Give Obama credit for setting sights on gun control
ISSUE | GUN CONTROL Give Obama credit I applaud President Obama for taking concrete action to reduce the epidemic of gun violence in America ("A tearful Obama acts on guns," Wednesday). His executive actions will make a significant contribution to reducing the estimated 40 percent of gun sales that don't involve background checks - especially at gun shows and online.
ISSUE | GUN CONTROL
Give Obama credit
I applaud President Obama for taking concrete action to reduce the epidemic of gun violence in America ("A tearful Obama acts on guns," Wednesday). His executive actions will make a significant contribution to reducing the estimated 40 percent of gun sales that don't involve background checks - especially at gun shows and online.
I'm also pleased that the president is adding federal resources to improve gun safety technology (smart guns), the kind of public-health approach that dramatically reduced deaths from auto accidents. Ceasefire NJ was proud to spearhead the country's first childproof-handgun bill in 2002, but its implementation has been stymied by the National Rifle Association. The president's measures may finally help it come into existence.
I applaud him for not scapegoating mentally ill people for gun violence but instead devoting an additional
$500 million to treat such people.
Finally, I applaud incorporating more data, including from the Social Security Administration, to prevent those with disabling mental illnesses from buying guns. For more information, go to peacecoalition.org or call 609-924-5022.
|Rev. Robert Moore, executive director, Coalition for Peace Action, Princeton
ISSUE | FOSSIL FUELS
Seek clean energy
I am disturbed by the shortsighted commentary by Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission member Pamela Witmer ("Energy outlook for Pa. continues to be promising," Sunday). While I understand that her prime concern is energy accessibility and affordability, she barely mentions the environment, as though natural gas is a benefit with no downside.
Not so. Natural gas releases carbon into the atmosphere, increasing global warming. Plus, the risk of pipeline leaks and ruptures is a serious concern for residents near drilling wells and pipelines.
Not once does Witmer mention the benefits of renewable resources such as wind and solar energy. Couldn't those resources be harnessed and offered as a public utility? Our state and federal administrators need to think of the future now, not focus entirely on fossil fuels.
|Barbara Cicalese, Ardmore
Tax cheap oil
A commentary bemoaned the effect of cheaper oil on Wall Street, which has for a decade reaped windfall profits for investors and the 1 percent who lord over the middle class ("There's a downside to cheap oil," Sunday). The zinger was that cheaper oil contributes to climate change. But the writer ignored a simple solution: to add a 1- or 2-cent tax on oil and gas (which we can now afford), targeted to fund green energy.
Oil is a finite resource. The sun will shine forever.
|K.B. Kofoed, Drexel Hill
ISSUE | CAMPAIGN 2016
Sunday's commentary "Voters, focus on key traits of leadership" was an outstanding example of how unbiased logic could be used to evaluate the current crop of presidential candidates. I appreciated how clearly the four criteria were outlined as well as what questions could be asked to help someone assess a candidate's ability to lead.
Thank you for providing a clearheaded, rational article that can enhance thought and discussion. I plan to refer to the traits of leadership listed when I watch presidential debates.
|Barbara Blonsky, Mount Laurel, email@example.com
ISSUE | SUICIDE AND DEPRESSION
'I miss him every day and cry every night'
I just finished reading Daniel Kaye's commentary about suicide ("Confronting sad realities when a loved one commits suicide," Monday). Friday will be the second anniversary of my son's death by his own hand.
I still have trouble using the word "suicide." I always say that he took his own life. It means the same, I know, but it sounds less harsh. Crazy, isn't it? Especially since my son, Alex, stabbed himself to death - so incredibly violent.
Kaye's words about "an unfathomable agony, a way to quiet torturous voices and thoughts" was so poignant and so true in Alex's case. He was 36 years old, a chemical engineer, and a graduate of Drexel, and he had suffered from depression since he was 10. Life dealt him some harsh blows, and he never recovered. If only resilience could be a learned character trait.
I miss him every day and cry every night, even though I know I could not have done any more than I had done to help him. But there is always the maybe that I live with.
Thank you for a timely and heartfelt commentary.
|Janet Friel, Jenkintown, firstname.lastname@example.org
Coping with the anguish and despair
The commentary about suicide and depression reminded me of my brother. Although he was depressed, I relied on the help he received professionally. Unfortunately, my brother committed suicide at age 58.
I felt anger, despair, and abandonment. I knew very little about suicide. Fortunately, I found someone who was also a survivor of suicide. Together, we founded Survivors of Suicide, which has continued to help those who have difficulty dealing with this horrific action. So many others have learned of Survivors of Suicide, where we can talk and help each other with the healing process.
Survivors of Suicide has expanded and has many groups in the Delaware Valley. It helps so we can continue living our lives fully.
|Sunnie Baron Freeman, Philadelphia
ISSUE | SANCTUARY CITY
Are we safer?
Just a day before President Obama went on a rampage about gun control, Mayor Kenney reinstated the city's "sanctuary" policy (" 'Sanctuary city' status restored," Tuesday), which bars local officials from cooperating with federal investigations of suspects of murder, rape, robbery, domestic violence, illegal possession of a firearm, or involvement in terrorism.
I feel safer already - I guess.
|Matthew Augustine, Philadelphia, email@example.com
Kenney gets off to a bad start as mayor
While hoping for and expecting good things from newly minted Mayor Kenney after watching his actions between Election Day and Inauguration Day, I am dismayed at his restoration of Philadelphia's "sanctuary city" status. My wife (a liberal Democrat) and I (a moderate Republican) find his choice to decline reporting illegal immigrants to federal Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents indefensible.
We also want to take The Inquirer to task for using the term "undocumented" in place of "illegal." Without documentation to be in this country, a person is illegal. My great-grandfather's naturalization papers hang with pride in my sister's home.
Kenney is free to fight to change federal laws he does not like, but he should not be free to ignore them.
|Stephen Cooney, Pottstown
ISSUE | NATIONAL SECURITY
Heed warning about nuclear weapons
A letter to the editor cannot improve on former Defense Secretary William J. Perry's assessment of the country's security network ("Perry warns of resurgent nuclear threat," Dec. 31). One can only hope that Perry's message is taken to heart: "I see an imperative to stop this damn nuclear race before it gets underway again, not just for the cost but for the danger it puts all of us in." We don't need the dozen replacement Ohio-class nuclear submarines the Navy is looking to build for about
$5 billion apiece - subs loaded with multiple warheads, each carrying six times the destructive force of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
|Frank McGinty, Jenkintown, firstname.lastname@example.org
ISSUE | YEAR IN REVIEW
Corporate America and society can do better
George Will's column "The Ludicrousness of 2015" (Friday) was classic propaganda: a list of highly selective, ludicrous actions by individual government officials followed by a claim that there is a collapse of judgment in government as a whole. A better column would have included the same number of ludicrous actions by corporate officials (there are plenty) and a call for all of us to do better in every aspect of our corporate, social, ethical, and political lives.
|Thomas Taft, Ambler