Dialogue

Posted: August 02, 2014

ISSUE | SHOOTING

Fantasy scenario

for saving lives

There is nothing in President Obama's gun-control proposals that would have prevented the Delaware County psychiatrist from applying for a gun permit and receiving it ("Armed doctor saved lives," July 29). On the other hand, if it is true, as commentator John R. Lott Jr. asserts, that there was nothing that would have prevented the hospital shooter from acquiring a gun, maybe that is because people like Lott keep foisting a guns-for-everyone mythology on us and blocking even the smallest reforms. The rest of the Western world has proven that gun control works.

|Mark Squires, Philadelphia

Prevention best

Consider an alternative to the psychiatrist in Delaware County using his weapon when a shooter opened fire ("Life-saving alternative to talk therapy," July 27). Suppose the assailant wasn't armed with a gun that he was able to obtain too easily due to lax gun-control laws. The hospital case worker who was killed in the attack would still be alive, the psychiatrist would not have been wounded, and others at the hospital would not have suffered emotional trauma. Which is the better scenario?

|James Davis, Avalon

ISSUE | GAZA CONFLICT

Call it like it is

For its destruction of the sole power plant in Gaza City, Israel deserves condemnation by all civilized societies. Unfortunately, because the Jewish vote in New York and Florida is important politically in the United States, and because Israel has nuclear weapons, our politicians pretend that any and every action by Israel is justified. It is time to drop the pretense.

|Al Parker, Broomall

Arab 'Godot' awaited

Trudy Rubin is correct that a more moderate alternative to Hamas, supported by Israel, has the best chance for ending the cyclic violence in Gaza ("In Gaza, stop blame, recognize humanity," July 27). Unfortunately, there is no Arab leader who fits that description.

|Steven Barrer, Huntingdon Valley, sjbarrer@gmail.com

ISSUE | WOMEN IN TECHNOLOGY

Building diversity to meet the nation's needs

Diversity in the tech workplace has been of great interest to me over the past 10 years, having founded TechGirlz and conducted research using anecdotal and survey-based evidence ("Tech world's diversity dilemma," July 26). The diversity dilemma is not just about teaching programs. It has many different aspects, including how the media represent what a technologist looks like, how society treats smart women, how company culture is not set up to accommodate diversity, and how schools do not have enough tech classes in their curriculum. No wonder the number of women matriculating into computer-science majors has declined over the past 30 years.

The reason TechGirlz is working with girls in middle school is that studies show girls self-select out of tech careers by the ninth grade. Changing that picture is not just about diversifying the workforce. The nation needs to inspire more people to be comfortable using tech, since future job openings will be staggering. Labor forecasts say that by 2020 there will be one million jobs unfilled. So it is not just about creating a more diverse workforce, but also finding other candidates to fill all these jobs.

|Tracey Welson-Rossman, TechGirlz.org, Fort Washington, twr@techgirlz.org

ISSUE | PRESIDENTIAL STYLE NOTES

Compared to W., Obama's a workaholic

Charles Krauthammer apparently forgets that President Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, took more time off from his duties than any president in modern memory ("Obama at rest," July 28).

|K.B. Kofoed, Drexel Hill

ISSUE | HOMELESSNESS

Reaching out to those living on the fringes

As a so-called caring society, we should be doing more to reduce drug addiction, food deprivation, and homelessness ("Homelessness on rise in Kensington," July 28). But due to the cutting of welfare, the young and old are forced to live on the streets. Lack of funds caused halfway houses to close. The state and federal governments cut millions from the drug and alcohol recovery programs. The cutting back of federal food-stamp benefits adds to the homeless situation.

Being homeless in Kensington, the hardest hit area of the city, as opposed to Center City, means you may never get any outreach programs. We need to address this lopsided program of caring for the homeless, who, after all is said and done, are human beings trying to get help but are unable to turn their situation around by themselves.

|Gloria Gelman, Philadelphia

ISSUE | CAPITAL PUNISHMENT

Revenge shouldn't be on society's menu

Only someone seeking revenge, not justice, would take satisfaction in the recent botched Arizona execution. But does the ancient dictate "an eye for an eye" justify murder by the state? No civilized society should countenance such a policy, and most Western countries do not.

|Ralph D. Bloch, Warrington, ralphdbloch@yahoo.com

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