Op-ed columnist Gail Collins expressed concern about the proliferation of handguns and people with concealed-weapons permits carrying their guns into other states ("Of hoodies, handguns, and concealed-carry laws," op-ed, March 30).
She stated that over the past five years, 402 people were killed by people carrying concealed weapons for which they had a permit. It is sad that that many people have died in connection with handguns, but she offers no details of the circumstances of the deaths, a critical point when reviewing the statistics.
Maybe she could write about the 500,000 deaths resulting from negligence in the medical industry in this same period. These were from preventable medical mistakes. The AARP Bulletin for March 2012 has an article presenting this concern.
If Ms. Collins wants to make a real impact, she should incite citizens to rally for better practices in the medical field that would save 100,000 lives every year.
It baffles me how people can ignore one of the largest causes of death in this country, while promoting a cause with a lesser degree of severity. It's political correctness at its best.
Bruni column an eye-opener
Thank you for Frank Bruni's March 31 op-ed column, "A college classmate rethinks his religion."
As a pro-choice feminist, I was not surprised to hear about the anti-abortion activist. She was another closed-minded person justifying her actions, which she criticizes in others.
It was refreshing to read of Mr. Bruni's former classmate's evolution in his thinking about some of the "false righteousness" of religion and about how he changed to become compassionate and tolerant of others.
The story about the doctor's time in Africa, though, was the most important part of the column for me. The tragedies that happen every day to women all over the world, especially in Africa, are atrocious. Thank you for bringing some of this to our attention.
Catholics shouldn't negotiate freedom
When Judea was conquered by the Seleucid Empire in the 2nd century B.C., Jews were coerced into abandoning their faith or facing penalties as severe as torture and death. This is not the only time a government has attempted to impose an ideology above religious freedom ("500 rally to oppose health-care mandate; Contraception coverage at issue," March 24).
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is requiring Catholic institutions to include free coverage of contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortion-inducing drugs in their employee insurance packages.
While Catholics who oppose this mandate are not being tortured or killed, the government is attempting to make the church act against its moral teachings.
In a country that guarantees free practice of religion in its Constitution, Catholics should not be made to negotiate religious freedom. Nor is it the place of the government to determine the mission and identity of the church.
Oak Hill Court
Task force right, but there's success
I agree with the findings of the national task force reported in The Blade's March 20 article "Bad schools called threat to security; Report says educators failing to prepare students." If we do not educate more children in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, we will become an intellectual third-world country.
However, your headline is misleading. Once again, "bad" schools and "failing" educators are to blame.
When I taught at Scott High School, I would have been considered a "bad" teacher. Most of my students took general math, which was a rehash of kindergarten through sixth-grade arithmetic.
But I had a student who went to Case Western Reserve University and studied calculus, a student who went to the University of Toledo to major in engineering, and a student who become a paramedic and speaks at conferences across the country. I would hardly consider these students failures, nor their teachers bad.
I wish politicians had the guts to say where the problem really lies: with parents who do not prepare their children properly for school and monitor what they do -- or don't do -- in school.
Parents should pay for school activities
Why can't Toledo Public Schools use common sense about school buses and after-school activities ("TPS officials review changes, promise more," March 2)?
Parents should pay if their child wants to ride the bus or participate in any after-school activity.
School cutbacks don't have to happen. Transportation and noneducational activities should be paid for by the parents or ended.
Lake schools must focus on education
Members of the Lake Local school board said that all-day, everyday kindergarten is not required, but there are plenty of programs and activities that are not required that the board has decided to fund ("School board approves staff layoffs, closing of elementary," March 22).
I support extracurricular activities, but I do not value them more than the education of our youngest students.How can the school board and administration expect the support of the public when they put the education of our students second?
How can the district keep spending money on nonacademic and academic extras while increasing class size and reducing the education of the most vulnerable students?
Editor's Note: The letter writer is a former vice president of the Lake Local school board.
Consolidating schools would help
After voters turn down two or three levies, where does a school board get the right to continue to harass taxpayers with more ballot issues? A school board can continue to spend money to put the same issue on the ballot over and over until voters get fed up and the board gets its way.
The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled on more than one occasion that it is unconstitutional for property taxes to finance schools and that the state General Assembly is to come up with a better way to fund schools. Lawmakers have not resolved the problem.
We need more consolidated school districts in Ohio to spread management costs around. Teacher costs are not keeping pace with the trend of lower salaries and benefits that workers in other walks of life are faced with.
Lake Local is solving its money problem by firing teachers, instead of decreasing salaries and benefits.
Public notices fine, promotion is not
Your advertisement "Power to the People: Public notices and newspapers" in the March 23 edition conveyed a socialist focus, showing a clenched, upright fist. How about an ad showing people's right to know with an image characteristic of a democracy that highlights this freedom?
Many people around the world would give a lot to be able to read public notices in print media. This disclosure is a privilege we take for granted. We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us, who paid dearly for the public's right to know.
I am glad The Blade publishes public notices. Please publicize this in a way that encourages readers to appreciate this benefit and how precious it is.
Who says Dems lack good beliefs?
The writer of the April 4 Readers' Forum letter "Ms. Johanek, I'll trade you officials" indicates that Democrats do not believe in God, family, or the Constitution. Only an arrogant fool would make such a stupid statement.