Letters to the Editor - Jan. 2

January 02, 2013

Multi-faceted question will need many answers

To the editor:

There is no doubt that the carnage in Connecticut is horrible. Everyone is looking for the government to do something. Unfortunately, high emotion makes for bad legislation. We will go through a period of national remorse and when no simple solution is found that cures the situation 100 percent, we throw up our hands and go on to the next “shiny thing” that catches our attention.

Legislation that closes the gun show issue doesn’t take care of the mental health issue. Closing the Internet sale of automatic weapons doesn’t close the secondary market problem. Etc., etc.

As one who was shot once in a stupid, “unloaded gun” incident, I should be in favor of strict gun control — but I’m not.  I am in favor of working to understand the many facets of the issue, from careless handling of guns to the crime issue and beyond to the mental health issues, and taking incremental steps to nibble away at the problem.

Let’s be honest, the genie is out of the bottle in the U.S.   There are too many guns in circulation now and no movement to stop more from entering our society. I would like to address the competency issue, and the residual responsibility of owning weapons.

I think we could limit the problem of careless gun handling if people wishing to buy a gun had to be certified that they are proficient in handling and using the weapon. I had to get a driver’s license to drive a car. How about asking me to be certified by a qualified Range Master before I could buy a particular weapon? This could be a positive contribution by the NRA to a solution instead of their paranoid fear of the government participation. Of the ten thousand plus deaths by guns each year, perhaps we could reduce that number significantly. Perfect solution? No.

How about making me responsible for owning the weapon?  Would I be more careful in securing the weapon? Probably.  Would I be more careful as to who has access to my weapons?  Absolutely! 

I don’t want to take away the hunter’s guns; I don’t want to take away the hobbyist’s guns. I do want to end the senseless deaths from careless and incompetent use of guns. I do want to make guns harder for the mentally ill to get their hands on.

This is not an easy issue and there are no easy, 100 percent sure cures.  If a hunter can’t take down prey with five shots, spraying 30 shots is not hunting animals, it is slaughtering them.

Mayor Bloomberg of New York recently quoted statistics that a gun in a home is 22 times more likely to shoot a friend or family member than an intruder. Let’s work on that statistic — recent events in Norway show that restricting guns does not stop the mentally ill. Let’s work on what is possible and not be held hostage to the “perfect solution.”

Bob and Earlene Ayrer
Falling Waters, W.Va.

Michael appears to struggle with the facts

To the editor:

George Michael’s recent column reminds me of the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s quote about everyone being entitled to their own opinion but not to their own facts. Since Michael is a former educator, I would ask him to “show his work.”

He claims the so-called “liberal media” has ignored the Wendy Rosen story. The story was covered by all four television news stations in Baltimore and two in D.C., and in print by The (Baltimore) Sun and Baltimore Examiner, as well as the Washington Post. Michael also cites Election Integrity Maryland, but fails to disclose that EIM is an offshoot of True The Vote, a Houston-based Tea party group.

Michael cites “investigative reporters from NBC2 in Ft. Meyers,” yet my search of turned up no such reports. He cites two quotes from, which I found in only two locations on the Internet: Michael’s column at and an op-ed piece in the East Valley Tribune in Tempe, Ariz.

Columns like this have no place in The Herald-Mail, or at the very least should be properly fact-checked and challenged on their statements of “fact” by someone other than readers.

There are equally articulate and far more accurate local writers. David Hanlin’s column is terrific; and there are several people who regularly write letters to the editor who would be far better candidates for having their own column in The Herald-Mail.

Kyle Powderly

Jaycees thankful for support

To the editor:

The annual Jaycees of Hagerstown Christmas for Kids event was held at the Hagerstown Community College Student Center on Saturday, Dec. 15. Each Christmas, the Jaycees of Hagerstown work with Children in Need Inc. to invite children in the community to spend a fun day with us and receive holiday gifts from Santa.

The event committee would like to thank all of the sponsors and volunteers for their contributions. Major sponsors include Rocky’s New York Pizza College Plaza, Drs. Toothman and Barra, and Stephanie Powers and the HCC Center for Continuing Education and Extension Services.

A special thanks to Anne Martin of Children in Need, Bud and Doris Kline, Miss Queen State 2013 Audreanna Colombo, Jodi Colombo of Beyond Ordinary, and the HCC Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society for donating their time and talents. Jaycees of Hagerstown member sponsors include Danielle Brezler, Britney Carter, Kelli Cobb, Rachael McLoud and Katy Warehime.

On behalf of the Jaycees of Hagerstown, thank you again for your support!

Danielle R. Brezler
Vice president of individual development
for the Jaycees of Hagerstown

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