Letters for December 31, 2015

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Licit drugs a problem too

Recently, after an 18-month investigation, a U.S. Senate committee released a report revealing troubling findings about Gilead Pharmaceuticals profiteering off of a prescription medicine called Sovaldi. The drug cures hepatitis C after a 12-week dose. But it costs around $84,000 per treatment—or $1,000 per pill. The committee reviewed over 20,000 pages of internal company documents, which revealed that Gilead executives explicitly made a decision to put shareholders ahead of patients desperately needing treatment. The report further exposed that Gilead could have charged less for the drug to make it more accessible—but chose not to.

Profits over people, that’s the path Gilead chose. And the reason for this is simple—Gilead has an exclusive patent on the drug. This monopoly allows them to charge whatever they want, without the threat of competing drugs that could drive the price down. As an active voter, this is a key issue for me this election, and recent polling suggests I am not alone.

For 2016, I am looking for a candidate with a solution to high drug prices. So far, Sanders and Clinton are the only ones offering possible solutions. Republican presidential candidates, meanwhile, remain silent.

Dylan Merick


Race mixing

Re “Return the extremists to the fringes” (Left Foot Forward, Dec. 24):

Under the guise of battling “extremism,” an extremist demands that people on the no-fly list be kept from buying firearms.

The no-fly list is secret, with as many as 1.2 million names, yet the criteria for being put on that list are also secret, and once a person is on it—even as an acknowledged error—it is all but impossible to get their name removed.

Also note that, while it is a standard “progressive” meme that minorities are “disenfranchised” by laws requiring identification to vote (apparently leftists believe that non-whites are too stupid to figure out how to get or use identification), they demand that same identification to be shown for all gun purchases.

This is no surprise, when one considers the racist roots of restrictions on gun ownership. From the Dred Scott decision of a century and a half ago to the background check scheme that prevented Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., from legally buying a handgun, from the Sullivan Act to the Ku Klux Klan-inspired phrase “Saturday night special,” those opposed to civil rights have always used bigotry as their greatest tool.

The columnist continues this, with her demand that so-called “assault weapons” be banned, though these are nothing more than a standard sporting carbine with black plastic stocks rather than wooden furniture. Black guns are more scary-looking, even though “assault weapons” generally are underpowered, and none can fire faster, nor fire any more rounds per trigger pull, than a revolver made before the Civil War.

Keith Wood


Amendment compatible with gun control

Re “The truth about mass shootings” (Let Freedom Ring, Dec. 17):

Brendan, I’m a responsible gun owner who does not agree with the NRA propaganda that you regurgitated in your article. Guns everywhere all the time is not a solution. I believe there are some people who should not own a gun. I hope you agree.

Your article does not represent the majority of gun owners. In fact, most people support sensible gun laws Mass shootings are the issue here. It’s the current problem, and we can’t continue to hide behind our fear of losing our gun.

We must do what we can to solve this problem. Gun owners are now speaking up. We have the power to make it more difficult for criminals, the mentally ill or terrorists to get a gun in America.

Gun ownership with conditions does not infringe on my Second Amendment right.

Tom Stewart



A recent survey revealed that a large percentage of Republicans and an even larger percentage of Trump supporters answered “yes” when asked if the United States should bomb Agrabah, a fictional, Disney-created middle eastern city.

In the midst of all the hoopla and partisan name-calling that followed, I offer this proposal: We should do it. We should bomb the living crap out of Agrabah. Doesn’t matter if it’s real or not; Agrabah is the perfect target.

Such a display of American power will strike terror in those who would terrorize us, and they’ll learn that if those maniacal Americans can kill thousands of beloved cartoon characters, they can kill anyone. Anytime. Anywhere.

Retaliate? ISIL and Al Queda? Ha. They’ll be too busy cowering in their lousy caves, looking for anything white that could serve as a surrender flag.

Consider. Would ISIL hesitate to blow up Mayberry, taking out Andy and Opie and everybody? Trust me, if they get the opportunity to put Aunt Bee six feet under, they’ll grab it. Just the thought of ISIL setting foot in Mayberry makes my blood boil.

It’s time, America, to mess with their heads rather than the other way around.

Brad Small