THE DUMBEST argument for not banning assault weapons is "Guns don't kill people, people kill people." Not true.

The bullet tearing through the body, ripping apart vital organs is what kills. The assault weapon that lets off 50 bullets in five seconds and only needs to be pointed in the general direction of the target is a lot more deadly than the handgun that needs to be aimed by someone being fired back at and is a lot less likely to hit its target.

Keith Callan, Philadelphia

Eloquent commish

Watching TV the other day, I saw a black man speaking from a church pulpit. No, it wasn't another clip of the seemingly endless series of idiotic "sermons" by Rev. Wright. It was an eloquent, heartfelt eulogy given by Philadelphia Police Commissioner Ramsey at the funeral for murdered police Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski.

No posturing, no self-promotion, no theatrics. It was a measured accounting of what this officer and, in fact, all officers are called on to do every day.

It was also a celebration of the fact that they willingly chose to do it. I felt a real sense of pride and loss. But I also had a great sense of relief and hope in the knowledge that this is our new police chief. His appearance was a reminder that true leaders don't incite hate and make excuses for aberrant behavior - they lead.

Kyran Connelly, Bensalem

A Philadelphia officer was killed in the line of duty. The force mobilized with all they had to locate and arrest those involved. Heartfelt prayers and sympathy go out to the family and friends of the slain officer.

But to place value on a life based simply on occupation, uniform or situation in which that life is taken is wrong. If police can pull up the manpower to find a person who took the life of an officer, that same manpower can be deployed to find the person who took the life of an innocent child, elderly couple, single mother, promising athlete, truck driver, tourist, student.

Robert W. Baker, Upper Darby

Harsh comment

Mayor Nutter's response to people who grew up in not-so-good conditions is to, and I quote, "Get over it!" That's a bit rude. Don't get me wrong. I'm sick of hearing how their upbringing causes people to do crimes.

But there are plenty of studies showing living conditions can affect what people do.

Mustafa Sulaiman, Secane

The twain meet

Re Stu Bykofsky April 24 column "Race is Only One American Tribe":

I thank you for this column, especially your comments on Mayor Nutter and Gov. Rendell.

I'm African-American and you're Polish-American (I think) and in this respect, we both think alike.

William Brown Sr.


Bad Oprah!

Re Oprah and state dog laws:

Oprah has no training in animal husbandry.

No training in the law.

She doesn't live in the state.

Oprah is being badly advised by only hearing one side of the story.

Elizabeth T. Brinkley

AKC Legislative Liaison

Latrobe, Pa.