Surely, there must be common ground.
Start with the horror that almost all Americans felt when they heard about the shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. National mourning was much in order.
Even the presidential candidates suspended their campaigns for a day to offer sympathy and words of comfort to the families and friends of the 12 persons killed and the more than 50 wounded. The tragedy was Topic Number One at the Peace and Justice Commission's meeting two days after the shootings.
What stops the debate so often is to assume nothing could have been done, to prevent Columbine, to prevent Virginia Tech, to prevent Tucson, and now, to prevent Aurora. To admit that there are no easy answers is not a reason to refuse to begin the discussion.
Where are the voices of common sense? Where are the voices of those who don't prey on people's fears? Where are the voices of those who don't have a political agenda? Where are the voices of those who don't have a financial stake in fostering fears?
Where are the voices of our true religious leaders? Isn't their role to help lead us on moral issues? Isn't gun violence a moral issue? Do they fear offending members of their congregations who might oppose rational restrictions on the kind of assault weapon that James Holmes turned on an innocent crowd of theater-goers that night?
Indeed, what of all those people of faith who vow fidelity to the cause of peace and brother- and sisterhood?
Silence here is the stance of moral cowards.
Let's have the national debate on guns. Let every side bring out the facts. Let's hear from the researchers, the constitutional authorities. Let's hear the arguments, pro and con, on reviving the assault weapons ban. Let's find out who is getting rich keeping gun laws weak and enforcement lax.
“Following the money” is one way that helped us understand many difficult issues. Apply it to guns. Let's hear how we can at least try to keep firearms out of the hands of those persons who most people believe shouldn't have them.
Yes, we need a full-throated national debate. We need to have a debate where everyone listens with respect to the other side. We need to have a debate that produces new policies on common ground. We need to open a new day on firearm policy that makes the Aurora tragedy the last of its kind.
Peace and Justice Commission of Allen County
(Patric Driscoll, chair; Theresa Driscoll; Mandy D. Hockenberry; Mary Jane Coursen; Tom Coursen)
As the 2012 election heats up, presidential and congressional contenders have largely avoided any mention about housing or homeownership, even though the consensus among most economists is that there can be no long-term economic recovery until home prices stabilize and the housing market rebounds.
Not all politicians have turned a blind eye to this critical issue. Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman should be commended for her leadership role in helping to pass a recent resolution by the National Lieutenant Governors Association that calls on the president and Congress to “act with a sense of urgency to address the nation's housing crisis in a meaningful and responsible manner, while avoiding any legislation or regulatory actions that will inhibit the recovery of the home building industry.”
Constructing 100 single-family homes creates more than 300 full-time jobs and adds millions of dollars in federal, state and local tax revenues that are essential to many cash-strapped municipalities that lack funds for vital services such as local schools, road and infrastructure maintenance, and police and firefighters.
Recent surveys by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and TD Bank underscore that American voters fervently believe that owning a home remains a core value and that homeownership plays a critical role in our nation's social fabric and economic well being.
As policymakers debate how to boost the economy, they must understand that restoring housing to full health is essential to create jobs, stabilize home values and strengthen local communities. This is a powerful message that is sure to resonate with voters here and across the nation who will cast their ballots in November.
Maurine Holle, executive director, Home Builders Association of Fort Wayne
Much has been said about Patty Martone after her passing. I felt I would share my perspective as a student from the Central High School Class of 1964 who remained friends with Patty until the end of her life.
I loved poetry and writing, but the words weren't always there. She guided me and encouraged me. She had a gentle way of making you do your best.
Once when I was half a point from earning an A in her class I tried to convince her that I was so close surely she could give me the A. She told me she knew I could earn an A the next grade period. That was almost 50 years ago, and I have respected her so much for her confidence.
She was right.
I baby-sat her boys a few times and had her younger son in elementary school. Her oldest son and mine eventually followed the same path, becoming college professors and writers.
Patty was so proud and supportive of her family and friends. We continued to be friends through the years, and I truly enjoyed attending her speeches and reading her articles in the newspaper.
I remember Patty most of all for how we would laugh together. This wonderful, intelligent, successful woman connected with a young woman she met in the '60s.
As I write this I realize my story is not unique at all. Hundreds of people from Central High School would say, “That was my story, too.”
We will miss her more than my words can say but then she would understand that.
Barb (Rizzo) Baus, Central High School, Class of 1964
I want to thank Mark Souder for his column, “Heaven is for real.” I applaud him for having the courage to stand up for what he believes.
Sadly, far too many Christians today are so hooked on being “politically correct” that they shy away from stating the truth. None of us know what tomorrow may bring, so it is of utmost importance that we be prepared for whatever is in store for us in the future.
As Souder said, and I quote, “Be ready now, because heaven is for real. So is the alternative.”
It is my understanding that after scheduled improvements to the combined sewers are made there will still be 100 million gallons per year of combined, untreated, sanitary sewage and rainwater dumped into our rivers.
This seems disgusting, and would limit my use of our three rivers. I would suspect that at some future time reasonable minds would determine that this “sewage into river” situation would be determined to be unacceptable.
I am surprised that the Board of Health turns a blind eye to such a situation.
The final correction to this contamination of our heritage will be costly. It will have to be paid for by City Utilities customers. I suggest that we set aside some of our windfall from I&M to soften the future increases that will be needed to correct these past mistakes.
David L. Anglin
To the Towne House Retirement Community Staff, nurses, aides, Pastor Vogel, residents, therapist and ancillary services – all of you, whom at any time from Oct. 14, 2011, until Jack O’Connor passed on June 20. If you gave him a kind word, laughed at his many funny comments or cared lovingly for him, we thank you all so much for whatever you did for our loving husband and father. We know he appreciated all of you, as we did also.
Rita J. O’Connor; John and Barb O’Connor; Tom and Patty O’Connor; Maureen and Mike Beard; Peggy O’Connor; Kathleen and Jim Vachon; Angela and Bill Jackson; Kevin, Dan and Laura McKenzie