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Some gun advocates have ?seen too many action films

When I was a kid, my pal Dave and I were watching war movies on cable. As the cliché goes, the drill instructor was screaming and cussing out the recruits. I said, "What a jerk."

To our horror his dad, a retired DI, was behind us. He nicely explained that the reason the DI was so loud and abusive was that his job was to train the recruits to operate in high-stress conditions. Armed combat is much harder than target practice at the range or deer hunting in the woods because no one's actually trying to kill you.

After the Colorado shooting, some said, "If someone in that theater had a gun, that might not have happened." This makes me think the NRA crowd has seen too many action films. Oh sure, there are plenty of cases of thugs being chased off because of a gun, but a homicidal maniac wearing body armor with tear gas and (legally obtained) semi-automatic weapons with 30-round clips in a dark and crowded theater? The body count would have been even higher and the shooter wouldn't have had a scratch.

And there are some who seem to think if we were all packing an AK 47, things like the Colorado shooting wouldn't happen. Well, there is a country where it seems everybody's armed and ready for a fire fight – Afghanistan. If you want to live that way, feel free to move. I don't want to.

Larry Schultz

Springville

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Civilians have no need ?for such powerful guns

It's disturbingly easy to list examples where civilians have used guns that can rapidly fire huge numbers of bullets. Can anyone list examples where such guns in the hands of civilians have been used for a good reason? If we can't come up with examples of an appropriate use, perhaps they shouldn't be legal.

Don Duggan-Haas

Amherst

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How can society temper? right to own firearms?

The private gun ownership debate centers on three areas: the Second Amendment, self-defense and hunting. Let's drop the hunting conversation since it merely confuses the real issue.

The right of self-defense from deadly threat is long established, however, I (as well as New York law) would urge great restraint. We have seen the tragic consequence to two families with the unfortunate death of an Albany teacher who was visiting Western New York.

Many historians, as well as anti- and pro-gun interests, have studied the background of the Second Amendment, and it is my understanding that the majority have concluded that it is an individual right. The question, therefore, is if and how society can temper the legitimate right to own firearms. The recent movie theater murders show that as complex as the mind and emotions of mass murderers, the means is quite simple. The usual culprit is a high-capacity 9 mm semi-automatic pistol. In addition to the 15-plus bullets in the magazine, the ability to reload the gun is virtually instantaneous. Any minimally trained person can fire 50, 100 or more times into a crowd in a matter of minutes. This is greatly in excess of what I could consider adequate to defend my family or even my country.

The defensive weapon has become an offensive nightmare with the mentally deranged. There is no real need for civilians to own virtually the same small arms as issued to our military.

If we could turn back the clock, we could have eliminated many of the Virginia Tech-type atrocities, while still possessing modern and effective (albeit more limited capacity) firearms. But, alas, the NRA horse is out of the barn.

Peter G. Leyonmark

Hamburg

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Losing Buffalo Bills? would damage region

The Bills' uncertain future in Buffalo is both bellwether and example of the most formidable obstacle in the way of our shared goal of a brighter future for Western New York: Massive subsidies are the only resource available to entice businesses to relocate to or stay in a "shrinking-market Buffalo," to use Don Esmonde's descriptor. The subsidies help, but they treat the symptoms rather than cure the cause.

The biggest challenge any business faces in Buffalo is the loss of thousands of residents each year. It's hard to make a business plan that projects growth when the market is contracting. Until we resolve that complex problem, the Bills and other ventures will struggle to get a foothold in the regional economy. Remember Bass Pro? It wouldn't open a store here no matter what accommodations our political and business leaders made. The retailer wasn't confident, even with the state subsidizing some of the start-up costs, that our (shrinking) market would support a profitable store location.

The departure of our football franchise would damage our morale more than our economy. Our sports teams are the pride of Buffalo and maintain our city as a national name. People in Arizona have never heard of Rochester but they know Buffalo because of our Bills. Without our football franchise, we lose the most important signifier of our regional brand and the keystone of our collective pride and identity.

Patrick Sahr

Buffalo

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Let voters have a say? on new stadium lease

I totally agree with a July 29 letter writer on his opinion of the Ralph Wilson Stadium lease. It is not the responsibility of the taxpayers of Erie County to subsidize a private multibillion-dollar organization. The Buffalo Bills are not a public entity and the taxpayers should have the option of voting "yes" or "no" on a referendum to contribute to the Bills stadium or to decline.

Let some of the million-dollar players come up with the funds to make the improvements. It should in no way be put upon the taxpayers. If the players want improvements or a new stadium, let them pay for their stadium. Any other private business has to pay for its own improvements or additions. Why do the Bills get special favors?

I bet if a survey were taken today, 95 percent of Erie County residents would not want to pay for these stadium improvements. If the avid, loyal fans want to contribute, take up a collection at the door and let them pay for this. County Executive Mark Poloncarz is foolish stating that the Buffalo Bills are his top priority.

Erie County has a lot bigger problems than worrying about the Buffalo Bills and making Ralph Wilson richer! I wish more opinions were expressed about this matter. A referendum is needed for this issue. Why do we not get the choice of supporting these losers? It's our money and it should be going to more worthwhile causes in the community than a losing football team that only a minuscule amount of residents care about.

Barbara A. Carr

Hamburg

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Romney is the ideal guy? to advocate for 1 percent

If Mitt Romney had run for president in the 1840s or '50s, he no doubt would have argued that white Americans had higher per capita income than negro slaves because of the superior "vitality" and "culture" of the former. It is important to realize that Romney's insult of the Palestinians was not an inadvertent slip of the tongue. It was the core message of his speech to Israeli supporters.

There are various explanations for Romney's statement: an appalling ignorance of the political and economic history of the Middle East over the past 60 years; racism; or a deeply ingrained belief that rich people deserve to be rich and poor people deserve to be poor. I am inclined to believe that all of these explanations hold true.

Romney is the perfect advocate for the 1 percent. People from the working class who vote for him deserve everything they get if (heaven forbid) he is elected president.

Joseph Gerken

Buffalo

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Obama's remark reveals ?he is unqualified to lead

President Obama is correct in saying that over the course of two centuries-plus of free enterprise, our nation has created an infrastructure conducive to the success of businesses, small and big alike.

But not all members of our society have taken advantage of the opportunities afforded them by an efficient system of roadways, excellent educational opportunities and a vigorous banking industry.

Throughout the history of our nation, it has been the alert, ambitious and innovative person who creates the spark to build a fortune or a dynasty for himself, his family and his community.

Obama's recent misinterpretation in this regard shows that he is not intellectually qualified to be the leader of our country.

Lucian C. Parlato

Amherst

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School Board members ?make another poor choice

I am writing in regard to the July 25 News article titled, "Buffalo shocked by educators contract." How does it feel, Buffalo School Board members?

As a resident of Buffalo my entire life, mom of six, grandmother of 14 and strong advocate for the city system, now they know how I and many, many others felt when they bypassed a highly qualified Buffalo employee of the system and gave a contract to a stranger who knows nothing about this community.

We still don't know the particulars in the contract, including residency (the waterfront). It must be nice. Too many times the board has done this when the perfect candidate was right here, already doing the job and doing it well. Welcome to our world. We wonder why the children are failing. Because board members are failing.

Marge Ryan

Buffalo