Forum, June 13: Buy back better

Published: 6/13/2022 5:02:31 AM
Modified: 6/13/2022 5:00:14 AM
Buy back better

The number of guns in the U.S. outnumbers the number of people. Even if new legislation could halt the sale of a single additional weapon, over 400 million handguns and rifles would remain on the street! That’s bad news. Even worse, these weapons, including millions of assault weapons designed purely to kill during war, would still be accessible to individuals whose inner demons lead them into committing unspeakable crimes. What to do? Here’s a modest win-win proposal.

Our government should sponsor a generous buyback program. It could be patterned à la Australia’s successful 1996-97 program, when close to a million guns were removed from the streets. Those weapons were then destroyed. Inspired by the words of Isaiah 2:3-4, “beating swords into plowshares,” most were likely melted down and repurposed into useful tools. We should do the same. But if we already have sufficient “plowshares and pruning hooks,” as a Plan B the guns could be shipped to Ukraine to aid in its fight for democracy and sovereignty.

In either case, for an outlay of just peanuts compared to the billions the Feds are appropriating in aid to Ukraine, this modest proposal would jumpstart the transition to a safer American society and could significantly aid Ukraine in its most critical mission, at its most critical hour. Truly a win-win.

David Greenfield


Molly Gray is best for Vermont

One of the best things about living in Vermont is how proud we can be of our elected representatives. If we elect Molly Gray as our next member of Congress, she will carry on that tradition. If you don’t know enough about her yet (she is Vermont’s lieutenant governor now), I am writing to explain why I, a retired law school professor, local businessperson, member of Thetford’s Planning Commission, mother and grandmother, support her and believe you will want to also.

Molly knows Vermont. Maybe you have shopped at or enjoyed the strawberries and vegetables from 4 Corners Farm, the Newbury farm where she grew up. Maybe you cheered her on as a UVM cross-country skier, or met her as she served you while she was a law student working at Worthy Burger.

I first met Molly at Vermont Law School. She stood out then as hardworking, thoughtful and respected by her peers — all qualities that will serve Vermont well in Washington. Her background before law school was impressive, having worked on local political campaigns, in the offices of Sen. Leahy and Rep. Welch, and for the Red Cross. As an army “brat” myself, I especially appreciated her concern for her brother serving in the Marines while at the same time being acutely aware of the falsehoods spread about the “weapons of mass destruction” that took the U.S. into Iraq. She knows and cares about our veterans and the men and women currently in the service.

Since she graduated, I have been following the issues where she has been putting her skills to work and am confident she will work successfully in Congress to solve problems, from a lack of broadband access in rural areas, to the housing shortage, to the workforce shortage and to climate disruption.

Who else thinks the way I do? Two Vermont politicians whose judgment I respect, Madeleine Kunin and Howard Dean, have both endorsed her.

Put Aug. 9 on your calendar to be sure you vote in the primary, and when you do vote, I hope you will vote for Molly.

Liz Ryan Cole


Bennett cartoon in poor taste

Although I understand that the Clay Bennett cartoon reproduced in the Sunday, June 5, Perspectives page had a number of levels to it, I think it is more than unfortunate that it can be seen as suggesting that every person who owns an AR-15, or is a member of the NRA, has an IQ of 14. I found the piece below it, Randall Balmer’s column, much more balanced, nuanced and informative.

We seem to be entering another period of high tension — as seen in the recent mass shootings and the start of the Jan. 6 hearings — where it will be important to skillfully walk the tightrope between the need for citizens to be informed versus having their passions inflamed.

I don’t envy the responsibility of journalists and editors during these times. And I respect the thoughtful skill that goes into producing the Valley News.

Lori J. Harriman


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