For many Americans, ignorance is easier

Re: the Jan. 3 article “Poll: Americans have little faith in government.”

The basis for Americans’ lack of faith in government stems from our increasingly isolated selfishness. Moreover, many of us have entered this democracy from Third World countries where “democracy” is actually “plutocracy” or worse. Thus millions now living in this country, whether by birth or by naturalization or by illegal immigration, do not have a clue how a genuine democracy works.

Some believe the government has an obligation to take care of them, since they were born into a world where they have marginalized power. Others believe we should have no taxes at all, but a powerful military should protect their investments and wealth, both foreign and domestic.

Neither side is willing to compromise because both sides listen only to news media instructed to entertain and humor its audience with flattery rather than inform them with complex and intricate facts that many people do not have the ability to understand. Solutions can only be achieved by an educated populace that actively participates in governance.

Keith Deem

Writer, Tucson

Immigrants less likely to commit crimes

Re: the Jan. 5 letter to the editor “2 reasons for decline in homicides overlooked.”

A reader linked declining murder rates with concealed carry licenses and “stand your ground laws.” He then stated “a disproportionate of homicides involve Hispanics.” Like the guest columnist who paired skinheads/cultists with the NRA, he failed to provide any reference to research.

Robert Sampson, author of “Great American City,” found that immigrants had a distaste for violent street crime; first-generation immigrants were 45 percent less likely to commit violence than third-generation Americans, while second-generation immigrants were 22 percent less likely.” In 2008, Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall said 97 percent of people prosecuted were “homegrown criminals.”

Evidence-based research indicates that crime reduction is a result of the right blend of enforcement, sentencing, cultural and technical factors. No legitimate research has concluded that concealed guns and stand-your-ground laws are responsible. While both the guest columnist and the letter writer represent extreme and erroneous views, the letter writer seems influenced not only by extreme ideology but also racial prejudice.

Ed Espinoza

Retired, Tucson

Don’t throw

millions at memorial

Re: the Jan. 7 article “Downtown courthouse is selected as official home of Jan. 8 memorial.”

It is with a mixture of utter disbelief and disgust that I read of the plans being made to spend as much as $10 million on the Jan. 8 memorial. Are they kidding? As tragic as the shooting was, and while a memorial of some sort does not seem inappropriate, how in the world can anyone justify spending $10 million in taxpayer money?

Any memorial should be paid for entirely with private donations. I call upon Gabby Giffords, Mark Kelly and U.S. Rep. Ron Barber to stand up and stop this insanity immediately. Tucson deserves far better use of its limited funds.

Steve Ford

Retired, SaddleBrooke

Get government out of our personal lives

Re: the Jan. 7 editorial “Let’s get the government out of your gas tank.”

Besides my gas tank, let’s get the government out of my health-care choices, my religious beliefs, my personal thoughts, my political correctness and a host of other programs.

William Long

Retired, Tucson

Doesn’t Arizona have enough real problems?

Re: the Jan. 4 article “Bill would allow clerics to opt out of gay nuptials.”

Don’t Arizona legislators have enough to work on in the upcoming 2014 legislative session, such as funding for education, Child Protective Services or state road maintenance, without being asked to spend one minute on any legislation that may be “meaningless” or “unconstitutional?”

Lucy M. Almasy

Retired RN, Tucson

Writer scapegoats illegal immigrants

Re: the Jan. 5 letter to the editor “2 reasons for decline in homicides overlooked.”

The letter writer makes a baseless statement and follows it up with a scapegoating slur. First, he opines that declining homicide rates are due to “stand-your-ground” laws. Trayvon Martin would probably disagree with that if he hadn’t been shot to death by someone who used one of these laws as his defense.

The letter writer then wonders how many homicides are committed by illegal immigrants. Were Adam Lanza, James Holmes or Jared Loughner illegal immigrants? The simple facts are that we have way too many guns in this country and they’re much too easy to get.

Scapegoating illegal immigrants is just a red herring pro-gun extremists use to avoid the facts.

David Steinberg

Retired, Tucson