THE RECENT SHOOTING at the Kmart was not a "lover's spat" - it was domestic violence and should be called that. Mr. Birch was clearly a serial abusive partner who disregarded this woman's attempts to get away from him and threatened her with a loaded firearm.

Rather than take this as an opportunity to talk about domestic violence and the dangers women (and those around them) face when trying to leave abusive partners, your article minimized the seriousness of the incident.

The media have a responsibility not only to report events accurately and conscientiously, but to educate people. This story was an excellent opportunity to do that - and provide the number for the Philadelphia domestic hotline (866-723-3014) to help people in similar situations.

Kristie A. Thomas, Philadelphia

How many more deaths is it going to take for the city to wake up? A Kmart employee is shot for no other reason than a man who should have been behind bars was walking the streets.

Daryl Birch was arrested in July and charged with burglary, criminal trespassing, contempt of court, terroristic threats, stalking and harassment. Yet he was able to walk into Kmart and shoot a man who tried to protect a fellow worker.

Forget the gun roundup nonsense. We need gun handouts - to every citizen fed up with criminal-coddling who is ready to take back his city.

Stuart Caesar, Philadelphia

Gun control is a subject that people have strong opinions on, and I'm one of them. Soldiers, law-enforcement officers and hunters should have access to guns and permits to own them. These types of individuals are trained for the safety of the public. If you have a gun, you should keep it unloaded and locked up where children can't get hold of it.

I don't think that college students should carry loaded guns on campus. Four Philadelphia police officers have lost their lives in the line of duty in the past few months because of bad gun control. Criminals will always have access to guns because they will obtain them illegally.

My Dad and my Pop are both gun-owners and National Rifle Association members. I've been taught to respect the power of guns. Guns are not dangerous; it is the people who handle them we need to fear.

Tim Kober, Havertown

A plan for GM

GM is on the brink of bankruptcy, with sales hitting record lows. Currently $48 billion in debt and falling into the abyss, the CEO claims a bailout will save jobs. In reality, the first issue on the agenda is cutting 31,000 workers nationwide and closing 11 factories. Cuts should start at the top with big CEO salaries and ridiculous bonuses.

U.S. automakers need bailing out because the trickle-down effect would cripple our economy. In the first year after a bankruptcy, it's estimated that 2.5 million jobs would be lost.

Many suppliers would go under, creating shortages for all carmakers. With our struggling economy, the last thing we need is more jobs lost.

The last time a major automaker was put on life support was 1979, when the Carter administration saved Chrysler. It couldn't hurt to take a page from their book on management and investor concessions to save an American institution.

Tony Mastrome, Philadelphia