The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, August 14, 2019 1:00 am


Inspector on the inside

In an Aug. 9 article on the front page, “No wrongdoing found on Holcomb jet flights,” The Journal Gazette did not state that Gov. Eric Holcomb appointed Lori Torres as inspector general in 2017. Is it really that surprising, then, that the governor was found not to have committed a crime by accepting flights paid for by a casino owner wanting to do business in Indiana?

Paul Dahm

Fort Wayne

Gun homicide numbers easily manipulated

I always get a chuckle from letters in which the writer attempts to make a point by comparing the United States to a country half the size of Chicago. Such was a letter by Mark Temte on Aug. 6 in which he points out that the United States has 23 times more gun homicides than New Zealand, a fact he attributes to stronger gun laws in New Zealand.

In addition to the population of the U.S. being nearly 70 times larger than New Zealand (supposedly accounted for in his statistics), gun ownership in the U.S. is five times higher than in New Zealand. The cultural differences are even more stark.

I'm not trying to downplay the tragedy of gun violence, and I'm not naïve enough to think guns are not a factor in gun homicides. But there are societal and cultural factors that far outweigh the tool used to commit the homicide.

If guns were the only means of killing someone, then we could solve the problem by eliminating all legally owned guns and collecting the ones used by criminals through attrition. Great Britain essentially tried this, and the number of knife homicides increased to the point that knives are now severely restricted in the U.K., while violent crime in London exceeds that in New York City.

One thing that should be noted about gun violence statistics is that most studies are biased and selectively use data from years and periods that yield the desired results. A quick internet search can yield whatever figures one needs to make whatever argument one wants to make.

Case in point: Wikipedia's comprehensive list of gun homicides by country shows the rate per 100,000 in the U.S. as 4.2 vs. Temte's 4.46, and the rate in New Zealand as 0.9 vs. Temte's 0.187.

I'm not vouching for the accuracy of Wikipedia's data, but using their figures, the U.S. has five times (not 23) more gun homicides than New Zealand. Since there are five times as many guns in the U.S. per 100,000 than in New Zealand, gun homicides in both countries are the same. See how that works?

Stan Needham

Columbia City

Sidewalk project will benefit schoolkids

The redesign and rebuild of the North Clinton-Washington Center/St. Joe Center corridor is ongoing but a portion of the work, sidewalk construction, is nearing completion. A big hooray and thank you for a job well done should be directed to the city administration for this part of the project.

Sidewalks, almost complete, now line both sides of North Clinton and provide a safe route for the hundreds of students in the area. With the curtailed transportation service, more young people walk to school; now they can do so safely.

With six schools in the area – Northrop High, Bishop Dwenger High, Holland Elementary, Lincoln Elementary, Shawnee Middle and Northwood Middle – students will be positively affected by this much-needed city project.

Good job, City Hall. A much safer school year should be ahead as a result of this project.

Leigh Smith

Fort Wayne

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