Regarding "A primetime solution" (Editorial, April 4): When I read your editorial I exclaimed, "Yes, finally!" For years I've often wondered why the "public" airways were not made available at no cost to candidates. Imagine "free speech" during elections actually being free. I hope this idea sparks a national movement of Americans who reclaim the public airways for the public's interest. Please do what you can to keep this issue in the mind's eye of Americans.
Your editorial offers one of the best options yet for campaign-finance reform. The airwaves are publicly owned and should serve the public. What better service could broadcasters perform than to allow open discussion of real issues affecting our daily lives? Legislation to provide free airtime for public office seekers has been put forward in Congress before and has failed, due to corporate pressure.
The greatest advantage of free air waves given to presidential candidates would be its ability to stop censorship. Several candidates were blocked from participating in the 2000 presidential debates, even though they were on the ballots in enough states to conceivably win the election. They had raised issues much broader than those framed by the two major parties. The fact that their messages resonated with as many people as they did should have earned them the right to be heard by the entire electorate. Free airtime would allow these candidates to bring their messages to the public. Elections are supposed to be thoughtful, informed exercises of civic responsibility, not contests rigged by big-money executives.
Regarding " 'Right to hunt' vs. animal rights: What's fair game?" (April 3): Hunters' biggest opponent in adding "right to hunt" amendments to state constitutions is not the animal-rights cause. It's society itself. The number of hunters in this country is plummeting. The main reason? Mainstream society now disapproves of killing animals for fun. Thousands of men who were taught as children that killing animals was manly have been happy to find that it isn't. With this shift of mentality, sales of sporting equipment for snorkeling, rock-climbing, hiking, biking, and other bloodless sports continue to skyrocket.
Carla Bennett Norfolk, Va. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
As a former hunter, now turned antihunting activist, I believe the number of hunters nationwide to be in steady decline. In the poll results in your article, the term hunting has become "shooting sports." But shooting sports include everything from skeet to machine gun shoots not just hunting.
Many individuals are under the false impression that hunting is a sport. However the proper definition of sport implies equal opportunity between consenting participants. Animals not only do not give their consent to be hunted, but the odds are weighted heavily in the favor of humans if only due to the fact of their level of intelligence. Using a rifle, or even bow and arrow, to kill an animal at a distance from which the animal can neither see, hear, nor smell you is not sport. Especially when you add the fact that hunters use various scents, decoys, camouflage, calls, and, in many states, outright bait.
And regarding those individuals under 29 years old who said they would go hunting if asked by a friend: I guarantee few, if any, would take a second trip after seeing what hunting entails.
Newton Township, Pa.
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