The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Editorials

January 7, 2013

Readers' Forum 1-7 | Familial, educational systems have failed us

— Did you hear the one about the gun that walked into a bar? Of course you haven’t, because guns can’t walk any more than knives, baseball bats, axes or pipe bombs can. I have sense enough to know that the shooters at Columbine, Virginia Tech or Newtown had one desire – to kill.

We are surrounded by things that, in the wrong hands, could be used as implements of death. Should we ban steel because it can be sharpened into a blade, trees because their branches can be used to make clubs, or cars because they can be used to mow down large numbers of people?

I am not of the opinion that Americans should be allowed to own arsenals of guns, but taking guns out of the hands of the shooters would not have stopped them from killing. I am astute enough to know that if the shooters didn’t use guns, there are other options that could have been far more deadly.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, approximately 16,440 children age 17 and under were murdered in the U.S. from 1980-2008. Of those murders, 4,702 were by poison, 4,586 by arson and 1,331 by gun. The remaining 5,821 were by other means. It was not gun laws that failed, it was the parents, friends and educational system for ignoring behaviors that clearly pointed toward something serious, and the mental health and/or the legal system for making it nearly impossible to have someone committed.

Scott Reininger

Johnstown

Politics is theater for the naive

Now that the fiscal cliff negotiations have ended and we’ve all taken a collective deep breath, it’s increasingly clear to me that one simple fact holds true now more than ever: Contemporary American politics is theater for the naive. I truly feel sorry for anyone who cannot see that this toxic two-party facade is little more than one out-of-control monster with two screaming heads.

The petty squabbling, finger-pointing and bellowing of corrosive rhetoric serve as the perfect cover for the lobbyists, bankers and other behind-the-scenes instigators who must be laughing themselves straight to their off-shore bank accounts.

It would be rather accurate to compare the current political climate to professional wrestling, full of postured cheering for a good guy and venomous booing for a bad guy, but it’s not fair to claim that professional wrestling is quite as scripted or staged.

So the Democrats are going to keep the economy on the right track to a prosperous future? Or do I have that backward and it’s the Republicans who are going to save us all from certain monetary doom?

I guess the absolute truth can be found right there in plain sight – depending on which cable television news channel is on at the moment, of course.

This is just one small example of the contrived, blinding talking points that keep the objectives of the manipulating elite set on their own self-serving paths, while the public at large continues cannibalizing itself inside a brilliantly crafted left-wing/right-wing illusion.

Matthew Chalich

Upper Yoder Township

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