THE MAIL

Jan. 30 Mail: Guns, School Security, Drug Testing, Fair Tax and More

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Right to Carry Saves Lives
The gun control advocates are always quoting off-the-wall and unsubstantiated statistics demonizing guns in their attempt to try to convince fellow Americans that private gun ownership is at the root of violent crime. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Thirty-five states have enacted right-to-carry legislation allowing law-abiding citizens to carry a concealed weapon. In these 35 states, homicide rates declined after citizens were permitted the means of self-defense.

A massive study by John Lott of the University of Chicago showed that armed citizens deter violent criminals. His study indicated that in states where residents can acquire concealed-weapons permits, the rates of murder, assault and burglary fall dramatically. Women have been the primary beneficiaries of this trend.

In 1987, the Florida Legislature passed a concealed-weapons law. Did it turn Florida into the “Gunshine” state? Did licensees go out and commit crimes? Did crime increase? No, no and no, and the statistics proved it.

In 1987, Florida’s murder rate was 36 percent above the national average. By 1991, it had fallen to 4 percent below the national average.

The handgun-control people refuse to admit it, but the right to carry a gun saves lives. The greatest fear of violent criminals isn’t police or prison but the possibility that a victim could be armed.

Norman R. Dunn Sr.
Jacksonville


Real School Security
As expected, in the wake of the Connecticut school massacre, the leftists are clamoring for strict gun control. Instead, they should turn their attention to details of real school security.

The gunman gained access to the school interior by shooting out the glass in a door.

Have their security people never heard of polycarbonate plastic? General Electric manufactures it under the trademark Lexan. Many years ago, in a catalog for, among other things, security lights, it was stated that a one-quarter-inch-thick pane of polycarbonate plastic would be enough to stop a .22 caliber revolver bullet. Probably, a one-half-inch-thick pane could stop a 9mm pistol round. Much thicker panes are available; these might be able to stop rifle bullets. Even if the bullet completely penetrated, the plastic would not shatter; the bullet would make only a small hole in it.

If that pane had been sufficiently thick polycarbonate, the killer would never have entered the school in the first place.

Replacing all window and door glass with polycarbonate would not only provide complete security, but also make buildings much more energy-efficient.

To facilitate faster police response, school officials should have special radio telephones. The phones could broadcast directly on police radio frequencies to call for rescue.

William C. Urban
Jacksonville


Congratulate Governor for Drug Testing
In the Jan. 9 issue of Folio Weekly, you gave brickbats to Gov. Rick Scott for “costing” taxpayers more than $900,000 in his fight to require drug-testing for welfare recipients and state employees. He should have received bouquets! I did not vote for him, but I strongly support his stand on requiring drug-testing for welfare recipients. Anyone receiving taxpayer dollars should be required to submit to drug and alcohol testing, as they should <> have enough money to buy drugs or alcohol from welfare benefits. If they can afford to do that, we are paying them too damn much in welfare benefits. The legal fees are a <> small drop in the bucket compared to what the waste in welfare benefits costs taxpayers. Bouquets to Gov. Scott for having the courage to take a stand against what is wrong!

Steve Whitmarsh
Jacksonville


Learn About the Fair Tax
Thanks very much for making space for a Fair Tax submission [“The Fair Tax Is Good for America,” Jan. 16], even if it was the Backpage Editorial, where a large percentage of readers probably never go. It’s particularly important to put ideas like the Fair Tax in front of would-be voters — even for creative types in arts and entertainment to understand the economy (which may lead to an understanding of how much money is able to flow into arts and entertainment so they have a viable lifestyle other than “starving artist”).

I would bet most of your readers complain a good bit about lobbyists and dirty, corporate money influencing politicians to create the socio-political world they see around them. But almost none of them realizes that it is the 72,000-page IRS system that enables that entire process. That is how it got to be 72,000 pages. But if you want an unlimited government — the opposite of the founding vision for America — in which the government can give you everything, you will have a government big enough to take it all away. This was predicted in the 1770s.

Tom Vogler
St. Augustine


Tide Is Turning for Gay Rights
Another month, another issue of Folio Weekly in which Mr. William H. Shuttleworth gets all fussy because not enough people follow his Bible without question or simply do not interpret it the same way he does. As if unquestioning belief in the Bible, and adhering to his particular take on it, is somehow mandatory.

Oh, I could go on and on about Mr. Shuttleworth’s childish scare tactics, threats about his god raining down destruction, just because Mr. John Delaney insists gay people should be treated with the same dignity and respect as everyone else. I’m pretty sure not hating gays enough has been cited as the causes of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting and Hurricane Sandy by plenty already (without any proof, of course). If the Christian god did indeed allow these tragedies to happen, for that reason, the correct response is all too clear. Once again, push for the anti-discrimination measure that failed in Jacksonville, and nationally get gay marriages recognized in every state. Such a sadistic, sociopathic being is to be defied, not worshipped.

Mr. Shuttleworth, feel free to convince us all otherwise. Luckily, the majority of Americans seem to share my outlook. Acceptance of gay marriage is still more than 50 percent. Plus, with gay marriage winning on ballots in the last election, a president openly in favor of gay marriage re-elected, failures of candidates backed by the National Institute for Marriage, and election of openly gay and bisexual lawmakers, it is clear that the pendulum has shifted. But do go on, calling the American electorate “uninformed masses.” Because insulting the people you need to convince to vote with your interests is always a sound strategy. For gay rights advocates like me, that problem is no longer as profound. In fact, there is little more I need to say on this subject. All I need do is sit back, watch the tide turn against whiny homophobes even more, and savor their misery.

Jeremy Racicot
Jacksonville


Vegan Diet and the Flu Epidemic
The flu epidemic has invaded 48 states, overwhelming medical facilities, exhausting vaccine supplies and killing 29 children and thousands of seniors. Both the problem and solution to this disaster hinge on how we relate to animals raised for food.

Indeed, 61 percent of the 1,415 pathogens known to infect humans originate with animals. The more recent, contagious and deadly viruses among these include Asian, dengue fever, Ebola, H5N1 (bird), HIV, SARS, West Nile and yellow fever. The pandemic “Spanish” flu of 1918 killed 20 to 50 million people worldwide, and the World Health Organization predicts more pandemics in the future.

Today’s factory farms are virtual flu factories. Sick, crowded, highly stressed animals in contact with contaminated feces and urine provide ideal incubation media for viruses. As these microbes reach humans, they mutate to defeat the new host’s immune system, then propagate by contact.

Each of us can help end animal farming and build up our own immune system against the flu by replacing animal products in our diet with vegetables, fruits and whole grains. These foods don’t carry flu viruses or government warning labels, are touted by every major health advocacy organization, and were the recommended fare in the Garden of Eden.

Jason Rittonhouse
Jacksonville


Stop Exotic Pet Industry
Florida’s war on snakes can be directly attributed to lawmakers who capitulate to the exotic animal industry by refusing to ban wild animals being kept as pets. When you make it as simple as pulling out a credit card to buy snakes, alligators, iguanas and other exotic species, the cruel cycle begins.

Animals quickly go from “must have” to “must get rid of.” Some end up in already-overburdened shelters; others are simply dumped, destined to become targets in state-sponsored killing sprees – appallingly called “contests.”

As a licensed wildlife rehabber with 15 years experience in treating society’s cast-offs, I can attest that people will not change, so the laws must. Legislators must slam the door shut on the exotic pet industry once and for all.

Early Mitchum
Bonneau, S.C.

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