Letters to the Editor – July 8, 2016

Elling responds to previous letter


Greetings, Sherry Brannon of West Fenwick: I liked your response to my letter regarding the IRSD ending their use of “Indian cartoon mascots.” I am not sure about the teacher from “Peanuts,” as I am not into another cartoon image you referred to? I try to connect to real people.

What does the multiple cartoon “Indian” head cartoons of the IRSD represent? You state, “Tribe” a.k.a. “Family.” I ask, what tribal nation(s) do the IRSD cartoon “Indian chiefs” represent? My research supports the information that the IRSD “chief heads” are of the Northern Plains tribal nations.

Why did a Sussex County, Delaware school district identify to “First Peoples” so far away? I suspect it was “Hollywood” cartoon images adopted by the IRSD 40-plus years ago and plagiarism.

The IRSD is a large educational institution, and they have a responsibility to give our children the skills to think “critically.” I believe that our schools should not present false or misleading information and images in the education of our children.

Why is the IRSD not formally connected to the Nanticoke Tribal Nation or the Leni-Lenape Tribal Nation here in Delaware? I am confident that these wonderful neighbors and descendants of this nation’s First Peoples would give the IRSD permission to use their images and symbols for sport mascots.

It is true that the Nanticoke Tribal Nation is not “indigenous” to Delaware, as they were forced onto a reservation in Delaware many years ago by invading Europeans. Regardless, these two Tribal Nations have been supportive of the “Indian mascots” of the IRSD.

Unfortunately, the images being used by the IRSD are not of the Nanticoke or Leni-Lenape, and I find a serious legal and moral issue in giving permission to use images of another Tribal Nation.

You asked if I am Native American. No, I am 99 percent European. My Puritan cousins of the Brewster clan enslaved indigenous peoples. Do I have children in the IRSD? Yes! My youngest daughter has attended IRSD schools for 12 years.

What you did not ask: Are any members of my family “Native American”? The answer is Yes! They have “20,000-plus” years of ancestral history in the “Americas.” They are the descendants of one of six females to populate the Americas thousands of years before my/your European ancestors arrived. I find their ancestral history to be remarkable. They should feel the same.

I want all of our many children within the IRSD to feel honored by all of their ethnicity and history… not just the European ethnicity. Reducing one’s ancestral history and their future to cartoons for sport is immoral, unethical and has promoted ignorance among generations of IRSD students. The IRSD “Indian” mascots are harmful to all our school children, and especially to our nation’s “Indigenous children.”

Why did not and does not the IRSD sit down with the Nanticoke Tribal Nation and ask their leadership if the IRSD may use their images in cartoon form and to use the Nanticoke Indians name? Permission shows respect.

Perhaps the IRSD can find a way with their Nanticoke mascot to honor the Nanticoke people of Delaware with their help and guidance. How does the sound of “Goooooooo Nanticokes!” speak to you? How does the inclusion of the Nanticoke history, past, present and future, organized into our children’s education, sound to you?

Thanks for being a good neighbor and not “looking the other way.”

Lloyd E. Elling
Ocean View

Frey responds to Uibel on gun control


You just know when someone who disagrees with you tells you to look somewhere to get the “true facts” ... you just know ... that you are being reprimanded by someone with sound, rational reasoning skills.

Mr. Uibel in his June 30 response letter to my June 24 letter printed in the Coastal Point about assault weapons did just that. Not only did he tell me that I don’t know the definition of “assault weapon” but that I had only to go to a specific internet site to get a definition of same and also find “true gun facts and gun myths.”

Among the many forms of specious reasoning in debates and in the general principles of sound reasoning there is an error called “special pleading.” Special pleading is defined as an argument that ignores all evidence that is unfavorable to your position. Specious reasoning is reasoning that looks and sounds good or correct on the surface but which has no real merit in fact and is often a downright lie.

We everyday folks hear special pleading when someone tells us in essence “I know what I believe, so don’t bother me with the facts.” So I felt obligated to do the internet search recommended by Mr.Uibel.

What I found was a blog founded and maintained by one individual by the name of Gary Smith. Mr. Smith bills himself as a writer, songwriter and political provocateur. He started and personally maintains his blog (with donations welcomed) after he “started seeing that members of the gun-control industry were less than factual and often outright dishonest.”

Mr. Smith’s day job is as a market researcher. So his research capabilities, along with his “Southern gent’s honor,” caused him to take up the cause of debunking gun-control misinformation.

Smith’s definition of an assault weapon is neither the definition used by law enforcement officials nor the definition in Merriam Webster... Assault rifle (also assault weapon) is defined as “any of various automatic or semiautomatic rifles with large capacity magazines designed for military use.”

An article from the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence (htpp://smartgunlaws.org) has a graphic titled “The Anatomy of An Assault Weapon.” It shows that the telescoping, folding or thumbhold stocks on these weapons provide concealability, mobility and/or control during rapid firing. They are fitted with barrel shrouds which allow the shooter to hold the barrel without getting burned and afford greater control during rapid firing.

The pistol grip is another feature which gives the shooter additional control of the weapon during rapid firing. The final feature of these weapons that enables massive loss of human life is the detachable magazine which continually feeds ammunition into the chamber, allowing the shooter to continue firing without the need to stop and reload. Large-capacity magazines can hold as many as 100 rounds of ammunition.

I stand by my use of the phrases “assault weapons,” military-style weapons” and “weapons of mass destruction.” I also stand by my statement that these weapons are relatively easy to obtain in America.

It is tough to come by real numbers in this debate on gun violence. A significant reason for that failure is that federal law prohibits the use of public monies for gun-violence research, thanks in large part to significant NRA lobbying, which resulted in a rider to a budget bill.

I clearly stated that I was aware that assault weapons are not used in the majority of cases in which four or more people are killed, but when they are used, the loss of human life and injury is greater.

One of the most comprehensive data caches that supports that statement is the Mayors Against Illegal Guns report. This is a review and analysis of mass shootings between January 2009 and January 2013. While there is some data that is soft, a primary finding is that incidents in which assault weapons or large-capacity ammunition magazines were used resulted in 135 percent more people shot and 57 percent more people killed.

Mr. Uibel then pulls out that old myth, voiced also by Donald Trump, that basically says that people without guns are easy prey and that if only more good guys had guns, they could/would stop bad guys with guns. The fact is that not one mass shooting has been stopped by armed civilians in the past 33 years (motherjones.com/politics/2012/12).

This in spite of the fact that a Pew Research study (pewresearch.org/facttank/2013/05/04) estimated that there were 310 million privately owned guns in America. That number, by the way, surpassed the guns held by federal law enforcement and police combined, by a factor of 79 to 1.

Then there’s the comment that he doesn’t need a fire extinguisher either, but he owns one just in case. I’m really not sure what that has to do with the discussion, since it is highly unlikely that Mr. Uibel will injure or kill anyone with his fire extinguisher. However, a fire extinguisher does seem to me to be a responsible thing for a homeowner or renter to have to protect his property.

Then I am chided because I propose banning assault weapons even though I am aware that such a ban won’t stop mass shootings. Please refer to the mayor’s study cited above.

I would also add that continuing to allow these assault weapons in the public arena makes about as much sense as demanding that a child who is having uncontrolled diarrhea must keep wearing his soiled clothes until he stops [defecating]. I do realize that inhuman scenario is unlikely to result in anyone dying, but the child and all he comes in contact with will definitely be damaged.

Finally, there’s the “we blame the bomber not the bomb” and “we blame the drunk not the car.” Both statements are true, but we have laws against making bombs and using them in public places. We have laws against driving under the influence of alcohol. None of those laws impede personal freedoms of law-abiding citizens. They do much, on the other hand, to enhance public safety. Car manufacturers also offer drivers more safety in our vehicles, with airbags and structural reinforcement of the frame, neither of which of which reduces our love of our cars or our freedom to drive them.

I rest my case.

Patricia Frey

Reader calls for greater protection

Editor’s note: The following letter was addressed to U.S. Sens. Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid and U.S. Reps. Kevin McCarthy and Nancy Pelosi, and was sent to the Coastal Point for publication.

Recently, we Americans — and the world — witnessed the killing of 55 undefended fellow citizens in Orlando, Fla. These killings were done by one person, who was able to kill so many defenseless, fellow citizens because our U.S. laws allow the sale and possession of automatic and semi-automatic weapons. By not outlawing these weapons, the Congress is allowing U. S. citizens to be unprotected from killers that use these weapons.

The writers of the Second Amendment gave individuals the right to bear arms in order to protect themselves with the weapons that existed at the time. To use the single-shot weapons that existed then, against someone who had a single-shot weapon, gave U. S. citizens a “fair fight” in protecting themselves. By your allowing automatic and semiautomatic weapons today, you are allowing an “unfair fight”; you are allowing surprise attacks to occur on unprotected citizens who deserve to live for another day.

While I agree with gun proponents who say, “Guns don’t kill people; people do,” and I agree with allowing hunters to hunt with shotguns, I believe that we still need laws which provide both Second Amendment rights and also reduce the opportunity for deranged individuals to kill so many people at once. Our citizens deserve much more protection than our current laws provide. Do you need to conduct a national referendum to convince you where a majority of U. S. citizens stand on this issue?

Since only you can enact laws that will provide increased protection, I am requesting that you outlaw the sale and individual possession of all automatic weapons and semiautomatic weapons (except shotguns) in the United States of America. I also request that it be legal for such weapons to be used by federal, state and local police, specifically for the protection of U. S. citizens.

By copy of this letter to select news reporters and newspaper editors, I also ask them to call upon U. S. leaders, in whatever walk of life they may be in, to act proactively against the possession and use of these weapons. We citizens deserve the governmental protection in our time that the Second Amendment creators gave U. S. citizens in their time.

Stephen Piron
Bethany Beach

Reader sounds off on Cat Hill traffic


I realize that I will probably be accused — again — of “never being satisfied” with regard to the traffic reduction/calming measures in Cat Hill. However, I am so furious right now that I don’t care what anyone says about me. I am so upset that my hands are shaking and it’s difficult for me to even type.

I just returned from a walking my greyhound. I was walking against traffic, as pedestrians are supposed to do. I stopped to talk to a neighbor on Canal Drive very near the intersection of Canal and Tamarack, where the community has asked for a three-way stop sign. I was standing right at the edge of the road, and Janey was standing behind me with her rear legs slightly in the road.

A white Jeep Cherokee approached and refused to swerve even a little to avoid us. At the very last second — literally — I yanked Janey’s leash and managed to move her just enough to avoid her getting hit. The passenger side of the vehicle was less than 2 inches from my dog! The rear windows of the Cherokee were down, so I screamed, “You almost hit my dog!” The man’s response: “Then get out of the damn road!”

I’m going to ask my questions in a polite, civil way, though I certainly don’t feel like being polite and civil! What is it going to take to make the traffic cutting through Cat Hill your priority? Will it take the injury or death of someone’s pet? Will it take a child being hit? At what point will it become important enough that the mayor and the council recognize the urgency of the situation?

We have new flowers planted all along the highway and two huge, brand new signs welcoming visitors to South Bethany. Yet, nothing has been done to curb the volume or speed of the traffic cutting through Cat Hill since the electronic speed signs were put in place. (For the record, the one on Black Gum hasn’t been working lately.)

There is no new speed bump on Black Gum, the speed bumps throughout the development haven’t been raised, there is no three-way stop sign at Tamarack and Canal. Please don’t tell me the work has been delayed due to the weather — do you really think that response would satisfy me at this point? My dog was almost hit, the person who almost hit her was not the least bit sorry, and it appears that the council couldn’t care less about correcting the problem!

Do something!

I have posted a sign at the corner of Canal Drive and Tamarack Drive to alert pedestrians and bike riders of [the] incident that occurred on Thursday, June 30. … This is the fifth known near-miss at this intersection in the past year.

The Cat Hill community has been asking for a three-way stop sign at this intersection for some time. DelDOT’s initial study indicated that it wasn’t warranted. I hope the study that is to be done on July 8 and 9 yields a different result. This corner is a tragedy waiting to happen!

Sandi Roberts
South Bethany