Letters for March 19, 2015
No guns por moi
Re “Below the Surface” (Notes from the Neon Babylon, Feb. 19):
Good observation. I, too, have a short temper, and that is the reason I would never carry a gun. Unfortunately, there are thousands and thousands of gun advocates who have the same character flaw but refuse to recognize the danger. The former NRA president’s son just finished serving a 10-year sentence for a road rage incident in which he fired his gun into another vehicle. Having a deadly weapon at one’s calling is one reason that more family members than home intruders are killed by guns. Most gun owners cannot accept the reality that the odds are against them and their family members. They and their family members too often pay with time in prison, or their lives.
Fiore undermines women’s safety
Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore wants us to believe that allowing concealed guns on college campuses will protect women from sexual assault. She told the New York Times, “If these hot little girls on campus have a firearm, I wonder how many men will want to assault them?” Referring to the women who attend Nevada’s universities as “hot little girls” perpetuates the misogyny that brings rape into our community in the first place. Guns on campus won’t reduce sexual assaults. The presence of firearms means more perpetrators will have the chance to use deadly force during an assault. Most sexual assaults take place under the influence of alcohol, and are often perpetrated by individuals known to the victim. Adding guns to that mix won’t make anyone safer. In situations of intimate partner violence, the presence of a gun increases the risk that women will be killed. Instead of using the issue of sexual assault as an excuse for gun promotion, our leaders should look at real ways to prevent rape, through encouraging frank education about consent, providing victims with meaningful support and justice without stigma, and dismantling the culture in which women are sexual objects expected to prevent their own rapes.
I do not believe we should use public tax money to support private schools. The Republicans in our Legislature are using the legal fiction of giving tax credits to businessmen who donate money (so-called Opportunity Scholarships) to students who attend private, even religious, schools. This is being done under the guise of school choice. Certainly, parents can choose how and where to educate their children, but that doesn’t mean that the rest of us should pay for that. Public tax money should not be used in this manner. Public tax money should be used to help to educate all children. We have precious few tax dollars and we must use them wisely. Please ask your legislators to vote down Assembly Bill 165, the “Opportunity Scholarship” Bill.
Re “The Next Generation” (Feature story, Feb 19)
The article on the The Generator, described as “a nonprofit collaborative artists’ workspace in Sparks,” proposing essentially free-use of a city-owned parcel of land then purchase of the parcel for $860,000 after five years raises some questions:
Does the city have a list of properties it wants to sell? Lease? If yes, is the parcel in question on that/those list/lists?
What is the current fair market lease amount for that parcel? What is the current fair market value for that parcel? What is the city’s estimate of the market value of the parcel in five years? Will the city need the parcel for some public use in 5, 20, 50 years?
If the City Council is seriously considering The Generator’s proposal, will the City of Reno first solicit proposals for use of the parcel from other Reno nonprofits?
If The Generator’s proposal is approved, what is the estimated value of public resources that will have been given to this organization (i.e. the value of forgone rental income for five years plus the difference between fair market value and the price The Generator pays)?
If The Generator gets the parcel, how many and which Renoites will benefit?
I hope the Reno City Council considers these and similar questions prior to proceeding with the deal proposed by The Generator (they all read this paper, right?).
On a personal note, my wife and I support with our time and money a number of local groups (which benefit children, older people, hungry people, economically-disadvantaged people, and the environment), but we would never even consider donating money to an organization whose mission includes making art or anything else to entertain a select group of people for a week (i.e. Burners) and destroying that art at the end of the week.
Love, not fear
Re “The Next Generation” (Feature story, Feb 19)
Your cover story seems to me the digging up of controversy where there is none. The latter half of the article hinges upon the perspective of one man who misconstrues Burning Man’s relationship to The Generator. Has Mr. Conder talked with any of the artists at The Generator? Has he stepped foot on the premises? I can attest to The Generator’s local connections. They have provided our theatre a space to construct sets and access to cutting edge equipment and have asked for little in return. In short, they have inspired us to create better art, and I see Phase 2 as the next stage of Reno’s artistic evolution. Objections to Phase 2 are based in nothing concrete, only flimsy speculation. All nonprofits run the risk of losing a funding source at any point on their journey. That’s the nature of the game, and we don’t have time for fear, only hard work securing various streams of funding so that we can do what we love.
Finally, the other side
Have we forgotten the horrible school shootings of recent years—Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook to mention only a few? There is a common denominator in these events—no one was armed and able to intervene and stop the massacre! UNR has had its own share of violent attacks. In 1998 UNR Police Sgt. George Sullivan was struck over 20 times with a hatchet. Then the killer took his duty weapon and went on a robbery spree! The statistics speak for themselves. CCW holders deter crime and very rarely have accidents. The right-to-carry states have not seen an increase in gun violence or accidents. In fact, the opposite is true! The American Association of University Women estimates one violent assault occurs every day! Most go unreported. UNR has reported two per year from 2008-2011. My own wife was attacked and nearly raped while crossing the quad late one evening in 1987. Do not be naive. People are carrying guns on university campuses right now. It is our God-given right to defend ourselves, and criminals do stop and think when their intended victims are able to shoot back!
Editor’s note: In fact, armed sheriff’s deputy Neil Gardner was on the Columbine campus when the attack started. Gardner exchanged fire with shooter Eric Harris and likely saved lives but was not able to stop the attack from starting in the first place. Gardner was joined by deputies Scott Taborsky and Paul Smoker, and Smoker also exchanged fire with Harris. And there was an armed police force on the Virginia Tech campus.