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Wednesday Letters: Why aren’t guns allowed at GOP convention?

Supporters carrying side arms wait for the start of a rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at Settlers Landing Park on Monday in Cleveland. Guns are not allowed inside the convention hall. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

It is difficult to understand why the concealed and open carry of firearms is not allowed inside the GOP convention, given claims by the GOP, a wholly owned subsidiary of the NRA, that “gun free zones are the worst and most dangerous of all lies.” Cleveland and the state of Ohio allow both. Could it be their other axiom, “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” is a bit problematic considering the difficulty distinguishing the good guys from the bad guys at the GOP convention?

Bob Barth, Edgewater

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Vanished lake

While I am home in Chicago this summer, I have heard the concerns people have about the lake’s water levels rising, and they are right to be worried. My experience in South America, where I work for the international aid group Catholic Relief Services, puts that concern into a more global perspective.

There’s another majestic lake in the Americas, Lake Poopó in Bolivia, that has completely vanished. It was Bolivia’s second largest lake 20 years ago, covering 750 square miles. Now it’s gone.

There are several reasons why the lake – and the livelihood of thousands of fishermen – is now gone, including mining that diverted water from tributaries, and last year’s drought blamed on El Nino. But without question the main culprit is the rising temperature associated with climate change.

Global warming has led to the disappearance of glaciers that fed Lake Poopó and increased the length and frequency of droughts even before El Nino disrupted rainfall in Bolivia over the last year.

In Central America, climate change is drastically altering the health of crops that people depend upon for their livelihood. Coffee beans are plagued by a disease because of climate change. Corn won’t grow where it once grew. As farms fail, more young people abandon the countryside to find jobs in cities or migrate north.

We need to do more to help people around the world adapt to new climate realities. Earlier this month, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee took an important step in the right direction, voting to provide $500 million to the Green Climate Fund.

The Green Climate Fund is an international effort to help poor countries adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change so that some of the world’s poorest people in developing countries can cope with their new realities. Our own Senators, Mark Kirk and Dick Durbin, sponsored this provision. The courage to take this kind of bipartisan action to address the needs of poor and vulnerable people impacted by climate change is commendable, and more must follow this example.

But this is only one small step of many we need to take. For millions of people around the world, climate change is not an abstract theory based on future predictions, it is a daily reality of prolonged droughts destroying their crops, stronger typhoons endangering their lives, and rising sea levels swallowing their homes – and even an entire lake disappearing, taking with it jobs and villages.

As Pope Francis said, “It is time to rise above the partisanship and controversy over climate change, and heed the moral imperative to act now.”

Joseph Kelly, Glencoe

Some gratitude

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is showing his respect and gratitude to Chicago police officers by trying to end the health benefits to officers who put 20 to 35 years serving the city. I’d hate to see what he do to us if he wasn’t grateful.

Mike Fitzpatrick, Roselle

Another side to story

The message of your July 18 story, “Activists, aldermen propose immigration reform amendment,” is very clear: The rule of law should be suspended to accommodate those here illegally and who have demonstrated no respect for the sovereignty of the American people.

There is another side to this story, but the reporter ignored the voices of those who support enforcement of immigration laws passed years ago to protect the public and American jobs. Allowing Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, who took an oath to uphold the law, to label as “hateful” those demanding enforcement without any rebuttal is irresponsible news coverage. Was the late Barbara Jordan, who chaired President Bill Clinton’s immigration reform commission, also hateful when she called for an immigration policy that put the interests of the American people first and foremost?

As for Ald. George Cardenas’ claim that this is a human rights issue, he would do well to remember these words from former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Antonio Garza: “There is no human right to enter another country in violation of its laws.”

The media have a responsibility to their audiences to remind them that the rule of law is far more than just words on paper. We are a nation of laws, or we are not. There is no middle ground.

Dave Gorak, executive director,

Midwest Coalition to Reduce Immigration

Lethal mixture

Guns and hatred when combined create a lethal mixture. Mass shootings like in Orlando, Dallas, Baton Rouge and daily random violence throughout the country is a result of this mixture. Getting rid of the hatred in the hearts of some of our fellow human beings will be much more difficult than taking guns out of the mixture.

In a country that is awash in violence caused by guns, it is time that we take a hard look at this weapon of mass destruction.

Daily gun violence throughout the country, especially in the inner cities of America, is a constant reminder that no one is safe from being shot at anytime and anyplace. Chicago, rapidly earning the reputation as the “murder capital of the country,” is a prime example of this situation. Now the country is rapidly earning the reputation as the “murder capital of the world.”

A person, who owns a gun, is in reality declaring that at some point and under certain circumstances, he is willing to take the life of another fellow human. All gun owners fall under this category even so-called responsible gun owners. It has been shown day in and day out that no one with a gun can be trusted to not at some point use it when he becomes mentally unbalanced or provoked in a fit of rage. Or when the heart is full of hate.

The gun has no place in a modern civilized and enlightened society. For some to continue to insist that the only way one can be safe is to walk around with a gun on his hip or in his pocket is the height of lunacy. We have been there and done that early in our history. The Wild West was tamed when citizens had their fill of lawlessness and banned guns from their towns. To revert back to that period, means we have not evolved very far as a human species.

A majority in this country would prefer to see a society free of guns and the violence they produce. One thing for certain, If you do not own a gun, you will never be in a position to use it.

The question is, how long will the majority who favor a peaceful gun-free society continue to allow a minority to block meaningful change? If the gun-right side continues to prevail and refuses to budge an inch, the majority might have to resort to the power of the boycott to target businesses, cities and states that cater to those who won’t be satisfied until everyone is walking around with a gun on their hip.

Let’s hope it never comes to this.

Ned L. McCray, Tinley Park