Johns Hopkins Magazine -- April 2000
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APRIL 2000

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In response to the letters [included below] by Stephen H. Bartlett and Ray Gordon (Johns Hopkins Magazine, June 2000), which attacked Stephen Teret's efforts to bring some sanity to the gun industry, please return your NRA lifetime membership cards to your wallets, gentlemen. Your recitation of the classic NRA rhetoric was impeccable!

Attacks on businesses...socialism? Come on, Mr. Barlett...isn't that a bit of a stretch? What the majority of Americans are looking for is the infusion of some common sense. With 192 million privately owned firearms in the U.S. and the reality that the presense of a gun in the home results in triple the risk of homicide in that home, it's time for a little balance between our "need" for guns and protecting public health.

Benefits of gun ownership, Mr. Gordon? Are you talking about the "benefit" that guns kept in the home for self-protection are 22 times more likely to kill a family member or friend than to kill in self-defense or the "benefit" that the presence of a gun in the home increases the risk of suicide fivefold? In response to your "enforce the gun laws that are on the books" argument, Mr. Gordon, the reality is that gun laws are enforced more vigorously today than five years ago, and overall firearms prosecutions are up. Prosecutions are more frequent than ever before; sentences are longer; and the number of inmates in prison on gun offenses is at a record level. The reality of the newer gun control laws that you oppose (e.g. storage laws, locking devices, banning of "Saturday Night Specials") is that they help reduce gun violence and stop children and criminals from getting guns in the first place (as opposed to prosecuting and jailing violators after the damage is done.) That, Mr. Gordon, is what public health and prevention is all about. Investigate the science before you burn the flag-bearers.

Byron P. Bailey (M.P.H. '91)
Olney, MD

Sent via email June 19, 2000

Stephen Teret's [Building the Case for Better Gun Safety] demand that anyone convicted of a misdemeanor be forbidden to have a handgun is simply bizarre.

Are we to take pistols from those convicted of spitting on the sidewalk, urinating in public, speeding, disturbing the peace with a loud party, jaywalking, driving with an expired tag, littering, failing to return books to a library, etc., etc., etc? How many of our own police officers would qualify to be armed under such a standard?

If Teret wants to ban handguns, he should just say so without this subterfuge.

John Gorman (PhD '67)
author of "King of the Romans" and
Eppie finalist in historical fiction,, 1999

Sent via email on 04.20.00

The article by Melissa Hendricks, in the April issue of Johns Hopkins [Building the Case for Better Gun Safety], concerning the efforts of Stephen Teret to "kill" the firearms industry requires comment; if only to ease my blood pressure. Why is it that guns so upset feminized men? If Mr. Teret's motive were to save lives, surely he would be attacking the cigarette lighter manufacturers. Their product claims far more young lives than guns, and that's just from the fires they cause. When you add the deaths from the actual smoking (the only use for lighters) the numbers are much higher. My gun has the very good use of being my protection.

The only motive I can think of for the attacks on businesses is that some people resent those who earn their living and fortunes in the business world. Tax paying enterprises seem to be resented by many who earn their livings in the "tax absorbing" field of academe and other "non-profit" organizations. We've gone through the asbestos industry, the silicone implant business, the tobacco industry and now, the gun industry. Next, will be the automotive industry, then the aircraft manufacturers and on and on. Soon, the only entity that can afford to be in business will be the Government. Maybe that's it. The end goal is Socialism! All's well, that ends well ! (I hope)
Stephen H. Bartlett BEEE '49

Sent via email on 04.13.00

"A Legacy of Engagement," about Madeleine Albright, should be titled "A Legacy of Meddling." For Madeleine Albright has continued the long tradition in the "U.S." State Department of selective international bullying. We've had the anti-Serbian crusade. The war against Iraq. The very interesting orchestrated campaign against Myanmar. We are hated abroad because of policies not representing American interests.

[Writer] Lew Diuguid sounds like a World War II comic book. "As Europe fell prety to Adolf Hitler..." Europe in the late '30s, as now, was complex. Hitler had anti-communist allies...Italians, French, Dutch, Rumanians, Finns, Belgians, Spanish, and others.

We need a healthy foreign policy, not one promoting frictions between nations. Arrogant bullying is not only wrong; it's not practical.
Robert Jones '56
Washington DC

Sent via email on 04.13.00

Melissa Hendricks' article "Building the Case for Better Gun Safety" was as disingenuous as the subject of the article: former personal injury lawyer, current left-wing gun grabber Stephen Teret.

Hendricks mentions the words "gun safety" 16 times in a three-column article. She really means gun control, which is a first step toward gun confiscation, the real objective of zealots like Teret, Clinton, Kennedy, Schumer, Fienstein, etc.

Not once does Teret discuss the benefits of gun ownership: two million violent crimes prevented every year because the intended victim was armed, the decrease in violent crime that results from a citizen's right to carry concealed handguns, and the fact that women benefit four times as much as men against being a crime victim when they arm themselves with a handgun.

And finally, Teret says, "Guns were killing a lot of people." In reality, criminals using guns were killing a lot of people. However, recently there have been fewer killings when increased incarceration of violent criminals and programs like Zero Tolerance and Project Exile are utilized by cities and states. In order to further reduce gun violence, we don't need more phony gun laws or unreliable trigger locks and smart guns, all we need is to enforce the gun laws currently on the books, and to appoint judges who have the backbone to put violent criminals away for a long time. There is no gun crisis in the United States.
Ray Gordon '66
Baltimore, MD

Sent via email on 04.13.00

I was rather surprised to read in "Guiding (Satel)lites": "Poor weather conditions would no longer cause ships to routinely stray off course. Up to this point, after all, navigators were still relying on dead reckoning and celestial navigation." This referred to 1958, a few months after the Soviets launched Sputnik. At that point it was not true and had not been true for several years.

Apparently the author is unaware of the LORAN (LOng RAnge Navigation) system. LORAN-A was developed at Harvard and MIT and deployed in 1942 for use by the military in World War II. It was used in both the European and Pacific theaters and was one of the technologies that contributed to the allies' ability to conduct bombing raids at night and during periods of poor weather. After the war the U.S. Coast Guard took over operation of the network of LORAN-A transmitters and continued to operate them until the system was finally shut down in the mid-70s. Although LORAN-A started out as a purely military system, after the war civilian receivers became available, so that by 1958 it was no longer true that "navigators were still relying on dead reckoning and celestial navigation."

About the time of the Sputnik launch in 1957 the U.S. military deployed LORAN-C, which improved on the LORAN-A system. Like its older sibling, LORAN-C is operated by the Coast Guard. It too was originally available only to military users but is now used extensively by civilian mariners and aviators. Because its properties complement GPS, the federal government has decided to continue to operate LORAN-C for the foreseeable future.

Note: The opinions expressed are my own and not those of the U.S. Coast Guard.

-Herbert Holland, M.S. '88
Department of Engineering
U.S. Coast Guard Academy (dee)
27 Mohegan Ave.
New London, CT 06320-8101
(860) 444-8548 (voice)
(860) 444-8546 (fax)

Sent via email on 04.13.00

I read with disgust the article written by Melissa Hendricks about Stephen Teret [Building the Case for Better Gun Safety], a professor of health and public policy at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in the April 2000 issue.

I truly hope that not one penny of my alumni dues or any other money that I donate to Johns Hopkins goes to pay for Mr. Teret's salary or supports these kind of efforts at the School of Public Health.

Mr. Teret tries to compare buying a gun to buying a teddy bear. How ridiculous is this?! Is this the kind of intellectual thought that is now currently being generated at my prestigious Alma Mater?!

Of course buying a gun is completely different from buying a teddy bear. I know that this may come as a shock to you, but you do not need to be a certain age to buy a teddy bear Mr. Teret. You do have to be a certain age in order to purchase a gun.

Mr. Teret's brilliant idea is to classify guns as a "Consumer" product. Again, another ridiculous thought. A gun is not a consumer product. The right to own and bear arms is GUARANTEED to all of us by The Bill of Rights, "Ever heard of it Mr. Teret?" There is no such guarantee for any consumer products. Guns are not a consumer product. They never were meant to be. That is why they should be treated with respect and not left out for children or left loaded for anyone to pick up. That, however, is the responsibility of the gun owner and not the gun manufacturer or society.

Mr. Teret seems to think that if you cannot control people, then control their tools. This is such flawed thinking that I am ashamed that Mr. Teret is associated with Johns Hopkins. First, Mr. Teret's focus is on an inanimate object, a tool. His focus should rightfully be on the criminal. The one who commits the crime, not the tool with which the crime was committed. Second, Mr. Teret seeks to punish the innocent by forcing useless and needless laws upon honest, law-abiding citizens, which only further erodes their guaranteed rights under our constitution. Thirdly, the laws that Mr. Teret would like to see enacted, will do little or nothing to accomplish what Mr. Teret says he wants to accomplish. Gun locks are only useful as a safety device, IF they are used and used properly. There is absolutely no guarantee that these gun locks will be used. In fact, the evidence strongly suggests the opposite, that gun locks will not be used. Lastly, Mr. Teret states that guns should not be made so that a 4 year old could use it. What a ridiculous statement! So now, if a device is simple enough for a child to use it, it is dangerous and must be regulated?! What should we outlaw next Mr. Teret, cars? Many children can and have driven cars, should we outlaw cars? How about knives? What about explosives? Should we outlaw fertilizer? Where is this ridiculous, simple minded thinking going to stop?! Ask yourself the next logical question, Mr. Teret, What kind of a parent leaves a loaded gun where a 4 year old can get to it?! Isn't that the proper question?! Isn't that the question that places the responsibility where it rightfully belongs?! That is the question that is not looking to blame someone else for our carelessness, that is the question that places the blame where it belongs, with the parents, guardians, the supposedly adults in this tragedy.

Remember, one of our prominent Founding Fathers and one of the wisest men who ever lived said "Anyone who would sacrifice a freedom for safety and security deserves neither," Benjamin Franklin.

Remember that, Mr. Teret, the next time you try to destroy the rights and freedoms that our Founding Fathers fought and died for. Remember, that once a freedom is lost, it is lost forever. Remember and maybe next time, you will not be so quick to sacrifice our guaranteed freedoms to satisfy your elusions of safety and to feed your need to feel like you are doing something good. In actuality, you are doing much more harm to our society than you will ever know.

I, for one, will withhold donating any further money to Johns Hopkins until I can be reassured that not one penny of my money will go to support your salary or your so called research, Mr. Teret. Now, that is something that I can feel good about and I know that I am doing the right thing, because I am protecting our society by protecting the very rights and freedoms that you are seeking to destroy.

Rocco Joseph Mazza
Master of Applied Behavioral Sciences
Johns Hopkins University, 1995
14709 Spring Meadows Drive
Darnestown, MD 20874
(301) 869-6665 (home)
(301) 332-6998 (cell)

Sent via email on 04.09.00