Letters to the Editor

Readers write about guns in national parks and single-sex education.

There's no need for guns in national parks

Regarding the Aug. 19 article, "Bid to allow guns in parks": As a former national park ranger in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, I am opposed to allowing loaded weapons into our national parks. Our national parks are among the safest places in America, and I question the rationale for permitting loaded weapons in safe areas.

Will loaded guns make a safe park safer or will they increase chances of gun tragedies?

Permitting loaded guns into our parks will create a new set of potentially dangerous situations.

Many park employees and park volunteers are unarmed and have no police training to deal with armed people. However, at times, they have to handle visitors who are violating park regulations. If the visitors are armed and belligerent (and some do become abusive), very tragic incidents could develop, especially if alcohol or drugs are involved.

The presence of guns would make the duties of park personnel much more hazardous and expose them and the visitors to danger from gun accidents and gun violence.

When I was a ranger, no visitor ever complained to me that his or her Second Amendment rights were being violated, nor did anyone ever voice worries about safety in the park without a gun.

In my job, I was not a police ranger and did not carry a firearm. I never had an incident with people or animals in which I needed one.

Let's not spoil our parks with weapons. Keep loaded guns out of our parks.

Harmer Weichel
Cherokee, N.C.

In response to the recent article on guns in national parks: Here in Washington State, more than 5 percent of the adult population is licensed to carry a concealed weapon. Every day, people go to the store and walk among others with no concern. Why would allowing the same freedom in United States national parks be any different?

Crossing some boundary into a park doesn't change people and how they act.

Cars kill far more people than guns, but you can drive a car into the parks!

Deen Adolphe
Vancouver, Wash.

Parents against sex-segregated ed

Regarding Allison Kasic's Aug. 21 Opinion piece, "Keep the option of single-sex ed": Single-sex programs in public schools do not give parents better choices. My wife and I have always chosen coed classes for our middle-school daughter. But last year, she was assigned to an all-girls algebra class without any prior notice.

Our only other "choice" was a coed pre-algebra class; there was no coed algebra class offered. Since she had already taken pre-algebra, there was no real choice at all.

When you separate students into different classes based on sex, it is impossible to ensure equal educational opportunities.

In our daughter's school, because the girls' algebra class was more advanced than the boys', boys were deprived of the opportunity to be in the best available math class.

With the help of the ACLU, we are bringing a lawsuit challenging sex segregation in the school district. The school responded by holding the girls' class back and giving the boys extra math classes to catch up. This year they are not offering any algebra classes at all.

Is this choice? An improvement in public education for our kids?

Instead of spending time and resources on this social experiment, let's focus on what we know works: smaller classes, better teacher training, and more funding.

Frankie Anthony
Hardinsburg, Ky.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted may appear in print or on our website, www.csmonitor.com. Mail letters to Readers Write and Opinion pieces to Opinion Page, 210 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. E-mail letters to Letters and Opinion pieces to OpEd.

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