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Oklahoma Gazette provides an open forum for the discussion of all points of view in its Letters to the Editor section. The Gazette reserves the right to edit letters for length and clarity. Letters can be mailed, faxed, emailed to pbacharach@okgazette. com or sent online at okgazette.com, but include a city of residence and contact number for verification.

Don’t bet on it

In reference to the article by C.G. Niebank III about problem gambling in Oklahoma (”Losing bet,” March 13, Oklahoma Gazette), it is true that more money is needed to deal with this issue. As the story indicated, only $750,000 is earmarked to help those addicted to gaming at Oklahoma’s 117 casinos, four racetracks and dozens of bingo parlors.

However, if more money is needed, the solution is easy. The gaming venues in our state annually send nearly $200 million in direct tax revenues to the Capitol for legislators to spend. Most men and women serving in that hallowed and falling-down building are Republicans, members of the same party that voted almost unanimously against the bill former House Speaker Larry Adair and I authored in 2003 that legalized gaming in this state.

Our current lawmakers are now an even more conservative bunch (quite a trick) and work very hard by staying busy on such critical Sooner State challenges as trying to figure out what the rest of us do in our bedrooms, who we love and why, putting guns in schools, telling women and doctors how and what to do during certain medical procedures, making sure the United Nations doesn’t come get us, etc.

Surely when they get a break from such important matters, it should not be a big step for one of these obviously deep thinkers to peel off $1 million or so from gaming revenues for addiction treatment.

However, as some often say, I wouldn’t bet on it. The odds are about the same as winning the Powerball.

Seriously, casino gaming was passed by the Legislature in 2003 and approved by Oklahoma voters the following year. By any measure, it has been a tremendous success, an economic boon to the entire state in the form of construction, tourism, worldclass entertainment, excellent dining facilities and jobs for tens of thousands of citizens. And, yes, our tribes are in better financial shape than ever and are spending much of their casino profits on education, health and roads. They are finally full partners with our state — a situation long overdue.

The legislation also saved Oklahoma’s moribund horse racing industry, stopped illegal gaming at tribal outlets and, by the way, earmarked millions for public education from kindergarten through graduate school.

When the Oklahoma Legislature tries to do something important and hard — which isn’t very often (including those I served in) — the outcome is never perfect, and it shouldn’t be in a democracy. As far as legalizing gaming, the positives far outweigh the negatives in every major category.

If more money is needed for gambling addiction, the money is sitting in the Oklahoma treasurer’s office... paid for, exclusively, by the gamblers themselves.

—Cal Hobson Lexington

Hobson is a former president pro tempore of the Oklahoma State Senate.

Contraception and population In response to “Embryonic” by Dr. Dominic M. Pedulla (Letters, Gazette, March 27), I have to admit that I am taken aback by a man of science being so disconnected from the idea that unchecked procreation will not have negative consequences in the long term.

Within the past 100 years, the world population has grown by approximately 5 billion people. I realize the Bible says to be fruitful. However, the Bible didn’t account for 7 billion people with extended life
expectancies thanks to the kind of medicine that Pedulla practices. It
stands to reason that if mankind did not make advances in medicine, we
really would have to procreate as the Bible prescribes (no pun
intended).

To argue
against emergency contraception, one can equally argue against medically
assisted life extension. If one asserts that contraception goes against
God’s will, then one must believe that all medical intervention also
goes against his will. God didn’t create pacemakers, stints, artificial
hearts or dialysis machines, and it’s a safe bet he never intended for
humans to have heart valves from pigs.

Assuming
world population stays its course, it’s expected to hit 9 billion by
2050. It would appear that by that point, we may very well be
negotiating the end of days as that egregious population scrambles for
limited resources.

My
point is that we need to conserve the resources we have. With oil being a
major component in pesticides, shortages could very well bring about
crop shortfalls and starvation, a hefty price to pay for dumping it down
the gullets of our cars. If Pedulla’s office were high enough to see
over Integris hospital, he would have a very telling view of Lake Hefner
and a stark reminder that water is a precious and limited resource,
something easily forgotten as long as the tap works without fail.

Emergency
contraception might not be ideal for those who seek some form of
religious absolution, but it may actually be preventing or staving off
the worst prophetic parts of the Bible. It is unwise to procreate under
the supposition that the deus ex machina is going to save us from war,
famine and related suffering at the 11th hour.

I,
for one, am in no hurry to see humanity tear itself apart, but unless
God’s plan involves starships and extraplanetary colonization, we
probably shouldn’t rally against contraceptive progress.

—Brandon Wertz Oklahoma City

How ’bout more guns? The
National Rifle Association is right, but not right enough. I believe
the Second Amendment guarantee to bear arms is virtually God-given and
the framers of the Constitution merely put it on paper.

Gun
control is blaming weapons for bad things that happen. So enough
already. Let’s quit trying to control guns and start controlling people
by using compulsory mental health care and limits on movies and video
games, because the Second Amendment trumps all others.

How
do we handle the bad apples we miss? More guns/weapons/arms
(mutually-assured destruction) equals less violence. Not only teachers,
but even schoolchildren of any age who’ve had proper training, should be
allowed to wear sidearms to class or even carry them concealed.

The
super rich can amass personal arsenals to take on small countries that
give them trouble. This will take pressure off our military and its
budget.

That, plus the
additional sales of weapons of all shapes and sizes, will help the
economy and strengthen families who’ll bond while training to defend
themselves.

Feel
safer? Me, neither. I was just hoping this extreme version of NRA policy
might shock some sense into somebody. But I doubt it.

—Jack Bowen Fort Worth, Texas

Poor figures, poor logic “Figures lie and liars figure” couldn’t be more true than the use of numbers in “The Gap” (Rachel Curtis, April 3, Gazette), which
would have us believe there’s a widening gulf between the haves and the
have-nots. This is more agendadriven, left-wing class-warfare crap.

The
first problem is the use of a national figure for poverty. There is no
national poverty level. Poverty in New England is a far cry from poverty
in Oklahoma; dollars in these two parts of the nation are not equal.
Poverty incomes in New York are middle-income in Oklahoma, and so on.

Another
statistical problem is talk of a bigger percentage of gains in the
upper-level incomes and lesser gains in the lower-level incomes. One’s
entire life is a steady increase in one’s income, from the lower levels
to middle and, hopefully, higher. That’s precisely why gains are bigger
in the higher incomes and not as high in the lower.

Poverty is not a nice place to be.

That’s
why people tend to work their way out of it. That’s why welfare is so
insidious; it makes poverty semi-comfy as it destroys the work ethic.

Common sense must always be present when using statistics to find the real bottom line.

—Thomas Furlong Oklahoma City

Opinions expressed on
the commentary page, in letters to the editor and elsewhere in this
newspaper are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the
opinions of ownership or management.

cOntinueD On paGe 6

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