Letters to the Editor

Letters: Bill would help address gun violence crisis; Remembering a true researcher

Bill would help address gun violence crisis

This past weekend, I traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with 2,000 amazing individuals to discuss how we can prevent gun violence in our communities. We were deeply saddened to learn about not one, but two traumatic shootings that happened within just 13 hours of each other. Once again, this epidemic of violence, unique to America, has taken more innocent lives.

There are easy measures we can take to ensure a safer community. One suggested measure is the Extreme Risk Protection Order bill. This bill provides a way for a person to seek a court order to remove firearms from the home of a person who may be a danger to themselves or others. It would allow a judge to temporarily suspend a person’s right to possess or purchase a firearm. We are intently waiting for this bill to be brought to a vote in Pennsylvania.

Gun violence is a serious public health crisis. Easy access to firearms increases the risk of suicide, which is nearly 66 percent of all gun deaths in America. Several mass shootings could have been prevented. The family of the Parkland shooter contacted law enforcement to share their concerns prior to the shooting. Florida took action and now has an ERPO law.

The ERPO bill is a reasonable, temporary measure that will ensure that Americans no longer suffer a permanent loss.

If you are fed up, text JOIN to 644-33 or email momsdemandactioncr@gmail.com to continue the work of gun violence prevention.

Typhani Russo, Altoona

‘Up to us to be the change’

As our planet’s climate spins more wildly out of control, people across the world have begun moving to places with fresh water and higher ground. A return to nomadism has begun for humans due to our refusal to directly look at and act on environmental degradation of our own making. Social degradation follows when basic human needs aren’t met. Our excuses of “it will hurt the economy” ring false as corporations and the 1% have continued to rake in profits while squandering the natural capital of clean air, water, soil and a livable climate for the rest of us. Only a concerted world effort will now work to regain all we are losing. Are we the flexible, creative problem solvers we have been in the past? Adapt or die? No planet B awaits if we fail here.

An April 2017 NRDC article shared some personal change suggestions: talk about the need for action to everyone — get a movement going; weatherize your home by insulating well and plant trees for shade and CO2 capture; invest in increasingly affordable solar and wind; switch to energy and water efficient appliances and fixtures; waste less food and eat less meat; decrease electrical “idle loads” by using power strips and timers; use LED light bulbs; drive fuel efficient electric or hybrid vehicles and keep your tires properly inflated; rethink transportation by choosing trains over planes, if you must fly, use carbon offsets. It is up to us to be the change.

Jackie Bonomo, Lemont

Remembering a true researcher

The late Stanley Weintraub was someone who knew how to get the most out of his research. I recall from an interview I did with him for Schlow Library that I had asked him where he had gotten his ideas for his more than 50 books. He replied that when he wrote a book he usually had so much material left over that didn’t quite fit that it became the seed for his next book.

Stan was a professor who did not rest on his laurels. I encountered him one spring break in the late ‘90s in Pattee Library doing research. He didn’t have to be there: He had tenure, he was an Evan Pugh professor, he had had a distinguished career. But the seed had been planted and he had to nurture it.

Throughout my faculty tenure, Stan was a mentor to me and, I am sure, to anyone who asked for help. For that I am grateful.

R. Thomas Berner, Benner Township. The author is a professor emeritus of journalism and American studies.