Criminals fear armed citizens the most
The shooting death of Dillon Ching demonstrates again that the anti-gun laws, which are in violation of our constitutional rights, do not protect us ("Gunfire kills man in front of family,"
Star-Bulletin, May 21). Even if we were to outlaw all guns and magically keep guns out of the hands of criminals, note that bats and other weapons were in use at the Sunset Beach fracas.
Law-abiding citizens must protect themselves, and nondiscretionary concealed-carry gun permits have proven overwhelmingly successful in reducing the rate of violent crimes. If criminals know that some law-abiding citizens are armed, they are much less likely to perpetuate violence. In countless studies, criminals have made it clear that they fear confrontation with armed citizens far more than with the police.
Demand that state legislators restore your Second Amendment rights so you can live a safer life. You do not need to hide in your hales and fear to walk on the beach or in town at night.
Expect gridlock at Turtle Bay, too
The recent traffic demonstration in Kahului involving 110 cars illustrates the traffic surges the Superferry may bring to Maui ("Anti-Superferry demonstrators clog Maui traffic,"
Star-Bulletin, June 2).
Many people have suggested a similar demonstration to illustrate the impact of the proposed Turtle Bay Resort expansion. The developer's 2005 Traffic Impact Analysis Update counted as many as 975 vehicles per hour (vph) in 2005 and estimates up to 2,724 vph in the year 2028. Half of this many vehicles, at 40 feet each, would create gridlock for more than 10 miles, the distance from Kuilima to Haleiwa!
Extreme gridlock is a terrifying prospect. We have not been able to support such a painful demonstration, but we are continuing our legal efforts to force a supplemental environmental impact statement. News about the proposed Turtle Bay Resort expansion is regularly updated at www.KeepTheNorthShoreCountry.org.
Keep the North Shore Country
Which 'discoverer' should we celebrate?
I support the theory that Polynesian navigators arrived in the Americas before Cristobal Colon (now called Christopher Columbus), the first European to reach that part of the "new world." Some communities in the United States still celebrate the arrival of the Italian who sailed under the Spanish flag, and who was also responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans.
But it has been well documented that the Scandinavians, led by Viking Leif Ericson, arrived in the Americas 500 years before those first Europeans, established settlements, explored new lands west of Greenland, and then left. Archaeologists have uncovered the Viking settlements in Eastern North America, dating to about 1000 A.D. Some even believe the Vikings traveled as far inland as Minnesota, where a 13th century Norse runestone was unearthed in the 1800s in the roots of a tree at Kensington.
Maybe we should celebrate the arrival of the Norsemen instead of the Italian. Or maybe the Polynesians, whose voyage very likely introduced the South American sweet potato to Oceania. Or perhaps, the Native Americans, who were there first.
We can't put off fixing our traffic problems
People are naturally resistant to change. I understand that if we had a rail system today not many people would use it. But a mass transit system can't be built overnight. Today's escalating fuel prices and the ever-increasing gridlock on our roads will surely have a greater impact on our lives in the future.
The time will come when gas prices will balloon to unimaginable levels and our daily commutes will require us to leave home hours before the workday begins. When this happens, people will be begging for an alternative. If we don't build the rail now, there won't be one.
Change is imminent. Support the rail system. We can't keep waiting until tomorrow to solve yesterday's problems.
Rail project doesn't pass mayor's own test
Mayor Hannemann said when major projects were proposed, he would ask, "Do we need it? Can we afford it? And can we maintain it?" Let's apply the mayor's pledge to the proposed rail project.
Do we need it? I don't think so. The mayor's engineers tell us that 80 percent of vehicle commuters will not use the proposed rail system. They also tell us traffic congestion will not be reduced by rail. Is this the solution we want?
Can we afford it? I don't think so. We have already been told that there is no money to finish the project. To finance the first segment, the mayor's schedule of financing includes $1 billion from the federal government. Is this reasonable? No city twice our size has ever built a heavy rail project let alone received $1 billion for startup. Only cities like New York can ask for that kind of money.
Can we maintain it? I don't think so. The maintenance for TheBus and rail will be approximately $100 million more than what it is now for TheBus. Where is there $100 million extra in the current budget? Do we need to raise the bus fare to $4 to help pay for rail?
We have been told that there is no federal money until 2010. So, we have time to look at alternatives on the mainland that are designed to reduce traffic congestion. This Web site from the Federal Highway Administration is a good place to start: www.fhwa.dot.gov/congestion/index.htm
The FHWA's top priority is a National Strategy to Reduce Congestion on America's Transportation Network. The strategy does not include heavy rail systems.
Price of repeated deployments is high
Reading how the United States is getting so short of cannon fodder, er, I mean deployable men, that retired troops must be redeployed again and again until they get killed reminds me of the books by Erich Maria Remarque on World War I, "All Quiet On The Western Front" and "The Road Back."
They told how the German army had become so short of deployable troops that younger and younger men needed to be drafted, until they were so young that before going to the front they were sent through teams of prostitutes to give them at least one experience with a woman before going to their deaths.