Make guns an election issue
An unspoken, sad, and miserable truth about the Aurora, Colo., shootings is that you and I, and our politicians, knew a long time ago that this tragedy was inevitable. We knew that some day, somewhere in this great country — at a football or basketball game, at a school or hospital, at a rock concert or movie theater — some misfit with an inchoate grudge and a lot of powerful guns would open fire on your neighbors or friends, your sons or daughters, and kill and maim them.
This sad and miserable truth is just as true today, in the days after the Aurora massacre, as it was the day and week and month before. It will be true for as long as we allow madmen easy access to guns and allow cowering politicians to do nothing to stop it.
It is time that guns are again an election issue, for this and every election, until this sad and miserable truth is just a sad chapter of our history.
Our undeclared civil war
E.J. Dionne has summed up the current feeling on gun control ("A debate gun lobbyists don't want," Sunday). The NRA's mantra is, "We would all be safer if every last one of us owned a gun." We have more guns than people in our country, and every year there are about 25,000 deaths and more than 100,000 injuries due to handguns. How the NRA can say that guns lead to a safe America is beyond me.
Dionne also brings up the failure of both parties to respond to this epidemic. They mourn, mourn, mourn each time a newsworthy event comes along, but don't do anything about getting rid of handguns. Those weapons were created for two purposes, to conceal and to kill. They are not needed in a civilized society.
Every year, thousands of Americans kill other Americans in this great undeclared civil war of ours. When will our people and our politicians stop putting up with it? As Dionne writes, "Awful things happen, we mourn them, and then we shrug. And that's why they keep happening."
The perverse power of the NRA
In a society in which mentally unbalanced individuals who wish to can obtain lethal weapons, the only real questions after each mass murder of innocents are, how long until it takes place again and how many people will die then? Each time it happens, for a few days we say how horrible it is, but then we move on. Nothing of substance is done that could help prevent another tragedy. The perverse power the NRA holds over our government is at least partially to blame.
Don't make excuses for suspect
How about we stop trying to come up with excuses? Stop trying to find someone or something else to blame for a horrific event like the Colorado theater shootings. Stop using movies, music, video games, and books as scapegoats. Stop throwing the "mental illness" tag at everyone who does something wrong.
The fact is, it appears that James Holmes is the one who plotted murder for months, walked into a packed movie theater, and attempted to kill as many innocent men, women, and children as he could. Blame James Holmes. Blame it on the individual who took 12 lives and injured so many more. Blame it on the man who will be charged with these crimes in real life — not because of a movie, not because of a comic book, but because he is evil.
Stop giving these people an excuse and start blaming the individual. Anything less is a slap in the face to the victims and their loved ones.
Who needs assault weapons?
I understand the reluctance of politicians of both parties to discuss gun control, but why is there no discussion on assault weapons? Who, other than the military, uses assault weapons? Certainly not hunters or home and business owners.
Core of the hospital controversy
I believe that the core of the controversy surrounding the proposed merger between Abington Health and Holy Redeemer Health System is the misunderstanding that faith and reason are in opposition to one another. This misunderstanding was manifested in Friday's cartoon by Signe Wilkinson, in which an aging bishop slouched at a desk solely with a Bible is opposed by two supposedly "up to date" doctors.
Catholic theology holds that faith and reason are in harmony with one another. Catholic teaching on the dignity of human life, especially in regard to the unborn, is rooted in the natural law, which can be grasped by anyone through reason, no matter what religious belief one does or does not hold.
It is unfair and, dare I say, ignorant, to portray the Catholic Church's teaching on abortion and other life issues as uninformed by reason.
The Catholic Church teaches that abortion is wrong not because it wants to be reactionary to so-called advances in science, but rather because abortion is irrational, as it is against the nature of human beings to take innocent human life (whether born or unborn).
PHA deal is bad for city, taxpayers
The Philadelphia Housing Authority's decision to sell the site of the former Liddonfield public housing development to Holy Family College for a song is a bad deal for the city and its taxpayers ("PHA approves Holy Family deal," Saturday).
Northeast Philadelphia is one of the few parts of the city where housing is still in demand and development is still possible. Yet, through this deal, the city will be taking a potentially major source of real estate tax revenue off its books forever.
The city needs more tax ratables, not fewer, but by selling this land to tax-exempt Holy Family, the city is losing a golden opportunity. Instead of putting 32 acres of prime, developable real estate to good use, the city and its taxpayers will inherit yet another unproductive property that will command the use of major public resources to police, protect, and serve.
Amtrak in dark on high-speed rail
Amtrak is completely in the dark about high-speed rail ("High-speed rail would do wonders for Phila.," Friday). This is illustrated by its proposal to build 300 miles of high-speed rail in 35 years between Boston and the nation's capital. However, •That's how long it took to build 47,000 miles of interstate highways. •NASA got to the moon in 9.5 years, and did not even have a launch vehicle when it made that commitment. •Turkey has built more miles of high-speed rail in the last 15 years. •China could build 300 miles of high-speed rail in about two years. •The station stop for a high-speed line to Philadelphia would be the airport, not 30th Street Station.
To be implemented, high-speed rail would need an enterprise strategy that used market-based funding (and would earn a profit), not a tax-based funding approach that is simply pie in the sky at this point.
High-speed rail makes money. That's why it is good.