Letters for November 2, 2017

De facts

Re “De facto automatics” (letters, Oct. 19):

It certainly doesn’t matter to the Las Vegas 58 victims or their families what type of gun(s) were used, but it might be worth knowing that Paul Johnson writes “only the military and a few collectors own automatic weapons.” Not true at all! You or I or any non-felon who has not been involuntarily committed to a mental facility may buy a machine gun, with a $200 ATF registration fee and an extensive background check that can take up to 6 months as long as it was manufactured before May 19, 1986.

Your editor’s note says “The term assault weapon usually includes semi-automatic weapons.” Not so! The uneducated media begat this error. You can accurately call them “assault-style weapons.” It’s unfair to perpetuate a picture of madmen using “machine guns” on masses of people. The message to take away is “Concealed Carry permitted guns are not being used in crimes.” There are almost no instances of “permit holders” being convicted of gun crimes.

Franklin Booth

Sun Valley

Editor’s note: The term “assault weapons” usually includes semi-automatic weapons, as a result of this usage by law enforcement. PolitiFact: “Lawmakers, law enforcement officials and others widely refer to many semiautomatic weapons like the rifle used in Orlando and other mass shootings—which reload automatically but fire only once each time the trigger is depressed—as assault weapons. Those are not banned by federal law.” According to the Violence Policy Center, at least 16 concealed carry permit holders have killed four or more people: Michael McLendon (killed 10), Omar Thornton (8), Pedro Vargas (6), Gerardo Regalado (4), Paul Merhige (4), Guillermo Zarabozo (4), Troy Brake (4), Aaron Alexis (4), Andrew Engeldinger (6), Jiverly Wong (13), Frank Garcia (4), Tan Do (5), Christopher Speigh (8), Dennis Clark III (4), Ian Stawicki (5) and Aaron Alexis (12).

In a housing shortage, too

Re “Freeway change coming” (news, Sept. 21):

Pyramid/McCarran is a disaster to begin with. To avoid taking just six feet off Mrs. Lagomarsino’s property at the the northwest corner, 66 houses across the street were destroyed, creating a mass dislocation of families, cutting a huge swath through central Sparks, and impacting the tax rolls. All for what amounts to a minor throat widening with no grade separation or any other substantive improvement, while massively disrupting the commute for years.

Whatever “historic” aspects there are to this woman’s house, neither that structure nor its ambience would have been harmed by just carving a little bit off the front yard to create a right-turn lane.

Public Works calls for: 1. Exercising critical judgment 2. Being resolute 3. Managing effectively. RTC and NDOT failed on all three counts with this ill-conceived project.

Bill Stremmel


Progress or just change?

Re “Air traffic uncontrol” (Let Freedom Ring, Oct. 19):

Wow, so many inaccuracies. First, air traffic control (ATC) does not cancel flights. The airline does. Next, comparing ATC in the U.S. to countries that have adapted privatized ATC functions is like comparing apples to oranges. The U.S. ATC system is the largest, most complex, yet safest in the world. The FAA has been hamstrung in achieving its modernization due to the mess that is known as modern-day politics, not any disfunction or unwillingness to modernize.

In fact, the airlines themselves have been extremely slow to install the equipment—known as ADS-B—that is mandated by 2020. And then there’s this; According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 80 percent of delays in the system today are caused by weather or airline mismanagement. This includes computer glitches, crew deployment schedules and mechanical issues. These issues will not be solved with the new corporation. Only 15 percent of all delays during that time period were due to issues with our air traffic system.

Bottom line—do we need to modernize? Absolutely. Privatize? Not so much.

David McCollum

Oklahoma City