In response to your Oct. 29 editorial "Lessons from a sniper's gun": Given the distortion of facts, I can clearly understand why so many people in the US are confused on the gun laws and are swayed by the media's biased attitude toward guns. The way the facts are distorted is incredible.
You can buy the Bushmaster rifle for less than $1,000 only if you can pass the background check. To say virtually anyone could buy it is untrue. And which so-called loophole creates the possibility that this particular gun could have been bought without a background check? As for licensing gun owners in a national database, does anyone realize the size database this would require? The Constitution affords everyone the right to keep and bear arms. It says nothing of the right to own or operate a car. Why should the two even be compared? When someone hurts or kills someone else with their car while driving drunk, they are usually sent to jail. Is their license taken away for the rest of their life?
We know that the bad guys will get guns or any type of weapons, no matter what the law says. That's basic common sense.
Regarding your editorial "Lessons from a sniper's gun": There are more than 15,000 gun murders a year in the US, far more than any other Western industrialized country. Look at our video games: Today, the bad guy is the hero. The more mayhem he inflicts, the more points he scores. Defenders say it's all just fantasy, much like our childhood cowboy games. But today's games make the villain the hero, and technology makes the game so much more real, it's almost hypnotic.
Are most gun murders due to a displaced rage over real or imagined injustice? As parents, we can model healthy, nonviolent responses to the injustices of life. Two steps toward reversing the increase in crime are to stop glamorizing evil heroes in video games and to fund rage-control classes for those who find themselves drawn to the violent resolution of personal problems. The US doesn't have to be the murder capital of the world.
Kenneth J. Rummenie
In response to your Nov. 5 editorial "Democratizing Islam in Turkey": You indicate that Islam and democracy are alien to each other, that "the more the twain meet, the better." Democracy in Islam predates democracy in the West. Some 1,500 years ago, the prophet Muhammad didn't appoint his cousin, Ali ibn Abi Talib, nor his grandsons as his successors. He asked that selection be made from the most deserving.
The success of the Islamic-oriented party in Pakistan is significant; it swept aside a host of warlords who exercised dictatorial powers over their serfs. The much-touted "secular democrats" have mismanaged the country's affairs since its founding. Similarly, the secular democrats foisted on Turkey through military manipulation have a deplorable record.
It was an Islamic state in Spain where Muslims, Christians, and Jews lived together in harmony. Similar understanding can be recreated if Islamophobes stop hurling invective at Islam and Muslims, and try to work together with Muslim leaders on human equality and respect.
Omer Bin Abdullah
Regarding Helena Cobban's Nov. 4 Opinion column "US aid to Israel, used well, could be influence for peace": Ms. Cobban neglects to mention that Menachem Begin, a "hawkish" Likud leader, led the way to the first peace treaty between Arabs and Jews in the Middle East.
The Palestinians who have decided war is better than peace are the true barrier to peace, not the Likud Party or US money.
Itamar J. Yeger
New Hempstead, N.Y.
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