The United States is dealing with a public health epidemic. This disease is killing children, police officers, and young men and women. In the past, our nation has addressed serious epidemics such as polio, AIDS and lung cancer. First, we gathered valid information. We then studied the origins of these diseases. Ultimately, smoking cessation in the case of lung cancer, or vaccines and public health measures in viral illnesses, were implemented.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, our national research arm, is not allowed by Congress to collect information on gun violence and its causes. Since 1996, the CDC has no comprehensive data which would help us determine a rational approach to this public health problem.
By recognizing this epidemic as a public health issue, we can view gun violence as a disease that has a solution and begin to look for it in an organized fashion.
RICHARD PEARCE, GEORGETOWN
I am so sick and tired of this never-ending cycle of mass shootings and Congress’ “thoughts and prayers” and “now’s not the time to talk about gun reform” and then, in a few days or weeks, the same thing over again.
When will our representatives stand up to the National Rifle Association? How many children’s lives must be lost before they do the right thing? Hundreds? Thousands? Just how much more important is keeping their seats than the lives of our children?
The NRA is holding them hostage. It’s time for our representatives to be courageous and take a stand! It’s time to ban assault weapons. It’s time to ban bump stocks. It’s time to enhance background checks. It’s time to pass sensible gun reform!
MARY SCHWINDT, CEDAR PARK
Team USA represents the best argument for an open and welcoming immigration policy.
Team USA, 244 strong, come from a diverse variety of racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds. The one thing they have in common is sharing their honor and pride in representing us at this Winter Olympics.
Chloe Kim, a first-generation Korean-American, took gold in the women’s half pipe competition. Mirai Nagasu, whose parents are Japanese immigrants, was only the third woman to land a triple axel at the Olympics.
While we marvel at their feats every day, do not forget that they are the children of immigrants who came here in search of the American Dream. Many of the best athletes in the world come from those “expletive-deleted” countries.
Do not let the narrow vision of a Donald Trump deprive us of their achievements, simply because they come from the wrong religion, race or culture!
FARIDA KHAN, AUSTIN
Re: Feb. 14 letter to the editor, “Now Herman must cite Democrats for Trump.”
Recently, a subscriber wrote a letter suggesting that Ken Herman, in the interest of fairness, interview a Democrat who voted for Trump.
If the reader can find one, by all means, he should let Herman know.
However, I’m wondering where he’s going to find a Democrat who was willing to vote for a candidate with the values, character and ignorance of Donald J. Trump.
MARY PRICE, AUSTIN
“All I ask of our brethren is, that they will take their feet from off our necks.”
Sarah Grimkéwrote these words in 1837 on the topic of equality of the sexes. Today, the year is 2018 and we have a president who, when shown cold hard facts (something he has trouble with) of domestic abuse, calls it a “mere allegation” and continued to praise a wife beater (who denied all allegations) with no security clearance.
With that alone, I felt the allegorical foot of the president of the United States push down harder on not only the necks of the women who had suffered at the hands of Trump’s most trusted aide, but for women all over the world (including myself). His actions show he has no intentions of ever letting up.
VERONICA WILLIAMS, HOUSTON
At the Senate Intelligence Committee’s annual hearing the heads of the CIA, NSA, FBI and other intelligence units once again warned that Russia intends to meddle in our midterm elections.
Why is the Trump administration delaying sanctions on Russia? Congress voted for these sanctions in bipartisan fashion. Why is Trump ignoring evidence that Russia has meddled in elections with the aim of weakening our democracy? This is a nefarious attack by an outside foreign power.
Trump publicly stated that he believes Vladimir Putin’s denials about meddling and implicitly doesn’t trust the CIA, NSA or FBI. Trump’s reluctance to deal with Russia may be due to his business interests. It’s public information that Trump businesses have sold millions of dollars of U.S. real estate to Russian oligarchs. Trump appears to be putting his business interests over our national interests. That’s treasonous!
WALTER MAGAÑA, AUSTIN
In the 30-plus years I worked for the city of Round Rock, primarily as the director of planning, I had the privilege of knowing many of our elected public servants. Each elected official dedicated countless hours of public service to better their community. Some just had the desire to serve. Others not only wanted to serve, but brought unique professional skills and knowledge that made special contributions to our community. Frank Leffingwell is one of these leaders.
He brought dedication, knowledge, and talents that he applied to both the Round Rock Planning and Zoning Commission and the Round Rock City Council.
Leffingwell’s financial knowledge and expertise, his ability to build consensus, and his leadership skills are what would make him an excellent Williamson County Judge. I urge you to vote for Leffingwell.
And, before you vote, I encourage you to educate yourself on what a county judge does and doesn’t do.
JOE VINING, ROUND ROCK