Letters

Letters 05-02-2016

Facts About Trails I would like to correct some misinformation provided in Kristi Kates’ article about the Shore-to-Shore Trail in your April 18 issue. The Shore-to-Shore Trail is not the longest continuous trail in the Lower Peninsula. That honor belongs to the North Country Trail (NCT), which stretches for over 400 miles in the Lower Peninsula. In fact, 100 miles of the NCT is within a 30-minute drive of Traverse City, and is maintained by the Grand Traverse Hiking Club...

North Korea Is Bluffing I eagerly read Jack Segal’s columns and attend his lectures whenever possible. However, I think his April 24th column falls into an all too common trap. He casually refers to a nuclear-armed North Korea when there is no proof whatever that North Korea has any such weapons. Sure, they have set off some underground explosions but so what? Tonga could do that. Every nuclear-armed country on Earth has carried out at least one aboveground test, just to prove they could do it if for no other reason. All we have is North Korea’s word for their supposed capabilities, which is no proof at all...

Double Dipping? In Greg Shy’s recent letter, he indicated that his Social Security benefit was being unfairly reduced simply due to the fact that he worked for the government. Somehow I think something is missing here. As I read it this law is only for those who worked for the government and are getting a pension from us generous taxpayers. Now Greg wants his pension and he also wants a full measure of Social Security benefits even though he did not pay into Social Security...

Critical Thinking Needed Our media gives ample coverage to some presidential candidates calling each other a liar and a sleaze bag. While entertaining to some, this certainly should lower one’s respect for either candidate. This race to the bottom comes as no surprise given their lack of respect for the rigors of critical thinking. The world’s esteemed scientists take great steps to preserve the integrity of their findings. Not only are their findings peer reviewed by fellow experts in their specialty, whenever possible the findings are cross-checked by independent studies...

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · Kids & Guns
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Kids & Guns

Robert Downes - July 19th, 2010
Kids & Guns
A sad commentary on our times is the State Senate’s recent passage of
a new gun safety program targeting young children in our public
schools.
No pun intended.
On July 1, the Michigan Senate voted 34-4 to establish something
similar to the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) Eddie Eagle Program
which teaches kids in kindergarten through the third grade what to do
if they see a gun.
The motive behind the legislation is admirable: State Senator John
Gleason (D-Flushing) simply wants to warn kids about the danger of
guns and how to protect themselves if, say, a playmate pulls out his
dad’s 9mm Glock for show-and-tell. It happens.
Gleason introduced the legislation in response to the 2000 shooting
death of Kayla Renee Rolland, a 6-year-old who was murdered by her
6-year-old schoolmate Dedrick Owens as her horrified teacher and 22
classmates looked on. Dedrick had found his uncle’s .32 caliber
handgun and brought it to Buell Elementary School in Mount Morris
Township. Following the shooting, the boy dropped the gun in a a
wastebasket and hid in a restroom until being found by a teacher.
It’s believed that Kayla is the youngest school shooting victim in
U.S. history, while Dedrick became the youngest shooter. Dedrick never
faced charges, being too young to comprehend what he was doing.
Why Sen. Gleason would wait 10 years to introduce such a piece of
legislation, one can only imagine. Perhaps it has something to do
with politics. At any rate, the Michigan House of Representatives
will vote on the bill, which will go into effect during
the 2011-12 school year. It will undoubtably pass.
If the state’s new gun safety program is anything like Eddie Eagle, it
will use coloring books and an informational CD to warn kids about the
dangers of guns and how to avoid them. The NRA’s Eddie Eagle program
has instructed 21 million children in the dangers of guns in the wrong
hands.
There’s some logic to this: we have sex education programs in our
schools and public health and safety programs, so why not gun safety?
After all we have more than 30,000 gun deaths each year in America,
60% of which are suicides. And each year more than 3,000 children and
teenagers are killed by firearms.
One year, in fact, the federal Centers for Disease Control reported
that 5,285 children were killed by firearms in the U.S., compared to
zero children in Japan, 19 in Great Britain, 57 in Germany and 153 in
Canada.
What distinguishes the United States from a country like Japan where
no kids are killed? Simple: Japan prohibits gun ownership, except for
shotguns and single-shot rifles for hunting. And the average Japanese
doesn’t care all that much about guns; only 3 people in 100 own a gun
in Japan, so there’s virtually no gun crime.
By contrast, it’s estimated that half of all adult Americans own a
gun, with somewhere between 238 million and 276 million firearms in
private ownership. No one really knows how many are out there.
Owing to their slavish allegiance to the NRA, it often seems that
every state legislature in America loves guns more than they love
children. So there’s no chance that lawmakers will ever approach the
problem of kids getting killed from the perspective of there being too
many armed lunatics or careless uncles out there. Instead, they will
meet the problem with coloring books and CDs.
Thus, the sad revelation of the need to warn 5-year-olds of the threat
of being shot by their playmates or some depressed psycopath -- an all
too common occurrence.
Funny, but so many parents wouldn’t even dream of allowing their kids
to play with toy guns. And you can be suspended from school in America
for simply pointing your finger and yelling “bang.” Here’s hoping
your kid never sees a real one, in school or anywhere else.

 
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