To the Daily:
A thank you for a touching, realistic take
I’m the mother of a 12-year-old with autism, writing to thank Jessica Vosgerchian for her recent article about this topic (My Family’s Syndrome, 11/21/0707). In sharing this very private and no doubt emotional part of her family life, Jessica provided the most clear, concise, honest and realistic picture of Asperger’s Syndrome I’ve read in the 10 years since my son was diagnosed. This is a phenomenal piece of writing, and I have no doubt that it will make a difference in the lives of many families whose children haven’t been diagnosed, but do in fact have Asperger’s Syndrome. This article will be the lightbulb moment for many, resulting in children and adults getting the support they so desperately need to excel. Thank you Jessica for the view from your shoes.
Aroostook County, Maine
Guns make for a more dangerous society
This letter is in response to Mike Eber’s column in Monday’s Daily (Guns are for liberals, too, 11/26/2007). While the massacre at Virginia Tech is fresh in our minds, we should also consider that it took place just nine days shy of the 10-year anniversary of another infamous shooting massacre. On April 25, 1997, a lone gunman killed 35 people and injured 37 others in Tasmania, Australia. Ten years ago, the Australian government imposed strict gun control, despite warnings and aggressive protests by pro-gun groups.
Today, Australia is a safer country. The wrong people can still get guns on the blackmarket, but people feel safer today than 10 years ago in terms of gun crimes. I could walk around the streets of Australia without a care about guns, which is pretty difficult in America.
People argue that we need the guns to protect ourselves. That argument is foolish. As eye for an eye never solves the problem: Like Martin Luther King Jr. said, it just leads to a lot of blind people. When people with guns decide to shoot others they usually don’t care about their own lives, but their ultimate aim is to kill as many people as possible. Even if they see the other party drawing the gun, they will simply shoot and run away. Regardless of who fires more quickly, there will be someone injured or shot dead because of guns.
Can we reduce the number of people being shot dead by arming people? It’s easy to think so because gun control in America has failed miserably for the last 30 years. But this failure is because gun control has been wrongly implemented and is not strict enough.
What is so wrong in trying out strict gun control for the next five to 10 years, and truly gauging what happens to people’s attitudes and gun crime rates in America? I’m willing to give up my gun ownership rights for the next 10 years in order to create a safe place for my child to grow up. America will never be a safe place to live in as long as people freely possess guns.
Gun advocates make mistaken interpretations
There has been a flurry of debate about gun ownership of late in The Michigan Daily. Most writers have made the obvious mistake of using generalized arguments as evidence instead of statistics. It’s overly simplistic and misleading to make a claim like: “An individual will be able to defend himself with a gun, and therefore will be safer against an attacker.”
Regardless of whether this statement is actually true, it considers only a tiny fraction of the gun debate. What about all the crimes that happened because of the presence of a gun? That is why statistics are vital. They tell us the outcome of all of these factors, because it is impossible to propose a model that takes all considerations into account with gun violence. Increased gun presence means more violent acts, even if the occasional student is able to defend himself against a perpetrator.
While Mike Eber concedes this point in his column (Guns are for liberals, too, 11/26/2007), he makes his own crucial mistake. That is, he still interprets the Second Amendment to the Constitution with the view of 200 years ago. Remember, this was a time before automatic weapons, and also long before the government had F-18 jets, M-21 tanks, sophisticated GPS-guided missiles and other technologies that the public has no access to. If he thinks that a mass of individuals with concealed weapons would somehow stand a chance against the U.S Army, he’s living in the same overly simplistic world of those who think concealed weapons mean less violence in the first place.
Maybe his guns would have protected Eber 200 years ago, or in a third-world country where the government is armed with the same outdated weapons – but not here, not today. Not only does he completely fail in his goal to potentially protect against a government gone tyrannical, but Eber is also partly responsible for the increased violence against his fellow citizens. Ben Franklin would have been more proud of those who carefully examine the purpose of the Second Amendment critically instead of blindly following it like it’s still the 18th century.
A two-state solution is the only possibility
I thought that we were beyond the point of advocating for a one-state solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict (The fight for academic freedom, 11/26/2007). Regardless of what Joel Kovel wrote or what Desmond Tutu says, the vast majority of the informed world has accepted a two-state solution in some form. Among those included in this group are Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, the governments of Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, as well as numerous other world leaders. To suggest that a two-state solution is radical and crazy is simply ignoring reality. Wherever one thinks borders should be drawn or which policies are right or wrong, a two-state solution is the only solution in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.