Letters for January 3, 2013

I liked Plumas

Re “Road conditions” (Green, Dec. 27):

What dangerous conditions on Plumas? Is there any proof or statistic on that? The end result is there is now only one northbound lane for cars. The traffic flow is now horrible. Morning and evening rush hours are ridiculous. There are side streets to the east of Plumas that are safe and could have been used by bikers. Stupidity, a waste of money and another example of a tiny minority adversely impacting the daily lives of the rest of us for no logical reason.

Mark Buckler
Reno

By the numbers

The Congressional Research Service has recently released an analysis titled “Taxes and the Economy.” I believe that this study and its conclusions should receive more publicity.

The study, whose initial methodology was revised in response to Republican objections, concludes on page 17 that: 1. The top statutory income tax rates have decreased considerably since the end of World War II; 2. Statutory tax rates affecting taxpayers at the top of the income distribution are currently at their lowest level since the end of the second World War; 3. Changes over the past 65 years in the top marginal tax rate do not appear correlated with economic growth; 4. The top tax rates appear to have little or no relation to the size of the economic pie; and 5. The top tax rate reductions appear to be correlated with the increasing concentration of income at the top of the income distribution.

It appears that a reasoned analysis of the nation’s economy since World War II contradicts Mitt Romney’s and the Republicans’ recent campaign rhetoric. It seems as though House Republicans, who just gutted the Speaker of the House, are motivated by something other than reasoned economic analysis. Could it be that they are trying to ensure having sufficient campaign contributions from the top 1 percent or 2 percent to ensure their reelection in 2014? Will today’s Republican Party split in two, i.e. the moderate Republicans and the Tea Party Republicans?

Donald Schreiber
Incline Village

The nonviolent ’60s

Re “Horror in Sandy Hook” (Editorial, Dec. 20):

We learned, far too late, the mother of the Newtown shooter was very frightened of her son, that she told a babysitter “don’t turn your back on the boy.” We learned that in 2010, she decided to take up “target shooting.” Other stories indicate that it was something over which she and her son could “bond.” I understand that in order to purchase a gun, you need to fill out a federal form that asks whether you, the purchaser, have ever had a mental condition that would prevent you from being a responsible gun owner. Does the form also include the question, “Is there currently anyone living in your household that you would consider unqualified to have easy access to firearms?” Maybe the form does, and she just lied.

Recently, we had a young Sparks man kill his 13-year-old sister “by accident” with a rifle that he purchased on the black market. He was described as a “gang banger wannnabe.” He and his sister would take turns aiming the gun at each other and pulling the trigger. This last time, the safety wasn’t on. When I was a young boy, I learned that you always keep a gun pointed down at the ground and never at a target unless you planned to use it. I have known many hunters, retired highway patrol men, sheriffs, etc., who keep their guns at easy access, with their children in the house. They never had an incident because they took the time to teach their kids about the proper use of firearms.

I understand that in the “old days” 1940s-60s, they used to teach handling a gun in school, and kids brought their own shotguns and rifles to class and there was never a school shooting.

I believe that we need more weapons training, not less. There are armed drug gangs using assault weapons on our southern border, and peaceful people will need to be armed with the same weaponry to keep themselves safe because sometimes that violence spills over the border. DON’T arm the teachers because it is too easy for an undisciplined student to try to take it from one.

When I went to school in Southern California in the ’60s and ’70’s, we never needed “armed guards” at our schools. Armed patrol men on our schools may be the only way to keep the kids safe. It seems to have worked with sky marshals on commercial flights. But tell me something? What the hell has changed in the past 40 years to make life so cheap?

Bill Thibault
Sparks

Great terrain robbery

Re “In the dark” (News, Dec. 20):

Thanks to Dennis Myers for shedding some needed light on the Mining Law of 1872, established during the administration of Ulysses Grant. Multinational gold mining conglomerates doing business in Nevada don’t want the law amended simply because under the law they pay no federal mineral royalties whatsoever. And of course, the corporations mining Nevada’s gold pay no Nevada state corporate income tax and have an effective mining tax rate of 1 percent.

As Myers points out, the General Accounting Office reports that multi-national gold mining conglomerates refuse to provide figures for the amount of gold and other minerals they take from public lands belonging to all the people. But it is estimated that at least $2.4 billion hardrock metals alone are taken from public lands every year.

Perhaps the most egregious corporate giveaway under the 1872 Mining Law occurred in 1994, when the largest gold mining corporation in the world, Canada-based Barrick Gold, paid $5 per acre for 1,791 acres of public land in Nevada that contained over $10 billion in recoverable gold reserves. It is now the second largest and among the most profitable gold mines in the world.

It’s far past time for this great terrain robbery to end.

Bob Fulkerson
Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada

Paradigm shift

Re “Horror in Sandy Hook” (Editorial, Dec. 20):

The common denominator in all cowardly shootings, including the tragedy that took place in Connecticut, is they took place in a gun free zone. Shooters made the safe assumption that their evil plans had a probability of succeeding because the majority, if not all of the citizens there, would be unarmed. They were sitting ducks. How many cowards attack a police station or army base?

Let’s consider the ketchup bottle. For years, the ketchup bottle would sit on the shelf and gravity would draw all the ketchup to the bottom of the bottle. Then, when a person needed ketchup, they had to work to get it out of the bottle. Finally, someone said, “Why don’t we just flip it over and put the lid on the bottom?” Now, the ketchup is there when you need it. Why didn’t they think of this before? They were trained in a particular way of thinking, and they had to move themselves away from it.

That is called a paradigm shift. A paradigm is “a particular mental set of particulars.” It is a powerful set of beliefs. The paradigm ketchup bottle designers fought against was that lids go on top. It made sense at one time, before silicon seals that prevented leakage. But now, there is a powerful shift in thinking that has changed the way people buy ketchup.

What does this have to do with gun-free zones? I am looking for a paradigm shift. The current paradigm is that guns are bad, they kill people and they should not be allowed in certain places like schools and malls. I not only want gun-free zones abolished, but I want gun ownership and concealed-carry encouraged and teachers, administrators and school employees trained to protect our kids. What’s wrong with a teacher being trained annually and having a firearm locked in their desk?

Mike Arp
Reno