- The Washington Times - Monday, September 10, 2007

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Homeland security foolishness After standing barefoot in line at the airport and having my toothpaste and suntan lotion confiscated because the containers were too large, I was disturbed to read in Friday’s editions that our border guards are now under orders to let visitors to our country pass through virtually undisturbed if the lines in El Paso, Texas, or other ports of entry get too long (“Border checks limited to speed traffic,” Page 1).

When is the Department of Homeland Security going to learn that we want our borders secured? Americans get hassled simply trying to fly from one state to another but our borders are like Swiss cheese, apparently enabling just about anyone and anything to come across. The anniversary of September 11 is just around the corner and considering it took years for al Qaeda to implement its horrific deed that day, I wonder how secure we really are since DHS seems unable to take border security and our immigration laws seriously.

ELIZABETH WRIGHT

Washington

Drug firms part of the problem

“Medical quackery” (Op-Ed, Friday) erroneously criticizes the comparative effectiveness provision in pending legislation that would also extend funding to provide children with health care coverage.

The legislation would substantially increase the scientific database that doctors could use to select the best treatment for their patients. More unbiased study of what works and what doesn’t work — for the young and the old, men and women, people of various racial/ethnic groups — is essential in order to improve the health-care system’s ability to provide the right treatment to each patient. At the core of this boost of “evidence-based medicine” is assuring that the best scientific information is used to treat each individual patient.

Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs makes recommendations that are based first on drug effectiveness, safety and side effects, and second on relative affordability. We always recommend that consumers talk with their doctor to address their individual situation.

Robert Goldberg may be willing to put his trust in drug companies to determine what is best for him. Most consumers would prefer that their doctors rely on unbiased scientific evidence.

GAIL SHEARER

Director

Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs

Consumers Union

Washington

Advice for future police incidents

Metro should be commended for quickly adapting to the police incident which closed the Bethesda and Medical Center stations on Thursday (“Manhunt closes two Metro stations,” Metropolitan, Friday) by running buses between the Friendship Heights and Grosvenor stations.

One suggestion: When such a situation occurs, onsite supervisors should instruct bus drivers to begin their tour as soon as their buses are full. I personally witnessed several full buses — their doors closed — idling at the curb for many minutes while there was a line of empty buses as far as the eye could see on Wisconsin Avenue that could not pull forward to board passengers. Meanwhile, more Red Line Metro passengers continued to be delivered, making the situation worse.

A little common sense during an emergency situation would go a long way toward improving a difficult situation.

ROGER JOHNSON

Kensington

Turn the TV off

In Jennifer Harper’s article “Family hour goes down the tubes” (Nation, Thursday), we are waylaid by the grim prognosis that prime-time network television has “been turned into a toxic dump by an industry which does not serve the interests of the American public,” according to Tim Winter of the Parents Television Council.

In reality, television networks give Americans exactly what we want, and they do it for the most American reason of all: money. The more we watch, the more money they make. It’s that simple. If prime time has become a “toxic dump,” it’s because we asked for it. In fact, we begged for it. So, they threw it up on prime time, and spun it out into syndication.

The Parents Television Council seem to take for granted that family interests are the same as American interests. When did all of the American public turn into families? I know children think the world revolves around them, but now it seems their parents think the same thing.

What about the college students, young professionals, childless adults and homosexual Americans, to name a few? What about Americans who have no children or no interest in being protected from prime-time profanity? We don’t live in the simple, happy world of 1950s idealism, and we don’t find that sort of whitewashed “safe” TV very entertaining.

Most of us want to be protected from the unapologetically milquetoast drivel which comprises most family-friendly programming. Do we have less of a right to decide what will be on TV then the almighty parent?

The networks were recently forced to institute a rating system to prevent children from watching inappropriate programming. I guess that wasn’t enough. Now, we need to make every prime-time show nice and clean, with a little “G” rating up in the corner.

It’s ridiculous.

Please, if you don’t like the content of prime-time television, if you find it objectionable, then turn it off. Read a book to your child, or better yet, make them read a book themselves. Don’t start a crusade and spoil the fun for everyone.

WILLIAM BANG

Alexandria

D.C. trashes Second Amendment

“Gun control” is a misnomer when used by anti-gun activists. To most of them, gun control means federal registration of firearms, followed by one or more buybacks, confiscation and destruction. Many gun-control laws effectively take away firearms from the good guys and leave them in the hands of those who would do us harm. This approach to crime is not working very well (“Fenty wastes effort on guns,” Editorial, Thursday).

Anti-gun activists exhibit a knee-jerk reaction, passing more and more firearms laws. Could it simply be that when you take guns away from responsible people and leave the criminals still armed, it leads to a higher violent crime rate?

My tentative conclusions about these anti-gunners are that they have learned little or nothing from decades of experience and deny people the ability to defend themselves and their families in their own homes and cars. There is no appropriate time to remove the natural right to self-defense, ever. Not for emergencies, fires, hurricanes, tornadoes and floods, and certainly not for the government.

The District has denied residents their guarantee and rights under the Second Amendment for 30 years, and at first glance, this ordinance appears to be illegal and unconstitutional. It is really a crime perpetrated against its own citizens. The Framers of the Constitution were not stupid. They understood basic human nature, the potential tyranny of government over its citizens and the basic need for self-protection.

T.J. CURTIS

Warrenton, Ga.

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