To those who stood with me in the trenches of Korea, flew with me over the jungles of Vietnam and walked with me through its rice paddies, and maintained the aircraft I flew, it was an honor to have served with you.
To all the men and women who answered the call before me in World Wars I and II, and those who followed in Desert Storm, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq, I am humbled to be a part of a proud lineage.
“In the crucible of war a bond is forged between warriors that unites us like no other human endeavor … stronger than family, thicker than blood.”
Richard Rychtarik’s letter suggests that veterans should be able to go anywhere they want for medical care, and have any doctor they want, rather than go directly to a Veterans Affairs clinic (“Veterans deserve choice,” Oct. 25 Review-Journal). As it is, private clinics and private primary care givers are overbooked. What would happen if a tsunami of veterans were added to the mix?
In an emergency, veterans can go to the nearest medical facility for care. Veterans with less than 100 percent disability have to pay a co-pay. No disabled veteran is ever turned away. My husband has been going to the VA for years. Although the system isn’t perfect, the quality of care is better, in most cases. As a spouse, I receive CHAMPVA benefits, which allow me to go to any physician who accepts VA-related patients — and that includes hospital costs.
I would suggest that anyone writing letters in on this subject do more research before sending that letter in.
La Vonne Armbrust
The Bible and bacon
It is gratifying to know that Henry Spalding has found a home in the Church of Bacon, taking solace in BLTs as opposed to blessings, in ham rather than homilies and pork in place of prayer (“In defense of bacon,” Saturday Review-Journal letters). While Mr. Spalding is quite right in pointing out that the Church of Bacon is “real,” unlike other religions, one has to wonder, really what?
And he is correct again when he refers to the Bible as a 2,000-year-old storybook — because it is just that, a story. But it’s not a story of lard; rather, it’s of a grace that is tough to understand given the atrocities that are committed almost daily in the name of religion.
The Old and New Testaments, however, indeed tell an important story, about which stained glass and Santa Claus are just a small part. Unfortunately, some people will see only, as St. Paul wrote, “through a glass darkly.” I guess the Church of Bacon is among that crowd.
Too many guns
I have friends who are avid gun owners, and nearly 60 years ago, I got my hunter safety certificate after attending a gun safety course sponsored by the National Rifle Association. The good old days, right? But even then, the United States was a dangerous place in terms of getting shot.
I recall an intriguing study that compared shootings in Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia — situated just 93 miles apart, with identical climates, similar populations and almost identical race and age demographics. It showed that living “south of the border,” in Seattle, increased one’s risk of being shot by nine times.
But America has become even more deadly in the past five decades, particularly since the Supreme Court’s 2008 landmark Second Amendment decision, which removed most restrictions on gun ownership. What’s been the result? The ATF estimates that there are likely between 55 million registered firearms in Texas alone, and maybe millions more that are unregistered. That’s enough, assuming standard magazine sizes, to shoot every U.S. citizen several times over. And that’s just in Texas. States such as Nevada and Alaska are estimated to have even higher per-capita gun ownership.
Shootings have paralleled this increase in firearms. In 1960, random mass shootings involving three or more victims were very rare. Now, shootings such as those at Columbine High School and Sandy Hook Elementary School are commonplace. In fact, our society has become so numb to such random shootings that they’re hardly news items anymore.
Also suggestive of too many guns and/or poor firearm security, toddlers find guns and shoot themselves or family members practically every week. The only constant over the past half-century has been the constant increase in the number of guns in America.
Jeffrey M. Shear
North Las Vegas