Press-Republican

Opinion

January 31, 2013

Letters to the Editor: Jan. 31, 2013

Teens, guns

TO THE EDITOR: As teenagers in Keene Central School in the late 1960s, boys and girls could join the high school rifle club, which met evenings in the shooting range beneath the high school.

There, we practiced with .22 caliber target rifles and competed for high score. These rifles and ammunition were stored at the shooting range beneath the school.

Schools in surrounding communities also had these shooting ranges. There were rifle clubs in these towns that grownups belonged to, and shooting matches were held in school target ranges.

High school children who hunted and drove to school had shotguns and hunting rifles in their vehicles on school grounds. Nobody was scared, nobody was threatened, no one was shot.

You say, “Well, that was then and times have changed.” What has changed is the culture in America. Now, as our children grow up, they are bombarded with violent video games, violent movies and television and illegal drugs.

What do we know about those who have committed mass shootings and violent crimes with firearms? We usually discover that some have a criminal history, and there can be issues of mental illness and use of illegal drugs. Some of these shootings have been committed by children in their formative years.

Now we have newly enacted gun laws imposed on law-abiding New York state citizens. This, in part, is because a crime of mass murder was committed in Connecticut. New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is quoted as having said, “We owe this to the victims of Newtown.”

In reality, these new laws won’t be effective in preventing firearm-related crime. They do, however, chisel away at the constitutional rights of law-abiding, firearm-owning citizens of New York state.

WILLIAM O’CONNOR

Keene Valley

 

Food, environment

TO THE EDITOR: The Jan. 9 editorial article by a New York professor concluded “Life as we know it will be considerably different without food, without the environment and without energy” and that “the Farm Bill” is also known as the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008.”

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