IT WAS DISTURBING to read that concealed carry permit holders are now free to stroll Washington Square armed and intent on increasing the city's body count!

As a Patron Member of the National Rifle Association with policy input privileges, I finally feel compelled to blow the whistle on another inside plot to increase Philadelphia's homicide rate.

The NRA and gun manufacturers have been secretly working to advance "dumb gun" technology. When employed, it allows guns to function in the city only when being used in the commission of a crime, whereas in western Pennsylvania, the same guns will only operate for target shooting or hunting.

Harrisburg must act on this matter immediately or as the plot intends; Today Philadelphia, Tomorrow Punxsutawney!

Joseph J. Catto, Philadelphia

City shortchanging the Mummers

I am having a major problem understanding why there would be a funding cut for the Mummers Parade, which brings in a lot of financial benefits. Not only do local businesses and mom-and-pop stores down in South Philly reap these rewards, so does our hotel industry.

New Year's is on a Thursday this year, and the chances of having visitors stay for the entire weekend are very good. But is the funding cut another push to move the entire parade inside the Convention Center? Expanding the Convention Center is a total waste of money. More hotels are going up when we can't fill the ones that already are here except for big events like this.

Yes, we are facing an economic disaster that is unlike anything we've ever seen. But why take away some of the only things that most of us have left to enjoy?

Atlantic City would love a chance to give our Mummers a shot down there on New Year's Day and most likely would pay more money. They would jump at the chance at the benefits the parade would bring to their economy.

Debbie Frommer, Philadelphia

It takes a village . . .

Nowadays, it seems as though the challenges set before today's public school teachers are like none other in the history of public school education. Many students come to school unprepared to learn. More and more students come to school with camera cell phones.

We need to put the public back into public education. Like Hillary Rodham Clinton once said, "It takes a village to raise a child." School is just one-eighth of the pie. We need the other seven-eighths in order for the pie to be complete.

School children need supportive parents, community service workers, churches, volunteers, businesses, law enforcement and their own individual willingness to learn and achieve. This completes the pie and establishes the "village." Teachers can't do it alone.

I base my is experience on this generational problem solely on how my mother raised me. She cared about my education from nursery to college. On the first day of school, she didn't hesitate to give my elementary school teacher permission to paddle my backside if I had misbehaved.

Wayne E. Williams, Camden

Nuts to Nutter

Ben Franklin must be spinning in his grave at 5th and Arch about the closing of libraries and firehouses.

Martin Luther King Jr. put it clearly when he noted, "Nothing is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." Our mayor is certainly serious and conscientious.

What can you do about this? Simple: next election vote for anyone but nutty Nutter.

Bill Dunn, Philadelphia