So, a few weeks after Bob Costas got into so much trouble with gun rights advocates for saying America has a “gun culture,” I took a look at the Jan. 31 edition of GO, the “arts and culture” insert in the Portland Press Herald, and this is what I saw.

On Page E13, two pictures — one of Sylvester Stallone and one of Sung Kang; both men are wielding a gun (“Movie preview: Stallone back with a BANG“).

On Page E14, Kris Kristofferson aiming a handgun pretty much at the reader (“Indie Film: Let’s pray the Blu-ray gods smile on deserving masterpieces“).

On Page E30 (“At the Movies“), Christopher Walken and Al Pacino, both with a gun in each hand. (Also, on Page E26, we’re treated to a picture of Stallone threatening someone with — not a gun, but a pair of pliers.)

I don’t think the picture on Page E15, of Sam Rockwell with a puppy, quite balances out those images (“DVD Releases“).

Sure. There’s a huge distinction between reality and the movies. But we have a casual acceptance of guns and gun violence that we need to change if we want the slaughter of innocent people to slow down and, hopefully, eventually stop.

We don’t want to take away your hunting rifles and handguns, but we need sensible gun legislation now and maybe a little less casual acceptance of gun violence in our popular entertainment.

Rick Hautala


Without opportunity for all, nation’s future is bleak

It occurs to me that the right wing of the Republican Party has thoroughly botched the intent of free-market capitalism, which is to provide an opportunity for most, not just a few.

In his first term in office, soon after the assassination of his predecessor, William McKinley, President Teddy Roosevelt looked out upon the land and saw that robber baron capitalism was oppressing the work force through back-breaking hours, terrible working conditions and meager wages.

In this environment, the lower and emerging middle classes in America had virtually no hope for the future and thus the rise of unions and progressively minded politicians to right the situation.

Most of us believe that hard work and sacrifice are the key elements of success.

But I believe that what President Obama and the progressive politicians of our own time are responding to is a stacked deck where too many Americans are falling behind while the few move ahead.

We seem not to realize that, in the end, this is a destructive force to the future of our country.

To be totally self-serving about it, those of us approaching retirement should hardly feel confident in the future if those coming behind haven’t the means to support themselves, let alone the cost of Social Security and Medicare.

While the concept of transferring wealth through our tax system may not be ideal, until we find a way to re-establish opportunity for a larger segment of the population, I don’t see what else we can do.

If those of us who are better off don’t like the increasing financial sacrifice, then I suggest that we put our shoulders to the wheel and right this situation rather than complaining as to the unfairness of it all.

John Ross


Climate-change claims raise credibility concerns

Re: “Another View: Climate change deniers ignore proof of a rapidly heating planet” (Jan. 29) by Jon C. Gale Jr.:

Many people know the Earth has been warming and cooling for millions of years. They also acknowledge that man is a contributing factor and that we have to do something about what we can control.

There are a few environmental questions I would like answers to, but who to ask? Not Hollywood phonies, not the left-wing media, not Al “Green” Gore, not the suspect scientists. My questions:

Why do Democrats insist that climate change is all man-made, no natural factors, no climate history to be considered?

I would like to know: How did the Earth warm up from previous ice ages when there were no man-made greenhouse gases?

What does “carbon footprint” actually mean?

Some plausible answers:

The main reason is that the biggest constituency of the Democratic Party is trial lawyers and there will be lots for them to do, as Big Government steps up regulation and legal action.

  Could it be the sun; its orbit changes and temperature changes?

There are so many variables involved in climate, none of which can be controlled. How can scientific experiments on climate change be possible? Is this why it is easier to say that only man is responsible for it?

Corey Hammond


Single-payer system would provide better, cheaper care

Almost everyone knows that many European countries have better health care than the USA, and it is much cheaper. Even members of Congress know that.

What would “single-payer” mean? There would be no private health insurance, there would be no drug advertising. All doctors would be salaried.

All charges and salaries would be set by a national board of health, made up of representatives of the medical specialities, medical schools and presidential appointees from among public health officials, representatives from Wharton School of Finance and presidential appointees from among the public.

What would it mean in savings? The experience of providing health care to millions in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan has proven that they can do it for 2 percent of the gross domestic product, a savings over the 15 percent of GDP that it is now costing us.

Philip Thompson, M.D.


Cutler should change voting process or run as Democrat

If Eliot Cutler wants to have a positive effect on Maine politics, rather than being “Eliot the Despoiler,” he should apply his energies to getting instant runoff voting established in Maine in elections for governor.

Otherwise, he should either run as a Democrat or stay out of the race in 2014, because as an independent, he is no better than a stalking horse — even if, in reality, he’s just an opportunist willing to risk the health of our state when the stakes are too high.

Russell DuPree