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Letters

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Letters to the editor

CEOs join call for cliff resolution

A similar message was recently sent to all employees of Frontier Communications:

As Americans we must stand up for what is best for our country at a critically important time. For far too long, a fiscal cliff has loomed over the U.S. CEOs across the nation are working together to encourage Congress to demonstrate that principled compromise is alive and well in this country. Our country is capable of great things; when the cause demands it, we can work together on any issue. The time is long overdue for Congress to do just that.

I am proud to be part of a campaign led by CEOs across the country to encourage Congress and the administration to do the right thing. We are asking our elected officials to work together to prevent the significant negative economic, employment and social consequences of going over the fiscal cliff and the resulting across-the-board tax hikes and dramatic spending cuts scheduled to occur on Jan. 1.

If inaction continues, the U.S. economy, which is only starting to recover from a terrible economic crisis, could fall back into recession. It is imperative our elected officials join forces to come up with a balanced solution that will include revenue growth and spending reductions.

MAGGIE WILDEROTTER Chairman and CEO Frontier Communications

Let voice be heard on puppy breeders

A public hearing has been scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday in the basement of the Noble County Office Complex at 2090 N. Indiana 9 in Albion. The meeting is to consider a zoning petition that may result in Noble County’s first large-scale commercial dog kennel.

In recent years many have worked hard to develop the Noble County Comprehensive Plan to “create a better future” and to “effectively and specifically guide decisions for policies.” Those who support animal foster groups and families, veterinarians, etc., and those who promote humane education for responsible pet ownership should be keenly interested in the choice to allow (or not) the first “commercial breeder” of this sort to operate here. We lack clear regulations related to animal welfare. I urge citizens to engage in conversation and participate in this decision-making process. We are at risk of setting a precedent of “safe haven” to the problems of other communities.

I strongly urge anyone who lacks knowledge of the issues surrounding large-scale puppy-breeding operations, those raising families who value the development of compassion for all life, as well as those who work tirelessly to help animals in need, to attend the meeting on Wednesday. Listen, learn and let your voices be heard.

LORI GAGEN Executive director, Black Pine Animal Sanctuary

Need for change overwhelms gun rights

What is it that fuels this debate over guns?

I believe it is how different people cope with, and express, power and powerlessness.

For many, but not all, gun enthusiasts, a gun is an extension of their power. It’s the ability to propel a projectile that reinforces their belief that their increased power makes them safe. They can easily ignore statistics that show how many people actually get killed by their own guns. “Who me? Not a chance!”

For those who are demanding stricter gun controls, there is a strong sense that guns and increasingly lethal ammunition and assault gun proliferation are not making us, as a people, any more powerful or safe.

But I do know one thing: Gun enthusiasts no longer hold a monopoly on anger or defensiveness, nor will their obfuscations and rantings overcome the reasonable change that is being demanded. Not anymore. The question has been posed and must be answered: Is this the best we can do?

Get used to giving up some of your perceived precious freedom and power, despite your self-justifying threats of “prying your guns from your dead fingers.”

Not everyone views power and powerlessness as you do. It’s not all about you.

DANIEL L. BANEY Fort Wayne

Wild West mentality guiding gun laws

Ezra Klein, in his column of Dec. 16 (“Gun debate lacking in sorely needed facts”), enumerates a number of interesting facts concerning gun violence that has plagued our country once again, this time in Newtown, Conn., resulting in 28 dead, 20 of them children. He points out that 11 of the 20 worst mass shootings in the past 50 years took place in the U.S.; in second place was Finland with two such episodes. He notes, “More guns tend to mean more homicide”; and “states with stricter gun control laws have fewer deaths from gun-related violence.” Can anyone be surprised?

But what astonishes me is his observation that “shootings don’t tend to substantially affect views on gun control.” That was found by the Pew Research Center after the Colorado movie theater shooting that killed 12. A newly released poll by the Washington Post revealed that 54 percent of those polled favor some kind of gun control, whereas 43 percent are opposed. President Obama has stated that he would do all that the power of his office permits to reduce the chance of such a massacre.

Surely now is the time to enact some gun control that would reduce the likelihood of another bloodbath. I agree that gun control won’t solve the problem entirely. The problem is involved and complex, but among the elements, it seems to me, is that we in the USA have a hangover of Wild West mentality that lauds the “shoot-it-out” approach to problem-solving.

Until we change that deep-seated temperament, no gun law will resolve the entire problem, but to make no effort is totally irresponsible.

ERNEST G. BARR North Manchester

Society sending children wrong message on guns

Today I was at a local department store picking up a few small things for the grandchildren – boys. I was about to pick a favorite stocking stuffer that the boys all like. I had it in my cart when it struck me that I was going to purchase a plastic gun. To be sure, it was one that was not dangerous, the bullets were like sponges, and over the years I had been involved in games with the boys using these guns.

But today was different. Funerals were taking place for children because a real gun with real bullets had taken their lives. Mothers and fathers were sobbing and mourning the loss of their precious children. The rest of us were under a cloud of sadness and helplessness.

For years now violent video games and TV series have seemed to sneak into our lives. Sad to say, many of us are getting used to this kind of entertainment. Many ordinary families are thinking it is necessary to buy and keep guns in their homes. Even assault weapons and military-type arms and ammunition are available to anyone – either legally purchased or otherwise. Where does it stop?

Can’t we take one small step? I call on all purchasers in the family, female or male, to stop encouraging our children to learn violence. Stop buying toy guns or real guns for your children. Select video games that enrich the positive skills of your children. Stop teaching these precious children that guns are a way to have fun. Guns are a way to kill.

JUNE ANN JACOBS Fort Wayne

Schools can be made safer in shooting’s wake

In the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school shootings, there has been little discussion of passive measures that could be taken to improve school safety.

During my relatively brief experience as a teacher, the main safety concern was fire and the swift and orderly evacuation of the building. There was no consideration given to making students safe within the building.

Nor was there any discussion of making the building more solidly resistant to an active shooter. Simply providing an effective way for teachers to bar the doors of individual classrooms would be a safety enhancement. The ability to compartmentalize the building would also assist in isolating an active shooter. Anything that would slow the perpetrator and give additional time for first responders to arrive would save lives.

I was a career member of the military prior to becoming a teacher. As such, I might have viewed the issue in a somewhat different light than someone who had never had to set up a secure perimeter in a hostile area. Certainly seeing certain safety-related construction measures within and around school buildings would make them appear a bit less inviting. They might even intimidate to a certain extent.

But they would be far less scary than what was experienced by those who were in a building where the only thing they could do to protect against someone who would do them harm was to cower in a corner and hope for the best.

ANTHONY GENSIC Fort Wayne

Tax dollars shouldn’t support school choice

In response to the letter from Catherine Bryie (“Vouchers help put God back in schools,” Dec. 16), I have no qualms with parents sending their children to religious or parochial schools. However, if they desire this they should pay the bill.

My taxes are supposed to be designated for public schools, not diverted to schools of their choice.

Studies have shown public schools are doing a better job of educating our kids. Send my taxes to the better choice. Charter schools just put public education at a disadvantage.

LARRY BOWERS Fort Wayne

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