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February 20. 2013 12:33AM
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Writer believes games have violent effects

To the idiot claiming to be a doctor who has done studies or seen studies that show war games and other killer-type games have no effect on those playing them as it pertains to mental health, I say Go get another job. Hopefully one that does not require common sense you seem to lack.


If playing these games and learning to kill as a way to make points do not have a direct effect on the mentality of someone, why does the U.S. Army make recruits charge at a dummy with bayonets on the end of their rifles yelling and screaming kill? It is designed to prepare a soldier to kill without thinking and to see death without emotions. I guess if it is good enough and works for the U.S. Army that is my proof that it does have effect on some people.


Arming more people no answer to violence

William A. Levinson, a contributor to The Times Leader's editorial page, usually stays within his realm of industrial management and productivity. But in his latest commentary (Dec. 30) he ventured into the loaded arena of gun control. With his preposterous suggestion of arming teachers, he presents himself as a worthy disciple to the unhinged, paranoid Wayne LaPierre, vice president of the National Rifle Association.


LaPierre opened his recent pseudo-press conference with the words, the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun, which has earned him the derision of even some of his followers. Many fierce devotees of the Second Amendment have added their voices to the enough is enough outcry.


Mr. Levinson's first line was a cynical affront to the basic human emotion of compassion and grief at the unimaginable horror of death by gun of 20 first graders, when he coldly dismissed it as blood on the floor politics, the exploitation of a sensational incident to advance a political agenda. One can only wince at the cold-heartedness of that statement. Like LaPierre, Levinson perceives this tragedy as only the catalyst for a political cause.


Gun control is not a political agenda, but is supported by those whose reason and common sense dictates their affiliation, not their position on the political spectrum. The reasonable observation that America's gun culture is out of control crosses political lines.


Mr. Levinson then browsed through a litany of war mongers, when he compared military scenarios to that of a first graders' classroom environment! He continued by accusing President Obama, Senator Feinstein and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg for their attack on the Second Amendment with unseemly alacrity and — gasp —of almost welcoming the Sandy Hook school shooting. Sir, have you no shame?


Mr. Levinson further accused Mayor Bloomberg for giving his police slipshod and perfunctory firearm training causing them to wound nine innocent bystanders while attempting to shoot a violent felon on a New York City street. Interestingly, the same argument has been made by the anti-gun lobby to illustrate the difficulty of incapacitating a gun-wielding crazy man in public even by trained police.


Mr. Levinson offered even more of his convoluted logic by suggesting that if theSandy Hook staff members had had access to firearms and also had attended a four-day defensive handgun course, Adam Lanza's rampage would have come to a rapid end. It takes one's breath away that anybody could utter such intolerable nonsense. While police officers in theNew York City streetshoot-out were slipshod trained, school staff members would now be superb marksmen/women after having attended a four-day defensive handgun course against a bullet proof-vested, armed-to-the-teeth madman? And the staff members would have applied their sharp-shooting skills amidst panic, fear and while attending to their primary task of protecting the children — as those brave teachers have done and saved lives by getting them out of the way and not further endangering them with even more flying bullets.


While the Newtown parents were burying their children, four people were gunned down in rural Pennsylvania, one of them a woman decorating a Christmas tree in a church. By Mr. Levinson's reasoning, the clergy must also be armed, or a handgun could be discretely hidden next to the Bibles in each pew.


Three hundred million guns are now in civilian hands, and mass murders by guns are increasing. So by what logic will even more guns keep us safer? Is this the America we want? Where children wear bullet-proof backpacks (yes they have been suggested), and teachers wield semi-automatic handguns in schools that have become armed encampments? In that environment, only he/she who shoots the fastest stays alive. Welcome to Mr. Levinson's OK Corral.


The Bookshelf Project pays it forward at LCCC

Benton native and 20th-century literacy pioneer Dr. Frank Laubach influenced millions of people to read with his Each One Teach One program, a pay-it-forward instructional philosophy. However, when asked about this amazing achievement, he modestly replied, I haven't even kept up with the birth rate, and besides, about 20 million or more who've learned to read will lapse back into illiteracy for lack of reading materials.


The sobering truth Dr. Laubach was calling attention to is that reading is a skill that needs to be nourished and maintained. To address this unfortunate problem, Luzerne County Community College launched The Bookshelf Project designed to get books into the hands of as many of our students and their children as possible.


In November, this book drive was launched with the assistnace of Mia Bassham, the library staff and Mary Sullivan. Many individuals and campus organizations including Phi Theta Kappa, SGA, and BASIC collected more than 200 books in a three-week period. On Dec. 7, the collection was made available, and as we were figuratively cutt the ribbon in the school's library (where the BSP is temporarily housed), students came to get books for themselves and their families. This immediate success/reaction exceeded our expectations, and many of these same students returned several days later to donate books they found at home because they wanted to reciprocate. Also, the LCCC Hazleton and Berwick campuses got involved, too.


This project has important ramifications for students, many of whom have few books in their homes. Studies indicate that children who read more have greater reading proficiency. This produces effects beyond school: children become better citizens, are more likely to find rewarding jobs have more active lifestyles and become more exposed to cultural activities.


To sum it up: greater access to books leads to more reading which in turn leads to greater reading comprehension and ultimately to greater student success. Our children deserve no less.


To learn more about The Bookshelf Project call LCCC or email mkovalewski@luzerne.edu or shousenick@luzerne.edu


Send us your opinion

Letters to the editor must include the writer's name, address and daytime phone number for verification. Letters should be no more than 250 words. We reserve the right to edit and limit writers to one published letter every 30 days.



• Email: mailbag@timesleader.com



• Fax: 570-829-5537



• Mail: Mail Bag, The Times Leader, 15 N. Main St., Wilkes-Barre, PA 1871 1



John T. Banks Wilkes-Barre Anneliese Moghul Fairview Township Maryann Kovalewski Stephen Housenickl LCCC faculty




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