January 7, 2013

Letters to the editor: Gun owners' rights placed above others'

In a recent letter to the editor ("Preventing another Newtown tragedy," Dec. 19), Thomas O'Connor of Falmouth asked: "When is Congress going to get serious about preventing these mass murders and stop listening to the anti-gun nuts?"

click image to enlarge

An AR-15 is seen at a Mesa, Ariz., shooting range in 2010. The NRA’s lobbying arm “has spent millions of dollars” to sway Congress to “not only protect but actually extend the ‘constitutional rights’” of gun-rights activists, a reader says.

2010 File Photo/The Associated Press

I assume O'Connor prefers that Congress only pays attention to the Institute for Legislative Action, the lobbying arm of the National Rifle Association. This organization has spent millions of dollars influencing and intimidating Congress to not only protect but actually extend the "constitutional rights" of those I would deem to be "pro-gun nuts."

The indiscriminate deadly use of military-style assault weapons and 30-bullet magazines is not enough for O'Connor and his peers. He advocates for yet more placement of guns in the hands of civilians. He is opposed to Congress' "old knee-jerk reactions" to violence, including the passage of new gun control laws.

While the nation mourns our dead is neither the time nor does it serve any useful purpose to trade insults or bandy about allegations of blame. It is not only Congress but all the anti- and pro-gun "nuts" who must join with the rest of the nation and seriously consider sensible, coherent solutions to the prevention of these tragedies.

If we persist in childish name calling and proposing simplistic, illogical "solutions" that address every issue except gun control, the only result will be that no responsible changes will be made. Our nation will have the blood of even more innocent victims of gun violence on its hands, and no amount of tears shed will cleanse them.

Sam Kamin


In response to "Man with assault rifle prompts flurry of police calls in Portland" (Dec. 25):

Taking our shoes off, body scanning at airports, and allowing email checking and phone tapping are viewed as an acceptable altering of the Fourth Amendment in our quest to eliminate future deaths from terrorist activities.

However, a man with an assault rifle -- similar to the one used to murder 26 people in Newtown, Conn. -- could potentially stand across the street from my children's school all day, and the police are not allowed to ask his name or even if his gun is loaded, lest we risk infringing on his Second Amendment rights.

In the United States, twice as many people were killed by firearms last year than were killed by terrorism in the past 12 years combined, including 9/11. Where should we be focusing our energies?

Leah Coplon


Donated heart 'ultimate gift of life' for young boy

Most letters to the editor are complaints about society, politics and/or the fate of our economy. My letter, however, is an impassioned plea as well as a heartfelt "thank you."

You see, while our elected officials were arguing about whether or not the country would fall off the "fiscal cliff" on Dec. 31, a small 6-year-old boy, Nolan Murray, received the ultimate gift -- that of a new heart -- in Boston.

While this was a tremendously happy day for Nolan's family, it was an equally tremendously sad day for the family of the 10-year-old little boy whose heart now beats inside Nolan.

That family gave the ultimate gift of life, not only to Nolan, I'm sure, but also to many families out there whose child needed a kidney, a liver or even a lung. I want to thank that mother and father who, in their despair, made sure that their son did not die in vain. I cannot begin to imagine myself in their position.

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