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Not the way to go
I enjoy your letters to the editor and have contributed several. But I can’t agree that a positive feature of that page is that “our letter writers have the last word ... we do not respond to your criticisms.” 
I don’t see any benefit to that policy. The letter writers are denied feedback — which might even sway their (our) opinions — and, most important, readers are denied seeing opposing viewpoints that they can easily compare with the letter writers’.
Controversy almost always adds interest. I don't say that every letter deserves a rebuttal, but to rule out all rebuttals is not, in my view, the way to go.

Editor’s Note: Thanks for the response, Richard. You make some very good points, which we’ll be discussing as a staff over the next few weeks.
It’s not the gun
Another tragedy has befallen our nation. Each of us hangs our head in shame and our hearts grieve. Twenty children and six teachers lay dead, executed by a madman because he felt his mother loved those children and that school more than him.
The anti-gun lobby demands prohibition while screaming about the lives of the innocent. The pro-gun lobby calls for armed guards on every school campus, also invoking the lives of the innocent. No one dares speak the unspeakable truth, and that is we, The People, are the problem. 
We, as a people, have failed our children, each other and even our madmen. Yes, almost seven of 10 American households have at least one gun. I submit that it’s not the guns. It is not one simple thing. No single legislative act will change madmen killing people.
Some believe if we just outlaw all the guns, the problem will go away. Clearly, this is not so. Mexico, for example, makes it almost impossible for a private citizen to legally own firearms, yet Mexico has a gun homicide rate of 5.11 per 100,000. The US has a rate of 3.94 per 100,000. Even with more guns, there are fewer gun homicides per person. 
Canada has as many guns per person as the US and almost no gun homicides, with a rate of .65 per 100,000. The Swiss have a gun homicide rate of .94 and every home has a full military assault rifle, a military pistol and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. On every block, there is a designated home with grenades.
The mere presence of guns does not lead to gun homicide, and the prohibition of guns does not end gun homicide. Anyone who looks at the figures published by the United Nations knows this fact.
When looking at the United Nations gun homicide figures, what leaps off the page is that no matter what the legislative scheme may be, nations that have broad but tightly woven safety nets and lower economic disparity rates have lower rates of gun homicide. Nations with weak safety nets and high income disparities have higher rates of gun homicide, no matter what prohibitions against gun ownership are enacted. 
Since 1966, when then-Gov. Ronald Reagan emptied out state facilities that treated the mentally ill, getting help for someone with a mental disability has become extremely difficult. While this was astounding and seemed like democratic deference toward individual freedom and free will, it was mostly a cost-cutting measure. The idea went national. 
In the 1960s, perhaps it was too easy to commit a person against their will. But now, it is almost impossible to commit a manifestly insane person until they harm either themselves or someone else. Is it a wonder that the number of insane people damaging themselves and others has skyrocketed in our society?
When attempting to discuss the relationship of gun homicide rates to economic disparity, anti-gun lobbyists begin to scream insults and say I don’t love the children and become totally irrational. When discussing the gun homicide rates, pro-gun lobbyists gladly accept that gun control doesn’t work, but they refuse to discuss the nexus between gun homicide rates, the quality of the safety net and the size of national economic disparity. They then accuse me of being a socialist or a big government liberal or some other terrible thing the Weekly can’t print.
We cannot ever stop the shootings of children by crazy people without some kind of discussion and action on societal reform. Just outlawing guns or giving every adult in a school a gun and tactical training will not eliminate the problem. We cannot have that discussion until we stop screaming at each other. A safe society is one that is broadly middle class. Until we reverse the deregulation, globalization and race to the bottom of the American economy, we will not be a safe society, no matter what kind of “gun control” is passed.


Time to get healthy
This year’s developments have certainly vindicated those of us who care about our health, our environment and our treatment of animals.
In January, first lady Michelle Obama unveiled revamped federal guidelines requiring school cafeterias to serve more fruits, vegetables and whole grains and less sodium and animal fat.
In March, a study involving nearly 38,000 men and 84,000 women by the Harvard School of Public Health concluded that one daily serving of meat is associated with a 13 percent to 20 percent increase in the risk of death from heart disease or cancer.
The American Journal of Preventive Medicine estimates that prevalence of obesity among American adults will escalate to 42 percent by 2030, with a $550-billion increase in medical costs.
The Humane Society exposed unconscionable atrocities among three pig producers in Oklahoma and a Pennsylvania egg farm. 
It’s little wonder that 7 percent of Americans consider themselves vegetarian or vegan and 28 percent are actively reducing their meat consumption, leading to a 12 percent US drop since 2007. 
We should all consider following suit for this New Year’s resolution.
Entering “live vegan” in a search engine brings tons of recipes and other useful information.


Re: “Three-way race,” Dec. 13
Is this it? Is this the best representation for Northwest residents? Really? Kennedy shoots a guy in his car. Trone gets on an airplane with a gun. Yeah, let’s elect them. All these guys can say is we should forget about these things cuz they happened so long ago. I’m voting for Benson unless we find out he was arrested too! 


Re: “This is life,” Dec. 13
Best of luck, Jon! You’re in my prayers!


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