Ignoring the guns won't help stop youth violence The...

LETTERS

April 01, 2001

Ignoring the guns won't help stop youth violence

The writer of the recent letter "Emotional reactions won't stop the shootings" (Arundel letters, March 18) characterizes any expression of concern about easy access to guns in school shootings as an emotional and simplistic reaction, one pandering to panic, demagogy and exploiting a tragedy.

Besides grossly overreaching in his criticism, the writer is way off-target. And, by holding the guns blameless, he is guilty of the most simplistic reaction.

This simplification was echoed by President Bush and the gun lobby, who blamed the tragedy on children not knowing "right from wrong" and claiming guns were merely the "instrument" used to express rage.

In a recent year in the United States, 32,436 lives were lost to guns -- including 4,223 among those younger than 20 -- far more than in any country in the free world.

Ninety million guns in 43 million homes provide a lot of "instruments" for children and others to use in their rage. And, all the other factors the writer claims are the "real forces" driving youth violence are present in other countries, except the easy access to guns.

Marylanders Against Handgun Abuse (MAHA) recognizes the problems that access to guns poses and works toward sensible legislation. This legislative session our major bill is the John Joseph Price Gun Education Bill.

This bill is named in honor of a 13-year-old boy who was shot to death by a young child with a gun left unlocked and accessible. It would establish a gun safety education curriculum in Maryland schools.

It is a bipartisan effort that will use multiple resources from both sides of the gun issue. Such efforts are the right approach to the problem.

Ignoring the gun issue and following the "put your head in the sand" approach the letter writer suggests will not accomplish anything.

Fred Davis

Pasadena

The writer is president of the Marylanders Against Handgun Abuse education fund.

Democrats now know gun control won't work

Despite the recent spate of school shootings and threats, nothing but silence has been heard from the halls of Congress.

This reaction is distinctly different from the hysteria of the left wing after the Columbine High School shooting.

I can only assume that the Democrats have gotten the message loud and clear that gun control is a losing issue and that responsible gun owners will never concede that guns, not people, are the problem.

Perhaps now the Democrats will address the root cause of the problem: broken homes, fatherless children, rampant violence in the media and the lack of accountability for one's actions that a generation of welfare has wrought.

Michael DeCicco

Severn

Bullying doesn't excuse violence in schools

I am just about fed up with those blaming schoolhouse bullies for the recent rash of school shootings ("Cut out bullying, guns," Opinion

Commentary, March 27). While no person should be subjected to harassment, that person still has no excuse to kill anyone.

The problem with these young killers of today is simple: They are just plain lazy.

In my day, as recently as 20 years ago, those who were constantly bullied sought help or fought back either physically or psychologically.

Today, too many of our kids just take the easy, as well as the most cowardly, way out by using guns or bombs to kill.

My message to any child out there is this: In facing your problems and standing up to your aggressors, you win in the end.

It may not make headlines, but at least you'll be around in 20 years to reflect.

Mark Maners

Patuxent River

In stadium parity spat, who defends taxpayers?

In The Sun's article "Pursuing a level playing field" (March 25) a lot was said about "parity" and fair and equal treatment for the Orioles. I read nothing about parity or fairness for Maryland taxpayers.

Both downtown stadiums were bought and paid for by the taxpayers of Maryland, for the enjoyment of all the citizens of Maryland. Both were basically given free of charge to Peter Angelos of the Orioles and to Art Modell of the Ravens.

Yet we, the fans and taxpayers, continue to pay for every event held at both parks and for every morsel of food we eat and every sip of beer we drink at those events. Still, the fans and taxpayers have never really complained. They're happy to keep the Orioles and to get a football team back in town -- and willing to pay for it.

That is, nobody really had a complaint until Mr. Modell was given carte blanche to sell the name of our football stadium to the highest bidder. Hadn't he been given enough already?

And now there's a big hassle between the Orioles, the Ravens, and the state of Maryland to see who can extort more money from the Maryland taxpayers.

The biggest issue is about the right to name the baseball stadium. But I can't blame Mr. Angelos. Why shouldn't he get in on the gravy train?

Still, isn't it enough that we gave both of these multi-millionaire owners free stadiums and many other concessions, paid for by the taxpayers?

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