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New Hampshire’s Sturm Ruger, the NRA, and an Executed Journalist

Firearms


To the Editor:

Palestinian authorities have concluded that Shireen Abu Akleh,
killed in May in Palestine, was murdered with a bullet from a Ruger gun.
Palestinian Attorney General Al-Khatib said tests showed that the bullet that
killed Abu Akleh was a 5.56 mm round fired from a Ruger semiautomatic rifle,
which is used by the Israeli military. This rifle is produced by Sturm Ruger
whose headquarters are in Fairfield, Connecticut but it has a factory in
Newport, N.H. It is possible that the weapon that took the life of this
reporter was manufactured in New Hampshire.

Abu Akleh was a prominent Arab journalist, known all over the
Middle East, who worked for Al Jazeera for 25 years. CNN described her as “a
household name across the Arab world for her coverage of Israel and the
Palestinian territories.”

Stanley Heller, Executive Director of the Middle East Crisis
Committee, said, “For years we’ve been calling attention to sales of Ruger guns
and ammunition to the Israeli military which is a serial human rights violator.
We’re part of a coalition called “No Rugers to Israel” (website NoRugers2Israel.org). We can document
over 200 Palestinians killed or injured by Rugers though we believe the true
number to be far higher.”

N.H. Veterans for Peace says that Sturm Ruger should not be
selling its weapons or ammunition to the Israeli government. Sturm Ruger, the
U.S.’ largest firearms company, is known to have given millions of dollars to
the National Rifle Association, which, after the Uvalde Massacre, itself has
come under harsh criticism for its rejection of gun control measures and its
promotions of gun sales. Apparently, for Sturm Ruger and the NRA, it is profits
over the lives of precious, innocent children.

Will Thomas, N.H. VFP

Auburn, N.H.

Will:

Thank you for pointing out
the direct connection between one of New Hampshire’s highly-esteemed corporations
and the recent sniper killing of a Palestinian-American journalist. We can almost
hear the pro-market apologists now, howling with outrage over the explicit assertion
of this link: “But…but…the jobs!”

Of course, only a Communist
would dare to suggest that the State of New Hampshire ought to favor the
development of green energy technology over the manufacture of firearms.

The Editor

–=≈=–

Pro-Life’s Persistent Questions

To the Editor:

Why is it that so many people who call themselves pro-life vote
for politicians who believe guns are more important than humans? Isn’t it time
they call themselves what they actually are, which is pro-gun and
anti-abortion, but not pro-life?

Walter Hamilton

Portsmouth N.H.

Walter:

It’s only natural for
so-called “pro-lifers” to mis-characterize themselves.

We would like to know why
supposedly neutral news media allow them to get away with it.

The Editor

–=≈=–

Alito’s Draft is Revealing

Dear Editor:

A phrase in Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s draft of the
upcoming Roe v. Wade decision
deserves scrutiny: “…domestic supply of infants relinquished at birth or
within the first month of life.” This is about the product of forced, full-term
pregnancies if Roe v. Wade is
overturned. We accept moves towards more domestically-produced steel and more
domestically-produced solar panels. Those are commodities in a business world,
and all might benefit. But, babies? Slave babies were profitable commodities in
America’s early centuries.

Good friends, when young marrieds, adopted two children (children
now in their 60s). First was a girl with such badly crossed eyes she was
considered unadoptable, and so was in foster care. The husband went to that
house to adopt a puppy, went home with the puppy, and told his wife about the
needy little girl, who was no longer a toddler. The wife said, “Operations can
remedy her eyes!” They adopted her, and returned for an older foster-child boy,
who was already like a sibling to their adopted daughter. They paid for eye
surgeries. The daughter’s eyes were normalized—not just for looks, but for a
good life. Those kids were loved.

Justice John Roberts has adopted kids, as does Justice Amy Coney
Barrett. Do they and others think only in terms of perfect babies, as in
looked-for-then-favored, the way a car by model, year, color, and warranty is
wanted and bought? This is heartless, if applied to babies, and the girls and
women forced to produce them. Alito’s language shows him to be tone-deaf.
However, his wording helps by revealing a big flaw in overturning Roe v. Wade.

Lynn Rudmin Chong

Sanbornton, N.H.

–=≈=–

Mass Shootings: a Public Health Problem

Dear Sir:

Since 1854, when John Snow ended a cholera outbreak in London by
removing the handle from the Broad Street water pump, the public health
epidemiological approach has been successfully applied to reduce, and in some
cases eliminate, the burden of disease, as well as intentional and
unintentional injury. This same public health approach can also be applied
today to reduce the burden of gun violence in America. Unfortunately, the NRA
has successfully pressured Congress to prevent the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC) from conducting gun violence prevention research. Gun
violence, which kills tens of thousands of American’s each year, is the only
epidemic that the CDC is specifically prohibited from investigating.

The epidemiological approach to a public health problem analyzes
the causes of a disease or injury, studying the agent causing the
disease/injury, how the agent is spread, and if the susceptible host at risk of
the disease or injury can be protected from the threat. This is called the
chain of causation, where each link in the chain being connected to each other
can spread a disease or cause an injury. Searching for the weakest link in this
chain of causation, and removing it, is how the public health approach prevents
or at least reduces preventable disease or injury. In some cases like polio, a
vaccine is used to make the host non-susceptible. Air bags and seat belts are
added to automobiles, to reduce the level of injury during a crash. A condom is
used to prevent HIV from entering a susceptible host.

With regard to gun violence we know the agent causing the violence,
people prone to violence, the vector (that which spreads the disease), a gun,
and the susceptible host, all of us. To reduce gun violence we need to attack
the cause at its weakest link. We cannot eliminate the agent, or even all the
mental health issues that cause a person to use a gun to kill people, and we
cannot make humans non-susceptible to bullets. That leaves the agent, the gun,
as the weakest link in the chain of causation.

Reducing the number of guns, especially those capable of killing
many people very quickly, and eliminating high capacity magazines, would reduce
the burden of gun violence. Like malaria, one of the deadliest diseases on the
planet, the mosquito does not cause the disease, the agent parasite does, but
eliminating or reducing the number of mosquitoes is the best method in the
absence of a vaccine, of reducing the number of malaria cases. While in both
the gun violence and malaria examples, the disease or injury is not eliminated,
by using sound public health science the burden of both these scourges can be
reduced significantly. As with John Snow, the Broad Street pump, working like
an assault-style weapon spreading many deadly bacteria with each pull of the
handle, was not the cause of the cholera outbreak, but eliminating the pump
ended the problem.

Rich DiPentima, MPH

Portsmouth, N.H.

–=≈=–

On Regulating Guns

Dear Editor:

The 2nd Amendment enshrines gun ownership, nevertheless, gun
usage can and should be regulated, to preserve our safety and security.

We need laws to regulate gun use like automobile use is
regulated:

• License gun owners for usage only after they pass periodic
safety tests.

• Require periodic inspection of licensed people’s arsenals to
enforce modification prohibitions (like smog checks on automobiles).

• Require gun users to carry insurance for damage done by their
guns.

• Maintain and enforce background check databases to restrict
guns from criminals, terrorists and mentally ill people.

• Require a three-day pause before gun delivery.

• Enable “red flag” powers for police to temporarily confiscate a
person’s armaments.

• Prohibit gun makers from marketing their lethal products to
minors.

• Raise the minimum age for gun ownership to 21, or even 25.

• Prohibit sale, transfer, and ownership of military-grade
weapons.

These are sensible regulations; they are not radical and they do
not conflict with the 2nd Amendment. Opposing these regulations, Republican
officials are actually enabling and condoning the ability of mass-murderers to
kill innocent children, women, and men.

Bruce Joffe

Piedmont, Calif.

Bruce:

We thought of tackling
these proposals point by point, but soon gave up.

Enacting effective gun
regulations which have broad public support would be a simple matter if we
lived in a functioning democracy.

Until we do, it’s all deck
chairs on the
Titanic.

The Editor

–=≈=–

The Truth About Inflation

To the Editor;

Inflation-driven prices are causing pain to U.S. consumers
affecting a wide range of goods. Although there is disagreement regarding
causes, some reasons for inflation are clear.

The proximate cause for inflation can be explained by basic
economics. When demand for goods exceeds the economy’s capacity to supply them,
price will increase until equilibrium between supply and demand is achieved.
After two years of pandemic isolation and restrictions, huge pent-up demand for
consumer goods aided by significant government support and stimulus payments
overwhelmed the ability of supply chains to deliver the goods. Asian supply
chains were hindered by continued Covid outbreaks in Chinese factories and
container ports. Moreover, the container shipping companies had reduced
capacity and mothballed cargo carriers in anticipation of a global recession
due to the pandemic. Space on container ships has become almost impossible to
find especially for small businesses. The cost of a trans-Pacific container has
increased from $4,000 to $5,000 to $15,000. The Russian invasion of Ukraine
further roiled already tight energy and commodity markets driving food and energy
prices higher. All these factors contribute to the current inflation, but they
do not tell the full story.

There is an additional cause for inflation—excess profit-taking
by corporations. This factor has been discounted by conservatives and some
economists who claim that impersonal market forces alone explain inflation.
These market fundamentalists consider markets as objective mediators of price
beyond the control of individual buyers and sellers. They are not. Markets are
social constructions. Their structure and conduct are determined by human
decision makers. Markets where neither buyer or seller has little power to
affect price are rare. Increasingly, industries are made up of a few, large
corporations that have significant power to influence price and the incentive
to do so. Their decisions are guided by a Wall Street culture that places
profit and returns to shareholders first and customers and employees second. In
markets dominated by corporations with great bargaining power, it is
disingenuous to claim that excess profit seeking is not part of the current
inflation.

Corporate concentration has been on the increase across several
industries since the ’80s, driven by mergers and acquisitions often designed to
exploit growing global markets. In the U.S., consolidation has been accompanied
by a decline in antitrust prosecutions. An example is the meat processing
industry. Since 2000, the concentration of the industry has doubled without
intervention from antitrust regulators. Today, only four companies control 80
percent of the beef processing capacity as well as significant portions of
chicken and pork processing. This gives them significant market power over
suppliers of beef, chicken and pork as well as wholesalers and retailers. In
the past year, beef prices have increased by approximately 24 percent while
processor profits increased 300 percent. In the face of skyrocketing profits,
it defies logic to claim that retail price increases are simply market
adjustments to supply chain problems. In a competitive industry, these firms
would minimize price increases because they would fear the loss of market share
to a competitor. In an industry characterized by monopoly power, however,
supply chain chaos provides the cover for price increases that include profit
maximizing.

Concentrated markets also contribute to inflation by restricting
industry capability to respond to shortages, as the case of Intel illustrates.
In the 2000s, Intel, the largest U.S. producer of semiconductors, began to
acquire smaller competitors. The acquisitions were often supported by
government regulators, as Intel was perceived to be the U.S. champion in the
global chip industry. As Intel’s size and power grew, it offshored or sold off
most of its U.S. chip capacity, relying on lower cost Asian manufacturers to
supply standard chips. To the delight of Wall Street investors, Intel’s profits
improved, but when the pandemic virtually eliminated Asian chip supply, it
lacked capacity in the U.S. to expand production. The result has been persistent
shortages of vital semiconductors contributing to price increases in a variety
of products.

Inflation is a serious problem with a complex set of causes. Some
are the result of impersonal market forces, but this explanation often masks
deeper causes that grow out of market structures and behaviors. Markets are not
an act of God; they are a human creation and often favor powerful actors that
influence prices to their benefit. Too often markets are used to enforce the
philosophy of maximizing shareholder value to the detriment of consumers and
workers. Imperfect markets must be regulated to protect the social interest
rather than the financial interests of the economic elites.

Robert D. Russell, Ph.D.

Harrisburg, Pa.

Robert:

Thank you for this concise disquisition
on a highly relevant topic. Let us hope another of our correspondents takes the
time to read it.

The Editor

–=≈=–

Our Errant Supreme Court

To the Editor:

The Supreme Court (majority) was and is wrong about the 2nd
Amendment.

It was written by two Virginia slave holders (Madison and Monroe)
who wanted a well-regulated militia in order to be able to put down a slave
insurrection.

“The people” who they wrote have “the right to bear arms” (not
modern military assault weapons) were white, male, property owners. No others
counted in those days.

Those (mostly Republican) Senators who gladly take money from the
gun-makers care more for their political futures than the people (many times
that of any other country) who are murdered every year by weapons that should
never be available to the public.

The only solution is to elect Senators who understand that the
2nd Amendment was written for a time long gone by.

Neal W. Ferris

Durham, N.H.

Neal:

Clear, concise, and
correct—no wonder you’ve never been appointed to the Supreme Court.

The Editor

–=≈=–

Good Guys, Guns, and Hypocrisy

To the Editor:

Republicans and the gun lobby and Fox News love to tell us that,
“The answer to a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” I have heard
this mantra ad nauseam after each
slaughter.

Well, there’s one place in Texas filled with “good guys” and it
is safe! But that’s not why it’s safe. It’s safe because everyone is frisked at
the door, no one is allowed to carry, open or concealed. It’s called the NRA
convention!

Now why would the NRA ban guns? It’s because the NRA hierarchy
knows that in a room full of people carrying guns, the chances of someone, or
lots of people, getting shot is very high; they know their “good guy with a
gun” mantra is total BS.

Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Norway all had a culture
of gun ownership, and all tightened restrictions after a mass shooting. Their
gun violence statistics are now sharply lower than those of the U.S. Obviously
America needs gun legislation to protect citizens. If other countries can do it
so can we!

Michael Frandzel

Portsmouth, N.H.

Michael:

As with our friend Bruce
Joffe, you seem to be operating on the assumption that the will of the people
might be done here in these allegedly United States.

Well, we have not given up
hope.

The Editor

–=≈=–

Working the Polls

To the Editor:

As a recent retiree, I now have time to be a poll worker. It is
an honor.

I can only speak to the process I personally experienced.
Everyone connected with the election realized we were stewards of an awesome
legacy. Poll workers were required to attend two hours of training, learning
routines and becoming prepared for exceptional circumstances. We took our oath
of office, recognizing its weight.

On election day, floaters in every room helped as needed. Voters
proceeded in the assurance that each vote mattered. As we voted or enabled the
voting, we rededicated ourselves to democracy.

Governor Sununu has announced “New Hampshire is the gold
standard” in elections. So why is there a Special Committee on Voter
Confidence? Their website states “New Hampshire is one of the easiest places
for voters to register and cast their ballots, but concerns about declining
voter confidence have been voiced in the state, as well as nationally.”

How can such doubt exist? Lies about stolen elections and bad
machines have influenced public opinion. There is no evidence of bad actors in
our election process, except those who want to change the outcome by any means
necessary. Do not allow this “misinformation” to poison our faith in New
Hampshire elections.

Please send a quick email to VoterConfidence@sos.nh.gov.
Let the Special Committee know you admire the integrity of elections in your
town. What needs fixing? The ability of citizens to believe rumors, contrary to
their own experience! Become a poll worker and see for yourself.

Susan Richman

Durham, N.H.

Susan:

Poll workers deserve the
nation’s unstinting respect. Instead, in too many places they’re being burdened
with pointless extraneous tasks as part of a cynical power grab.

The Editor

–=≈=–

Why Does Biden Hate America?

To the Editor:

How rich, ignorant, and/or uncaring must people be to not realize
that President Biden’s policies have been disastrous, especially for middle-
and lower-income Americans?

Today’s over eight percent inflation means a family with a
$60,000 income last year now needs an extra $5,000 to maintain the same modest
lifestyle. The gasoline price jump from $2.099, just before Biden’s attack on
our petroleum industry, to yesterday’s price of $4.589 hurts most families.

Biden now imports dirty oil…[xenophobia,
paranoia
]…clean oil here, enriching American workers, generating American
taxes, protecting our national security, and reducing prices.

Wealthier Americans’ incomes, safety, health, and children’s
future success are less directly harmed by the millions of illegal aliens
flooding through President Biden’s open border.

Illegal aliens…[xenophobia,
paranoia
]…degrading their schools and hospitals.

Crime skyrocketed…[disinformation,
cheap political slur
]…without bail to victimize others.

Democrats…[disengenuous BS]…depriving
them of decent educations and prosperous futures.

Democrat taxes…[simplistic
hogwash
]…taking many millions of good paying jobs with them. [Fantasy-based economics]…middle- and
lower-income families.

[Pious condescension]…but
they need to awaken to the fact that today’s Democrat leaders are not the
patriotic, pro-American worker Democrats of the distant past.

Don Ewing

Meredith, N.H.

Don:

Thank you for continuing to
favor us with these screeds. By publishing them we hope to preserve a record of
misinformed, bad faith arguments in the early 21st century.

Thank you, too, for your
forbearance. Unlike so many others who share your views, you consistently
refrain—despite clearly viewing Democrats as evil incarnate—from threatening to
murder them.

You cast inflation as an
evil Democratic plot. See page five for Robert Russell’s excellent primer on
the topic.

The Editor



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