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Letters to the editor

Friday, January 25, 2013 - 12:01 am

State rep reacts to Gov. Pence's address

Our state is incredibly blessed to follow one incredible governor with another. Gov. Pence has the kind of visionary leadership that will transform Indiana from good to great. With a solid focus on balanced budgets, education and job creation, we in the legislature have a great partner in the executive branch. I am excited to work with him on achieving the task of putting Hoosier students in great classrooms and Hoosier workers in great jobs.

(Tuesday), the governor showed his commitment to keeping state spending lower than state income. Indiana is ushering in a time of unprecedented growth and opportunity. It's important to remember that success in the workplace begins with success in the classroom. I am pleased that Gov. Pence plans to continue expanding educational opportunities for all Hoosier children. Placing a premium on good jobs and great schools will keep Indiana headed in the right direction.

Indiana Rep. Dan Leonard (R-Huntington) represents Huntington County and portions of Wells and Allen counties.

I insist that I be able to make my own choice

Gun control advocates sometimes point out that they have been victims of gun violence, as though that makes their opinions on the topic more relevant. Well, I have also been a victim of gun violence, and I favor less gun control.

Many years ago when I was in college, I was raped at gunpoint. At no point did the gun demonstrate any individual volition. To put it another way, the gun didn't rape me. The laws against rape didn't protect me. The police were not instantly on scene to save me. And I was unarmed, so I had no personal protection against the act of violence. Had the rapist been caught, it wasn't his gun that would have been prosecuted.

Man-made laws are not self-enforcing, like laws of physics. Anyone who really wants a gun will get one. And if a person is intent on committing an act of violence, lack of a gun won't stop him or her. Murders are committed using cars, knives, bows and arrows, bare hands, explosives, poisons and blunt instruments. We don't move to get rid of cars even though you have no constitutional right to own one. We cannot get rid of bare hands or blunt instruments.

Sure, a gun can be stolen, or taken away and used on its owner. This doesn't stop the police and the military from carrying guns. It doesn't stop bodyguards from carrying guns. It doesn't stop people who hire them from refusing the possible protection of someone armed with a gun.

If you think guns are useless, don't buy one. They are not inexpensive, and becoming proficient requires a time commitment that would get in the way of other activities. On top of that, it takes additional time on an ongoing basis to remain proficient. Incompetence and guns are a potentially lethal combination, so by all means, don't buy one if you think they aren't effective. But my right to “keep and bear arms” is constitutionally protected and “shall not be infringed.”

I cannot imagine the pain one feels if a loved one has been killed by a gun, but don't make my loved ones feel the same pain by trying to take away my means of self-protection. I survived one attack, but I have no guarantees about the future. No one can predict whether they may be attacked at a given time because violence doesn't make appointments. If you don't want to be prepared, that's your choice. I just insist on being allowed to make my choice.

Donna Maskell

Consider mace or tasers as alternatives

Mace has been a stalwart tool in the handbag of many women to protect them from harm. Wasp spray, because of its extended range, has been recommended for home defense. However, its efficacy has been questioned, and it is illegal under federal law to use it for any other purpose.

Bear spray is required when you go into a park where there is danger of attacks. It is mace with a broader range and has a larger canister. The concentration of mace is not increased.

There is a type of mace that has an extended range comparable to wasp spray and bear spray. I think it's called expanded mace.

Rather than arm people in schools or other areas with guns, it would seem plausible to consider this deterrent. These could be in the desks of every teacher and carried by every maintenance man. They would attend practice sessions for aiming and their use. Picture a lone gunman with three of four teachers spraying him.

I think it might be a good alternative and less troublesome and expensive than fortifying with guns. Even if other methods are used, it could be an auxiliary measure. Another possible deterrent could be a taser, in case the assailant was wearing a mask.

Paul Reszel

Facebook post suggests pepper spray

A post on Facebook from Jan. 13: If I were a teacher, one thing I would do is start carrying a pepper spray in my pocket whenever I was in the school building. And if a shooter came into my school, I would at least have something that could temporarily disable his eyes, even though only from 10 or 15 feet away. I may get shot while administering this countermeasure, but I'd probably get shot anyway.

And if the school board doesn't like my carrying pepper spray, they'll first have to find out I have it and then give me some alternatives, like giving me a gun or conceding that shooters who break into our school can mow down kids without fear of adult resistance. While the politicians posture and rant about how they “want to protect kids” with impossible schemes, I'd sneak my pepper spray into school and at least one person in the country may be doing something positive, even though it may be politically incorrect.

Bill Serstad

I will never give up my right to own a gun

I am a proud Christian American and I own firearms. They are my property bought with hard-earned money that I paid taxes on and earned honestly. I have no intention of giving them up.

I attend the same church every week, work 50-plus hours a week and follow the laws of the land to the letter like so many do. There are many like me living here in this country that my brother, my father, my grandfathers and many more like them fought for and did it all for God and country and never complained.

With that said I have had enough of the garbage coming from my leaders' mouths. I have had enough of blaming it all on the wrong reasons; this is evil at its worst. Plain and simple. It's not people like me who shoot for a hobby and have guns to protect my family from the same.

To me the answer is simple. Do like my grandpa taught me and pray to God every day for guidance, compassion, understanding and most of all love for my fellow people. I can tell you this for sure, until I know everybody is on the same page I will never give up the rights my fathers gave to me to protect and fight for as they did.

James Lemmon

Gun control logic?

The way to reduce traffic fatalities is to ban motor vehicles. That is absurd, right? The way to reduce drug abuse is to ban heroin, cocaine and methamphetamines. Wait a minute, we already did that and we still have drug abuse.

But certainly, the way to prevent school shootings is to begin banning weapons and high capacity magazines? No one needs an “assault rifle,” right? Well, no one needs a Corvette either.

The tragedy at Sandy Hook was indeed horrendous, but emotional knee-jerk reactions to it are worse. Statistically, school children are far more likely to die in traffic accidents than to be murdered with a firearm. More people were murdered in the United States last year with hammers than with rifles, yet the rifle is to blame? Will a criminal with a 30-round magazine wreak more havoc than a criminal with three 10-round magazines?

The Second Amendment was to ensure the “people” could not easily be subjected to a tyrannical government. Both the Federalists and their opponents agreed on this. It was not about hunting. I am confident that the Founding Fathers would indeed favor the individual’s right to own a so-called assault rifle in that to trying stop a tyrannical government with less than equal force would not make sense. If the Constitution needs to be changed, let’s go through the proper amendment process instead of simply ignoring and infringing upon it.

Dennis L. Cooley

New Haven