Readers Rants

a collection of messages from our readers

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Sept. 2, 2007 – From Mark In Tucson, Arizona



I read the latest Healthbeats newsletter and the e-mails from your readers. Funny and informative. I especially like Nurse Mark’s commentary on the "fat virus," though I would point out that the doctors making this discovery did state that while this knowledge could, conceivably, be used to identify individuals who would be genetically prone to obesity, NOT to cure those like myself who have already achieved that sad state of affairs.

In lieu of watching tonight’s feature movie ("Aliens," one of my all-time favorite creature features) I feel some sense of obligation to respond to the item under guns and political correctness. If a show of support is needed (I doubt it), please feel free to print all or some of this in your next newsletter. Barring that, at least take some pleasure in reading what follows. I’m pompous, but hopefully clear.

I have to question the reasoning behind Cheri’s decision to unsubscribe from Healthbeats simply because you provide firearms training. (Would she prefer that firearms be wielded by people who lack the understanding of how to use safely use a gun? That would lead to more deaths and injuries, not less. That doesn’t seem right, somehow).

Cheri, of course, is a "person of conscience" who walks a "path of peace," and therefore cannot possibly be associated with anything as violent as an inert piece of metal, or those who would understand its properties and uses.

I have to wonder how in good conscience she can continue to live, work (presumably) and pay taxes in a country whose president continues to beat the war drum in support of an illegal and ill-advised military occupation of a foreign country, an occupation that has fomented (predictably, according to his own advisors) a religious civil war that has left in its wake the bloody and maimed bodies of hundreds of thousands of civilians, many of them children. Has she renounced her citizenship? Refused to pay taxes? Written her congresspersons demanding why the word impeachment has still not made it to the House or Senate floors? One would think that this administration’s contempt for human rights, its brutality and arrogance born of religious nationalism, would be of far greater concern for one who walks the path of peace than two citizens of the United States who train people to handle firearms safely and effectively.

Other peace-walkers should consider this: the worst acts of violence in the past four years did not occur at the barrel of a gun. They occurred by the stroke of the pen (or, in our increasingly illiterate society with its diminishing attention span, the sound bite). Alberto Gonzales did not wield a pistol to authorize the use of torture and extraordinary rendition. He issued a written opinion legally justifying it. Same with Guantanamo Bay, whose legality was challenged (incidentally) by an attorney from the Judge Advocate General’s office. Donald Rumsfeld did not pick up a .44 magnum and order the military contractors at Abu Ghraib to indiscriminately terrorize, humiliate, and torture those imprisoned there under the reign of Hussein. He simply turned a deaf ear to the reports by the American Red Cross and Amnesty International that abuses were occurring. Bush Jr., whom Molly Ivins appropriately called "Shrub," did not shotgun Michael J. Fox’s continued nuptial celebration with that abusive spouse known as Lou Gehrig’s disease; Shrub merely issued a veto on stem cell research, citing religious, not constitutional, reasons for doing so. One will never accuse Shrub of being a bad Christian, only of being an inept politician and a very shallow thinker. In upholding the Federal "Partial Birth Abortion" Ban (by the way, as far as I know, PBA is not a term recognized by any legitimate practicing doctor), the Supreme Court has ruled that a woman’s health is of no consequence, her person is forfeit to religious orthodoxy, and that doctors have no right to make medical decisions to save a life. How many thousands, hundreds of thousands, or millions of people will be affected by these acts of violence?

I don’t have the specific numbers, but I feel safe in asserting that the number of deaths from firearms in this country, whether accidental or deliberate, pales in comparison to the number of deaths caused by the depraved indifference and apathy of a pacified people, and the tyrants who rule them.

As concerns Nurse Mark and Dr. Myatt, I will simply say that I have known them personally for a number of years. They are generous hosts and skilled conversationalists. They treat their animals with more compassion, kindness, love and concern than many parents show their children. They are good neighbors, and, perhaps because of their skill with firearms, very calm and peaceable people, capable of diffusing potentially explosive confrontations with reason and good humor. They have shown more honor and dignity in living their lives in their quiet corner of the world than our elected officials have in Washington. They, at least, say what they mean, mean what they say, and do not apologize for it. I may not always agree with them, but I will always listen to what they have to say. They are my friends. They have my support, my loyalty, and my patronage.

Peace, and long life.


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