Dean L. Winslow wrote that he had fired assault weapons in the military and they are not useful for self-defense because of their power and inaccuracy. (Dec. 27, 11A, “Speaking out on guns killed my appointment”)
In the late 1970s, I was assigned to teach shooting to a staff sergeant. For silly reasons of the age, she had never touched a weapon and was afraid of its power. I fired a few rounds holding the stock against my nose and then my groin. The weapon’s recoil is insignificant. This contributes to the accuracy of the firearm. I can hit targets 300 meters away, and other shooters have done far better than that.
The civilian clone of the M-16 is useful for self-defense. We know this because Stephen Willeford, the man who killed the shooter at the Sutherland Springs, Texas, church in November, used an AR-15.
This use is not unique. A look inside law-enforcement vehicles will often find an AR-15 in place of the shotgun.
Kevin L. Jamison
It was heartbreaking to read about the crash that claimed the lives of a mother, two of her daughters and a family friend on the day after Christmas. (Dec. 28, 1A, “Crash off an icy bridge pierces Missouri town's heart”) But near the end of article, it was mentioned that only the mother, who was driving, was wearing a seat belt.
Given the severity of the crash, one doesn’t know whether any of the others would have survived if wearing seat belts. But as a parent of two teenage drivers, I can tell you that not wearing a seat belt is not an option in our household, regardless of who is driving.
Quite simply, seat belts save lives. Please buckle up.
Yes, be loud
Andrés Miguel Rondón’s Dec. 28 column presented some interesting and valid observations about President Donald Trump’s myriad scandals being a source of his successful plying of populism. (9A, “Trump thrives on scandal. It’s key to the populist playbook”)
However, I disagree with this part of the writer’s thesis: One’s opposition to Trump “should rest on understanding the grievances that brought Trump to power. … There is indeed a place for your legitimate moral outrage: not the dining table, but the voting booth. Just ask Alabama Democrats.”
His reasoning seems to be that frequently expressing verbal outrage at Trump’s outrageous behavior only exacerbates the polarization between his core supporters and the 60 percent or so of the rest of America.
Our present social-political chasm was not caused by speaking out for justice. In fact, in my experience, speaking out for justice — frequently and loudly — is essential for positive change. Some examples are civil rights, disposing of President Richard Nixon, ending the Vietnam War and more recently the genesis of the silence-breakers movement. There’s nothing wrong with hating hate.
Yes, we should express our outrage in the voting booth, but I’m pretty sure Roy Moore would have waltzed to a victory had not outrage at his alleged sexual assaults and blatant racism been loudly and frequently expressed before the election.
Not plugged in
Something is definitely wrong when New York City, with 8.5 million residents, has less than twice the number of murders as our fair Midwestern city.
Of course, most of these murders are committed by people who neither read The Star nor watch the local news. What I see is poverty of understanding.
To the skies
Start 2018 with something unusual — something that happens “once in a blue moon.”
There are two full moons this month, with the first on Jan. 1 and the second, a “blue moon,” on Jan. 31.
A blue moon month is a somewhat unusual astronomical event. A month with two full moons occurs only about every two to three years. What makes this year a little more unusual is that there will also be two full moons in March.
Even more exciting is that the Jan. 31 full moon will pass through the Earth’s shadow, giving us an opportunity to view a total lunar eclipse. We will be able to see about the first half of this eclipse, as the moon will be setting while still totally eclipsed. The moon will enter the Earth’s shadow at about 5:48 a.m., and the totality will begin at 6:51 a.m. It will reach its maximum at 7:29 a.m., five minutes after sunrise.
Look toward the southeast, and that bright star-like object you’ll see will be the planet Jupiter. A little lower will be Mars, the red planet, and just rising above the eastern horizon will be the planet Saturn.