U.S. gun violence far exceeds most of world
In his Oct. 11 letter, Mr. Peter Hennington stated “...Australia, Mexico and the United Kingdom are among over 100 countries which have more restrictive gun laws than the United States, but still have homicide rates much higher than ours, according to official records.”
Get real. What “official records” show that Australia or the United Kingdom or any Western, industrialized nation has anywhere near the homicide rate we do? Granted, countries like El Salvador, Honduras, Rwanda, Turkey and Mexico, among others in the top 100, have higher rates, but that’s because their societies are experiencing civil turmoil. Yet, among members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the most economically developed nations in the world; the United States has a higher homicide rate than all but three of the 34 members. Only Mexico, Turkey, and Estonia have higher rates. Australia and the United Kingdom ranked 15th and 17th, respectively (reported in Business Insider, Nov. 12, 2014 and June, 18, 2015, and the recently published book, How Was Life, Oct. 1, 2014).
At the risk of “expounding (more) of the same slanted information foisted on the public,” as Mr. Hennington claims Bloomberg, Obama, and I did, here’s a statistic he and other Americans should ponder. As of Oct. 4, we were 277 days into 2015. By that date, according to the BBC News (Oct. 2, 2015), 294 mass shootings — defined by the FBI as four or more people killed or injured by gunfire — had occurred, 45 in our schools. That’s more than one per day.
Americans have, in fact, a far greater chance of dying at the hands of one of their own armed countrymen than a foreign terrorist. And we’ve spent trillions protecting ourselves against that threat. President Obama wasn’t quite accurate when he said: “At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other countries.” It does, but not with the same frequency.
We can argue till the cows come home about whether further restrictions on gun ownership will diminish the epidemic of mass murders. And I’m sure opponents of gun control will be able to garner facts that question the correlation between homicide rates and gun ownership, as Mr. Hennington did (although he should have used Russia or any of the Baltic States to make his case).
But the fact remains that the sheer rate of recurrence of mass shootings in the United States is unequaled in the developed world.
Change psyche to get rid of guns and drugs
I abhor guns. As a student of history and evolution, I would have hoped that the human race would have outgrown guns (and war) by now. But no.
Nevertheless, I would like to make the point that our murder-massacre problems are not the fault of the guns. Neither are our drug addition problems the fault of the drug lords and dealers. The fault lies squarely on a defect in the American psyche.
If Americans’ thinking was caring, responsible, stable, mature and healthy, then murders (36 per day) would not be rampant and there would be no market for drugs.
Concerning Barbara Evans’ Oct. 7 letter [“Schumer fighting for Medicare Advantage”] regarding Medicare Advantage Plans: according to Rep. Paul Tonko, Advantage Plans are costing at least 14 percent more than traditional Medicare. Who, might you ask, is paying the discrepancy?
First of all, the Medicare Trust Fund, secondly the taxpayers and thirdly (to my extreme aggravation) traditional Medicare subscribers (such as myself) pay extra premiums in order to subsidize Advantage Plans. If I want exercise, etc., I do it or pay for it myself. This parasitic Advantage Plan system must come to an end — it is not fair. Write to your congressman, as will I.
Marilyn B. Guidarelli
Disappointed with Cancer Society policy
I am a breast cancer survivor; I know early detection is critical — months matter. The American Cancer Society Breast Cancer guidelines are the most widely followed. I have many concerns about their most recent suggestions. I understand the guidelines are for women at “average risk,” but some women are not aware of their risk factors.
For example, I don’t think the average woman is checked for specific genetic mutations. The following suggestions are a contradiction to early detections.
Start mammograms at the age of 45, not 40. (Oncology nurses tell me they are seeing more women in their 20s and 30s with breast cancer.) After 55, have a mammogram every other year. In 2003, they stopped recommending monthly self exams. Now they are dropping the recommendation for routine physical breast exams by doctors. What? Apparently they have some concern about women (and men) dealing with false-positive tests.
I would rather deal with a false positive than undetected cancer. I am disappointed and discouraged with these new guidelines. I think they took a giant step backwards.
Not amused by new comic in our Gazette
For many years I have enjoyed the comics in our Daily Gazette. I was very surprised last week to see a new one added — WUMO.
So far, I can’t even muster up a chuckle for this one. I just can’t see the humor in birds flying into windows. If you had added one of my favorites from another newspaper — PICKLES — I would have been overjoyed because it never fails to leave me smiling after reading my morning newspaper.
Grateful for team at Ellis for cardiac care
I recently spent a week in the cardiac unit at Ellis Hospital and as a former teacher, I proudly give it an A-plus rating.
Thank you to each and every doctor, nurse and PA for the excellent care I received while there.
Keep up the wonderful work you do to keep us well.