Letters for Wednesday, April 8, 2015

• Loose gun laws, higher rate of violence • Wailua Bridge showing its age • Money can help solve traffic woes

Loose gun laws, higher rate of violence

Tom LaVenture’s article about guns on Kauai (“Gun permits shoot up,” March 23) was informative. But something that he quoted Jim Rosa as saying troubled me. Mr. Rosa said that Mainland firearms dealers refer to Hawaii as “a communist state” because not enough of us carry guns. Then he extended the comment by saying that when there are strict gun laws, “only the bad guys (will) carry guns.”

Nonsense.

I don’t suppose that it ever crossed Mr. Rosa’s mind that one of the reasons there is so much violence in the United States is because we have too many guns, not too few? I also wonder if he is aware that the presence of a gun in the home triples the risk of homicide in that home, or that the risk of suicide in a home with guns increases fivefold over one that doesn’t have any? Children between the ages of 5 and 14 in the U.S. are 17 times more likely to be murdered by firearms than children in other industrialized nations. 

When you advocate for less restrictive gun laws you are, in essence, advocating for more violence. You are saying that it would be far better to arm everyone so we could rely on violence, rather than dialogue, to settle disputes. 

No one is denying anyone the right to carry a gun for protection, as the Second Amendment states. “A well regulated militia …” and this bears repeating … “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state …”

This introductory clause to the Second Amendment is so conveniently ignored by the NRA and other extreme gun-rights groups who advocate for fewer restrictive laws. But unrestricted firearms ownership was never the intent of the Second Amendment. The Supreme Court wisely ruled that the “right to bear arms” is not an unlimited one and that it does not prohibit states from passing laws that would place regulations on that right.

“… A very sad situation”? The sad fact is America’s gun culture is a negative force in our society and instead of relaxing gun restrictions, we should be doing exactly the opposite by making it even more difficult for people to possess guns. In the end, we will all be safer. Are strict gun laws a deterrent to people who want to become gun owners? I should certainly hope so.

Steven McMacken, Lihue

Wailua Bridge showing its age

According to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association based in Washington, D.C., Hawaii has 1,137 bridges, some of which are structurally deficient. Of the top 10 most traveled structurally deficient bridges in our state, nine are on Oahu and one is on Kauai. Our structurally deficient bridge is Kuhio Highway over the Wailua River.

Gridlocked Eastside traffic. The Wailua bridge, with it’s supporting base structure built in 1945, is beyond capacity. Large construction projects for resorts and residences seem to get past all hurdles and achieve approval. For traffic mitigation the public gets token or inadequate fixes because the county cannot afford more. The people of Kauai deserve an explanation from our state and local government.

Paulo Tombolo, Wailua Homesteads

Money can help solve traffic woes

 I have an idea that will help the Hawaiian culture and solve our the traffic woes, but it takes money and here is how we can generate it. 

The largest tourist money maker in the entire state is the Polynesian cultural center on Oahu. It’s owned by the Mormon church so they do not have to pay taxes or report income. However, since 1963 they have had 33 million visitors paying $50 to $70 each taking in an estimated $2 billion, $310 million. Most of the performers are working free to pay off scholarships to Brigham Young University. 

The Hawaiian culture makes $$$ for hotels, churches and yet very little of these profits from the culture goes back to the people. The Coco Palms should be the Kauai Hawaiian cultural center where money could be generated to give Hawaiians and local people housing, health programs and education. 

For the traffic woes, all visitors staying In Princeville, Kapaa and Poipu should not be allowed to rent cars. Electric shuttles should be provided by hotels and our towns should have more walking paths and areas, where there are no cars allowed. Revenues from the Kauai Hawaiian Cultural center could also be used to buy the shuttles, improve our infrastructure and revamp Hawaiian agricultural lands in the Wailua valley. 

Hotels and businesses like the Polynesian Culture center take in a lot of revenue via the Hawaiian culture. Perhaps they should give back a percentage to the preservation of Hawaiian culture.

Michaelle Edwards, Princeville

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