Main danger is overreacting to Arizona shooting

 Re: "Shooter pulled the trigger, not the political culture," Editorial, Jan. 10

What's the difference between an epidemic and a pandemic? Media coverage.

What's the difference between a tragedy that warrants our sympathy for the victims and a crisis that results in knee-jerk punditry and ill-conceived legislation? Same answer.

The events in Arizona last Saturday are quickly moving to this second category. The facts-be-damned anti-gunners are frothing at the mouth and cannot point their fingers quickly enough. The pro-gunners are acting like kids with their collective hand caught in the cookie jar.

Meanwhile, talk shows are abuzz with the political ramifications of what appears to be the act of one crazed individual with no motivations beyond those conceived in his very ill mind.

What we must be most cautious of is overreaction. The left will invariably use this tragedy to argue for more draconian restrictions on our constitutional right to keep and bear arms. The emotional argument that restricting liberty is worth it "if it only saves one life" is pure sophistry. If that were valid, it would be a lot harder to buy an automobile.

David E. Frick

Sterling, Va.

End cheap driving by raising gas taxes

 Re: "End the Highway Trust Fund," Jan. 7

Diana Furchtgott-Roth has gotten it all wrong. Instead of a separate fund for road building, she suggests some other complex formula to "privatize" future road construction -- which would be left to the discretion of the states.

During the Cold War frenzy, a separate "Defense Highway System" was proposed. Renamed the Interstate Highway System, it overwhelmed the landscape and urban settings.

We should emulate the European model and raise gasoline taxes commensurate with the automobile's social impact. Freedom of easy mobility is wonderful, but a civil society also needs social restraint.

Edward Abramic


D.C. should collect what it is owed

 Re: "D.C. owed more than $300 million in unpaid parking, driving tickets," Jan. 4

The $300 million the District is owed for unpaid parking and driving violations is 60 percent of the entire estimated budget shortfall. The District is considering an amnesty program to collect these funds. However, the article says the amnesty might yield only $6 million. What happens to the other $294 million? It would be fiduciarily irresponsible to "write off" that amount. These numbers are simply too significant to waive penalties in the hopes of collecting two cents on the dollar.

Maybe these numbers are simply wrong. Or perhaps this warrants an investigation before someone at City Hall settles for such a miniscule payback.

Vernon Mallu