Violence is embedded in many cultures

Re: "FBI documents dangers of firearm access," From Readers, Dec. 11

The issue of gun control pops up again after the Jovan Belcher-Kasandra Perkins murder-suicide. This nation does not have a gun culture, per se. But over millennia, parents here and all over the world have instilled intheir children the belief that their surname, ethnicity, color of skin, religion and many other personal attributes are imbued with that which they call "honor."

The children have further been instilled with the belief that if they perceivethat they have been dishonored, they have the right,even the duty, to kill the offender or offenders, no matter who they might be.

They also believe that if they "love" someone, that confers upon them all of the rights of ownership, including the right to kill or destroy that which they "love".

So long as these cultures persist, there will be tragedies such as the Belcher-Perkins murder-suicide and the heinous acts committed by al Qaeda, the Taliban and others.

Darrel Salisbury


U.S. aid to Israel perpetuates oppression of Palestinians

As an American, I am ashamed and angry that my government provides $3 billion in unconditional military aid to Israel every year. This aid perpetuates the strangling of Gaza and the violation of Palestinians' rights under international humanitarian law.

On a four-week observation visit to Israel/Palestine, I heard Palestinians calling on the U.S. government to persuade Israel to end the occupation in its own long-term best interests. I saw a pervasive pattern of oppression, from harassment at checkpoints to a woman who told me "The Israeli soldiers fire tear gas into my windows before breakfastevery morning."

How ironic: Israel, founded as a homeland for persecuted Jews and Holocaust survivors, violates Palestinians' human rights. This will engender continued resistance.

There is no balance or middle ground here. As Desmond Tutu said, "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor."

George Meek


Obama will preside over decline of U.S.

The Democratic agenda is a harbinger of what is to come: the decline and fall of the U.S. The first casualty is the truth. The last election campaign provided ample evidence, starting with the anti-Romney ad purporting that the GOP nominee was responsible for a women's death.

The Benghazi episode solidified lying for political purposes, supported by the mainstream media, which ignores any issue that might damage the Democratic agenda or President Obama. Does anyone actually believe the unemployment rate is going down -- except in the governmental sector?

The president does not have a mandate. His goal is not to represent all the people, only those who support him, buying an election by promising the Democratic base everything without having to pay for it. He does not support right-to-work laws, condones disregarding immigration laws and generally supports lowering the bar in everything from education to health care. Anything goes now.

He is leading us into a decline much as ancient Rome experienced. Ethics, fairness and common sense -- values that helped shape America -- are a thing of the past. In four years, the bill will be due.

Col. Thomas Winthrop (Ret.)