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The simple truth: Too many are killed by guns

The shootings in Tucson and the shootings at the OK Corral are completely disparate, says reader John F. DeLallo Jr. ("Demonizing Guns," Jan. 16). One thing is clear. In both instances, guns were fired. People died. Mr. DeLallo is apparently annoyed that New York Times columnist Gail Collins said more people were killed in Tucson than at the famous gunfight at the OK Corral in 1881. She pointed out the disparity, as she saw it, that a semi-automatic weapon in one man's hands can do more damage than all those men firing guns could do at the OK Corral.

Mr. DeLallo informs readers that the type of firearm used in Tucson is based on a design introduced in 1896 by Mauser. Now there's a comparison to the Wild West! He tells about the capabilities of the gun Jared Loughner used, saying that a skilled shooter can reload and shoot again in about a second. That explains, of course, how so many were shot, some killed, in such quick fashion. Of all the people who are armed and carry guns in Arizona, no one was able to fire back that fateful day. He also criticized Ms. Collins because she mistakenly called a magazine a clip. I see an attempt to distract from the real issue, the killing itself.

Finally, Mr. DeLallo says it is not about guns or political rhetoric but about "placing the self-esteem of an individual on a pedestal." If I understand him correctly, then I can only visualize Sarah Palin in that role.

Let's not make this so complicated. There are too many guns, too many killed by them. Sadly, we all know that nothing will be done about it.


Insightful comedy

Admittedly this comment is tongue-in-cheek slightly, but I think comedian Chris Rock had it right a few years ago in his stand-up act.

He was talking about the fact that we didn't need to worry about gun control. Our real problem was bullet control. Just charge $5,000 per bullet and a lot of senseless killing would be curtailed. Obviously, this is never going to happen, but it gives one pause. As Mr. Rock said, there would no longer be any more "innocent bystanders" gunned down.

I just wanted to offer an, albeit alternative, view of this issue. Of course, I am referencing a comedian, but I think his observations contain a kernel of reality. Our society would be well-served to simply consider other opinions pertaining to this matter.


A wink and a nod

Twenty injured, one killed -- the record of the U.S.Steel coke plant in Clairton. For what it considers collateral damage in the July 14 explosion that injured 20 workers, along with 11 other violations, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration slapped U.S. Steel's wrist once again to the tune of about $180,000 between it and one of its contractors ("U.S. Steel Fined Over Coke Gas Explosion," Jan. 14). That fine is the equivalent of turning three barge loads of coal into coke, which it does eight to 15 times a day. The fine would not cover the ambulance costs for the wounded, not to mention medical costs.

And we dare not mention the tons of pollution the place deposits around the area daily ... adding to the power plant pollution. Dirty, filthy, killing coal ... Ask Consol Energy about it -- it has the clean stuff.

Nod, wink -- we got you covered.

Liberty Borough

A game-changer?

My dad wrote a letter that was in these pages last summer, describing his happiness about the Celebration of Life party we had for him in lieu of a funeral. He finally lost his battle with lung cancer on Oct. 28.

He was a lifelong Steelers fan, and since he didn't have a son, I was his tomboy, and we watched every Steelers game together that we could. Since he's passed, I look forward to the games even more because it makes me feel he's close to me as one of the last tangible things that bind us.

During last Saturday's game, being down 21 to 7 at the half, I was quite down at the thought that this would be the last game I'd get to see for a long time. So at the beginning of the third quarter, as I grabbed my box of Kleenex, I also grabbed my dad's urn (which I keep on the mantel in full view of the television) and put him on the couch right next to me. I also put on his beloved Pirates hat. The moment I did so, the game changed. And we all know how it ended: Steelers 31, Ravens 24.

Now, I'm not saying it was all my father's doing, but I never knew a bigger supporter of Pittsburgh sports teams. So here's to the Steelers and to my dad and to the Steeler Nation From Beyond.


Drown-out Jets fans

I am a member of the New England End Zone Militia. I'm sure you've seen us, dressed in our Revolutionary War-era garb, firing our muskets in Gillette Stadium when the Patriots score. I also realize there is no love lost between the Steelers and the Pats.

However, I implore you to cheer your team to victory over the New York Jets. Granted, you may regard this request as a purely selfish motive on my part, but be forewarned: There is nothing more annoying and nerve-wracking than hearing "J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets" shouted ad nauseam in your home stadium -- a mantra that would make even the most devout Indian yogi turn to drink, or worse.

Please, on behalf of New York-hating fans throughout the NFL, do your level best to drown out the green-and-white-clad clods who will invade your great city Sunday. If not for our sake, then for your own sanity and civic pride: Inspire your hometown Steelers to victory!

Gardner, Mass.

Hold the photo

Volunteers on the committee to build a World War II memorial to honor southwestern Pennsylvania veterans have been producing a calendar for the last four years. The person who submits a picture of a World War II vet gets a free calendar and then we sell the rest for $10 and the money goes to the committee to be used to build the memorial.

The other day I had lunch with a World War II vet who had been helping me gather pictures and sell the calendars and he told me this story.

He was at the Giant Eagle in Verona and parked next to a man who looked the right age, so he asked him if he was a World War II veteran. The man said yes, so John said wait and he opened his trunk and gave the man a 2011 calendar and started to explain that he could send his picture in for the next year's calendar. The man looked through it and then said -- in broken English -- "Is it OK if I keep this? I was in the German Army in World War II."

John told me: "I let him keep it. I hope that was OK with you. I just didn't have the heart to take it back. But I did tell him that he shouldn't send a picture."

Only in America and probably only in southwestern Pennsylvania.


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