Opinion: Letters to the Editor

Letters for Jan. 24: Gun safety for kids; synthetic drugs; Americans care about cycling

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Opinion,Letters to the Editor

Even children should be taught firearm safety

Re: "Establish an age limit of 21 for firing guns," From Readers, Jan. 21

I could not disagree more with Louis Dominguez's proposal for a 21-year-old age limit for the use of a gun. The first exposures to guns for today's youth come from movies, music videos and gang members, none of which demonstrate proper conduct with a firearm.

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I propose the exact opposite: Expose children to firearm safety instruction from experienced adults at a young age. Doing so would give young minds an ethical and responsible perspective on gun use.

A program run by Frank Minter, of Allentown, Pa., has done this exceptionally well. Many troubled youths have turned around their lives as a result.

-- Brian Wrenn

Washington

Americans care about cycling very much

Re: "Can't forget Lance Armstrong's work, but can't forgive him, either," Jan. 16

Rick Snider inadvertently mentions why he doesn't get the right to weigh in on Lance Armstrong. Unlike baseball, he writes, Americans don't care about cycling, and the Tour de France matters for all of "five seconds." Not only is that untrue, it's also a slap in the face to the rich and storied cycling culture that exists in America since the late 1800s, including here in Washington.

Not only do Americans ride for top European pro cycling teams, American-based teams compete internationally. Americans appear among the winners and top placers in many of the biggest races worldwide. Unfortunately, our sporting media has virtually ignored this trend.

We have a full race calendar, including the Tour of California, the USA Pro Challenge and the Gran Prix of Cyclocross, drawing top international riders and passionate, loyal fans. In February, the World Cyclocross Championships will be held outside of Europe for the first time ever, bringing the best riders in the world to Louisville, Ky.

Registrations for local races sell out within hours, and local businesses sponsor riders and teams competing at the local, national and world levels. On any given day, they can be seen training in the area with the same level of seriousness as the Europeans.

Lance Armstrong's now-tarnished star created a bandwagon for people looking only to latch onto a big story without actually supporting the sport itself. While I share Snider's support for the Livestrong Foundation, he doesn't get to weigh in on cycling until he writes about it as much as he writes about baseball, football, basketball and hockey -- sports I rarely watch yet still respect, knowing that scandals associated with them do not represent the sports themselves.

Americans do care about cycling. The first mainstream media outlets that give cycling real and full coverage will gain a huge following that will last longer than just the "five seconds" of the Tour de France or the legacy of one rider who was never the embodiment of cycling to begin with.

-- Jason Pearlman

Silver Spring

Synthetic drugs should be regulated, not criminalized

The D.C. Council is scheduled to decide whether to make possession of small amounts of certain synthetic drugs like "K2" and "Ivory Wave" -- which are popular among young people in their teens and 20s -- a crime.

Filling the D.C. jail with more of our young people for possession of synthetic drugs is not the answer. If the primary concern among council members is that young people have easy access to synthetic drugs, D.C. should regulate sales, impose age restrictions and punish retailers who do not comply.

-- Grant Smith

Federal policy coordinator,  Drug Policy Alliance

Washington

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