Letters to the Editor 07-01-14

A FAULTY COMPARISON
In my opinion, Mr. Klingler (letter, June 24) comparing the U.S. and Britain’s gun control laws and crime rates is a faulty comparison.
Not all guns are banned in Britain. Some kinds of rifles and shotguns are legal in Britain for sporting purposes, with a permit.
According to Klingler, Britain is over four times more violent than the U.S. What Mr. Klingler fails to tell readers is that the definitions of “violent crime” are different in the U.S. and Britain.
Since the mid-1990s, violent crime has been declining in Britain. Violent crime has continued to decline without interruption after the 1997 Firearms Amendment went into effect.
Daniel Bier’s article fact-checks if the U.K. really is five times more violent than the U.S.
Bier finds that the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports defines a “violent crime” as one of four specific offenses: murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.
However, Britain has a very different definition of violent crime. The British definition includes all “crimes against the person,” including simple assaults, all robberies, and all “sexual offenses.”
The FBI only counts aggravated assaults and “forcible rapes.” Bier states that, when looking at the meaning of “violent crime,” it becomes clear how misleading it is comparing rates of violent crime in the U.S. and the U.K.
In 2009-2010, British police recorded 871,000 crimes against the person, less than half involved injury. The remainder were mostly crimes like simple assault without injury, harassment, “possession of an article with a blade or point,” and causing “public fear, alarm, or distress.”
Of the 54,000 sexual offenses, 15,000 were rapes. In 2010, the U.S. had an average murder rate of 4.8 murders per 100,000 people, four times higher than the UK’s rate of 1.2 per 100,000.
Every day in the U.S., an average of 289 people are shot. Eighty-six of them die: 30 are murdered, 53 kill themselves, two die accidentally, and one is shot by police. Guns are a major cause of what’s killing and disabling America’s children and juveniles.
Don Iliff
Findlay

CITY WATER RATES ARE UNREASONABLE
I looked up some statistics on the city of Findlay Water Department website.
For 2013, there were 17,777 remote-read meters (paying customers). Total revenue for the year was $16,583,160.
If a customer uses absolutely no water, the minimum bill for a two-month billing cycle is $65.04, or $32.52 per month. That’s a base cost to every water customer of $390 per year irrespective of how much water they use. The $390 times the 17,777 meters equals a guaranteed base revenue of $6,937,296 per year.
In theory, the Water Department would not have to pump one drop of water and would still receive almost $7 million in revenue.
If you divide the $6.9 million into the total annual revenue of $16,583,160, you realize that the “minimum charge” accounts for 41 percent of the Water Department’s total revenue. This to me seems unreasonably high when one considers people who are retired or on a fixed income.
Water departments have a tiered scale for water use charges. That is, the large industrial users pay a much lower price per gallon than the average household pays.
So, to sum it up, large industrial users get the best deal and the people who are retired or on a fixed income get screwed the most because they could reduce their use to zero and would still pay $32.52 per month.
It seems to me that a $10 or $15 minimum charge per month would be much more reasonable for low-use customers.
Jim Gould
Findlay

DON’T FLUSH MONEY DOWN THE TOILET
I must be missing something. Tell me, Mr. Wittwer, why would we pay a consulting firm to tell us how to save energy when it has already been outlined in The Courier?
We would pay someone to tell us the obvious? How is that economical? How much would a consulting firm charge? Is this a one-time fee or do we add them to the list of payees?
Rather than pay them to tell us to turn off the lights when the room is vacant, keep windows closed, etc., we could possibly install state-of-the-art, energy-efficient windmills or solar panels.
We just had to have new buildings, why weren’t those factored in?
Even the Amish are still “off the grid,” but using these “modern” inventions to generate power.
Save the money and use it to power the schools, not flush it down the toilet paying for consultation after consultation when we already know the answers.
Perhaps, from now on, you should ask the community for ideas on how to save energy. I’m certain since we have to watch our pocketbooks we could give you some pointers and it wouldn’t then cost us more wasted tax dollars.
Since we teach economics, let us lead with sound economic practices and show our youth progressive thinking and not only talk the talk, but walk the walk.
Shoot, for that matter, we could put the kids on exercise bikes that generate electricity. I’m sure in a decade or so the bikes would pay for themselves.
It would be a new kind of renewable energy since we will always have students to power the bikes! Or gerbils and hamsters. I’ll bet that the consulting fee would buy lots of little wheels and vermin.
Melissa Humphress
Findlay

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