Not what country’s founders had in mind

November 26, 2018

Twenty-three innocent Americans were slaughtered in the last couple of months in mass shootings. Before that, concert venues, churches, countless schools, movie theaters and night clubs also were sites of mass shootings. The list continues to grow. Meanwhile, our president has deployed U.S. military troops to the border to protect us, we’re told, from thousands of women, children, parents, seemingly innocent people seeking a better life, a life free of violence. How about that for irony?

Something is wrong here. Our priorities are misaligned. We can certainly respect the intentions of the Second Amendment while coming together to find solutions to the uniquely American experience known as the mass shooting. This cannot possibly be what our founders had in mind.

Gary Lutz

Santa Fe

Safety for all

City Councilor JoAnne Vigil Coppler should be reminded that bicyclists’ “rights” should be balanced with responsibilities (“Life in the full lane,” Nov. 17). The city and county should adopt commonsense ordinances for the safety of both bicyclists and drivers. For safety, bicyclists should: use a helmet at all times, irrespective of age; wear bright-colored clothing (orange or green) for constant visibility; ride in single file to the right, yielding right of way to faster vehicles; ride with, not facing, traffic; provide adequate illumination on both front and rear; provide adequate reflectors on front, rear and pedals; provide mandatory medical and liability insurance. If riders are in an accident with a vehicle and cannot provide proof of meeting these criteria of safety and responsibility, then riders hold vehicle drivers harmless for injury and damages. Let’s be fair and balanced for safety of all.

Richard W. Haber

Santa Fe

Simpler times

Emily Romero is stuck in the old days (“Believe it or not,” Letters to the Editor, Nov. 13) when scientists believed male and female gender was a matter of biological fact determined by our physical body. Recently, it’s been discovered that gender is a matter of self-identity, not biological reality. New York City recognizes 31 different possible genders.

My husband, who likes to meow, identifies as a kitty cat, so he should have a legal right to change his birth certificate to identify him as feline. This is a medical necessity, because he prefers veterinary treatment. Furthermore, my pet goldfish wants to marry a bicycle, and I support marriage equality, so I am delighted to announce the marriage of Nancy the fish to Tiffany the bicycle. They’re both female, or at least that’s how they identify.

Richard N. Johnson

Santa Fe

Liar in chief

To put Donald Trump in a “nut” shell, I quote Robert Maxwell from Wit, by Des MacHale: “Hello,” he lied.

H. T. (Gib) Gibbons

Santa Fe

A provocative sign

As one who cycled for decades in places as near-suicidal as central London or Moscow’s Tverskoy Shosse — and as benign (but windy) as Jutland in Denmark — I can appreciate the need for signage to encourage peaceful coexistence between motorists and cyclists (“Life in the full lane,” Nov. 17). However, the proposed “full lane” signs are asking for trouble.

There is a small but not insignificant minority of autophobic cyclists who will take the signs to mean that they should ride square in the middle of the driving lane, if only to annoy drivers. And there is a similarly small but also significant minority of motorists who will explode in road-rage paroxysms at such behavior. The result, as always, will be dead or severely injured cyclists. There can be no other outcome from a violent encounter between a 4,000-pound automobile and a bundle of flesh balanced on a 35-pound rig of titanium tubes. Every reasonable road user, driver or cyclist, knows the meaning of “share the road.” The proposed new signage would only encourage the unreasonable users — of both machines — to be even more provocative than they are already.

James Jackson

Santa Fe

Bikes are better

Thank you to District 4 City Councilor JoAnne Vigil Coppler for her work for bike safety (“Life in the full lane,” Nov. 17). The new signs will remind drivers that bikes may use the full lane at the cyclist’s discretion. They provide a little education that addresses the most dangerous part of riding in Santa Fe — drivers treating bikes as the enemy. The second-most dangerous, from my experience, are road shoulder bike lanes full of rocks, glass and wood trim bits. We’ll have to get to that.

Evidence shows every car we can replace with a bike helps traffic congestion, pollution and parking. Bikes, and especially electric bikes, can offer a much better urban future than electric or autonomous cars.

Donald Mackie

Santa Fe

Worthwhile trade

I only hope President Donald Trump can scuttle the Fourteenth Amendment — defining national citizenship and forbidding the states to restrict the basic rights of citizens or other persons — or at least a major part of it, by executive order. Then, when a Democrat is elected president, he or she could do the same to the Second Amendment, which deals with the right to bear arms. Definitely a worthwhile trade-off.

Jerry Labinger


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