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Gun control not right solution to random shootings

Monday, June 9, 2014
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Gun control not right solution to random shootings

On May 23, another nut case went on a rampage, in California this time. Seven people dead, including the shooter; the mainstream media's portrayal once again misleadingly focused on the use of firearms. You have to expend a little more effort, read more than just the headline and the first paragraph of the story to notice what really happened, to understand the hypocrisy of the gun-control agenda.

Elliot Rodger is a mass killer, not a mass shooter. That's because his maniacal repertoire included handguns, a machete, a hammer and a car. He shot four people to death, including himself. He also stabbed three people to death and he intentional hit three with his car, severely injuring at least one of them.

Why aren't the progressive anti-gunners calling for knife-control laws and automobile-control laws? Do they find it acceptable for people to be injured and killed with these weapons? Why is there a call for more gun control as a possible solution to mass killings, this one in particular?

California is known for its existing strict gun-control laws. They didn't prevent this, they failed; just as any additional gun-control laws will only provide a false sense of security.

Perhaps a call for knife- and automobile control sounds ludicrous to you. It sounds no more ludicrous to me than the cry for additional gun control. Chicago has proven this with its extremely restrictive gun-control laws, which helped to elevate it to the country's murder capital in 2012. It's another blatant example of the failure of gun-control policies.

The progressive anti-gun crowd is once again swaddling itself in the blood of the victims, calling for more gun control while refusing to acknowledge that their policies have repeatedly failed. Gun control creates a plethora of helpless victims for the Rodgers, the Lanzas and the Holmeses out there.

The stark truth is that there is no end-all solution to this problem. There is only the hope to minimize the damage by accepting that people have the right to defend themselves and the right to choose how to defend themselves.

Don Steciak

Schenectady

Put students above profit on testing

Thank you for your May 31 editorial urging the State Education Department to not disallow the recent state tests in Schalmont schools; however, I feel your sentiments do not go far enough.

You raise excellent points such as how these exams have no bearing on student grades and promotion, and more and more parents are having their students opt out of even taking these tests. The fact is that these tests in their current format have been totally disruptive of the educational process in public schools throughout the state and disheartening to students, parents and educators alike. I cannot imagine a school administrator anywhere disputing that fact.

Shouldn't our state Education Department be an advocate for students and schools instead of being the overseer of political and corporate interests who actually profit from the current testing system?

Surely there are better and more effective ways to evaluate schools than burdening them with excessive testing. Instead of investigating Schalmont, perhaps the Education Department should be investigating its own motivation behind the intrusive mandates it has imposed on our schools and start putting the best interests of students above all else.

Bruce Ballan

Rexford

The writer is a retired middle school principal.

Adk report paints an inaccurate picture

Re Sara Foss' May 29 column, "Tourism no cure-all for Adirondacks": I appreciate that Sara Foss enjoys wilderness camping in the Adirondack Park. And I agree with her that visitors cannot walk in the shoes of Adirondack Park residents whose challenge is to make a life for themselves in a large, rural part of our state.

I add, however, that Sara reads the new report, "The Adirondack Park: Seeking Balance," rather uncritically. The report conveys a great deal of interesting history and important information about the challenges of life in the park. Yet, the out-migration of young job seekers and loss of school-age populations it emphasizes are not unique to the Adirondacks, but common to rural areas throughout America.

If the report is intended to create a "grim portrait of life inside the Adirondack Park," to use Sara's words, why does the report have an agenda? What information did the report leave out that does not fit with its agenda? I'll mention two: Retirees continue to move into the park because of its quality of life, protected forests and small-town community character. They make significant investments of time and expertise into their towns, injecting new dollars and volunteers. The report doesn't say anything at all about this trend.

Secondly, there is an uptick in the number of people paddling on the ponds, lakes and rivers of the park. What impact are they having? Who is serving that population with boats, services and supplies? Unlike the past, a place like Old Forge is no longer a one-sport/season town reliant entirely on winter snowmobiling. Good full- and part-time jobs have been created in this outdoor recreational sector just in the past dozen years. Is that grim news?

The authors of the "grim news" report include the LA Group, which is not an unbiased compiler of comprehensive facts about the park, but quite biased towards its developer clients. Claiming that the park's wilderness "can't be used," the authors present information selectively and in some cases misleadingly with an unstated goal, I believe, of watering down constitutional protection of the public Forest Preserve to create a poorly defined "land bank" for development.

I encourage readers to take an interest in the problems they illustrate, but be curious about their recommendations and solutions, and skeptical of their hidden agenda.

David Gibson

Ballston Lake

The writer is a partner of Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve.

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