LETTERS: On gun control, judge’s earplug suit, alcoholism, poverty and Earth Day

Gun rights debated

About 98 percent of mass shootings in America occur in gun-free zones. Since 1950, only two mass shootings have occurred in an areas where citizens weren’t prohibited from carrying a gun.

In 1990, Joe Biden introduced the Gun-Free School Zones Act to the Senate. It was signed into law by George H.W. Bush. The act’s intent was to prevent mass shootings in schools. But most mass shootings at K-12 campuses happened after this act was made into law. Only one mass shooting happened before it became law.

Will these gun-free school zones continue to be allowed to be the site of these mass shootings? Killers and terrorists choose areas where few or no people are armed. Common sense says it’s easier to shoot an unarmed victim running from you than an armed person firing back while defending themselves. Those who wish to harm others tend to be deterred when people have the capability of fighting back.

To solve the problem of mass shootings, legislators must think of ways to deter evil people from targeting our schools instead of enacting laws that restrict our Second Amendment rights. Giving people the right to defend themselves is a good start.

Charlie Cardenas, McAllen

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School teachers in Erie, Pennsylvania, were recently given baseball bats to protect their students from school shooters, and that has generated much controversy. Some think baseball bats are no match against a gun, but I don’t believe that is not true.

A baseball bat can cause much damage when hit to the head. It could cause brain damage, a concussion, or cause the person to become unconscious. If the parents of Erie give this school district’s idea a chance they might see its benefits. Think of the alternatives of giving guns to teachers. Children are curious; they could accidently take the gun from a teacher’s desk, and hurt themself or others. I believe that the usage of baseball bats is a very wise way to go. It is a viable way to help school teachers protect their students.

Norely Chapa, McAllen

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Reports of a recent gun threat on social media directed to South Texas College alleging that a woman would have killed another student if she had a gun, boggles my mind because it’s been the second gun threat in three weeks.

I think that STC should do a better job on informing their students on threats like this. When there was a bad weather day we immediately got news about classes being canceled or delayed. However, when there was a gun threat, we weren’t told. As a high school student who attends STC, I would like to be informed to reassure my family and let them know everything is OK. Perhaps pass on information to our professors and they will tell us.

With these recent gun threats, I think STC should start adding more security guards and officers in every building and around the campus. There should be more guards patrolling the campuses. Students would feel safer knowing that if anything goes wrong there is security to help out. Also there would probably be less threats and violence if perpetrators know there are more guards to prevent them from doing their act.

Hopefully STC can do these things to help make the students feel safer, and encourage them to go to school without them worrying about a threat. Adding more security won’t do any harm to the campus, but will help make the school a better environment.

Danyel Piceno, Alton

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In response to Ned Sheets recent letter applauding gun restrictions, I beg to differ.

Under federal law — USC 10 § 311 — the militia is basically defined as that part of the armed forces of the United States comprised of all able-bodied citizens or lawfully resident non-citizens seeking to become the same who are not members of the regular armed forces or national guard or otherwise exempted from military service.

Being a member of the militia has always included the understanding that one should be initially self-armed and otherwise equipped — hopefully at least as well as the regular military forces.

Therefore, it is my personal belief that if you currently show up to the dance with anything other than a fully functional M16A2 and at least five loaded 20-round magazines, you are out of uniform. It is my additional belief that a fully accessorized M107 along with five or more loaded ten-round magazines should constitute an acceptable alternative.

Ned Pierce,

Edinburg

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All the shootings in the past years make it obvious that we need to reform gun laws. Since 2013, there has been 291 U.S. school shootings reported; 18 so far in 2018. Texas is among 19 states where school shootings have occurred. Some of the requirements to obtain a gun is to be a U.S citizen, have an official ID, and fill out an application as a backgroung check. To minimize shootings in schools and other public places, we need gun control. One proposal that I think would reduce the violence is to have a mental evaluation, not only a criminal background check. Also, raise the age limit to buy guns to 25 — an age when a person’s brain is fully developed. Perhaps make those with guns pay a monthly fee and undergo regular mental health evaluations. This steps, I believe, would stop shootings in America.

Juan Briones, Hidalgo

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Can you believe the logic of the anti-gun people? Consider murder by ‘guns and vehicles.’

“The gun is the culprit, not the shooter.”

“Therefore the vehicle is the culprit, not the driver.”

Q.E.D.

Darrell Williams Sr., McAllen

Earplug suit ‘false’

Regarding The Monitor’s April 10 article “Judge sues earplug maker,” I believe his hearing loss is due to his negligence, not what he claimed were faulty earplugs, and here’s why.

Based off what the article states Robert “Bobby” Flores claimed that the earplugs are at fault. But his Beretta pistol is 160 decibels — as loud as some of the loudest rifles that peak at about 167. The earplugs claimed to only reduce the noise by 33 decibels which can still cause hearing loss, especially at long periods of time. Which brings me to my next argument.

Judge Flores also claims that the range had people shooting near each other, which is true, but in the rules of the shooting range it recommends double protection for the ears to prevent damage. Flores Also complained about how people around him were shooting higher caliber weapons but neglects the fact that he stayed to finish a box of ammo. Why would he do that if he was in discomfort? A typical box of ammo for a Beretta pistol is 50 rounds, which means he spent a decent amount of time shooting his extremely loud gun. So, if he has anyone to blame, it’s himself for being either uneducated, or negligent.

In my opinion, he’s abusing his power as a judge to try to get money off his injuries that seem to be self-inflicted.

Jared Rui Guerrero, Edinburg

No child left behind

The No Child Left Behind law has made a negative impact on U.S. public schools. In 2015, President Barack Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). However, there are still some concerns regarding the ESSA within our communities.

Its important to bring awareness to the public about this law. It is a serious matter. It fixes some problems but creates others, some say. Tests will continue to be administered in grades three through eight, and at least once in high school. The scores for these tests will play a huge role on how schools are evaluated. Another concern is that schools with the highest needs will continue to have teachers with the minimum preparation.

A possible solution is more teacher training that could provide teachers with the adequate skills to help low-performing students succeed.

Stephanie Hernandez, Weslaco

Helping the poor

What is your first thought when you see a poor person on the street? How does it make you feel to know that you will have three full meals today, tomorrow and for the rest of the week but that a man, woman or child nearby might not eat one meal in a day? The statistics of U.S. poverty are startling. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, one child in five lives in poverty; as do one in eight adults. That’s 15.5 million impoverished kids in the United States. And where there is one starving child, there is likely an entire family.

Our government has not done enough to help our society break out of this cycle. Social welfare programs like Medicaid, SNAP food benefits, TANF and WIC are all important but will not extricate a family from poverty. For this to happen, we must ensure that all individuals — no matter their circumstances — have a chance to get a good job to provide for themselves and families. This will help not only impoverished children but also help homeless individuals find an easier way to get themselves a good paying job.

Angela M. Garza, Mercedes

Alcohol awareness

This is Alcohol Awareness Month. Begun in 1987 by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependences, the month is dedicated to reducing the stigma surrounding alcoholism and to provide information on alcohol, alcoholism, and recovery. This year’s theme,“Connecting the Dots: Opportunities for Recovery,” focuses on community ways to help prevent underage drinking, which is critical for the future of our youth.

No other substance is more widely used and abused by youth than alcohol, making alcoholism and alcohol-related issues the No. 1 U.S. public health problem.

In Hispanic families, children are often exposed to drinking at an early age through family get-togethers, quinceañeras, and birthday parties. This wrongly teaches them at an early age that drinking is socially acceptable. According to the 2016 Texas School Survey, about half of students surveyed in grades seven through 12 report having tried alcohol; four out of 10 students thought it would be somewhat or very easy to get alcohol if they wanted.

The Texas Health and Human services Commission in 2015 found that alcohol is not only the most commonly used substance on many college campuses, but it also leads to consequences such as a higher risk of unplanned sex, unprotected sex, poor schoolwork, missing classes, and legal issues.

More than four in 10 people who begin drinking before age 15 develop alcoholism later in life. Adolescence is a time of heightened risk-taking and as alcohol and drugs enter the picture, parents are faced with a unique set of challenges. They can simply sit back and hope their kids will “get through it,” or they can take an active role in learning about alcohol and drugs and helping their kids do the same. Parents must talk to their kids early about the consequences and risks of alcohol.

Irwin Mendoza, Prevention Resource Center, Pharr

50th Earth Day

Sunday’s 50th observance of Earth Day showed each of us that we can contribute by reducing our driving, use of electric energy, and consumption of animals.

Last fall, Oxford University’s prestigious Food Climate Research Network and Germany’s Heinrich Bolle Foundation concluded that solving the global warming catastrophe requires massive global shifts to a plant-based diet. A 2010 United Nations report blamed animal agriculture for 70 percent of global freshwater use, 38 percent of land use, and 19 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.

Carbon dioxide is emitted by burning forests to create animal pastures and by operating farm machinery to grow animal feed. The more damaging methane and nitrous oxide are released from digestive tracts of cattle and from animal waste cesspools, respectively.

Moreover, meat and dairy production dumps more animal waste, crop debris, fertilizers, pesticides, and other pollutants into our waterways than all other human activities combined. It is the driving force behind wildlife habitat destruction.

In an environmentally sustainable world, meat and dairy products in our diet must be replaced by vegetables, fruits and grains, just as fossil fuels are being replaced by wind, solar, and other pollution-free energy sources.

Joel Kriviak, McAllen

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