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September 18, 2012

Letters to the Editor: September 18, 2012

The Daily Star

---- — Perspective needed on guns

After hearing the progressive take on the Colorado and Wisconsin shootings, I thought some perspective was needed concerning guns.

Our society could do itself a favor by not viewing firearms as the reason for violence. As if the briefest glimpse of a rifle makes one violent, and that 99 percent of violence, mugging, wife beating, child and elder abuse, etc., would vanish seconds after the last gun left the streets.

Guns shouldn’t be seen as why we’re violent, but just another way we express that tendency. Which would change a lot of the debate over guns, because what can’t you hurt someone with? And with a fair amount of rapidity, too. I say this because of the argument that guns can wound and kill pretty quickly. This is what I call “playing the numbers game”: judging the awfulness of something by how many it can harm at a crack.

How is one life lost to a knife less tragic than 12 from an automatic rifle? A loved one is still lost, and a crime has still been committed. But with our selective hypersensitivity of outrage, you just might be able to argue that, in terms of feelings and political correctness, it’s only a matter of what you kill with. Actually, I think we’ve come to qualify life and death, period.

But I can’t believe there is such a natural lack of objectivity and critical reasoning over guns to where we seem to fear them as the living dead. Even the talking heads, who should know better. It’s all too deliberate. If I sound conspiratorial, consider that every despot for the last 100 years made it a top priority to deprive the people of guns.

Robert Olejarz


Pregnancy gives minors different rights

In her letter titled, “Teens abortion should require parental consent” (Sept. 7), I note that Ms. Kennedy identifies herself as a registered nurse with a baccalaureate degree in nursing.

As a retired nursing educator with 20 years’ experience teaching baccalaureate-level nursing students, I know that Ms. Kennedy’s education should have included the fact that, by law in most states within the USA and specifically in New York state, pregnant minors are referred to as emancipated minors. That gives a pregnant girl, no matter how young she may be, the right and the responsibility to consent to health care for herself and later for her child.

It means that she, and she alone, has the legal right to make decisions related to her pregnancy and her child. It also means that her parent or parents cannot force her to have an abortion or to relinquish her baby for adoption.

In a perfect world, parents do provide “that little bit of guidance” to which Ms. Kennedy refers, but this is not a perfect world. Many adolescents are fortunate enough to have parents who are supportive in the decision-making process, but far too many do not.

An effective nurse knows that his or her role is to assist a client to make decisions congruent with the client’s own beliefs and values, rather than decisions based on the nurse’s beliefs and values. That’s what good physicians, nurses, teachers and social workers do when adolescents seek outside support because they don’t or can’t trust parents to help.


Pauline Ellen Lee