Letters to the Editor - Feb. 16

February 16, 2011

There’s no answer to Callaham’s question

To the editor:

Art Callaham asks (Jan. 23 and Feb. 4), “Where do we draw the line between public safety and individual (gun) rights?” The question assumes that there is a correlation between gun laws and public safety. Is there?

Search for information on gun laws vis-à-vis gun violence and you quickly learn that the parties on both sides of the gun debate claim polar opposite things, complete with statistics, graphs and charts. Both cannot be right.

I decided to do my own research. If I had just two pieces of information, I could determine for myself whether there was a correlation between gun laws and gun crimes.

Using the “2009 Brady Campaign State Scorecard,” I arranged all the U.S. states along the horizontal, or X-axis of a graph, from strict to lenient.

Next, using the FBI’s “Crime in the United States” report for 2009, I plotted firearm murders as a percent of all murders on the vertical, or Y-axis of the graph.

If strict gun laws guaranteed reduced gun violence, of all murders, the percentage involving firearms should be lower in the strict states and higher in the lenient states.

That is not what my graph shows. Connect all the plot points and you end up with a “snake,” a line that wiggles up and down, up and down, with no apparent rhyme or reason.  It is not low on the strict end of the graph and high on the lenient end as would be the case if strict gun laws translated into public safety.

The answer to Callaham’s question, then, is that there is no answer to Callaham’s question. We might as well ask, “Where do we draw the line between oranges and high rise office buildings?” One part of the question bears no relation to the other.

G.F. Miller

Family affected by fire thanks the community

To the editor:

We struggle to find words that will adequately express our heartfelt thanks to all those who assisted us in any way following the loss of our homes on Jan. 4.

We are very grateful for the quick response of fire companies from Needmore, Hancock, McConnellsburg, Breezewood, Mercersburg, Hustontown, Berkeley Springs, Clear Spring, Little Orleans and for the rescue squads who also responded. Thank you to the Washington County Rehab Unit and the Washington County Air Unit that assisted the fire companies.

The generosity of family, friends, neighbors, our church family (WPC), many area churches and even strangers totally overwhelmed us. We are deeply grateful for the support of all your thoughts, prayers, cards and love gifts. A big thank you to all the ladies who prepared our delicious meals and to the men who helped to remove items from the house.

A special thank you to the staff and support staff of the Southern Fulton Elementary School and the Southern Fulton Junior Senior High School for their gifts from Dress Down Days. Also, thank you to World Kitchen and its employees.

We are blessed to live in and be surrounded by caring communities. Life can change in an instant and we thank God for giving us the strength to get through this difficult time, and for all of you who so willingly came forth to help and to share your blessings with us.

We appreciated every kindness bestowed on us.

May God richly bless each one of you.

Mark and Tammy Palmer and family
George and Wilma Valentine
Needmore, Pa.

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