News From Terre Haute, Indiana

January 25, 2013

READERS’ FORUM: Jan. 25, 2013


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Gun training vital; more than just arming citizens

The latest slogan of the National Rifle Association is: “The only thing that will stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” That sounds like a nice rallying cry, but in reality, if that good guy with a gun is not well-trained, he or she is likely to do more harm than good.

Two examples come to mind: Shortly after the Sandy Hook tragedy, in San Antonio a shooter went into a restaurant and opened fire on the workers. When they fled to a movie theater next door, he ran into the theater after them. In the theater a good guy with a gun shot the bad guy with a gun.

This story has been circulating the Internet as support for heightened safety through more citizens carrying guns. However, the good guy with the gun in this situation turned out to be a good gal — Sgt. Lisa Castellano, an off-duty law enforcement officer who was working in the theater as a security guard. “I’m not going to lie; it was frightening,” she said. “But, you know, the training kicks in. And thank you to the sheriff’s office for all of the training that we’re given.”

Here’s the second example. During the Tucson shooting in which Gabby Giffords was severely wounded, a good guy carrying a handgun heard the gunfire and ran over to help. He almost shot the man holding the gun, but the other people yelled at him to stop. He was about to shoot the “good guy” who had wrested the gun away from the gunman. In his own words, Joe Zamudio said, “I was very lucky. Honestly, it was a matter of seconds. … I’ve never been in the military or had any professional training — I just reacted.”

I don’t have a problem with citizens carrying handguns, as long as they are well-trained. That involves a lot more than being able to handle a gun safely, stand still and hit a stationery target that is not shooting back.

In some states, you don’t even need a permit to carry a concealed weapon; in other states, you need to show some kind of evidence of having passed a gun safety or hunter safety class. Those requirements may be good for hunting in the woods, but they are woefully ineffective, and even dangerous, when it comes to being able to handle a gun in an emergency situation in public. Just ask Joe Zamudio.

The woman who saved the day in the San Antonio theater, and later rightfully received a Medal of Valor, was very well-trained. If hers was like most law enforcement training, she went through about 80 hours of firearms training in the academy, and then has had to pass firearms qualifications once or twice a year, every year of her 13-year career.

Law officers are trained in lifelike situations in which they are required to move while shooting at a target that is moving. They are trained to make split-second decisions as to whether it’s a bad guy, a good guy, or a bad guy holding a good guy hostage. When citizens are required to receive training like that before being granted a concealed carry permit, I’ll feel comfortably safe. In the meantime, simply arming more citizens just makes tragic accidents more likely.

— Richard G. Kennel

Terre Haute

Too early to crow about success

A few weeks ago, I read an article in the Tribune-Star in which a founding member of the Crow Committee, patting himself on the back about the success of the committee in driving the crows from downtown and from the campus at ISU.

Hooray. Your group may have gotten them from those two places, but guess what? You only re-located them four to six blocks to the east. Don’t believe me? Drive from 12th Street to 16th Street between Chestnut and Locust in the evening around 6 p.m. and look at all the crows in the trees and flying around everywhere. There are hundreds of them around, maybe thousands.

Now when I and many of my neighbors go out to start our vehicles in the morning to go to work or school, guess what we find all over our cars and landscape? Where are the Crow Committee and their tazers? Nowhere in sight.

So, thanks a lot Crow Committee. Job well done.

— Robert Chumley

Terre Haut


Some truth in all opinions

Concerning Mr. Camp’s letter of Jan. 23: First of all, I wasn’t aware that only “opinions” that agreed with your own were allowed.

However, there is some of what you say that is very true. I hope that doesn’t surprise you, because I am not as narrow-minded as you think. I agree with you about the military costs of the “oil wars.” We need a strong military, but to defend American soil and American lives.

The actual war expenses could have been funneled to reducing our national debt. If you remember, Obama said before he was elected the first time that he was going to reduce the national debt. I wonder when he intends to do that? I don’t see how raising the debt limit that he wants is going to accomplish that. If you can explain that one to me, please try.

The banking and financial bailouts by both presidents were absolutely wrong. Obamacare is something that our kids and grandkids will be saddled with.

  I will try to express my thoughts more to your liking, so that you and Mr. Davis can concentrate on more worthy subjects. I do look forward to your letters in the future. By the way, I like the milk chocolate better than the dark.

— Joe DeLorme

Clay City

Complaining letter itself out of line

Edward Kessler, in your letter on Jan. 20, in every instance where you complained about other letter writers you pretty much broke every rule yourself in one letter.

You say that someone stating their opinion that the Electoral College method of electing a president is “despicable” is like calling the Constitution despicable. The Constitution has been changed many times to eliminate despicable practices. It was changed to abolish slavery, to give women the right to vote, to give EVERYONE the right to vote. The Bill of Rights was an add on.

This is called progress. When times change so has the Constitution.

You accuse other letter writers of incivility and ignorance. Another of prevaricating (lying).

You criticized Mr. Hasan about a letter he wrote regarding rape in Indian Hindu communities but didn’t mention gang rapes of Christians. I presume he is accused of reporting something but not everything.

I dare you to point out ONE instance in which Ron Hastings has lied, and I will apologize profusely. Not statements by you like “in my opinion” or “that’s just absurd” or the like.

Attacks on the GOP, the Koch brothers, or Karl Rove are not personal attacks. These are public figures.

I believe those lying are closed-minded Republicans who continue to lie to themselves about how the GOP only cares about, the rich 1 percent.  It is failing everyone else, the elderly, the poor, the middle class, and the rest of the United States of America.

— Bruce Sheets



Obama must seek justice, peace

Congratulations to President Obama for winning the election.  As a Muslim, Islam, justice and peace are synonymous.  Justice and peace are the building blocks for any successful society.

A society in which free thought is hindered goes against the principles of Islam and democracy. The Qur’an says, “There is no compulsion in religion.” 2:256. Democracy, without force, assists citizens to feel as if they are part of a just and peaceful system; Islam merely teaches us how to do this in the best example.

Prophet Muhammad said, “Respect your leader even if his head is the size of a dried grape.”  For Muslims, respecting leaders is an obligation.  Political differences are healthy to spring fresh ideas. There will always be differences in opinions; however, we must make sure that justice is a vital element of a peaceful society. If we hope to reach political cohesiveness, then Mr. Obama must place absolute justice and peace above all else.

—  Hanan Shahid

Martinsville, Ill.