Letters to the editor

Hey, Horowitz: Gun locks are about safety, not ideology. Plus: Is LASIK all the better to see with? Deepak Chopra's legal battles do not diminish his spirituality.

Published March 10, 2000 5:00PM (EST)

Shame on liberal hypocrites!

Maybe trigger locks wouldn't have saved Kayla Rolland, but does that make them worthless? By that logic, the next time someone is killed in a car accident while wearing a seat belt, I expect Horowitz to call for a seat-belt ban. And if someone manages to get a bomb on a plane, let's do away with pesky airport security, since it doesn't work.

We'd all be better off if we could enact sensible gun control issues and address the social problems that surround cases like this one. The two tactics are not mutually exclusive, as Horowitz would have you believe.

-- Carl D. Orr

If the previous, perhaps law-abiding, owners of this hand gun had installed a trigger lock on this weapon, the thief may not have stolen it in the first place. And even if the gun was stolen, the lock might still have been in place when the child found it. The trigger-lock legislation may not protect us from the 200 million or so guns and rifles in circulation today, but it will help protect us from the ones sold in the future. Instead of fighting such legislation, the NRA should commit its vast resources to educating its members and the public about the need for trigger locks on all guns and encouraging their use, whether children are present in the home or not.

-- Charlie Wilson

Liberals, moderates and conservatives should take this opportunity to sponsor something positive that could prevent these events. Let's start promoting gun safety in the schools. Whether you are a gun enthusiast or a foe of firearms the reality is that in the U.S. there are lots of guns. Many children could be exposed to danger by being ignorant of gun safety.

I would expect that the NRA, local police and other gun and hunting organizations would shoulder the burden and offer their help. Teachers and principals of schools should join in as well. I am not so sure that most of them are masters of arms as in past times.

-- Rick Jones
Prague, Czech Republic

A flood of relief

The floods in Mozambique caused relatively little loss of life, and may actually be good for the country! And now the Marines have landed so everything's going to be all right. Well, if the Americans and other good people of the world had landed a whole lot earlier, the loss of life would have been significantly reduced. In less than a week, little more than the eight helicopters sent by the South African National Defense Force saved the lives of over 12,000 people -- but they had to abandon many, many poor, rural citizens to die. We will not have any idea of how many until the floods subside to reveal the corpses. But had the wealthy West been alert to, or cared about, the disaster as it began to unfold, the tally might have been so much less. Meanwhile, vast tracts of farmland have been wiped out and the growing season is virtually at an end. Infrastructure has been trashed, factories flooded and businesses destroyed. Mozambique will suffer the consequences for many years to come, just when the country was getting off its knees. The aid bonanza will have to be big indeed, and years in duration, to mean that the quality of life of the average Mozambican will "improve" as a result of the floods. They might just be able to claw back to square one.

-- Mandi Smallhorne

The LASIK "miracle"


Thanks for the very well-balanced report on LASIK. I am an optometrist who has treated many refractive surgery patients, many of whom were casualties of the RK miracle, as well as other more exotic procedures. However, whenever I see contrasts made between laser eye surgery and contact lenses, I feel compelled to set the record straight. Population studies have confirmed the true risks of wearing contact lenses, and have confirmed what we have known for more than a decade. The risk of contracting an eye infection from a daily wear contact lens is 1 in 10,000. With extended wear, it is 1 in about 500. Of those, only 13 percent will lose a line or more of vision as a result. This makes contact lenses a factor of 1,000 times safer than LASIK. It is unfortunate, indeed, that some will need to resort to factual misrepresentation in order to "close the sale."

-- Greg Gemoules, O.D.

I went to an eye doctor for a free evaluation for the LASIK surgery. It was thorough, and the result was that I was not a good candidate and the doctor strongly recommended that I not have the surgery. I was crushed, needless to say, but at least I was told that it would not work for me.

In this situation, the doctor doing the evaluations was not the same doctor who would be performing the surgery. I think that probably helps in eliminating people who are not likely to get good results.

-- Mary Beth Reeves

Another alternative to LASIK is Intacs, which is a non-laser refractive surgery that was selected as one of the 10 best medical advances for 1999 by CNN/Health magazine. This is not the same as the intra-ocular lenses mentioned in the article, although the Intacs are also removable if the person does not want them or if one's vision changes when he gets older.

-- Thomas Lo

Many of the problems this industry is experiencing have to do with its rapid growth. It seems that everyone is jumping to get into this lucrative field. Since this surgery is not yet regulated by the government, it is the patient's responsibility to ask about the experience of the surgeon, number of surgeries performed and who will pay for any additional surgeries if necessary.

I went with an established and reputable company for my LASIK surgery in March '99, and the results have been phenomenal. I hate to sound unsympathetic to Kirk's plight, but as with most risky procedures, the rule is "caveat emptor."

-- Patricia Palagi

The art of the spiritual smackdown

The interview with Deepak Chopra regarding his continuous legal battles exposes an odd but nevertheless deep-seated belief in our culture that to defend oneself against injustice is unspiritual. Spirituality is neither pacifism nor activism exclusively. It requires responding appropriately to the situation at hand. Given that there was no evidence the allegations against Chopra were true, why would one characterize his defense with the phrase "barracuda in the courtroom?" A barracuda is hardly an image of defense.

Today's courtroom is a poor tool to use to protect one's honor and integrity, but it is the only recourse available. It strikes me that settling out of court for a sum of money, if the allegations are untrue, is the truly unspiritual way out. Chopra should be congratulated for having the fortitude and self-respect to defend his own reputation. But more than that, he should be applauded as spiritual warrior against the cynical opportunists who depend on wealthy people to reward their accusations with financial settlements.

-- George Brown

This lawsuit shows how rampant and out-of-control the litigious have become. Deepak Chopra is a very spiritual person who tries to convey what he believes will be helpful to the general public. If someone is suing someone like him, anybody is up for grabs.

-- Patricia A Ferguson

Can't take a joke?

I must admit it takes a certain type of person to think that frogs in blenders and protesting lemmings diving to their deaths are perfectly funny. I am one of those people. I'm an educated 36-year-old woman, and both me and my 11-year-old think joeheads are the coolest, hippest people around. And yes, my daughter is stable enough to know we don't put live gerbils in microwaves (we parboil them first).

-- Mary Beth Truman

By Salon Staff

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