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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.

Robin is right

Thank you for publishing Robin Meyers’ commentary (”Loving our guns to death,” Dec. 19, 2012) on the gun debate. We need more informed and intelligent dialogue on this issue. There is a solution that lies between the extremes on the issue.

Beware a well-armed government

—Bob Hanlin Oklahoma City

In the wake of the Newtown, Conn., massacre, progressives are emboldened by the prospect that public opinion may shift toward their policies favoring citizen disarmament. Robin Meyers’ op-ed in Oklahoma Gazette is a fine crystallization of sentiments held by those who favor a certain kind of disarmament policy — but not a general disarmament policy. Rev. Meyers laments “[a] gun-loving, gun-saturated, gun-worshipping culture.”

His lamentations are selective, however, because he does not say anything about the firepower held by those armed by the force of government.

Within the past two years, the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Education (!) ordered 27 Remington rifles. The Department of Homeland Security has ordered more than 1 billion rounds of hollow-point bullets in the past two years. Hollowpoint bullets were banned by the 1899 Hague Convention, even for use in international warfare, due to their lethality.

When progressives start to criticize the firepower of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, for example, or protest orders from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency and the Social Security Administration for firearms, as has been recently reported, perhaps more than a few libertarians will find it worth our while to seriously entertain Meyers’ chirpings for domestic peace and tranquility. Until then, it appears, we are headed for a society where one class of citizens is armed to the teeth (government agents) and the rest of us (save more than a few renegades and outlaws) will be coerced into submission.

Tasers, pepper spray, multiple-round clips, night-vision gear, GPS monitoring, and armored personnel carriers granted by Homeland Security to local police forces are now the new norm. We are all terribly saddened by the loss of the children and teachers in Newtown, but if the government’s firepower grows at an exponential rate, leaving the Second Amendment’s individuals’ rights provision to muskets and single-shot weapons is no guarantee for the safety and liberty of the people.

Meyers begins his piece by making light of certain nostrums, however true, that those of us opposed to selective citizen disarmament often repeat, such as “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people,” and “If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.”

I’ll
give him another one to think about: If the politicians take away your
guns, they will sooner or later take away your elections.

—Vance Armor Oklahoma City

A failed philosophy

A
big, heartfelt, thank-you goes to Bill Bleakley for his commentary,
“Hey, Legislature, nothing’s happening here!” (Dec. 11, 2012, Gazette) His
words echoed those of many of us who have been banging our heads
against the proverbial brick wall as we watch the decline of our
schools.

I agree with
Bleakley that we do have some well-meaning board members, educators and
civic leaders who have made sincere attempts to address the ever-growing
problems with our schools. I also agree these attempts have resulted in
failures, except for some successful efforts in specific schools.

It is these “specific, successful schools” I would like to address.

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.

I am an Oklahoma City Public School parent. I am an advocate of public education and a firm believer in parental partnership with the
OKCPS Board of Education. I am excited by the strong cross support
beginning to build between a group of parents of public schools across
the metro, and I am proud to be one of those parents.

A
new wind is blowing, and with it comes parents who are passionate about
their children’s education and are thrilled over the public school
options available to them.

I
write to express my concern regarding the current philosophy the
district appears to have adopted as its “one size fits all” panacea to
fix an insurmountable problem with our schools. The philosophy is
“robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

District
Superintendent Karl Springer needs to understand this is not a viable
solution. It does not make sense to punish your stronger, successful
schools by robbing them of resources in an attempt to bring up weaker
performers.

The goal
should be to continue to support your high-performing schools and use
them as models for others. The answer should be creating new resources
for those schools in need, not creating a slow atrophy by depleting
successful schools of resources.

The
OKCPS Board of Education has a new catchphrase they have used
repeatedly at meetings with parents. That phrase is “equanimity.” I
looked up the word and the definition is as follows: mental or emotional
stability or composure, especially under tension or strain; calmness.

It
is my belief that Springer has created the opposite of “equanimity.” He
has created an environment that is lacking stability and calmness. We
feel as if our precious school resources are being threatened, and this
is not acceptable.

There is a better solution. I believe a strong parental partnership with OKCPS can help create that solution.

So,
whether a commission is created to operate the district or the
structure remains the same, I ask that you remember there is a pool of
parents out there who would make a vibrant, insightful task force.

And who knows? We may even be able to help get this ship back on course.

—Jamie Burnette Oklahoma City

Fallin fails

Gov.
Mary Fallin’s ruthless refusal to expand Medicaid coverage to
low-income Oklahomans is typical of the way her past political actions
have harmed Oklahomans.

In 2007, Fallin voted against raising the minimum wage above $5.15 per hour, where it had been for 10 years.

Then
she opposed House Resolution 4, which gave Medicare authority to
negotiate with drug manufacturers for lower prescription drug prices.

In
other words, she voted to turn pricing of our prescription drugs over
to pharmaceutical companies and order Medicare to pay whatever was
asked. For those advocating reduction of Medicare costs, here’s the
place to start.

She
also said “no” to expanding the State Children’s Health Insurance
Program (SCHIP) for 55,000 low-income children in Oklahoma and 4 million
nationwide.

She voted
against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the first bill President
Obama signed into law. Ledbetter was a hard worker who learned years
later that she had lost more than $200,000 in salary, and even more in
pension and Social Security benefits, because she had been paid much
less than her male coworkers doing exactly the same work.

Finally,
Fallin signed an emergency rule which gives insurance companies a pass
on providing individual health insurance coverage for newborns from zero
to 1 year old.

Surely, Oklahomans don’t realize how badly Fallin’s actions have hurt many of us.

—Wanda Jo Stapleton Oklahoma City

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