CHARLOTTE AND Harriet Childress falsely claim that "nearly all of the mass shootings in this country in recent years . . . have been committed by white men and boys." ("Mass murders a white-male, not mental-health, issue," April 2).
In reality, mass killings have also been committed by nonwhites, such as Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho, Beltway sniper John Muhammad, Long Island Rail Road shooter Colin Ferguson, and Wisconsin's Chai Soua Vang.
The Childresses speculate that "if African-American men and boys were committing mass shootings month after month, year after year . . . we'd have political debates demanding that African Americans be held accountable." That seems unlikely: Despite the high proportion of shooters who are already African-American - nearly half of all murders are committed by blacks, who are only 13 percent of the population - no such calls for "accountability" have occurred, nor should black people as a group be held responsible.
Since 78 percent of all Americans are white, the fact that some mass killers are white males is hardly a surprise, much less a reason to blame "white male culture" or "hold them accountable," as the Childresses seek to do.
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Our elected officials are only too happy to divert attention from this important issue by coming up with solutions that they know will not solve this problem.
The latest call is to enforce existing gun laws and make mental health accessible, when they know they are not going to increase funding for Medicare to make mental health a real option. I remember former Philly District Attorney Lynne Abraham saying that not all laws are enforced because of funding issues; funding will not be increased for this either.
I would bet that after seeing the look of fear on the children of Sandy Hook running out of school after seeing their classmates slaughtered, most Americans would be willing to pay a little more to give proper care to those who need it and to help keep our children safe.
No matter what side of the issue voters take, they should be angry and disappointed that we are concerned about things that will not resolve anything. Let's make our politicians fund law enforcement and make mental-health treatment a reality, and stop reducing this to a referendum on race or rural vs. urban. We need to have sensible and commonsense gun laws that will not only work, but will also ensure the rights of gun owners.
Wayne J. King
Good on Tasco for taking Nutter to task
The members of the Utility Workers Union of American Local 686 wish to publicly thank Councilwoman Marian Tasco for her opposition to the Nutter administration's ill-conceived plan to sell and privatize Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW) and for having the courage to criticize Nutter for engaging in political payback for her stance. We believe, as does the councilwoman, that the inordinate delay in the renovation of the Sturgis Recreation Center had nothing to do with "other pressing issues," as claimed by Nutter spokesman Mark McDonald, and everything to do with Nutter's vindictiveness over Councilwoman Tasco's pointed criticisms of Nutter's wrongheaded plan to sell a long-term asset such as PGW. We know that Councilwoman Tasco will continue to stand her ground and oppose this bad idea - and so will we.
President, UWUA Local 686
Priovolos case shows state's true colors
The Ernest Priovolos case is an example of what has become an old story: the disparity in power between the individual and the state in the criminal-justice system, among other institutional relationships. When one is investigated, charged, prosecuted, tried, judged, sentenced and incarcerated by the same monolithic entity, right and wrong and the truth sometimes get lost in the shuffle.
The willingness of police and prosecutors to fabricate evidence, rely on jailhouse snitches, and to refuse at all costs that they have erred is a sure sign that the system is worse than broken. It seems that to the state, it's all just a game, and the only thing that matters is winning, even if the rules have to be broken.
District has itself to blame for charter woes
The School Reform Commission has been ever increasing the number of available charter-school seats. Contributing to next year's deficit are charter-school expenses, increasing by $80 million. In contract negotiations, the SRC is seeking concessions in wages and benefits from its union employees to help fund the deficit. Can someone explain why the school-district unions should be so upset?