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home : letters : letters May 2, 2016

3/1/2013 7:02:00 AM
Author addresses issues raised by two recent letterwriters

To the Editor:

Mr. Lee’s rebuttal to Mary Kubinek’s letter on gun control is rife with party line partisan half-truths and rancor. Starting with “if ABC is the only station she listens …” Except, who are Mr. Lee’s sources – Fox News, the tabloid of the air, a font of hearsay and unconfirmed reporting and The Blaze, a blog dealing in gossip and government conspiracy. Remember, their polls, ran counter to most in the last election and predicted a Romney victory.

On the other hand, we have polls by ABC and the Washington Post, CNN who partners with USA Today, and NBC/MSNBC who usually team up with the Wall Street Journal (not exactly a liberal source). All of which came closer to predicting the final presidential outcome. 

As for Mr. Lee’s “finding” that they contact more Democrats than Republicans, the accusation becomes problematical, because the conservative Rasmussen Poll, which weights its polls by Party ID, is one of the very few that does.

Mr. Lee makes the argument “Cities with very strict gun laws have very high crime rates,” which is just not true. Politifact-Texas rated this claim by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz as false. Cruz’s questionable authorities were right-wing blogs, commentary pieces, critiques and opinion columns all lacking any verifiable statistical research. Politifact, gleaning information from interest groups (including the NRA), a federal research center and the FBI, concluded, “We don’t see any evidence that gun laws correlate with violent crime rates one way or the other.” The main criteria for low gun-related crime seems to be strict mandatory sentencing of criminals using a gun in the commission of a crime.

I read Mary Kubinek’s letter and failed to get the impression (as Mr. Lee suggests) that she was in favor of banning all semi-automatic weapons. Nor (again as Mr. Lee hypes) does the Feinstein bill ban all weapons. The bill prohibits the sale, manufacture, transfer and importation of 157 of the most commonly-owned military-style assault weapons. It includes a grandfather clause that specifically exempts all assault weapons lawfully possessed at the date of enactment from the ban. And it also excludes more than 2,200 legitimate hunting and sporting rifles by specific make and model.

He continues with “Homeland Security (DHS) made the statement that the AR-15 is the best for personal protection.” Yes, they did and they asked for bids on seven thousand, 5.56x45mm NATO, select-fire firearms “suitable for personal defense” use in close quarters e/w 30-round magazines. Why? Because the DHS is comprised of 22 different agencies, two of which, the Coast Guard (42,000 members) and Customs and Border Patrol (45,600 members) require this type of military armament.

He takes exception that politicians and their bodyguards are exempt from gun laws. Does this feeling extend to his politicians? And he feels that he won’t be able to stop a burglar if his gun is taken away. Nobody is pushing a bill confiscating guns. But, he and I do agree on one thing – “gun free zone” signs should be removed; not only from schools, but also town halls, court houses and the state Capitol buildings. As for making it easier to identify those with mental illness – good luck. Will the lack of a gun permit be construed as de facto mental illness? Will employers start to check if you were denied a gun permit and deem you mentally unstable? And what criteria will be used to make a determination that could stigmatize you for a lifetime?

The problem, as I see it, is that for some reason gun advocates think that the right to bear arms is the only constitutional right that is without limit. You have the right to practice your religion, but not if your religion involves human sacrifice or the withholding of life-saving medicine for your child. You have the right to free speech, but you can still be prosecuted for incitement or conspiracy, and you can be sued for libel. You have the right to your house and property, but they can be taken away through eminent domain proceedings. Every right is subject to limitations when it begins to threaten others or infringes on the common good.

Moving on, we have Mr. Boyd’s recent tirade in response to my letter where I pointed out factual errors in his “Tax the Rich Insanity.” By the way, his letter demonstrates exactly what he accuses me of – attacking an opponent’s character rather than answering his argument. I ask the reader to compare the abusive tone of his letter to the one I had written.

Mr. Boyd contrives inflammatory misinformation and expects the reader to accept his views at face value; or that those who disagree “just hit delete.” That’s not how it works. Mr. Boyd doesn’t get a delete, he gets a response. Democracy means different views, and sometimes views you don’t like get printed. Freedom of speech isn’t freedom from consequences. I feel after thorough research I had countered every one of his allegations with non-politically shaded, verifiable facts.

Mainly, that “55 percent of scientists are Democrats” which came from an in-depth, multi-page Pew Research poll on science – Released July 9, 2009, at http://www.people-press.org/2009/07/09/public-praises-science-scientists-fault-public-media/, not the Huffington Post. 

Furthermore, his quasi-climate expert, Dr. Legates, was asked to step down as state climatologist July 14, 2011, and subsequently tendered his resignation. Why? Because of Legates’ financial ties to groups supporting or emphasizing skeptical stands on climate change especially while receiving regular contributions from ExxonMobil. 

In addition, his close ties to “Willie” Soon, fellow co-denier added to his problems. Through a Freedom of Information Act request, documents revealed Soon had received more than $1 million from the oil and coal industries since 2001, and “since 2002, every new grant he received has been from either oil or coal interests.”

John Kocovsky

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