ISSUE | POLICING

Shocking progress

When a Florida man who killed his mother with arrows was subdued by deputies, it was especially significant - because deputies used stun guns on the man, even though he threatened them with a knife.

All police departments should consider replacing firearms with stun guns. Officers carry guns to protect both themselves and the public, but police are not hired to act as judge and jury. Stun guns do not kill or cause physical harm. Their charge does cause pain and briefly immobilizes, but someone with a stun gun certainly cannot impose a death sentence.

|Karen Robbins, Vincentown, woolmancdc@gmail.com

Demilitarize

President Obama's announced police-reform package will undoubtedly do more harm than good. It fails to address the essential problem that modern police departments are increasingly like paramilitary forces. The president's plan does nothing to curtail the beleaguered Pentagon program that recycles armored vehicles and other combat-grade equipment onto the nation's streets. Second, increased aid from Washington necessarily means more control by the federal government and increases the influence of the Fraternal Order of Police, which lobbies fiercely to keep the surplus equipment flowing.

|Kevin P. Trainer, Philadelphia, kevinptrainer@gmail.com

ISSUE | TEAM PLAY

Sixers' strategy: all for none, none for all

The Philadelphia 76ers stink this season, as their record reflects ("Slouching toward infamy," Dec. 2). However, it wasn't until watching them play Brooklyn recently that I realized how truly hapless, how clueless they are.

What was most disconcerting - and inexcusable - was the lack of teamwork. The 20 minutes of the game that I watched (more would have been cruel and unusual punishment) reminded me of the worst kind of schoolyard basketball, where each man is for himself.

Either Sixers coach Brett Brown is unaware of team basketball concepts - which I doubt - or the players are too pigheaded to play together. In any case, if what I saw is typical, you couldn't pay me to watch the Sixers again.

|Robert Cherry, Wynnewood

ISSUE | FREE LIBRARY

Rare book pros long familiar with bits, bytes

As a former head of the Free Library's rare-book collection, I found recent coverage of three previously unknown Oscar Wilde items to be deeply misleading ("Wilde in the library," Nov. 23). The library I worked for devoted thousands of hours of staff time and millions of dollars in federal and foundation grants to cataloging and documenting its special collections, including: thousands of early American children's books and early American imprints; medieval and Renaissance manuscripts from Europe and the Middle East; a great collection of Pennsylvania German fraktur, and more.

All of these records are available in widely accessible online databases such as the National Union Catalog, the Digital Scriptorium, and others. Projects to create such records for the use of scholars and the general public have been going on for at least 30 years, so The Inquirer portrait of clueless librarians who only woke up to the Internet in 2009 is totally baseless.

|William Lang, Philadelphia, langw@infionline.net

ISSUE | PA. HEALTH PLAN

Corbett-care complicated for a reason

Thousands of people have not had medical insurance because Gov. Corbett refused to expand traditional Medicaid - and not because they were left out of coverage under the 2010 federal health-care law ("Action brisk as expanded Pa. health care opens," Dec. 2). These are the poor, who long ago were denied access to Medicaid when the state stopped its General Assistance program when welfare was overhauled. To portray Corbett administration officials as working hard to implement a complicated health plan is a joke, since they're the ones who designed the complications. I do hope Gov.-elect Tom Wolf can undo the convoluted, confusing aspects of this health plan.

|Sheila Reynolds, Philadelphia, sheila.reynolds@verizon.net

ISSUE | BILL COSBY'S FALL

Should have been given the hook earlier

Bill Cosby was born and raised in Philadelphia, but few such homegrown celebritites if any remained as connected as Cosby ("Cosby revisited," Dec. 3). He attended Germantown High, graduated from Temple University, and always spoke about his alma mater. In doing so, he was a great cheerleader for Temple. As he grew in popularity, there were rumors about drugs, women, and rape. And now it has blown up in Temple's face and in Cosby's.

So many women telling a similar story have come forward to talk about what allegedly happened. The allegations are horrendous. In light of the cavalier way that universities have been dealing with allegations of sexual assault and misconduct, Temple had no choice but to accept Cosby's resignation. If only university officials had asked for his withdrawal earlier.

|Susan O. Jaffe, Philadelphia

As a matter of fact, it's getting complicated

In the new American system of justice, Bill Cosby is judged in the court of public opinion as guilty without knowing the facts, while Ferguson, Mo., Police Officer Darren Wilson is judged guilty, even knowing the facts.

|Norman R. Goodman, Langhorne, NRGoodman@Juno.com

Shedding cocoon of celebrity reveals the man

Celebrity reveals its inner self in subtle ways. Many of us have encountered a celebrity in an off moment and couldn't connect the persona seen on the wide screen to the person. However, careful examination can show where they harbor serious demons. A stagehand of Bill Cosby's once told me that Cosby would disrespect him by demanding that he carry his cigar for him. That foretells character.

|Leonard A. Lucenti, Maple Shade

ISSUE | ANTITERROISM

Domestic defense has to begin abroad

The recent news report that 20 to 30 former Guant√°namo Bay detainees are now fighting for ISIS in Syria isn't really surprising, after the United States decided to return those detainees to their own countries and let them continue to be terrorists. Such dumb and stupid decisions may very well end up costing the needless loss of many American lives. I'm afraid this country is going to be attacked again; it's just a matter of when, where, and how. So it's time to take world terrorist organizations very seriously and do what needs to be done to defeat them on their soil.

|John Hollenback, Greenfield Township