Trigger unhappy

Letters to the Boston editor, May 1, 2009
By BOSTON PHOENIX LETTERS  |  April 29, 2009

Regarding your recent “Death by Handgun” editorial: guns don’t kill people. People kill people. Of all the murder suspects listed in your article, how many were licensed to carry a firearm?

There are many law-abiding firearm owners in this country. They are not the problem. (I myself do not own a gun. I simply take a rational approach and look at where the problem lies.) Licensed gun owners don’t buy guns in licensed gun stores and re-sell them on the streets. Those guns are traceable. The problem, then, is with the purchase process between gun manufacturers and gun stores, which allows some weapons to illegally make their way into the wrong hands. Imposing more laws on licensed gun owners, who already have to go through a lengthy process to own one, is not a solution.

Brian Sweeney

Looks like you’ll get your wish
Regarding your editorial, “Car Talk,” I would never buy a GM car or product, for several reasons:

1) GM conspired with a few other companies to destroy the privately owned and operated tram systems (trolleys, inter-urbans) that covered the US until the 1920s.

2) GM tried every dirty trick in the book to discredit Ralph Nader after he wrote his book Unsafe at Any Speed.

3) GM and the other auto companies have benefited from governmental subsidies for highways, bridges, and gasoline.

4) GM has fought every attempt to strengthen the Clean Air Act.

5) GM has failed to adapt, so let it die as the other dinosaurs did before it.

Bill Aldrich
West Newton

Strength in unions
I was outraged to read the irrational anti-worker rant posing as an editorial in the March 13 edition of the Phoenix.

Let me first state that I am not a member of any union (though I wish I were). The current crisis we find ourselves in is the result of the extraordinary greed of the wealthiest members of our society. While some have gotten fabulously rich over the last 30 years, working people have had to make due with less. Despite dramatic increases in the productivity of the American worker, wages (when adjusted for inflation) are on average lower today than they were in 1973.

Now that the chickens have come home to roost, it is once again the working people of this country who are being asked to pay. This was evident in the different reactions to requests for bailouts from Wall Street and Detroit. Wall Street got nearly one trillion dollars with no strings attached, while automakers could only receive several tens of billions of dollars if their unionized workers agreed to significant concessions.

The working class must organize itself to ensure that, whatever the recovery looks like, it comprises the overwhelming majority of Americans that benefit. The problem with unions is not that they are too militant in defense of their members’ interests, but that they are not militant enough.

Concessions that are made today are never given back without a fight. By insisting on a decent standard of living for its members, the teachers and firefighters unions are ensuring that all workers don’t lose even more ground in the pursuit of fairness and dignity. While not a panacea, the Employee Free Choice Act goes a little way toward leveling the playing field.

John Fitzgerald

Mike Miliard’s feature last week, “Luis’s Lost Years,” contained two factual errors. Luis Tiant’s 1.60 earned-run average in 1968 was tops in the American League, but not in the Majors. (That season, Bob Gibson of the St. Louis Cardinals posted a 1.12 ERA on his way to a Cy Young Award.) Also, Tiant threw 163, not 173, pitches in Game 4 of the 1975 World Series. We regret the errors.

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