COPS NEED handguns because the bad boys have them. The bad boys need them because the even badder boys have them. Many of my friends and neighbors need handguns because others have them. Bodyguards need them because body-harmers have them, store clerks need handguns because thieves have them, and so it goes. How many handguns are enough?

Why is it that I don't need one? Oops, I almost forgot - I don't live in the land of the gun anymore, where people are afraid of their neighbors and need to carry an instrument of death around everywhere they go.

Athens, like Philadelphia, is a big city where the people like good restaurants, the latest fashions and their sports teams. But that's where the similarities end because Athens, unlike Philadelphia, doesn't have stores with bulletproof glass. And, I've noticed, some of their police don't carry guns, and their bad boys aren't too bad at all, and the citizenry isn't walking around packed and loaded.

How did it get like this? We are to blame for it, all of us, not trusting, not caring and not sharing. We let it get like this, we are all to blame, we make the guns, we sell the guns, we buy the guns, and we fire the guns.

I like Athens. But I'll be back. Until then, I hope you take your stinking guns and drop them in the sea.

Rick Jones, Athens, Greece

The great deniers

It's amazing to me that the people we are supposed to look up to as positive influences in the world are a bunch of denying sycophants.

Roger Clemens? DENY! Alycia Lane? DENY! Barry Bonds? DENY!

The White House? DENY! Michael Vick? DENY!

The

Phillies Ownership? DENY DENY DENY!

Does anyone take any responsibility for what they do anymore?

People need to realize that the truth is what matters and not necessarily the truth as you see it.

Especially those who are in the public eye.

Deal with your problems, admit when you are wrong, face the consequences, and people will have more respect for you.

Just once, I want to hear someone who is accused of doing something wrong come out and say, "Yes, I did it. I'm sorry, and I hope I can move on from my mistakes."

Instead, you get a trail of deceit that makes you wonder why you even bother getting up in the morning.

It really isn't asking much to not be so absorbed in your own image.

Charlie Gagliardi

Philadelphia

It could have been you

Recently, a child was killed when he darted out into the street. The tragedy occurred in Bristol. The woman driving was devastated, as she was a mother herself. She volunteered a blood sample. To all casual drug users: What if you had been driving?

Pat Brown, Philadelphia