Keep deaths in perspective

First, let me state that it is a tragedy to lose "any" of our military personnel in Iraq. That said, it must also be stated that although the invasion part of the war is over, the elimination of enemy insurgents within Iraq continues. Thus, we must remember that the war continues and that loss of military personnel is an expected, though sad, part of conflict.

Yet, it doesn't take a genius to see that the daily reporting of the loss of one or two soldiers (out of approximately 150,000) continues to be the goal of the liberal media to discourage the American public's resolve to see this war to its successful end. It is also easy to see that this is the media's attempt to brainwash the public into thinking negatively of President Bush.

Thus, it is imperative that we the American people keep the sacrifices of our military in perspective in relation to the good they are doing. Another way of looking at these losses is to put them into perspective in relation to losses that occur daily in our own country.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each day eight Americans die in fires in their own homes, nine die of drowning, 14 die in pedestrian accidents, and 25 die related to AIDS. Each day 27 Americans die in falls, 50 are murdered, 118 die in auto accidents and two die in battle. In fact, we experienced 20 times the human loss on 9/11 in innocent civilian lives compared with all the military losses in the war so far.

Finally, it's very important to remember that our military personnel understand the role they are to play in the defense of our country. They enter this role voluntarily and continue to do an excellent job in carrying out that role in meeting our goals in Iraq. It is up to all of us to not lose "our" resolve to support their efforts regardless of the propaganda that occurs daily by a media with an anti-Bush political agenda.

Allen Shirley

Joplin

Preventing abuse

Recent news services have carried reports of the Massachusetts attorney general regarding sexual abuse of minors by clergy in the archdiocese of Boston. Upon reading these articles, several thoughts come to mind.

The attorney general's report covered the past 60 years and highlighted the culpability of Cardinal Bernard Law, our former bishop in southern Missouri, who was Boston's archbishop for the past 18 of those 60 years. The cardinal clearly was wrong in his judgments about what needed to be done with abusive clergy. He seriously misunderstood the terrible harm such abuse inflicts on its young victims. These conclusions are shared by the cardinal and are not those only of others.

As errant as the Cardinal was in this tragic matter, those acquainted with him know that this one issue does not sum up the man. His accomplishments were many during his years of leadership. It would be unfair to ignore or deny those accomplishments, or to permit the sexual-abuse scandal in Boston to cast a shadow over them. Even a serious failure should not be made to completely characterize a person.

The diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau has updated its Sexual Misconduct Policy, adopted in 1993, in accord with the Charter and Norms the U.S. Bishops promulgated following their June 2002 National Assembly. One specific norm states that all accusations of sexual abuse of minors will be reported to civilian authorities. All clergy, diocesan employees and volunteers who work with youth are required to sign a statement that they are aware of this and all other provisions of our diocesan Sexual Misconduct Policy. They will also attend education sessions this fall on preventing sexual abuse of children and youth.

The commitment of the diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau is to do everything humanly possible to achieve the goal of prevention.

The Most Rev. John J. Leibrecht

Bishop, Springfield-Cape Girardeau Diocese

High insurance

Our homeowners insurance has risen out of this world. Owning an older home or a rental anymore is just about out. My insurance rates have increased with quotes to over $1,000 a year for this 100-year-old home. Our income isn't keeping up with the rising cost of living.

Charles Martin

Joplin

Medicare

The proposal the Republicans are trying to get across to privatize Medicare is just a ploy to keep from having to do their job. If Congress had left Social Security alone and not borrowed from it or paid the loans back, it would be in better shape than other government offices.

The privatization of this program will cost the people more than we can stand. The Republicans say that the way Medicare is going it will soon be bankrupt. Well, won't putting it in the hands of HMOs do the same, and maybe even faster? The Republicans say that investing our money will make it better and last longer. If you think this you ought to take a good look at where the stock market is and see what can happen to our money.

I think it's time the people we put in office stand up to the plate and face the music and do what's right for the people who pay their salaries. Call or write your members of Congress and let them know just how you feel about this action they are taking and that we the people don't like it.

Earl Jenness

Joplin

Weapons ban

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., and Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich, well-known rabid anti-gunners, recently introduced in Congress H.R. 2038 to "Reauthorize the assault weapons ban, and for other purposes." It has 77 co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives.

H.R. 2038 is not about criminals, reducing crime, self-defense or hunting. H.R. 2038 is more than an extension of the 1994 Clinton/Gore ban (of 19 so-called assault weapons and large-capacity gun magazines), which will expire in September 2004. This bill will create a new, permanent gun ban with 65 named guns and hundreds of other similar guns.

The bill will permanently ban sales of all semi-automatic shotguns, which are used by law-abiding citizens for hunting, sport shooting and self-defense. The sale of three centerfire rifles, the AR-15, the Springfield MIA and the M1 Garand, most commonly used in target-shooting competitions, will also be banned. (Source: Citizens Committee For the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.)

Every time anti-gun Democratic politicians and anti-gun organizations have a chance to show they are people of honor, they pull something like H.R. 2038. The Clinton/Gore gun ban and this bill are simply an excuse to ban more guns while further infringing on the Second Amendment right of all law-abiding citizens.

We live in dangerous times. Is disarming law-abiding gun owners the smartest thing our elected representatives should be doing when they are supposed to be protecting our rights? How can the people do our part in homeland security if we're not even allowed to protect ourselves?

Our Second Amendment is our right to self-defense and America's original homeland security. Please let your representatives know how you feel about H.R. 2038.

Dini Donoho

Duenweg

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