- The Washington Times - Friday, July 7, 2006

Lock guns, save children

Reading John Lott’s argument that gun locks are more likely to cost lives than save them (“A false safety,” Op-Ed, July 6), I was reminded of an editorial Mr. Lott wrote for the Wall Street Journal in the wake of the 1998 Jonesboro middle school shootings in which he argued that lives could be saved in the future if only teachers would be permitted to arm themselves with concealed handguns and return fire on student assailants. Like that article, his new editorial is irresponsible, backed by fraudulent statistics — it is a recipe for disaster for our nation’s children.

Mr. Lott manipulates numbers to make his case. An actual look at the Center for Disease Control data from 2003 shows that 2,827 children and teens died from gunfire in 2003 — nearly eight per day. Of these deaths, 195 were from accidental or undetermined circumstances and 810 were suicides. Furthermore, a 2005 study by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that “having a gun locked was associated with a 73 percent reduction in injury risk, while locking ammunition was associated with a 61 percent reduction, and storing the gun and ammunition in separate locations was associated with a 55 percent reduction in risk.”

It’s not surprising that Mr. Lott would tell parents with young children that it “does not make sense” to lock up a gun. Mr. Lott has been advocating for gun proliferation for years — without any regard for the public-health consequences.

Your readers, and the families who might suffer from his misguided advice, deserve better.


Coalition to Stop Gun Violence


John Lott does not seem to understand that if the mandatory trigger locks provided during the sale of a handgun saves just one child, the law is a good law.

Ask any parent whose child died as a result of an accidental shooting if they wish there had had been a trigger lock in place.

We all know the answer.

We take the doors off of old refrigerators, we have a safety latch in the trunk of our cars, we put fences around swimming pools — because we want to keep our children safe.

Mr. Lott and the National Rifle Association should concede that this is a good law and not ask Congress to repeal it.


Dallas, Texas

Why we need missile defense

With the U.N. Security Council stalemated as how to respond to Kim Jong-il’s Fourth of July in-your-face missilelaunches andwith threats of more to come, it is anticipated that the left and key Democrats, such as Michigan Sen. Carl Levin and California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, might tone down their opposition to the Bush administration’s promoting antimissile defense as being “too expensive” (“Bush urges N. Korea restraint” Page 1, yesterday).

Perhaps the left’s continuing ridicule of President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative, tagged “star wars” by antagonists, will also be toned down.

In an August 1985 interview with the BBC, President Reagan looked ahead to the time when the genie of nuclear proliferation would be far out of the bottle.

He told the BBC that the reason for having defensive weapons is because when “everyone in the world knows how to make one, a nuclear weapon, we would all be protected in case some madman, some day down along the line, secretly sets out to produce some with the idea of blackmailing the world.”


Palm Desert, Calif.

Interns’ dress for success

My impression, from many years working in Washington politics and policy, is that supervisors are reluctant to set dress codes for interns because they’re exploiting cheap labor, and that interns take no pride in their appearance because they feel their role in the organization is trivial (“Showing off a bit of skin,” Page 1, Wednesday).

These are bad lessons that often extend to entry-level, paid positions.

Some years ago I was called in as a consultant to work with a twenty-something female employee who was having trouble getting along with company executives — all older men in suits.

This is what I encountered: stringy hair, no makeup, bare legs, a too-short skirt, and shirttails out on a blouse that looked like it had been retrieved that morning from the laundry hamper.

Her office was piled with boxes of supplies, an open bottle of wine from an office party was in full view on top of a file cabinet, and her closest chums were still the college interns. Her complaint? She got no respect.

In the course of a long chat, I passed her a copy of the “Women’s Dress for Success” book by John T. Molloy — still a classic — and strongly suggested that she come in one weekend and shovel out her office.

When I ran into her a year later at a conference, she was beautifully dressed, hair and makeup perfect. She had also moved on to a better-paying position at another firm, where she no doubt got the “respect” she wanted and her work deserved.

Both supervisors and the interns themselves need to consider what lessons they will take away from their summer experience working in Washington.

I suspect that what the young women quoted by The Times will have learned is that they’re remembered less for their brains than for their spectacular decollete.

That and never to say anything that you don’t want to see on the front page of the city newspaper.




Gerrymandering is not ‘good governance’

In his column “Supreme benchmarks,” Donald Lambro writes that the latest Supreme Court rulings are “victories for good governance” (Commentary, Thursday). However, in praising the court’s 7-2 ruling in favor of Texas’ redistricting plan, he admits that the decision merely marks a “strategic victory” for Republicans.

It’s hard to see how achieving a Republican majority in Congress is a victory for governance, ipso facto. For decades, the court has held that all legislative acts must show some compelling legislative interest.

Cementing partisan control in a state clearly was a compelling interest for Tom DeLay, but it has precious little to do with legislating and everything to do with politics.

Districts spliced and diced for partisan gain cut voters out of their proper districts and shuffle citizens between congressmen, depriving them of any lasting connection to their representatives. Moreover, they plainly discriminate on the basis of political orientation. Mr. Lambro calls this ruling “an institutional victory,” but it’s hard to think of a nonpartisan institution that wins with this decision.



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