I am writing this letter to urge Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins to vote for the
expiration of Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. With this plan, if we define “the wealthiest” as those earning above $250,000 per year, we would raise a trillion dollars over the next decade to help with debt reduction and vital programs like education.
My husband and I are teachers and small-business owners. We work year-round at multiple jobs and still end up struggling to pay for basics: food, shelter, heat, college for our children. Yet I know we are lucky compared with other families who have harder struggles than our own.
The wealthy will say that they, too, struggle financially, but we know why: Luxury and frivolity costs a lot. Many people say that the rich deserve their toys and fun. They’ve worked hard — or they’re super-smart and they should reap rewards. Well, yes, they’ve worked hard (or not), and they’re smart (some of them), but mostly they’re lucky.
I think it would be great if those lucky people practiced what religions teach and shared just a little more of their good fortune with others. The ultra rich know that they can easily afford paying more in taxes. If they were honorable, they would offer to do so willingly. However, whether they
step forward or not, I hope we can count on our senators to allow Bush-era tax cuts to expire.
Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association, and apparently a lot of other people, want to put an armed guard at every school in the nation. Here’s a little math. Let’s assume a security officer makes about $25,000 a year.
There are about 95,000 public schools in the U.S. That equals $2.375 billion dollars. That’s assuming one, average-salary cop or cop-equivalent. Schools are sometimes very large with multiple entry points, and one person would be easy to overcome by two even minimally organized shooters. Even one could get in and cause damage before a security officer even knew something was going on. So let’s call it at least two per school. That’s $4.75 billion.
Personally, if we are going to make the investment, I want highly-trained, well-paid security people specifically trained in protecting a school full of children, so let’s bump the cost up to $50,000 per security guard. Now we are at $9.5 billion dollars. This does not include private schools. This does not include public universities, many of which already have whole police forces that don’t always prevent shootings. Basically, the NRA wants the taxpayers to spend anywhere from $2 to $10 billion in part to buy more weapons from its members to protect our schools from weapons that they themselves spend $2 million trying to keep on the streets. I feel like we are being conned.
I don’t disagree that it’s time for some type of gun control, but fair is fair. Lets put the blame where it belongs.The mentally challenged young man who performed the deadly act wasn’t the one to blame. If the guns had been properly secured, so he couldn’t get them, then the awful
situation may have been avoided. In the military I received expert rife and expert pistol medals and have a great respect for weapons. If we really want to do something let’s make it a federal law that all weapons, domestic and military, be properly secured at all times. Lets curb the sale of violent video games, DVDs and high-capacity magazines. Also a little gun education for the general public would be recommended.
That’s my Christmas wish this year.
Earle M. Rafuse
The media distortion of the facts regarding gun issues is very clear. For example a recent BDN article on Dec. 18, reports that gun deaths may approach 33,000 by 2015 and exceed motor vehicle deaths.The article goes on the note that there are 85 gun deaths daily with 53 of these being suicides. Therefore, 62 percent of gun deaths are suicide. I dare say, far fewer vehicular deaths are suicide.
Suicides result from mental illness and can be carried out by a variety of methods. Are they inferring that changing gun laws will result in fewer suicides? This is unlikely to change. People who want to kill themselves will do so by some other means. Gun suicides should not be counted in gun violence stats.
They also do not delineate how many deaths are one criminal killing another over drug related issues. Substance abuse and other psychopathology likely are the bigger issues.
The number of truly innocent victims of gun violence would seem to be small. These are the most dramatic and exploited by the media to sell periodicals, promote an agenda and enhance TV ratings.