Again, innocent Americans are brutally slaughtered, this time in Lewiston, Maine. The unconscionable inactions of elected federal representatives led to the vulnerability of all Americans (in schools, dance halls, bowling alleys, supermarkets, and social clubs). This, I conclude, is a form of state-sponsored terrorism, defined as terrorist violence carried out with the active support of national governments. Under the guise of Second Amendment rights — originally designed to prevent the need for the U.S. to have a professional standing army — those opposed to sane gun legislation have essentially sanctioned the proliferation of a homegrown militia. There are more guns in circulation than people in our nation, thanks to our public elected officials’ intransigent view that firearms are integral to the identity of Americans, disregarding the assault on our national psyche.
Sara Wenger, Ambler
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Regarding the shooting in Maine, the newly elected House speaker, Mike Johnson, said that “the problem is the human heart.” Really, Speaker Johnson? When was the last time anyone saw dozens of rounds of ammo per minute coming out of the human heart? “It’s not the guns, it’s not the weapons,” Johnson said. “We have to protect the right of the citizens to protect themselves.” So where does the murderer’s right to bear arms end and innocent people’s right not to be murdered begin? Don’t the victims and their families have their own right to protection? If the Lewiston mass killings are “not the time to be talking legislation,” when is a good time? Columbine, Sandy Hook, Parkland, Las Vegas, Virginia Tech, et al., were all good times to talk about it, and once again, Republicans are more committed to the NRA and lining their pockets than keeping their oath of office to protect their constituents.
Vicky Benedict Farber, Narberth
Sportswriter Alex Coffey wants to know how the Phillies can regain our trust. This seems to me to be the wrong question and ignores what goes on in being a fan. My three sons and my daughter are all fans. One of my boys watched the seventh game with me. After the final out, Jake screamed: “Why did you take me to the Vet and the Bank? Why did you coach our Little League teams for seven years? Why did Mom encourage you and come to all our games? Why did you write about baseball? I hate this! I can’t stand that it means so much to me whether someone can hit a ball with a stick.”
I told him what I learned from my father when he took me, long ago, to see the old Philadelphia Athletics at Connie Mack Stadium: You start off gripping a ball and wind up being gripped by the game. The Phillies don’t have to regain my trust. While there was great disappointment, I don’t have regrets. Rather, the club has given us a great gift: the ability to care deeply about something good when there is so much in America that we have to shake our heads at.
The comparative purity of the sport is a beacon in a dark world. Would we rather have war in the Middle East, chaos in the U.S. House of Representatives, the threat of a government shutdown, or an ex-president on trial? The players have taught us a little about dignity in defeat. They are a class act even if, through them, we learn that everything is imperfect. We can come to understand that hardship passes, and that hope is always around. They have made bonds between themselves, the city, and their supporters that will not soon be forgotten.
Bruce Kuklick, Philadelphia
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