LETTERS: On gun rights, Dreamers, federal budget, McAllen ISD and helping Virginia third graders learn about Texas

Gun rights debated

Well once again President Donald Trump is praying for the dead and wounded students of the Parkland school shootings in Florida. And again the shooter used an AR-15 semi-automatic assault weapon, which he was able to buy because there is no law that does background checks on mental illness.

Why didn’t Trump say it should be illegal to sell these types of rifles to the general public? This country is the only country where this is allowed. The NRA has a strong grip on Washington and it is very clear that the NRA will give them a spanking if lawmakers go against them, and likely cut a lot of funds from their campaigns.

Jaime Muñoz, Alton

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While we all can agree that the National Rifle Association (NRA) is a gun owner’s advocacy organization, we must acknowledge that they offer more than that to society, according to their mission statement. Certainly the NRA does not directly manufacture or sell firearms to the public. The NRA is no more directly responsible for either a single or mass shooting in the United States than the American Automobile Association (AAA) is directly responsible for the drunk drivers on highways who hurt and kill thousands of innocent victims who happen to be in the way. The AAA, also offers much more than just towing.

Neither is the NRA directly responsible for the perpetrators of such shocking violence than the American Medical Association (AM) is directly responsible for the thousands of abortions performed annually. The AMA is much more beneficial to society and to its members in many areas and on many levels.

Let the ongoing gun dialogue remain rational, respectful and reasonable. Thank you.

Eduardo R. Estrada, Edinburg

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I appreciate Mary Puente’s Feb. 28 letter, in which she responded to my earlier letter. This is what is so great about the United States of America: We can vent our differences in a civil way in a great medium, like The Monitor. There are many countries that would not allow this.

I apologize for not making myself clear on video games and how I believe they play a part in gun violence today. First of all, a lot of video games are very educational and some are fun to play. However, I am referring to the vicious, bloody video games. If Ms. Puente thinks it is a good idea to seriously weaken the Second Amendment, then what’s next, the First, Third and Fourth Amendments? This would be a very dangerous path for our country to go down.

I am not a member of the NRA, but I do believe our Founding Fathers had the right idea and they were very smart. Also, it seems that Ms. Puente is making a mockery out of prayer. I still think prayer in our schools helps our children to build morals and respect, as does the Pledge of Allegiance. I also believe the Bible is very important for family life. As a famous evangelist once said: “The Bible is the instruction book for living.”

So, dust off your Bibles and start reading. You may be surprisingly pleased at what you find.

Steven P. Syverson, Weslaco

Bring in Kim Kardashian

President Donald Trump’s advisors are failing. He is loosing what he values most: attractive women with large bosoms. Apparently his men don’t care for his wellbeing; otherwise they would have recruited Kim Kardashian. Kim Kardashian suffers from the same delusional distorted grandeur and is absolutely certain the world wants to look at her derriere and silicone bosoms. She has gone out of her way to ensure the poor children of the world have viewed her alleged extraordinary assets. I’ve heard that even children along the border were overheard talking about her body parts while dodging cartel bullets, saying she has given them motivation for crossing the border. Shouldn’t we encourage their dreams? These brave, starving children desire to cross the border and take advantage of thousands of her photos for undisclosed purposes. I did not dare request more information and trust in God to manage their needs.

George Martinez, Newman, California

Dreamers debated

In the Jan. 20 Monitor, immigrant advocates denounced U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar for his inability to protect Dreamers. It seems that LUPE, and the Laredo immigrant alliance, want Congressman Cuellar to support illegal acts with more illegal acts. Cuellar is an American representative so he has to protect the American government and people. He took an oath on that. He may be sympathetic to Dreamers as a lot of us are, but his priority is keeping the government running. That is something few Democrats care about.

Juan Olivarez, Alton

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In reference to the Jan. 24 article in The Monitor, “Congressman Vela criticizes stopgap deal; remains committed to Dreamers,” I have noticed that the news media, members of Congress, and many citizens use the terms DACA and Dreamers interchangeably. DACA is a subset of the Dreamers, which President Barack Obama created in 2012. The Dreamers were created in 2001 when Congress made a half-hearted attempt at solving some of our immigration issues. The proposed legislation failed.

DACA recipients must have arrived in the United States before their 16th birthday, and be enrolled in school, the military or have jobs with no criminal records. In September, when President Trump announced he would end DACA there were 690,000 people enrolled in the program.

The Migration Policy Institute, a non-partisan, nonprofit think tank that studies global immigration patterns said there were an estimated 3.6 million undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children.

Cecila Muñoz was President Obama’s domestic policy advisor. She said Obama chose to protect only a select group of the Dreamers with his DACA program because his limited powers of executive action prevented him from doing more. She went on to say “Now that Congress is involved, far more Dreamers should be protected.”

So the question is whether Congress intends to legalize only the 690,000 DACA recipients and give them a pathway to citizenship, or, will they make legal the 3.6 million Dreamers? Perhaps all Dreamers won’t be made legal initially, but I strongly suspect all of them will be in the long run.

Darrell Williams Sr., McAllen

2019 FY budget

I see that President Trump’s new budget is a retread of bad ideas and misguided priorities that most Americans strongly opposes. As predicted, his budget would finance his massive tax cut on the backs of ordinary American families who just want to make ends meet each month.

Last year, we saw repeated attempts to gut essential programs like Medicaid and SNAP (formerly food stamps). And now after giving away $1.5 trillion in tax breaks to millionaires, President Trump and some leaders in Congress want to put these critical basic assistance programs back on the chopping block with cuts, time limits, and restructuring.

With 40 million Americans living below the poverty line, this is both bad public policy and just plain wrong.

I urge our members of Congress to make it clear to the president and congressional leadership that they won’t stand for any attempt to unravel anti-poverty programs.

The budget proposal also would drastically slash foreign aid. This money ensures that millions of people get treatment for tuberculosis, which is currently the world’s biggest infectious killer. It helps babies get the medical care and nutrition they need to grow into healthy kids. It gives girls a chance to go to school.

Cutting these programs would deny millions of people a future. This is not who we are. Congress knows it, which is why they fought back last year to stop the proposed cuts. They must do so again.

Tom Nieland, Alamo

McAllen ISD plans

I am elated that the McAllen ISD school board and district administration staff want to make district-wide improvements to existing facilities and are contemplating new additions and possibly minimizing school populations at some campuses.

I have a few suggestions: There are two elementary schools that exceed 900 students. One suggestion was to reduce the population at Milam Elementary. What about Gonzalez Elementary? Do an analysis to see the overall picture. Do school zones need to be changed? In the past, some schools were closed and people complained. But administrators and the board had valid reasons for closing campuses and making zone changes.

McAllen ISD allows all children to attend any school of their choice. I do not believe parents should have a choice as to what school their children attend if they are coming from another school district.

McAllen administrators call the shots, not the parents.

Also there are students who are U.S. citizens but who do not live in the United States. They should not be allowed to attend school here. Do their parents pay school taxes?

At Gonzalez Elementary, over 140 children attend PE at one time. The two staffers and two aides to an outstanding job trying to manage and control these children. But I’m afraid the children are being short changed simply because of the great numbers. In PE, a ration of one to 40 is excellent and allows an instructors to teach all types of activities well.

Students at all grade levels need to feel good about themselves. Physical education is a field where an instructor can enhance students’ self esteem. But overcrowding can limit that.

Pete Romero, McAllen

Help 3rd graders learn about Texas

I am a third-grade student in Northern Virginia. In third grade we do state reports and I have chosen your state! I am very excited to learn more about the great state of Texas as I work on my report.

Information that I gather for my report will mainly be from books and website, but I would also like to get information from people who live in the state. That is why I am writing: I am hoping that readers will send me some items to help me learn more about the best things about your state. This could include postcards, maps, pictures, souvenirs, general information, a newspaper article or any other item that would be useful. Please mail the items to Mrs. Bozorgzad’s Class, The Langley School, 1411 Balls Hill Rd., McLean, Virginia, 22101. Thank you.

Sama, The Langley School, McLean, Virginia

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