Mail and Commentary Aug. 8, 2012 

Boot Blue Cross

After reading the article about Danni Gilbert's fight with Blue Cross (BW, News, "Cancer Patient Fights Insurance Company for Care Coverage," July, 18, 2012), I had tears in my eyes. Very rare, for me. I am now sitting here a couple weeks later with the latest edition of BW open in front of me staring at a half-page ad for Blue Cross, encouraging students to "Waive that S.H.I.P. goodbye." I understand you have bills to pay but after the Danni Gilbert article, I'd prefer to not have anything Blue Cross-related shoved down my throat. Maybe you could take the money generated from Blue Cross' advertising and contribute it back to the Gilberts. You don't need their blood money that bad anyway.

--John Mitchell, Boise

Give the good guns

The Aug. 1 issue of your paper contained a comic (This Modern World) that featured one character challenging a conservative character to name one single instance where a gun wielding good citizen prevented a massacre. In the comic, the gun rights advocate was stymied and unable to respond.

The truth is that it has happened a couple of times. And other incidents have involved a mass-shooting in public that ended prematurely, with a lower casualty count, thanks to armed citizens.

These incidents do not get the press they deserve, because the liberal-leaning media hates to perpetuate what they see as a myth that good law abiding citizens can use guns to stop violent crimes in progress.

And of course, if a massacre is prevented, and no innocents are killed, this is hardly news. Local news outlets would simply report that one person killed another and no charges have been filed yet because it appears to be justified.

The problem with guns in civilian hands is not that there are too many guns, but that too many bad guys (lunatics and criminals) have them, and too few good people have them and keep them handy and ready to use. If we had more than 4 percent of the adult population with gun carry permits, and if most permit holders actually packed their guns daily, and if the law didn't specify so many "gun free zones," which are, in fact, victim disarmament zones where mass-murderers can find helpless prey, then the armed good guys would so thoroughly outnumber the few bad guys that we would be, in fact, safer. Anybody who tried a violent crime would forfeit their life, or end up pushing their wheelchair down the prison's cold tile floor, thanks to armed citizens.

--Kurt Martin, Atlanta, Ga.

On Climate Change

It is unlikely that global warming will cause increased extreme weather (BW, Citydesk,"Rocket Scientist: Climate Change Worse Than First Thought," Aug. 5, 2012). If the world warms due to increasing greenhouse gas emissions, temperatures at high latitudes are forecast to rise most, reducing the difference between arctic and tropical temperatures. Since this differential drives weather, we should see weaker mid-latitude cyclones and less extremes in weather.

It is also a mistake to blame human activities for current weather extremes. The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change report (see released on Aug. 29, 2011, concluded "the data reveal there have not been any significant warming-induced increases in extreme weather events."

The report showed that this was the case whether the phenomenon being studied was precipitation, floods, drought, storms, hurricanes, fire or other weather related events. NIPCC author, Dr. Madhav Khandekar, demonstrated that extreme weather events are now occurring with about the same frequency as they did during 1945-1977 cooling period.

Instead of vainly trying to stop extreme weather from happening, we need to harden our societies to these inevitable events by burying electrical cables underground, reinforcing buildings and other infrastructure, and ensuring reliable energy sources so that we have the power to heat and cool our dwellings as needed.

--Tom Harris, Executive Director, International Climate Science Coalition Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Dr. Richard Muller has long been one of the go-to guys for conservative politicians and media figures who wanted scientific credibility for messages of climate change denial (BW, Citydesk, "Climate Change Skeptic Makes 'Total Turnaround,'" July 30, 2012). Along with a few other professional climate science contrarians, Muller publicly doubted the overwhelming consensus on the human origins of the greenhouse effect.

"Was," not "is." With the release of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Project's conclusions this week, Muller is now firmly aligned with the rest of the climatology community in accepting the reality and the dangers of anthropogenic climate change. At least, he's caught up with the conclusions of climate science from the late 1990s, which is a step in the right direction.

Muller's results, important though they are, won't convince anyone who isn't convinced already. If his experience is similar to that of other climatologists, he's going to receive hate mail and death threats from the same people who, a few months ago, were lionizing him as a scientist of great integrity and a courageous voice of dissent.

--Warren Senders, Medford, Mass.

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