LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Should gun shops be near schools?
Regarding the Oct. 6 Metro article “McLean gun shop opens near elementary school”:
Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust and other gun opponents should consider the likelihood that absent the uproar, most elementary school students would have paid no attention to the gun shop situated near their school. I have driven by the location four times since it opened and had not noticed it. Also, children learning lockdown drills has nothing to do with the gun shop’s presence. Having law-abiding gun owners nearby might protect students in the unlikely event of a lawbreaking shooter at the school or might deter such a shooter.
To paraphrase Vance Gore, the PTA president, a law-abiding gun owner will join him between the children and anyone who would hurt them.
Chip Watkins, Arlington
How the speakership should work
Regarding the Oct. 9 front-page article “A vacuum at the top for House GOP”:
This shambolic battle to choose a new House speaker could be the ideal time to revert to the intent of the Constitution’s framers. The Constitution makes no allowance for party politics in choosing a speaker — or any other post, including president. The Founding Fathers hoped that the nation would escape partisan politics.
In creating the position of speaker, they drew on their experience with British parliamentary procedure. There, a speaker resigns from his or her party when taking the post and presides above the political fray. Imagine a brave moderate renouncing his or her current affiliation and rallying pragmatists to forge a working majority based on centrist, inclusive politics.
This is what disaffected voters are looking for when they rally to nontraditional politicians in the presidential race. Would it be too much to ask our elected representatives to embrace the Constitution, the good of the nation and their fellow legislators? Pope Francis didn’t think so, nor do most Americans.
John McNamara, Derwood
D.C. families need a voucher choice
Missing from the Oct. 9 Metro article “8 on council seek end to private school vouchers” were the voices of families and students who have benefited from the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship, a life-changing path to a better education and a brighter future. Those voices, it seems, were also missing from conversations in the Wilson Building that led a majority of the D.C. Council to speak out against the program on behalf of their constituents.
Even with public school choices available to a growing number of residents through the District’s strong community of charter schools, too many D.C. families remain tied to their assigned neighborhood schools, some of which have been failing kids for generations. The council members who decry the scholarship program are using it as a political football (again) and an opportunity to spout a home-rule agenda.
They should look beyond their own political ambitions and listen to the stories of thousands of their constituents who have been offered a lifeline out of failing schools and have formed the foundation of a stronger future because of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program and its support.
Kara Kerwin, Washington The writer is president of the Center for Education Reform.
Mr. Obama’s game of inches
In his Oct. 6 Fine Print column, “How the Kremlin might just vindicate Obama” [ The Fed Page], Walter Pincus quoted President Obama as saying about Syria, “We will find ourselves either doing just a little bit and not making a difference and losing credibility thatway, or finding ourselves drawn in deeper and deeper into a situation that . . . we can’t sustain.” Mr. Obama has been doing a little bit, spending millions of dollars and not making a difference, and we have lost credibility.
Mr. Obama’s strategy of containing the Islamic State and supporting the rebels in Syria is not providing results other than a mass civilian exodus flooding Europe.
Now with Russia in the mix, the United States may very well be drawn into situations that we cannot control, forcing us to be reactive vs. proactive.
Not only is Mr. Obama not leading, but he also is not even leading from behind.
Joe Angsten, Manassas
Take America out of the Mideast
Regarding the Oct. 8 news article “Obama apologizes to head of Doctors Without Borders”:
There is away out of our Middle East quagmire, if Washington would pay attention to what most Americans want: no more U.S. involvement in the Middle East.
First, we need to let Russia become the bad guy that President Vladimir Putin wants it to be in Syria. We have no hope of solving that crisis, but we shouldn’t make things worse by indiscriminate bombing, and all bombing where we don’t know who’s who is indiscriminate. It’s unfortunate that after 14 years we continue to bomb Afghanistan, ignoring the lesson that the Russians learned and we should have, just as Russia returns to the same failed policy in Syria.
Second, and in keeping with most Americans’ generosity, we can make things better by spending those resources helping millions of displaced persons, whether they’re in Jordan, Turkey, Europe or even Syria. In the long run, we’ll be safer and our damaged karma might be renewed.
John Schaefer, Arcata, Calif.