Stand up against ‘climate denialism’
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR July 25, 2012 5:18PM
United States Greco-Roman Wrestling Team member Ellis Coleman, 60-kg, smiles during a news conference at the Main Press Center at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, July 25, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Updated: September 26, 2012 11:54AM
The Sun-Times took the plunge and got it right. Its editorial “Climate change goes AWOL” puts the paper on record as supporting the idea of man-made global warming. Major papers like the Sun-Times must take clear positions on the great issues of our time, and, certainly, global warming is among those. Your picture of our two presidential candidates “campaign[ing] across this drought-stricken land” without ever mentioning the cause of so many people’s suffering is brilliant and macabre. Neither man will “speak truth to power,” in this case the power of the lobbies that feed climate denialism. How can we choose a leader from between two such timid men?
Jay F. Mulberry, Hyde Park
Encouraging people to ride bikes in downtown traffic is ridiculous, dangerous for everyone and really annoying for drivers.
Holly Talarico, Bridgeport
Wrestling by another name
Thank you for writing about Ellis Coleman, a local Olympian. The article, however, does a great disservice to the sport. In the Olympics, there is Freestyle Wrestling and Greco-Roman Wrestling, not just “Wrestling.” It is like saying so-and-so made the Olympic team in “ball.” Basketball? Volleyball? Mr. Coleman is part of the Greco-Roman wrestling team that will be representing the USA at the Olympics in London. That style of wrestling is traditionally not taught in high school, or even college. Each Greco wrestler makes a decision to learn the sport and technique on their own. That by itself is a huge commitment.
Mr. Coleman defeated Joe Betterman in the finals at the Olympic trials. Mr. Betterman is a graduate of Lake View High School, something else that your readers would have liked to have known. As we approach the London Games, I join the rest of the country in wishing all of our athletes the best of luck as each of them strive to achieve their dream of Olympic Gold.
Philip Purevich, Hyde Park
In his column on Wednesday, Jacob Sullum concludes that nothing can be done to prevent the mass murder of innocent civilians like what took place in Colorado last week. Mr. Sullum thinks that banning assault weapons designed for warfare or high-capacity ammunition clips like those used in Colorado or in the Giffords shooting would not help to prevent another madman from committing mass murder. After all, it only takes a couple seconds to reload a gun, Sullum argues. And depending on the type of rifle that the Colorado suspect used, it may not even be covered by the proposed assault weapons ban, Sullum contends.
With these arguments, Sullum apparently accepts that mass murder is a fact of life that we in modern America must live with.
But this grim reality does not reflect reality in nearly every other modern democracy on the planet. Recent international crime surveys say it all: England and Wales recently saw 41 people murdered annually by guns. Canada, 173. Germany, 158.
The U.S.? 9,146. Taken on a per capita basis, the U.S. ranks 28th in annual gun murders, just behind the West Bank and Gaza and far out-killing England, Canada and Germany. The U.S. has the highest gun ownership rate in the world by an astonishing margin (average of 88 out of 100). This mind-boggling rate easily tops the country with the next highest rate, Yemen, where an average of 54 of every 100 own a gun.
How does Sullum explain this country’s dramatically higher gun murder rate per capita? Is there no reasonable connection between our gun murder rate and the fact that Americans own more guns per capita than any other nation? Is it reasonable to conclude that gun regulations in England, Canada and Germany, regulations that are not on the books in the United States, play a role in those countries’ low murder and gun ownership rates?
Rather than ponder these questions, Sullum apparently prefers to ignore them, along with the question that I think we all must ask when innocents are murdered by a heavily armed madman: what can we do to make sure this never happens again? Sullum thinks there’s no answer to this question. And by doing so, he’s ignorantly refusing to see what appears plain to anyone who looks: the easy availability to guns and ammunition in America makes mass murder all too commonplace an event, and that there are commonsense regulations enforced around the world that can and do prevent gun violence.