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Easy access to guns boosts murder rate

The Baltimore Sun

Kudos to Cynthia Tucker for her column on the tragic state of affairs in this country on gun control ("The bloody results of America's bizarre love affair with guns," Opinion * Commentary, April 9).

Ms. Tucker is right: We lack anything resembling a sane policy on guns.

I expect The Sun will be inundated with letters making the same tired and flawed arguments about how "guns don't kill people; people do," and that our Second Amendment rights must be protected.

And of course people, not weapons, instigate violence. But the sad reality is that people kill much more easily and more often when guns are as plentiful as they are in this country. By reducing the availability of guns, we can reduce the murder rate.

As far as the Second Amendment goes, gun advocates usually fail to mention that it starts by saying, "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state ... "

Our current gun policy ensures we do not have a secure, free state. We are decidedly not free to walk our streets safely.

We need moral leadership to stop this nonsense of giving free rein to gun dealers to distribute the tools of death.

If a politician were truly "pro-life," he or she would reject the National Rifle Association and try to pass guns laws similar to those in force in other, more civilized countries, which have gun murder rates far lower than ours.

Gregory F. Ball


Immoral culture validates violence

Cynthia Tucker's column advocating further gun control laws aired much-worn anti-gun rhetoric ("The bloody results of America's bizarre love affair with guns," Opinion * Commentary, April 9). In response, I would like to tread ground perhaps not often frequented in the gun control debate.

Youths are fed media images of violence, pridefulness and sexual self-gratification.

We teach them of evolution and naturalism, but are proscribed from teaching about God and the moral code He has given us in the public schools.

The survival of the fittest is well understood while the Golden Rule is neglected, and it is unacceptable to speak of the rule-giver in our public schools.

We speak and live in the immediate now, and the din of the moment overwhelms the lessons of the past, which were once guardians over future generations.

Where does mercy fit in the evolutionary scheme? Responsibility for sexual behavior? Training your offspring in righteousness? And who defines what is right?

When we prepare a banquet of evil and invite our sons and daughters to sup without restraint, why are we surprised at the results?

When we invite them to enthrone themselves upon the altars of their hearts, dare we wonder why mercy and compassion fail?

The problem lies in the nature of the human heart.

David Gilmore

Glen Burnie

Turtle harvest ban positive step for bay

Congratulations to the General Assembly for passing a ban on terrapin harvesting ("Maryland's turtle finds safe waters," April 11).

This is a pleasant surprise and a nice win for our beloved turtle and for the Chesapeake Bay restoration effort.

The bay is almost dead, and it's in need of radical change.

The oyster population is nearly extinct. Menhaden are depleted. Crabs have been decimated. Bay grasses are in profound decline.

What should we do next? How about an extensive moratorium on oyster harvesting?

That would be the perfect next step. But my patience is waning.

Mike Ludwitzke


Longer tours in Iraq only add to danger

The Bush administration continues to present its disastrous policy on the Iraq war as if it is somehow noble and resting on high moral ground.

Now, regarding the extension of combat tours in Iraq from the usual 12 months to 15 months, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates says, "What we're trying to do here is provide some long-term predictability" to soldiers and their families ("Soldiers' tours in war zones extended," April 12).

I'm sure that will bring comfort to the loved ones of those killed or maimed during the three-month extension of their duty in Iraq.

William D. Hakkarinen


Arrogant president deaf to public will

President Bush and the Republican Party still don't get it ("Democrats invited to talk with Bush," April 11).

In the November elections, the sovereign citizens of these United States said - loudly, clearly and emphatically - that they want the U.S. troops to come home from Iraq.

Did the president and his party forget whom they represent?

Or has the fact that he is a lame duck convinced Mr. Bush that he can ignore the aspirations of the citizens?

One thing is certain: Both houses of Congress (at least the Democrats in them) seem to have heard us.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made clear what the president's invitation to Democrats to meet with him about funding for the war really meant when he said that the president's message was: "You can come and meet with me, but here's what the result's going to be before we meet."

What arrogance. What folly.

The president seems to think he is King George.

He is not.

This is still a republic, not a dictatorship.

Olatunji Mwamba


Bush will bequeath war to his successor

President Bush refuses to talk about or compromise on an end date for this misbegotten and immoral war ("Democrats invited to talk with Bush," April 11).

His only plan seems to be to let the next president clean up his mess.

Mr. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney could have learned a very valuable lesson from my parents.

When my brother and I were growing up, our parents taught us that we need to be responsible for our actions and mistakes. If we broke something or made a mess, it was our responsibility to clean it up and make it right.

The very wise former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell tried to enlighten Mr. Bush on this point, to no avail.

The president seems to be oblivious to the realities he has created.

Scott Schools


Syria trip endorses its brutal regime

Contrary to the suggestions in Trudy Rubin's column "Don't criticize Pelosi for wading into Bush's mess" (Opinion * Commentary, April 10), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is second in the line of succession to the presidency, just behind Vice President Dick Cheney, and her actions carry considerable weight, not only in foreign policy but also from a propaganda standpoint.

With her visit to Syria, she has placed a stamp of approval on a regime dipped not only in Israeli and U.S. blood but in the blood of many of those who oppose President Bashar Assad, whether in Lebanon or Syria.

Ms. Pelosi's ill-advised visit to Syria gave credence to its current regime and was a monumental mistake.

Nelson Marans

Silver Spring

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