A condescending president on gun control
I have never thought much of President Clinton, but after reading your May 17 front-page article “Bush’s gun aim on mark, polls say,” I know at last that he feels the same way about me. The Democratic leadership has always been paternal and condescending toward the American people, but Mr. Clinton’s comments that “people don’t know what [the presidential candidates’] respective positions are” and are uneducated on the issue of gun control when the majority of those polled reject his heavy-handed approach to the subject portrays a high level of arrogance.
Instead of suggesting new laws to prevent another Columbine, Mr. Clinton should ask himself why the numerous firearm regulations passed during his two terms in office were unable to prevent such a tragedy. Then he should get to work on enforcing those regulations more effectively.
Is it so surprising to the president and the pollsters inside the Beltway that most Americans are rational enough to see that almost all of the recent tragedies involving guns were perpetrated by individuals who already had violated several gun laws before committing the ultimate act? The fact that CNN’s “expert” pollster, Bill Schneider, ran the poll twice when it disagreed with his presupposition the first time is a good indicator of how bias creeps into the media. Would he have been as careful if the results had favored Vice President Al Gore? I think not.
I am sure, however, that the media will do its best to help the president “educate” us in the coming months about the need for tougher, superfluous gun-control laws. Personally, I look forward to the spectacle.
Society forgetting fatherhood is a duty
Thank you for printing Joseph Perkins’ May 20 Commentary column, “Greatest threat to children.” As Henry David Thoreau said, “There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.”
Mr. Perkins’ column certainly strikes at the root that the politically correct in Washington refuse to see: They are too blinded by their zeal to place Band-Aids on the victims of the “branches” or symptoms of this greater problem.
Until we as a nation take major steps to reverse the trend toward fatherless families, we will continue to suffer incurable consequences. There is a point at which freedom of personal choice impacts a society’s exercise of free choice. That point has been reached and overstepped by those who see commitment in relationships and parenthood as a choice rather than a duty.
WILLIAM R. STRINGHAM
Letter painted too bright a picture on Social Security return
James Felten writes, “We often hear from conservatives that the ‘return’ on Social Security is only a ridiculous 2 percent. How can that be when government bonds yield 6 percent” (“Social Security debate filled with demagoguery,” Letters, May 20)? Mr. Felten makes the common mistake of confusing Social Security’s return to workers with the return on the bonds in the trust fund.
Nobel laureate Paul Samuelson showed in 1958 that the real return from a pay-as-you-go system such as Social Security is not the government bond rate but the growth rate of the wage base (i.e., the increase in the number of workers plus the increase in their wages determine the amount of revenue the system can distribute to beneficiaries). Because labor-force growth will slow to a crawl, Social Security’s trustees estimate total wage-base growth at only 1.2 percent annually over the next 75 years.
Contrast Social Security’s guaranteed poor return with the stock market, whose lowest 30-year real stock return since 1802 was 2.6 percent. Social Security’s true return is far worse than Mr. Felten realizes, and the case for market investment far stronger.
ANDREW G. BIGGS
Social Security analyst
Turks as the aggressors is false propaganda
Greek and Greek Cypriot sources discredit the allegation by Eugene T. Rossides that there was “Turkish aggression against Cyprus” in 1974 (“Senator may be too optimistic about ‘Turkey’s human rights progress,’ ” Letters, April 30). The Athens Court of Appeal, in a March 21, 1979, ruling, affirmed the legality of Turkey’s intervention under the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee and lectured: “The real culprits … are the Greek officers who engineered and staged a coup and prepared the conditions for this intervention.” In an address before the U.N. Security Council on July 19, 1974, Greek Cypriot leader Archbishop Makarios similarly declared: “The events in Cyprus do not constitute an internal matter of the Greeks of Cyprus. The Turks of Cyprus are also affected. The coup of the Greek junta is an invasion, and from its consequences the whole people of Cyprus suffers, both Greeks and Turks.”
The Voluntary Exchange of Populations Agreement of Aug. 5, 1975, was negotiated under the auspices of the U.N. secretary-general and approved by the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot councils of ministers. It was witnessed and put into effect by U.N. forces in Cyprus. The agreement explains the ethnic homogeneity of Northern and Southern Cyprus, not Turkish military intervention, as Mr. Rossides claims. Mr. Rossides also neglects to mention the genocide of Turkish Cypriots that the coup-participant Greeks and Greek Cypriots coveted. For instance, The Washington Post reported on July 23, 1974, “…in a Greek raid on a small Turkish village near Limassol 36 people out of a population of 200 were killed. The Greeks said they had been given orders to kill the inhabitants of the Turkish villages before the Turkish forces arrived.” Archterrorist Nicos Sampson, a leader of the Greek coup in Cyprus, confessed to the Athens newspaper Elefterotipia on Feb. 26, 1981: “[I]f Turks did not launch the rescue operation, we could not only succeed on Enosis (union with Greece), but also eradicate the Turks from the island.”
Mr. Rossides mentions a decision by the European Court of Human Rights regarding property ownership but ignores the fact that the Turkish Cypriot government’s proposal for a global property settlement of reciprocal claims of Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots has been rejected by the Greek Cypriot administration. If implemented, the Turkish Cypriot plan envisions similar measures and undertakings as Israel’s proposal to settle the property issue in the Middle East peace talks. However, Greek Cypriot intransigence on this and similar humanitarian issues is handicapping a final resolution of the Cyprus problem.
It is disappointing to see the apparent determination of some Greeks and Greek Cypriots to maintain their negative propaganda campaign at a time when more and more people are becoming hopeful of a just and viable settlement on the island based on the sovereign equality of Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot people.
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
Go Lazio go
How wonderful that Rep. Rick A. Lazio has hit the ground running (“Enter Rick Lazio,” Editorial, May 22). I hope to be among many who wish him success in the New York Senate race and in returning Hillary Rodham Clinton to the place especially reserved for pushy people who overstay their welcome in public spaces.
Mr. Lazio is charming and has a fresh face. He has an especially good manner in speaking to an audience. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if he could slay the dragon? Republicans, independents and people who are sick of smarmy Clintonian drivel have a chance do a good deed for the nation by sending this bright young man to Washington.
Good luck, Mr. Lazio.
MARTHA N. COPENHAVER