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Letters to the Editor

Readers write about teachers with guns, California's lack of water, Clinton's proposed healthcare plan, and how to withdraw from Iraq.

Teachers with guns: The issue is bigger than that

Regarding the Sept. 18 article, "Should teachers be allowed to pack a gun?": Of all the bizarre ideas to surface in communities and legislatures across this country, gun-toting teachers and administrators have to be the most nightmarish and perilous! It would appear that this nation has become irrational and witless. Our communities need to examine the causes of violence and develop reasonable solutions. We do not need more firepower in the hands of citizens. Schools should be places where children and young people experience a supportive environment, expectations for accomplishment in studies, and respectful behaviors by fellow students, teachers, and administrators.

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Adults carrying concealed guns should not be part of the school experience.


In response to the Sept. 18 article regarding teachers carrying guns in the classroom: Obviously we need a law to keep criminals from carrying guns into schools, where they have a completely defenseless crowd of victims!

But not everyone should be banned from carrying guns. I carry a pistol on my person every single day. And no one ever knows. However, should I, or anyone in my immediate area, be attacked by a mugger or other violent person, that pistol will suddenly become very visible. The mugger or other violent person is the only one who will be disappointed by the appearance of that tool in my hands. The criminal has no idea who is, or isn't, armed. It is that uncertainty that affords a certain deterrent. And yes, if the attacker is wielding a knife, I will shoot. I don't owe him or her a fair fight. I owe my grandsons a fishing trip.


Northern California suffers water loss

Your Sept. 18 editorial, "California turns back the taps," is very short-sighted. It starts out by implying that the water cutback is only because of a three-inch- long fish. That is misleading. The problem is too many people trying to live in a place that can not sustain the population (i.e., there is not enough water). Southern California has been stealing water from northern California for as long as people started to live there. Without enough water flowing through the delta, life here in northern California will be diminished. Why should northern California suffer because southern California can't figure out that unlimited growth isn't such a good idea?

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Clinton's healthcare plan will fail

Regarding the Sept. 17 article, "Clinton's new gambit on healthcare:" As long as healthcare remains the expense it is, there is no way that every American will be able to purchase health insurance, even if pressed by law to do so. Government may require residents to purchase health coverage, but how does the candidate expect the unemployed and working poor to pay for it?

Simply making healthcare more affordable won't solve the problem. It's the ones who can't get current coverage and can't afford the more than $300-a-month extension plans or private premiums who are the main concern.

Also, having to select a physician from a provided list of healthcare professionals causes difficulties for people who have to change employers; most often they have to switch doctors with a new insurance company. What an inconvenience that can be to a family with children! It may "take a village," but the healthcare system has lost any "village" ideal.


A plan for withdrawing from Iraq

In response to the Sept. 19 article, "Basra oil fuels fight to control Iraq's economic might": We obviously need to leave Iraq in the most constructive way possible. This may actually end up being the least destructive way possible.

Here is my idea: Withdraw and secure the borders as best we can (particularly with Iran); seize those oil fields where we can produce and ship their oil most safely; increase production as rapidly as possible; sell the oil; disperse the funds to the most stable and least violent areas in Iraq. The idea is to ignore uncivilized activity, while rewarding civilized actions. In short, use the control of oil to civilize Iraq. It seems to be that this mess has been largely about the oil anyway. This might be a way to use it for the benefit of Iraq.

This is a well-established procedure for change with resistant subjects – reward desirable actions and ignore undesirable ones. Ignoring all the sectarian strife would go a long way toward reducing the backlash that our present course produces. The reduction in casualties would be very significant, and rewarding acceptance and tolerance would provide very powerful incentives.

It would be better to do this with the participation of the United Nations and NATO.


The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted may appear in print or on our website, www.csmonitor.com.

Mail letters to Readers Write and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to (617) 450-2317, or e-mail to OpEd.


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