Guns allowed in park is height of insanity


Guns allowed in park is height of insanity

Recently, I was visit- ing the playground in Boardman Park with a friend and his children. At a certain point, a man walked into the playground with a holstered firearm on his belt.

It struck me as the height of insanity for anyone to carry a gun into a playground, where dozens of children are playing; and yet, when I reported it to a police officer patrolling the park, he told me that it is perfectly legal, and there is nothing he could do about it.

Shortly after, feeling quite unsafe – unsafe in a playground! – we left the park.

I followed up with the parks department, who told me that several years ago, there was a ban on firearms in Boardman Park, but that a statewide group descended on it in protest, citing an Ohio Revised Code prohibition on such a ban; the prohibition was subsequently sustained in court, and the park was forced to remove its signage, which signage still maintains a list of prohibitions.

Alcohol and cigarettes may be deemed inappropriate for a playground, but firearms are not?

At this moment in history, when school shootings and other mass shooting events have become so prosaic that they barely register a public response anymore, any state law that prohibits a park from a common-sense prohibition of deadly weapons is a symptom of a national illness that ought to be excised from our society.

Is our state so beholden to the gun lobby that it would rather risk our children than risk the ire of the National Rifle Association?

Steven Reale, Youngstown

Nutty policies explain shootings, health care

I want to offer a brief thought on the mass shootings committed most recently in Texas and Florida.

The after-action response to those shootings is the usual pointing and sputtering, laying blame on the social tapestry against which these shootings are foregrounded.

Protests after the Florida shooting seemed unpersuasive to me, and the rhetoric too auto-therapeutic. As Stephen Stills sang a half-century ago of another protest, “Most they say ‘Hooray for our side.’”

Still, I think there’s at least the possibility the background to these shootings, including those by older folks such as the Las Vegas bump stock guy, is an America that’s pretty nutty itself in its wobbly policies and clueless public discourse. Bad policies have serious behavioral consequences at the micro level. Ask John Brown.

The reason I say that is I’ve been publicly writing about America’s unique group health insurance for a long time. Clarence Rorem’s idea of compulsory corporate-paid charity for those who least need it is clearly whacko, benefiting the wrong people, in the wrong way, for the wrong reason.

Time and a sort of national intellectual vacuum have normalized what’s obviously nuts. Journalists can plead technical ignorance and tight news budgets. Academics, not so much.

The relevant academic literature is a whitewash of truth. Most folks are deeply vested in demonstrable fictions of group health insurance, and the macro behavioral consequences of that are truly astounding.

Politicians are rightfully wary of fuzzy-wuzzy “root causes” public debates. Privately, they ought to recognize that tomorrow’s nut-job shooter surveys the same gratuitous cruelties and lunacies of American policy through the media as the rest of us, with who knows what consequences for his synaptic hygiene.

Jack Labusch, Niles

We must find way to end bullying by candidates

I do not care whether you are Democrat, Republican, Independent or Green Party nor do I care if you are involved with politics on the local, state or federal level.

What I do care about is all the negative comments that are being made about people that are running for various offices. Is it any wonder that the youth of today are bullying others when those that are to be setting good examples for our youth are acting like children themselves?

I know that we have freedom of press and would not want that to ever go away, but I also blame reporters and broadcasters for airing all the negative comments.

What has happened that we don’t report on the good things in our country at the same rate we do the bad?

What happens when people decide to run for office? Does the desire to win out shadow everything else? Do they get caught up in the hype and the excitement? If so, then they are forgetting exactly why they are running and even forget they are adults and should be acting as such.

Another thought is that they have been in the political scene for too many years and have become discouraged, disappointed and forget to act respectful or to treat others as they would want to be treated.

When and how is it going to stop? I don’t have the answer but would appreciate others to comment and together we can possibly find a solution.

Nancy Epstein, Boardman

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