffective legislation in the place of significant social change.

Prohibition did not keep alcohol from criminals, draconian substance laws have not kept our children away from drugs, and more mindless gun laws will not deter people already determined to break the law.

That teenagers were killed in their schools by their classmates is a horrible tragedy, and that we as a culture are unwilling to learn from this is a greater tragedy still.

The sad fact of the matter is that the current generation of young adults is so universally ignored and intentionally disenfranchised that psychological problems that were rare a decade ago have become the norm. Overcrowded schools run like prison compounds and the emotional aloofness characteristic of the past decade combine with the ridiculous trend of political correctness quite well to push troubled students over the edge.

Alex Verbeck Portland, Ore.

Bush's world view

Your March 23 headline "Under Bush, a flintier view of the world" has been extended and amplified by other recent headlines and news - e.g. "Bush tilts to watts over wilderness," "Affirmative action in jeopardy," "Power politics of energy woes," and others.

The most devastating and telling of the Bush administration intent has been the announcement of abandoning the treaty on global warming. He is declaring world science to be in error; he is not abandoning just the question of global warming - he is abandoning his country and his people.

The rhetoric defending this position did not acknowledge that the former administration fought a negative Republican Congress the past four years. The results were not all promulgated as last steps of that administration, as claimed.

If you are going to be our president, Mr. Bush, take care of "We, the people." We know that business is necessary, but bigger and best is not always better if it ignores the air we breathe or water we drink.

Doris H. Thurston Port Townsend, Wash.

Nuclear energy the answer

Regarding your March 30 article "Power politics of energy woes": The crunch will escalate in warm weather, and all possible sources must be utilized in the short term. But electricity demand keeps growing, despite prattle about conservation. In the long run we must exploit nuclear energy and wean ourselves from foreign oil and increasingly expensive natural gas.

R. Murray Campbell Cohasset, Mass.

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(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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