Amtrak provides valuable travel alternative

Re: "End the Amtrak experiment," Jan. 15

The highlight of this op-ed is Daniel Hanson's position on public-private railroads being in the American interest. He couldn't be more right when he says that Amtrak serves the public good despite its lack of profit.

Amtrak gives Americans a great travel alternative, especially since gas is nearly $4 a gallon and the airlines have increased fares and baggage handling fees by at least 15 percent.

Just like the gypsy cabs of yesteryear, and the independent bus charter services of today, which are comparable to Greyhound, independent train service would save Americans 25 to 40 percent in traveling costs.

Di-Jon McRae


Armed guards help to protect everybody

Without fanfare, President Obama signed a bill into law that provides lifetime Secret Service protection to former presidents elected after 1997and their wives. The new law will apply to Obama and former President George W. Bush.

What about the citizens who also deserve armed protection? Regardless of whether they protect private individuals or those serving in public office, armed guards are essential for the safety of everyone. The role guns play in self-protection was evidenced by a women in Georgia who shot an intruder and likely saved her own life and the life of her 9-year-old daughter.

Safety is not enhanced by gun restrictions.Criminals bent on harming others will get weapons, as evidenced by the high murder rate in Chicago, where guns are restricted.Millions of law-abiding citizens should not be penalized because of a few who use guns to kill innocent victims.This is like using a sledgehammer to kill a fly on a windowpane.

However, I do favor establishing gun-free zones at the residences and workplaces of those who advocate gun control formillions of law-abiding citizens. These zones should include the U.S. Capitol, the White House, the vice president's residence and various governors' offices.

Frank Medico

Mt. Vernon

Ban or restrict real killer: alcohol

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 80,000 Americans die each year from alcohol-related causes.Of these, more than 10,000 are traffic fatalities.It is way past time that we take some common-sense measures to end this needless carnage.

High-powered distilled spirits should be strictly regulated by federal and state authorities. They should be available only by prescription, and even then in limited quantities, or banned altogether. After all, no one needs 100-proof liquor.

Other alcoholic beverages should be limited by statute.For instance, wine and beer containers of more than 10 ounces, as well as cases containing more than 10 containers, should be outlawed.Strict limits should be placed on the amount that can be purchased at any one time.

Who needs more than 10 ounces of beer or wine anyway? Or even five ounces, for that matter?

None of these measures would infringe upon anyone's 21st Amendment rights in any way because ... well, because we say so.We're better than you and know what's best for you. So there.

If Congress refuses to act to stem the carnage, then the president should take appropriate action through executive orders. After all, if it saves only one life.

Roger Johnson