This undated handout photo provided by the Prince George's, Md. County Police shows weapons found in the possession of a suspect who they say was plotting a shooting in his workplace. Police in Maryland say a man who called himself "a joker" and threatened to shoot up his workplace was in the process of being fired. Police say the 28-year-old man was taken into custody Friday morning. Investigators said he was wearing a T-shirt that said "Guns don't kill people. I do." He was taken into custody for an emergency mental health evaluation and charges are pending. (AP Photo/Prince George's County Police)
Updated: September 4, 2012 6:11AM
CDC exposes gun-control myths
The Centers for Disease Control, an agency of the federal government, has conducted studies of many of the gun-control laws in place, such as waiting periods, registration, and bans on certain types of firearms. The results showed that the idea that gun control laws have reduced violent crime is simply a myth. The CDC is hardly a shill for the NRA. Political trends throughout the country have reflected the growing realization by the majority of Americans that restricting the rights of law-abiding citizens is not only ineffective as a means of combating crime, but counter-productive. All of the research over the last few decades bears this out. (One of many excellent sources is “More Guns; Less Crime” by former University of Chicago and current Harvard professor, John Lott).
As uncomfortable as it may be for the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board to understand, the 2nd Amendment is not about hunting, target shooting or even self defense. It is first and foremost, as intended by the Founding Fathers, a means to keep government in check. Gun-ban advocates may wish to dismiss as paranoid fantasy such notions, but any honest study of history supports this fact. The fact that a totalitarian regime in America seems far-fetched today is precisely because the 2nd Amendment has had the intended and desired effect, and it gives teeth to the rest of our great Constitution. The founders would be considered NRA “extremists” by the Sun-Times editorial board.
James E. McNally, Clearing
Keep them locked up
Of the three thugs who recently beat and robbed that 87-year-old man in Chicago, one had been released from prison three years early after a conviction for aggravated robbery and vehicular hijacking. At the same time, our politicians are attempting to sell a couple of state prisons that they say we don’t need.
Why don’t we keep these violent felons locked up in those prisons and make them serve their full sentences?
I’m sick of these bleeding-heart liberals.
Larry Casey, Forest Glen
Charter schools pay off
With the first day of school still uncertain for many of Chicago’s public school students, we must stay focused on the strategies that are delivering quality school options in communities where they are most needed. Charter schools in particular are driving value in the lives of students, in their communities and in the education system as a whole.
When compared to the schools their students would otherwise attend, charters are outperforming, according to CPS. In school year 2010-11, charter and contract elementary and high schools outperformed their neighborhood comparison schools on state tests by 9 and 16.5 percentage points, respectively. In that same year, charter and contract high schools also have a higher graduation rate (89 percent) compared with their neighborhood counterparts (68.5 percent). Attendance rates are also higher among charter and contract high schools – 90.6 percent compared with 76.8 percent at neighborhood schools.
More than anything, this is a demonstration of charter schools making good on their promise of delivering quality school options in communities of highest need. We are encouraged by this progress, but we fully recognize that it is not good enough. With 123,000 students in underperforming seats and 19,000 on charter waiting lists, the need for more quality school options is urgent. With our focus on students, we must continue to work together to expand great options.
President and CEO
New Schools for Chicago
Voters are to blame, too
In your editorial “Our View: Energy Rules,” you call for “having the rulebook before the game begins.” I would urge you to understand the game we’re really playing when it comes to hydraulic fracturing.
Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” isn’t new – it has been done safely for 50 years. Yes, this form of gas extraction is in its infancy here. But that’s what should make it so exciting.
Southern Illinois’ reserves could provide our country the energy independence and shot in the arm economically that we all deserve and need. And for our area in particular, it is an economic opportunity that we rarely experience.
The groups organizing against fracking in my area are good at scare campaigns. But they can’t win on the facts. There already is a website out there to provide a platform for public disclosure, where companies are putting out the real facts and showing transparency about the fracking process (www.fracfocus.com). I would encourage you to visit it.
Our policymakers in Springfield are working right now to strike the right balance: ensuring companies drilling for natural gas through this technology do so safely and responsibly to protect our natural resources.
Where is our next big economic opportunity in southern Illinois? The answer could be natural gas. But putting a two-year moratorium on this technology would essentially kill this opportunity before we can ever see if its potential can be turned into reality.
I do agree that the fracking debate cannot wait. We cannot put this issue on the sidelines and expect jobs and economic benefit to show up. At a time when we’re struggling to find any positive economic signs, I can only hope we don’t let the rulebook distraction keep us from getting into the game to win.
Robert L. Butler, Mayor of Marion