In response to Kate Carrigan's April 9 letter ("He Only Helped to Further the Gun-Control Cause") and the April 9 editorial "The Call for Help: A Mistake Was Made, But Blame the Shooter": I am fed up with people blaming the guns.
Ms. Carrigan may feel there are too many guns and imply guns are the root of the problem, but a gun left by itself is useless: It is the person behind the weapon that is to blame.
Look at 9/11: America's worst episode of mass murder -- not one gun was used. The weapons of choice were box cutters and airplanes, and I do not recall a single individual making an anti-airplane or box-cutter cause. The reason being is that a plane goes where it is guided, and a box cutter cuts only what you want it to cut. A gun is no different than any instrument in your home that could become a weapon.
The problem in this situation was why Richard Poplawski passed the NICS/PICS check. After Virginia Tech's massacre, President Bush signed the "NICS Improvement Act," which is to include on your criminal record mental health adjudications. Whether Richard Poplawski had a mental health adjudication is not clear, but he did have a protection-from-abuse violation (when he was 19) and is said to have been discharged from the Marines after assaulting a superior. If the discharge was dishonorable, the military should release this for the NICS check.
Regardless, it's time to stop blaming inanimate objects and other people for this tragedy. As the April 9 editorial states, "The blame for the deaths of three brave Pittsburgh police officers lies squarely on the shoulders of the 22-year-old shooter who was arrested after the standoff."
Rest in peace, officers.
Evil and crazy
Regarding John Kozusko's April 8 letter ("Fueling Paranoia"): According to Mr. Kozusko, "Troubled individuals, fueled by inflammatory rhetoric from right-wing radio provocateurs and the NRA respond like Pavlov's dogs." Gee, I wonder what "right-wing" radio shows Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris listened to? How about Jiverly Wong in Binghamton or Seung-Hui Cho at Virginia Tech?
Some people are just evil and crazy. Get it?
All are outraged
This is in response to letter writer Ramona Jean Kulwicki Miller ("Society in Trouble," April 8 letters). Regarding the vicious attack on our police officers, where on earth are you finding anyone who is not outraged and considers the police fair game?
Along with outrage at this heinous act, our fallen police officers are receiving a massive outpouring of respect and sympathy from all corners of the world, and rightly so. Where on earth are you getting your news? Oh yes, your "liberal media" tag line gives you away immediately. Was it Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, the National Rifle Association? Who told you there's not enough outrage?
Give the police the tools to do their jobs? Since we often cannot predict or prevent psychopathic behavior, let's start with rejecting right-wing paranoia and take a hard look at the weapons legally available in any gun shop and the vetting process involved in their purchase. The best tools for the police are enforced requirements that the citizenry never have superior firepower.
Twisted, paranoid conspiracy nuts armed to the teeth with larger-caliber weapons than law enforcement also should provoke everyone's outrage.
Ramona Jean Kulwicki Miller asks where is the outrage and when did it become acceptable to kill cops ("Society in Trouble," April 8 letters). The outrage has been all over every newspaper, TV news story and radio talk show I have seen or heard since this terrible tragedy happened. Even more outrageous is her going on to blame the liberal media. All Ms. Kulwicki Miller has to do is read the next letter to the editor after hers ("Fueling Paranoia") by John Kozusko to see which media sources really fuel the fires of irrational people like Richard Poplawski.
To suggest that the so-called liberal media will gloss over or cover up this story is maddening. Ms. Kulwicki Miller apparently has never read the opinions of the people she so callously castigates -- the ones who suggest we use common sense in deciding which of our citizens has the right to bear arms that can cause such tragedies in our society.
Small-minded people will continue to blindly follow those who write columns or spout right-wing agendas over the airwaves for their personal wealth, so in that sense I agree with her that society is in trouble.
THOMAS P. LINK
Even though the Post-Gazette's April 4 editorial "Lost Opportunity: There's Still Time to Seek a City-County Merger" (April 4) makes perfect sense, at least in theory, I am opposed to any merger of services with Pittsburgh or any other municipality within Allegheny County.
I live in Elizabeth Township, a certainly not perfect or overly affluent Mon Valley community. Still, a few years ago when we had a prowler in our backyard, the Elizabeth Township police arrived to investigate within three minutes. When it snows, the township road department promptly and effectively clears our roads, even the short dead-end street on which I live.
Not surprisingly, the only poorly maintained roads in the township are those that are managed by the county, even though Elizabeth Township is home to a county maintenance depot.
I acknowledge that merged services would likely benefit the financially strapped and more crime-ridden urban areas of the county, and I know that the more affluent communities wouldn't see any drop-off in services.
I would almost guarantee that post-consolidation, the streets in Elizabeth Township will be clogged with snow and the three-minute police response time will be a thing of the past.
Go for shelter pets
Thank you for printing the articles regarding Petland and puppy mills ("Lawsuit Claims Petland Sells Pets From Puppy Mills," March 18; "Buyers Beware: Learn Where Your Puppy Was Raised," March 28 Pet Tales column). Have you ever seen a real puppy mill? You don't want to. They are the closest thing to live torture you will ever see.
Mothers that never see sunlight being bred over and over again. Puppies snatched from them to be sold to unsuspecting people. For what? Money, of course. Greed!
Post-Gazette, please educate your readers to never buy a puppy from any place that sells them. The shelters are full of dogs (and cats) that need a good home. Not for profit. For love!
Oakland marred by student misbehavior
I have been a resident of Oakland for more than 30 years and have raised two sons, but as of late with the burgeoning college population it is quickly becoming a place that I no longer recognize.
First, the Super Bowl violence was unbelievable. Why no one equates burning couches, dumpsters and vehicles as acts of terrorism is beyond me. The only actions taken against these violent rioters seemed to only be related to events that took place near the central campus as opposed to several blocks away, where the tax-paying citizens were left to their own devices by our city government.
Then on a recent Saturday night as my 17-year-old was walking home from watching the Pitt game at a friend's house, he was screamed at and had beer bottles thrown at him, one of which hit him in the shoulder. He, of course, ran away from the totally inebriated house of students before it escalated.
Then, on the following Saturday night, I was faced with a student driving at a high speed down the middle of Dawson Street (which is very narrow), screaming and giving me the finger as he drove up within inches of my car as I slammed on my brakes and then drove by me screaming and threatening me.
My days are numbered in Oakland.