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NRA uses fear to sell guns

I read the editorial about anger and guns (Urban Journal, January 13). I agree. The NRA and other groups are using people's angst about terrorism to sell more guns.

We have too many guns at it is. It is a burden to go around carrying a gun and expect no bad consequences. I can understand that some folks have firearms at home for protection. However, encouraging people to carry firearms is just plain lunacy.


RIT's gun policy is flawed

"Guns on campus" by Tim Louis Macaluso (News, January 20) gave both sides of the issue. But some points don't make sense. RIT will train its safety officers on the use of firearms, but the officers won't carry them. Why train them if they can't carry them? If they can't carry them, they can't use them.

RIT spokesman Bob Finnerty said that the only time firearms will come out is when there's an active shooter. By then it'll be too late.


We must face the past honestly

Regarding, "Have we all gone mad?" (Urban Journal, January 13) Maybe we've always been a bit mad and gun crazy, and rough times bring us to our worst selves.

The comment by Henry Ford that "history is bunk" neatly characterizes his and our American-as-apple-pie refusal to recognize the connection between our collective present (and future) with our actual past.

The American past is itself largely a culmination of European conquest and colonization. This includes some unpleasantness around our rough, largely genocidal behavior with the "first Americans."

Thoughtful people have long remarked that both extroversion and lack of introspection are especially characteristic of American society. If we were better balanced we would have long since rewritten the "bunk" we pass off to our children as history about Christopher Columbus, for example.

I think our anger will continue until we can begin to take in stride our mixed story. We need a better balance of our laudable extraversion, our impulse to reach out a helping hand for example, along with some honest recognition of our mixed, actual past.

Slavery was bad but now we don't have it so everything is fine? Obviously not. Had Americans looked more honestly at the unpleasantness of our involvement in Vietnam would we have reached our present impossible impasse globally? Had we been clear-eyed would we blunder into further quagmires so readily?

Henry Ford probably was seeking what we all want: freedom. He likely felt he found it by cutting his bonds with the past. How did that work out for him? How's it working out for us?


Jim Crow Museum could take carousel panel

Recently, Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo determined that any decisions on the Ontario Beach carousel rest with the City of Rochester, i.e. the City Council and the mayor's office. Many ideas have been proposed: leaving the panel as it is, adding an explanatory text, moving the panel to storage, donating the panel to a local museum, or destroying the panel.

There is another option. The internationally known Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan, has offered to take the panel, free of charge, and display it. As explained to me by the museum's founder, Dr. David Pilgrim, the museum is constructing new showcases ideally suited for the panel.

Furthermore, Dr. Pilgrim says that the panel could be returned to Rochester anytime in the future.

The panel is not suitable for the MAG collection. And RMSC hasn't made a proposal to take the panel.

I have repeatedly told officials about the Jim Crow Museum option and received no responses.

Supposedly, decisions on the panel are to be made before the spring. I can foresee the worst case: the panel gets dumped in some storage space and forgotten, and we miss the chance to loan the panel to the Jim Crow Museum.

Come on, City Council and the mayor's office, give Dr. Pilgrim a call.


The uncertain future of single-payer

Single-payer health care has been the centerpiece of the progressive agenda for over 70 years. In the words of Dr. King: "Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane." To sacrifice that vision over misguided notions of pragmatism is not only a failure of imagination, but a grave disservice to the 30 million Americans who are still uninsured (and the millions more who remain underinsured).

Secretary Clinton seeks to paint herself as the pragmatic candidate, but even more modest proposals will struggle for purchase in our current Congress. Until we insulate our political system against the corrosive influence of outside money (and that includes pharmaceuticals and private insurers), very little real progress can be made.


Schools chase families away

My wife and I are middle-class parents who chose to stay in the city, but frankly, I've lost track of the number of neighbors who have left for the suburbs for no other reason besides schools. As much as we've had a great experience in city schools with our three kids, it's also not realistic to blame parents for wanting better options and opportunities for their children.

Graduation results that are stuck in neutral, a complicated school choice process, and instability at the top of the district do nothing to inspire confidence in the families we need to move the needle in the right direction.


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