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Knocking the Glock

Rarely have I seen a Cover Story in your publication as sensationalist and offensive as "The Killing Machine" (Features, Jan. 17-23). If you wished to speak out on behalf of limited-capacity magazines, you could have done so in a far more compelling manner than by first demonizing an entire company, and by implication the tens of thousands of legal Glock owners in this country.

You have chosen to communicate the wrong message at the wrong time, and in the wrong way.

Manny Contomanolis, Rochester, N.Y.

Thanks for that article. It's very informative and well written. It would sure be nice if someone would write a piece on the impact on crime of concealed-weapons permit laws. I'm told that is a significant factor in the reduction of homicides.

Mark Kraschel, via e-mail

The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." Obviously the need for a state militia has been replaced by the National Guard and U.S. Coast Guard, whereby trained military personnel are entrusted with the defense of this country against domestic enemies. Their weapons are tightly controlled and safeguarded.

The only two reasons for a citizen to own a firearm are for hunting or defense of the household from intruders. In either case, ownership of a handgun, shotgun, or rifle is more than adequate. There is absolutely no need for any U.S. civilian to own any weapon more powerful or sophisticated than these. Accordingly, all handguns, shotguns, and rifles must be licensed and registered to the degree necessary to match weapon to owner at the click of a computer key. Furthermore, if we had prohibited the purchase of more sophisticated weapons (i.e., a Glock-19 semiautomatic pistol with an extended magazine), several innocent victims would not have died or been harmed.

The shooter is obviously disturbed by mental illness. It appears that those defending the right to own sophisticated weapons exhibit the same qualities by showing a callous disregard for the safety and protection of their fellow citizens. Mental illness and guns are as bad a combination as alcohol and driving. Evidently we have the money to fight two wars overseas, but not the political will to treat the mentally ill, who are a danger not only to themselves, but to everyone else.

Joe Bialek, Cleveland

The shooting in Tucson was premeditated by a person with a screw loose. We are humans, and humans are prone to sudden and violent rages as all natural controls cease. We are capable of many things, even killing loved ones. Restraining the use of handheld firearms, especially those classified as assault weapons or those that can carry more than eight or nine rounds of ammunition, must be controlled in such a way that the carrier cannot readily kill someone in less than 15 seconds, during which time reason should take over and the rage subside.

Randall J. Marlowe, Buenos Aires

Would you have gone after General Motors (GM) so adamantly if a Chevy truck had been driven into the crowd, or Louisville Slugger if a bat had been used, or Gerber if a knife had been used?

Probably not. The Glock is a fine weapon and operates under extreme conditions, as do the similar pistols made by Smith & Wesson (SWHC), Springfield Armory, Sturm Ruger & Co. (RGR), and many others. While the situations that arise are very unfortunate, it still boils down to the instability of the person that somehow had that weapon. Aren't the lawful background checks supposed to impede people like this from owning weapons?

Brian Harruff, Fort Wayne, Ind.

I'm disappointed by the unbalanced antigun tone of Paul M. Barrett's story. There were plenty of shooting incidents mentioned, but only one police use of the weapon. Conspicuously absent were stories of civilian defensive use of the Glock and other firearms. And regarding the horrible Killeen Massacre in 1991, the author failed to mention that one of the survivors, Susanna Gratia Hupp, became a lawmaker and pushed the Texas legislature to allow concealed carry in that state, despite having lost her parents [to firearms].

There was a far better story about Glock pistols in this same magazine not too long ago. "The Killing Machine" was clearly intended as a hit piece.

Aaron Woodin, White Plains, N.Y.

(Editor's Note: The "far better story" was also written by Paul M. Barrett.)

Far from being an enlightened article, "The Killing Machine" seems to say that the scary boogeyman gun is the problem, as opposed to the scary boogeyman behind the trigger.

I also like the cute reference to "Second Amendment enthusiasts," like we are some sort of club. I have not seen any similar reference to "First Amendment enthusiasts" for those people that believe in other freedoms.

Scott Carlson, Geneva, Ill.

Teacher's Pettiness

I read Randi Weingarten's comments in The New York Times last December, where she complained that South Korea, Finland, Singapore, and Taiwan, I believe, have strong unions, and their schools are strong and have high levels of education and results. She said this, but I don't know if she is correct. She was trying to legitimize her union, the American Federation of Teachers. One thing I do know is that Asian and European societies have education levels that are so much higher than in the U.S.

I also read her comments in Bloomberg Businessweek (Etc., Hard Choices, Jan. 17-23). First, I think Wein-garten is full of red ants. She questions capitalism. Well, she merely confirms that labor unions are steeped in Marxist theology. Also, is she proud of the urban schools she represents? A 50 percent dropout rate in Philly? Almost the same in Chicago and Baltimore? What does she think of the "rubber rooms" for teachers in New York City? If a teacher doesn't kiss the behind of an administrator, they get sent to a rubber room.

Finally, the photograph of Weingarten is funny. She is not noble. She is a loudmouth. I have seen her on David Gregory's show on Sunday, and she embodies those qualities. Why not have a halo around her?

Name withheld, Philadelphia

Bloomberg Businessweek provided a good service to its readers by publishing the interview with Randi Weingarten. What we learn from it is that what matters in education is teachers' "inputs," which can only mean that teachers are to be judged by how much effort they are making. "Output"—that is, the level of student achievement—seems not to be relevant in Weingarten's view.

Ronald K. Smeltzer, Princeton, N.J.


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