Guns: tools or weapons?

Regarding "Gun sales fall despite Sept. 11" (April 2): I must take issue with two statements. The first being, "But that portrait of gun use is misleading, say gun-control critics. Far more children die in swimming pools each year than in accidental gun deaths." Comparing accidental deaths from gun use with those from swimming pools is an irrelevant comparison. Guns have one purpose and one purpose only – to kill. Pools and automobiles that accidentally kill people were never designed for that specific purpose.

The second statement is, "And at least two school shootings – in Pearl, Miss., and Grundy, Va., – were stopped by armed citizens." Sure, two school shootings were stopped by armed citizens, but every school shooting has been started by armed citizens as well. Given this fact, I don't have much time for those who attempt to persuade us that arming everyone is the solution to armed conflict.
Paul Brown
Oakville, Ontario

When I was a boy, in the 1950s, every Cub and Boy Scout book advertised BB guns and .22 caliber rifles; 12-year-old Rusty on "Rin Tin Tin" had a 30-30 Winchester; and my friends and I all had guns we used for target practice. We would walk down the streets carrying our rifles and nobody would think anything of it. Police would even drive past and wave. We never did, or ever would have dreamed to, use a gun to settle a dispute.

Today, the media has created a huge degradation of values. A recent study, mentioned in your publication in "Mounting evidence links TV viewing to violence," (March 29) even provides scientific evidence showing that the more children watch TV, the more violent they become. A gun is a tool. A tool of any kind can be used for good or evil. Until we address the real issues and stop putting the blame on inanimate objects, things will never get any better. There is a greater need than ever for decent people to have a means of protecting themselves. The criminals (and there are plenty of them walking the streets) will always find ways to own weapons. Not to have a means of protection is ridiculous.
Michael A. Biggin
West Kingston, R.I.

I suspect that the decrease in handgun purchases lies, simply, in the increase in cost. I well remember when the going price of a gun, which today is $550, was close to $250. The prices seem to increase daily. I know my purchases have declined because of the cost and I'm sure other's have, too.
Carroll Gregory
Woodbury, Ga.

No propaganda in overseas news

Regarding "Why America's story needs to be sent overseas" (Opinion, April 3): People want the truth. If we send factual information overseas, we will be able to win battles before they are even fought – but we must be level, straight, and honest. We must not resort to propaganda. As a country, I feel, we do very well without it.
Joel E. Wischkaemper
Sheridan, Wyo.

NBA must leave kids alone

Your editorial "NBA's faulty farm system" (April 3) hit the nail on the head. I'm a dedicated longtime Celtics season-ticket owner, and enjoy professional basketball very much. However, I think something should be done (in addition to a NBA "farm system" separate from colleges) about drafting young men before they have graduated, or at least completed four years of college.

I know there may be some legal or constitutional issues that would need to be addressed, but by having the draft for candidates with four years of college – and certainly not allow any drafting of high school students – the NBA would be helping themselves and the students in the long run.
Russ Cramer
Wellesley, Mass.

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