Sounding off: School shootings and politics, deer hunting, state of Pittsburgh and US, climate among week’s topics

Gun Rights

Thoughts and prayers not enough to stop shootings

Once again there is a school shooting. Once again the people who vote against sane gun laws offer their thoughts and prayers. Well, guess what? That is not enough.

When the Founding Fathers gave citizens the right to bear arms they couldn’t have imagined the guns of today. At that time there was little protection provided by law enforcement. They had to have the ability to protect themselves.

Times have changed. That rule no longer applies. The Republicans of today go on and on about being pro-life. State after state is enforcing strict abortion laws. I would like to ask them if an 8- or 9- or 10-year-old’s life is not as important as a fetus. I would say their lives are more important. They have personalities and families who love them. Pro-life should be all life, not just the unborn.

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If the Republicans could have a little empathy, it would go a long way. There are so many things in this country they should be addressing, but they are too busy banning books and drag queens reading to children.

Children see things differently than adults. They are not born with prejudices. That has to be taught to them. Hitler not only banned books during World War II but also burned them. Is that next?

People have to band together and march in the streets. Vote out all the politicians who are in the pockets of the NRA, gun lobbies and gun manufacturers. Thoughts and prayers don’t stop bullets.

Nancy Cochran



Change deer opener back to Monday

This is in response to the letter “Saturday opener best for families” (April 1, TribLIVE). I understand this opinion, but I would like to point out part of the argument for changing the opener back to the first Monday after Thanksgiving.

Yes, I am a camp hunter, and I agree with the camp hunters’ argument. I’ve been doing this for over 70 years, so I’ve seen a lot. I feel for the writer for not being able to hunt with his grandchildren, but what about all those children belonging to all those businessmen who own and operate the family grocery stores and restaurants that are seeing a vast majority of their income earned on the weekend after Thanksgiving lost because the camp hunters are not shopping as much as they once did? How about the kid who asks his father for some new jeans, and the dad who cannot provide them because of lack of funds?

How about the rural volunteer fire companies that can’t afford to offer safety equipment to their volunteer first responders or the rural ambulance services that lost income because those camp hunters are not attending their fundraisers?

Switching back to the Monday opener could alleviate some of those concerns. Let’s get back to the Monday opener.

Jim Kastner



‘City on a hill’ struggling

Whether a conservative Republican or a left-wing Democrat, you must now realize that our 250-year, uniquely successful American experiment, our “shining city on a hill,” is now struggling mightily.

You are probably aware of how poorly most of our institutions have been doing recently. Our economy is struggling; inflation and the federal debt are high; banks and commercial real estate are floundering; middle-income people can’t pay their bills; many politicians and bureaucrats are corrupt and lie; safety on city streets, in schools and at the Mexican border is terrible; life expectancy and public education scores are dropping; and Russia, China and Iran are threatening.

So it has become crucial that we replace our Congress and White House with more capable, decisive, honorable, cooperative and bold leaders who can aggressively tackle these problems by again unleashing the power of our Constitution, our democracy, our free enterprise system and the deterrent power of our military. The tipping point of our country’s disintegration may well be the use of law enforcement agencies by the party in power, in unscrupulous ways, against the opposing party.

America needs your help and your votes.

Ron Raymond

Buffalo Township


Humans have changed the climate cycle

The writer of the letter “Climate change is cyclical” (March 27, TribLIVE) rehashes the faulty reasoning that still leads some to deny climate change. He wrongly states that “experts” predicted a coming ice age in the 1970s. In fact, even in those early days of climate modeling, the published record shows that most studies predicted warming.

By 1990 the scientific consensus — as reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — correctly predicted that Earth would now be 2 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than preindustrial times.

The writer highlights the cyclical ice ages Earth experienced over the past few million years. Those ice ages resulted from periodic changes in Earth’s orbit, tilt and precession. In fact, those changes would now be cooling our planet if humans hadn’t increased greenhouse gases to their highest levels in at least 3 million years.

Rather than seriously trying to understand climate science, the writer seems to be ideologically motivated — by conspiracy theories about a mysterious elite gaining “more power and control over society.” Those who really want to “do the research” will find an objective analysis in the latest IPPC summary report published last month.

Robert R. Mitchell



Reasons for Pittsburgh population loss

So the city of Pittsburgh has lost over 12,000 people and is 10th in the country for population drop (“Allegheny County had nation’s 10th biggest population loss, census estimates show,” March 31, TribLIVE). This is not rocket science, and here is why:

• The city has become very unsafe, and all you hear are excuses and rhetoric on how it will be fixed. Stop with all the talk and do something already. People are tired!

• People who live in the city pay a 3% wage tax. So, if you and your spouse work, you now lose 6% of your total income. This tax is lower everywhere outside the city.

• You get hit with very high taxes, and it is a triple whammy. You get hit from Allegheny County, the City of Pittsburgh and the state. We are more heavily taxed then 90% of the country, and what do you have to show for it?

• Education: Why do people move to communities? Because of good schools. Schools are to be safe and orderly, and parents want their children to achieve. If they don’t, they move to other communities. I spent 30 years in education, so yes, I can speak to this concern.

• We have thousands of students who attend local colleges and universities but leave as soon as they graduate. Why? See above, and lack of opportunity.

I think I have touched upon enough. If our government officials would stop talking and get the job done, maybe people would stop leaving.

Eric Rosenthall

Bethel Park


Children lose when politics taint education decisions

Due to actions taken during the Jan. 9 school board meeting, children in the Hempfield Area School District lost an opportunity to have personal instruction from an author who’s written over 100 children’s books — because our school board didn’t like the man’s politics.

A community member raised a concern over inviting Bruce Coville, author of “My Teacher Glows in the Dark” and “I Was a Sixth Grade Alien,” because his Twitter account reflected one-sided political views. Board member Mike Alfery perused the author’s Twitter and, either intentionally or unintentionally, mischaracterized the Twitter account to the board. He claimed that the author wrote about drag queens (he actually said that drag queens were not proselytizing) and distasteful tweets about boys (he did not tweet about boys; in anger, he complained about immature “man-boy” motorcyclists revving engines loudly on his street).

The board then took a vote — working on no more information than Alfery’s interpretation of reality and community complaints that the author was political — and denied our children the opportunity to learn from an experienced, award-winning author.

How long are we going to let badly informed, politically skewed politicians with no experience in education or child development direct and micromanage the education of our children in the Hempfield Area School District?

Ceil Kessler


The writer is a parent in the Hempfield Area School District.


Aren’t we all equal under the law?

A question I’ve been thinking about lately. What would exonerate a person from prosecution for crimes committed, regardless of past, present or future positions? Think about it: Is the rule of law equal … in all cases?

Leonard Mucci

Derry Township

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