The price of feeling powerful

Many worthy people just love their guns; hunting, target shooting, or just admiring the intricate mechanisms.

But the currently most popular semiautomatic firearms are not really the best for hunting (too much meat torn up) and training marksmen (too many bullets spraying out). Their actual purpose in the real world is to kill the most possible people in the shortest possible time and they do this very well indeed.

Gun lovers insist that there are other methods of murder. That is true, but assault weapons with large magazines certainly do increase efficiency. They say that people not guns kill. This may also be true, but the task of finding and constraining anyone who might wish to kill is impossible.

Since we can’t uncover and control all potentially dangerous people, it seems wisest to control access to the dangerous weapons.

I know it is hard for someone to give up a beautiful assault rifle. An AR15 in the closet confers a sense of power. We were all once weak children under the control of those stronger. Even as adults some feel powerless and under the thumb of giant corporations or big government which takes freedom but doesn’t give back a sense of peace and security.

Having a lot of firepower can make one feel confident, but unfortunately it is a strength bought on the cheap for a few dollars without the long training and discipline that real strength requires. Assault gun possession echoes our current drug gorge. With the modern designer drugs we temporarily achieve an immense, ecstatic wave of erotic pleasure on the cheap.

The Connecticut shooter’s mother paid dearly for her love of guns and carelessness in securing them. I feel sorrow for the innocents who paid for her dereliction but also sorrow for all of us, for our love for power on the cheap, pleasure on the cheap, our distrust of the people that we ourselves chose to make the rules, and our seeming inability to put the general good ahead of self-indulgence.

Howard Field

Chestnut Hill


Not the time to tinker with gun rights

Please refresh my memory. What was the caliber of the gun that his assailant used to murder Russel Byers on Highland Avenue? Oh, now I remember, he did not have a gun. He had a knife. Had the unfortunate Mr. Byers, a well-known and vocal member of the anti-gun cohort that always surfaces in the wake of exploitable tragedies, been carrying a gun for personal protection like some eighty million sensible law-abiding Americans do, he would be alive today and his assailant dead.

It has been demonstrated more times than need be demonstrated that gun-friendly jurisdictions have low, very low, overall crime rates and extremely low murder rates. Contrariwise, gun-hostile jurisdictions have very high overall crime rates and extremely high murder rates.

And governments that restrict the right of their citizens to own and carry guns always seem to have folks like Idi Amin or Bashar al-Assad in charge. Or Rahm Emanuel.

This nation was founded by the greatest political class of all time and it saw fit to enshrine in our greatest constitution of all time the unrestricted right to bear arms. We should not permit our current poitical class, which by any objective metric, is the worst of all time, to tinker with this fun-damental right to self-protection.

Joseph A. Ferry



Repeal the 2nd Amendment

Just as the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States ended the slavery of human beings in the United States, so should a 28th Amendment to the Constitution, act to repeal the 2nd Amendment, the right to bear arms Amendment, so as to end our enslavement to those who wield and deploy powerful firearms, killing and maiming other human beings.

Petitions are circulating on the internet and I have posted this “Petition to repeal the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution” because I wanted to tie the second amendment directly to the issue of gun violence. It can be found at

Whereas everyone is created equal and endowed with certain unalienable rights such as the right to life and liberty, as stated in the Declaration of Independence;

Whereas those who wield firearms have placed themselves in  a position of superiority over others and continue to deprive others of life, liberty  and property through unlawful use of those firearms, causing immense suffering and catastrophic damage to our families and communities;

Whereas, the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which reads, “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” has outlived its usefulness since it was adopted in 1791 and now, shelters, through the cloak of judicially declared legality, the proliferation and illegal discharge of powerful firearms;

We the undersigned people of the United States in order to form a more perfect Union, petition you, our legislators, to recognize that the right to bear arms in self-defense against someone who bears arms offensively is not a right of minors  nor of numerous other categories of individuals who, nevertheless, having an unalienable right to their own self-defense, cannot adequately defend themselves against arm bearers gun violence is a public health and safety issue that our state and local governments can and should address through appropriate legislation and therefore we petition you to repeal the second amendment to the constitution.

Brian Rudnick

Chestnut Hill


Kiosks are annoying

The kiosks have turned shopping in Chestnut Hill (or eating lunch or dinner there) from a pleasure into an annoyance. As a friend said, “Why would any community turn over control of its parking lots to the Philadelphia Parking Authority?” Surely, there were ways to maintain the lots without alienating shoppers and harming merchants.

But kiosk-related issues also create problems for people using the Chestnut Hill branch of the Free Library. The lot behind the library does not have kiosks, which would be bad enough. Instead, it has a sign that says it can only be used by people going to stores or restaurants at the Top of the Hill, and there is an attendant on duty to enforce that restriction. When I asked him if parking was allowed there for the library, he said, “no.”

That lot has always been heavily used by library-goers, who parked behind the building and walked the short path to the front door. For people taking small children to the library, or who have armfuls of books, or who have difficulty walking, the lot provided essential access to the library. Where are they supposed to park now? There is rarely a space available on the block in front of the library. This is the same library that participated in providing parking stickers to patrons when the lots operated under the “pay-by-the-half-hour” system years ago, before they went to free parking. But now parking in the only lot near the library is off-limits.

The motives behind implementation of the new parking system in Chestnut Hill, including both the kiosks and this apparently privately-controlled lot, may have been well intentioned. But there have been many unintended negative consequences. Limiting access to the library — an invaluable public resource — is one of them.

Linda Jucovy

Mt. Airy


From the Friends of the Chestnut Hill Library:

The Caroling at the Creche was lovely as always, and bakeries, caterers, and shops contributed goodies to the refreshments served afterwards at the Chestnut Hill Library. Many thanks to the contributors: Baker Street, Drake’s Catering, Metropolitan Bakery, A Taste of Philly Pretzels, Bredenbeck’s and Roller’s. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the goodies!

This is a great community tradition!  About 25 Carolers, of all ages, walked over to the Library to enjoy the lovely reception hosted by the Friends of the Chestnut Hill Library.

Thanks, too, to Eleanor Murdoch, chair, Terry Clark and Angela Archer and others for serving the goodies!

Happy Holidays to all!

Joanne Dhody, Chair

Friends of the Chestnut Hill Library