Regarding your Oct. 11 editorial "Snipers and the gun lobby": The senseless shootings in the greater Washington, D.C., area show the US has a long way to go in controlling gun use by criminals. We do a poor job of keeping guns out of the hands of those who would use them for illegal purposes.
The states need to take a look at their sometimes complicated, and often difficult, efforts to enforce gun-control laws.
Keeping the ban on assault weapons makes a lot of sense, while wider bans and stricter gun-control laws are even more desirable.
Regarding "Snipers and the gun lobby": The problem we have is a people problem, not a gun problem.
I am a police officer and firearms instructor with a police department. I handle hundreds of calls for service a year. I can tell you from a professional point of view that the problem is our youth, and how they are raised or not raised. Gun control is a political quick-fix approach to other needed changes in our society.
We should start programs to teach responsibility, accountability, and civility to youth. A total lack of civility and decency is a major threat to us all. Banning weapons is a diversion from a larger and far more costly and complicated issue: properly teaching what really matters.
Joel L. Hunter
In response to "Snipers and the gun lobby": The attempt to link the legitimate ownership of long rifles with the crimes committed by a sniper in the Washington, D.C., area is the worst sort of demagoguery.
No amount of legislation will control this type of predator. Nor will increasing the restrictions on the rights of law-abiding citizens who own firearms produce any positive results.
Even the one project that has shown effectiveness against armed violence, the Exile Project begun in Richmond, Va., would not work against this type of crime.
Donald D. Denton Jr.
Regarding the Oct. 9 Opinion piece "The new educational divide": Older readers may remember one of the great social engineering projects of the late '60s and '70s, when liberal judges emptied large cities of much of the middle class. Their means: forced busing for purposes of racial integration.
The failure of the social engineers of that era to achieve numerically balanced schools according to race, has not dimmed the impulse to coerce in the service of grand social designs. The latest incarnation of such engineering is socioeconomic integration.
Families and children, in this view, are like so many chess pieces to be shuffled about according to the chessmasters' strategic plan. No good will come of it.
Thank you for your Oct. 8 article "Return of college peaceniks." But why call these demonstrators peaceniks?
This label is dismissive and suggests that protesters are a marginal aggregation of kooks, as supposedly were the beatniks or are the contemporary "refuseniks" in Israel.
These young college protesters are skeptical of the president's PR campaign, and are drawing dissenting conclusions about the role that the US plays in the world and the consequences of unnecessary war. We should applaud and respect this in a democratic society.
When using terms like "peacenik" to refer to protesters, why not refer to Bush administration war advocates as "chicken hawks"?
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