ISSUE | CARRY PERMITS

N.J. weapons case

sounds a warning

While its conclusions were off base, I'm confident the major effect of The Inquirer editorial on the Shaneen Allen case will be to advise Pennsylvania gun owners not to carry firearms to the Garden State - as they are likely to face serious charges for breaking New Jersey law ("Hair trigger," April 12). That's a public service that strengthens public safety.

As to Allen, yes, she's a mother with a law-abiding background. Yes, she alerted a policeman in New Jersey that she was carrying a loaded (with hollow-point bullets), concealed, and unsecured handgun. Yes, her plight pulls at the heartstrings. But equally, she broke three laws that Jerseyans overwhelmingly support.

There is a duty of responsibility upon anyone possessing a gun, the most lethal consumer product. That duty is dramatically greater for anyone seeking to carry a loaded and concealed handgun. And it grows further for anyone deciding to load her handgun with massively destructive hollow-point bullets.

Allen, however, acted as if she had no duty or responsibility at all. When the Editorial Board implied that New Jersey law and its enforcers were at fault, it turned logic on its head.

|Bryan Miller, executive director, Heeding God's Call, www.heedinggodscall.org

ISSUE | PHILA. TIES

Home to Booths

Sunday brought another wonderful article from Inquirer staff writer Ed Colimore on the papers of James Tanner, who documented the testimony of witnesses to Lincoln's assassinaton ("As he lay dying," April 12). As a member of the Booth family, it is important to me that readers know that the main home of the Booth family was in Philadelphia, as Edwin Booth had been the owner of the Walnut Street Theatre. Although John Wilkes Booth was rarely in residence due to his acting career, he is recorded as a Philadelphian. Reporter Colimore is the most knowledgable of writers on the actual facts and questions about this tragic part of our history, and I hope he will reveal more in the future.

|Joanne Hulme, Philadelphia, jhulme@sjparty.com

ISSUE | ARMY MEDALS

Full honors due

The Fort Hood victims have been awarded the Purple Heart. That's wonderful, but the compensation that goes with the award will not be given to these long-suffering heroes' survivors. Some victims suffered injuries, both mental and physical, that will remind them for the rest of their lives. My heart goes out to them and their families, and I hope that this denial of benefits will be reversed.

|Phyllis Bove, Blue Bell

ISSUE | BODY IMAGE

Right-sizing ads

Women are either too fat or too skinny in the eyes of the media. So I'm glad that the makers of Dove products are letting women of all ages, sizes, and ethnicities know they are beautiful exactly how they are. Dove is showing us what normal women look like.

|Sarah Babb, Reading

ISSUE | HEALTH

Fit minds and bodies not mutually exclusive

Early this year, it was announced that more than 20 elementary schools in Orange County, Fla., had decided to either reduce or eliminate recess time from the school curriculum, and they aren't the only ones. At a time when childhood obesity is more of a problem than ever, cutting recess is not the answer.

Since 1990, there has been a 60 percent increase in the number of preschool children worldwide who are overweight or obese, with the United States having some of the highest rates. Without recess, these rates will inevitably continue to rise.

Since when did schools become so focused on standardized testing that they ceased to care about a child's physical well-being? The pursuit of good test grades should not preclude teaching children how to live a healthy lifestyle.

|Kayla Snyder, York, KS761570@wcupa.edu, and Ralph Salamone, Broomall, RS766211@wcupa.edutopic

In grocery store, don't shop 'til you drop

Obesity in toddlers living in low-income New Jersey communities ranks second-highest in the nation. In Camden alone, 40 percent of children are considered overweight or obese. Small, neighborhood retailers can be part of the solution.

New Jersey's Healthy Corner Store Initiative and the Camden Healthy Corner Store Network are working with these store owners to help stock, market, and sell healthy, affordable food. These interventions are showing promise in improved offerings and increased sales and consumption of healthier food. With 38 stores, the goal is to expand to more than 150 corner stores by year-end.

|Valeria Galarza, vice president, YMCA of Burlington and Camden Counties, Camden, valeriag@ymca-bc.org

ISSUE | CHURCH PROPERTIES

When retrenchment leaves a community gap

The effort to sell church properties in Philadelphia totally proves that even religious leaders can be cold and cruel-hearted ("Tackling huge job of church real estate," April 12). The building housing our former organization, Hannah House - a halfway house that saved women from returning to prison by giving them a safe environment, emotional help, educational opportunities, and career opportunities - was taken from under us by the church.

Two decades ago, we took over the rectory of St. Bonaventure Church in North Philadelphia. At the time, it was uninhabitable. We put more than $1 million into the property to bring it up to code. We created a warm living environment with an updated kitchen, dining room, living room, bathrooms, and bedrooms to house 30 women.

Almost two years ago, we were given short notice that we had to leave, and before we could get all of our possessions, the locks were changed. When we contacted the Philadelphia Archdiocese for help, there was no interest.

Our women were treated as throwaways. I guess we thought religious leaders would adhere to a higher standard. It was a difficult lesson to learn when so many people were hurt.

|Susan J. Gross, Cheltenham, and David J. O'Brien, Feasterville

ISSUE | ATLANTIC CITY

Summer memories summoned by pier plan

My late father, Lawrence Katz, owned - with some other investors - the Million Dollar Pier in the '50s and for quite a few years thereafter, the same pier being redeveloped by Philadelphia developer Bart Blatstein ("From pier to playground," April 13). It was there that I experienced my first entrepreneurial endeavor.

My dad allowed me to run the guess-your-weight booth. I believe each customer was charged 50 cents; this during the summers of 1953 and 1954. No matter the outcome, each customer received a pre-China plush doll.

So Bart Blatstein hould know that I'm available this summer - if needed - and I still won't use goods made in China.

|Harry Jay Katz, Philadelphia

ISSUE | SOCIAL SECURITY

Christie plan puts him on right-wing fringe

Gov. Christie declares himself out of the loop with his call to increase the retirement age to 69, reduce Social Security benefits for those with income over $70,000 or such, increase the Medicare age, and other proposals ("Christie, in N.H., proposes cutbacks in Social Security," April 15). Not even right-wing Republicans would join Christie's cut-Social-Security bandwagon.

Christie could be driven from the New Hampshire campaign trail and sent back to act as New Jersey governor if reports of indictments in various Jersey scandals pan out. If so, Christie should thank prosecutors for relieving him of his presidential delusions.

|Harold R. Berk, Ambler