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Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, October 28, 2005
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Seniors unable to graduate don't deserve pity, classes

I'm writing in response to the article in Tuesday's Wildcat about journalism seniors not being able to get classes ("Seniors unable to graduate"). I am currently on track to graduate in four years, to the surprise of my family and most who know me. How is this possible? I did everything that I needed to do to get all my classes. This meant being at the Marshall building at 4 in the morning a few weeks ago.

Any journalism student knows the drill by now. You go to the Marshall building in the wee hours of the morning, and you put your name on the list. You then go visit Mr. Johnson and he signs you up for your classes. The system is not good, but I can tell you that if you show up at the building at the earliest time in the morning, you will get your classes.

I can guarantee that the students who are not going to graduate on time were not there early, and in my opinion, don't deserve the class or our pity. I wouldn't give up my seat just for them because I did what was needed to assure myself that I would graduate next spring. Simply put, at this point in our lives it's time to take responsibility for ourselves, and not complain when we mess up.

Adam Green
journalism senior

Guns designed purely to kill, should be subject to liability

This letter is in response to Phil Davis's letter "Suing gun manufacturers would wreak havoc on legal system."

First off, it should be noted that I fully believe in an individual's Constitutional right to bear arms. I also agree with Mr. Davis in the belief that when someone commits a crime with what he calls a "tool," be it a car, knife, or gun, that the person driving, wielding or shooting should be held accountable. However, I do find it necessary to point out one serious logical shortcoming of his argument.

Mr. Davis uses the example of a drunk driver running over a family in a crosswalk. He points out that it would be ridiculous to sue Ford in this instance, just as it would be ridiculous to sue Anheuser-Busch. That said, the one thing Mr. Davis misses is that neither cars nor alcohol - or, for that matter, knives, baseball bats, etc. - were initially conceived for the purpose of killing. The car's primary purpose is transport. The knife exists to cut. Alcohol exists to make a good time better. The baseball bat: Hitting a baseball.

It is only the gun, be it a firearm or rifle, that exists purely to kill, and it does this in a blunt manner. As I stated earlier, those wielding guns should be held accountable for their actions if said actions are illegal, but to say that gun manufacturers should be categorically let off the hook is a bit of a stretch. Ultimately, what the new law does is pander to yet another right-wing argument that will ultimately leave citizens with one less angle from which to seek justice.

Joseph Jaramillo
computer science senior

ASUA losing a valuable member, student

On Tuesday the Associated Students of the University of Arizona are losing a valuable member. Sen. Matt Loehman is having a surgery for spinal stenosis. This past year I have gotten to know Matt beyond the realm of ASUA. He is my best friend and the rock of ASUA. He has overcome adversity, and I know he will overcome this. When we talk, we joke about our lack of height, but he always adds that he is big in his heart. It is so very true.

ASUA is losing a valuable member, but the UA is losing a valuable student. I wish him the best because I know he will overcome it. My heart and prayers are with him, and on behalf of ASUA, he will be missed.

Rhonda Tubbs
ASUA senator

Mall preacher shows great deal of patience, understanding

I have seen Cliffe Knechtle come to the UA for the past four years, and the way he presents his viewpoint is admirable. I completely understand and think it is fine that people who speak with him disagree and do not share his beliefs, and it's just fine to write about that.

But your article about him and what he is doing here ("Minister draws crowd on Mall") says that he "yelled interpretations of the Bible and got into screaming matches," which is completely untrue. I don't know what "raised fists and other expressive gestures" means exactly, but it comes off negatively.

These accusations are untrue and reflect badly on Cliffe. First off, he has a microphone, which gives him no reason to shout or yell, which he does not. Secondly, you say in your article that his ministry's goal is "not to preach by confrontation, but rather to answer tough questions about Christianity." I have never seen him yell or lose his temper; he has to put up with a lot and shows a great deal of patience and understanding.

Lastly, it is a slap in the face to compare him to Jed Smock, who was not nearly as educated as Cliffe, who was looking for a fight and even had faulty doctrine. So please do not try and compare the two.

David Heim
marketing senior

Courts have ruled that businesses aren't responsible for products

This is in reference to Katie Paulson's column "Firearm 'protection bill' protects wrong people." Would she agree that suits that are lost, or perhaps suits that are labeled "frivolous" by a jury, should be paid for (both sides) by the person or group that brings the suit?

One of the points that she does not raise is that the documented solicitations by groups like the Brady Center and the Violence Policy Center/Institute asked for contributions for the purposes of suing gun owners.They said things like "If we can sue enough times in enough different courts, the gun companies cannot afford the legal expenses."

Several (smaller) gun companies were forced to simply to shut their doors (or sell out or reorganize) because they could not afford legal expenses. Most gun companies are small.Most cannot afford thousand of hours of attorneys' fees in cases that drag on for years, particularly when those cases are being pursued by attorneys paid for with tax dollars or by nonprofit foundations.

Our systems of jurisprudence are based on case law - that when a case has been decided, the same issue does not need to be decided again.Courts have consistently ruled that businesses (not just gun businesses) are not liable for the criminal misuse of their products. (Remember that a vehicle has been used in every drive-by shooting.Should Ford or GM be sued?Or how about drunk driving?The automakers know that some people who use their products will drive while intoxicated. When someone is killed, should Ford or GM accept the financial liability for a 12- year-old vehicle that has been sold three times?)

These are serious questions.I would hope that your pursuit of truth will lead you to consider them.

Walter Lee
La Grange, Texas

Gun makers not responsible for direct misuse of their products

Katie Paulson has an interesting sense of justice. I find it rather insulting to read a warning on a product that states simple common sense just because some person claimed ignorance when they dried his or her hair in a bathtub full of water or used a sunshade while driving his or her car. Shielding gun manufacturers is just one step toward stopping these ridiculous lawsuits that force such things as warnings that a hot cup of coffee may actually be hot.

Gun makers are not responsible for the direct misuse of their products. If such responsibilities existed, I would sue every car manufacturer for selling its cars to the reckless drivers in Tucson. If victims want reparations they should target those who commit a crime. Legally manufacturing guns is not a crime. Once their product is out of their hands, they are not responsible for its misuse (hence why bongs can be legally sold for tobacco).

Guns are tools and they can kill, but so can a hammer, a screwdriver, a pillowcase and almost any other object. Would you hold Craftsman responsible for the death of a woman bludgeoned to death by her husband because they didn't make sure the hammer fell into responsible hands?

If one wants to try and keep guns out of the hands of the inept and dangerous, press for federal licensing, not that state-issued driver's licenses make the roads much safer, but unlike cars, guns are protected by the lovely and logical Second Amendment.

People need to learn to take personal responsibility for their actions and the victims should learn that money doesn't heal all wounds.

Jayson Auterino
Junior majoring in creative writing and political science

Criminals ultimately responsible for misuse of firearms

Katie Paulson's article "Firearm 'protection bill' protects wrong people" suggests that the ultimate responsibility for gun violence resides with the gun manufacturers. Though obviously manufacturers should make every effort to sell their products only to responsible citizens, they really have no control over what those individuals do with the gun.

If a person has no criminal record and passes a background check, what else should be required for that person to buy a gun? If after buying a gun, that person goes and commits a crime with it, how is it anyone else's responsibility besides that person? He's the one who used that gun in a crime, and he should be the person held responsible.

Ms. Paulson also mentions the fact that "alternatives such as mediation, arbitration and eventual settlements weed out most (civil) cases" as if this can be seen as a good thing. Sure it reduces the load on our justice system, but it breeds the mindset "I'll just sue and hope for a settlement because it will be cheaper to pay me off than go to court." So because the lawsuit never goes before a jury it's no longer frivolous?

When blaming the gun manufacturers and sellers first before condemning the criminals who use guns in crimes, it takes the responsibility away from the criminal. It's just not possible for these manufacturers to keep track of where every single gun they make and sell goes and what it's used for. Before blaming the easy target of the manufacturers, one has to remember who it is who's committing the actual crime.

David Knapp
electrical engineering freshman



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