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Readers sound off on gun violence awareness, the Bronx Book Festival and jury duty


Firearms kill. (Julie Jacobson/AP)
It’s Gun Violence Awareness Month

Brooklyn: June is Gun Violence Awareness Month. Yet no substantial effort has been mounted to alert the public to this fact. Nor have efforts been made by the government to treat this emergency. Only after a mass shooting do headlines condemn firearm brutality, or do politicians materialize to interrogate data and to preside over the autopsy of a near-extinct public policy.

Each year 38,000 people in the U.S. are killed, while 85,000 are injured by, firearms. Gun violence victims may die, or become paralyzed, suffer brain injuries, chronic infection, other wounds, depression and post-traumatic stress. But little is being done to stem this epidemic’s reach.

We must frame it as a public health danger and combat it with education, laws and policies. Indeed, the substantial decrease in motor vehicle fatalities can mainly be traced to the efforts of Dr. William Haddon, who urged that industry to apply public health methods to its once-crisis.

We can also emulate Finland’s approach, a nation with one of the world’s lowest firearm death and injury rates. Its Firearms Act permits a gun purchase only after an applicant passes extensive criminal records checks, police interviews, computer-based personality tests, and produces a medical certificate of sound mental health. Vasilios Vasilounis

Free rides

Manhattan: I took the Bx19 bus from the Botanical Gardens along Southern Blvd. in the Bronx. In the first five stops approximately 25 people got on and exactly two of them paid a fare. The rest just waved at the driver and moved on into the bus. I wish I had known paying was just a suggestion — I would have saved a fare. Mort Goldberg

Iowa fail

Floral Park, L.I.: Hearing the latest Iowa polling results on Bill de Blasio’s presidential run, I am reminded of John Belushi’s character in the movie “Animal House” getting his grade point average. Zero point zero. The only difference is Bluto Blutarsky would have done better in the polls than de Blasio and would certainly be a better president. Liam DeLassa

Selectively patriotic

North Hollywood, Calif.: Voicer Frederick R. Bedell Jr. implores us to fly the American flag on Flag Day. While his heart is in the right place, I cannot abide by his request for I have already reserved the flying of the American flag in front of my house for one of two upcoming dates: Jan. 20, 2021, or Jan. 20, 2025. James Montalbano

Made in China

Boca Raton, Fla: I wonder if the clothes that Ivanka Trump has made in China are going to be subject to the tax on Chinese goods coming into this country or is her cheap junk going to get special treatment? Rosanne Gordon

Name calling

Whitestone: Our president called John Dean of Watergate a “disgrace!” I have only two words to describe my reaction — “OY VEY!" Leonore Brooks

Dive, duck and... dodge!

Shirley, L.I.: To Voicer Sam King: No one cares whether the president served in the military or not. It’s just that he has no right to disparage someone else’s sacrifice when he did everything he could to avoid service. Kathleen Dare

Do no evil

Franklin Square, L.I.: It’s my 62nd year in this wonderful world, and I still don’t think that people killing innocents brings that person closer to anything but a wasted existence. David Lean

No end in sight

Manhattan: Re “Ilhan Omar slams Netanyahu for trying to kill bipartisan Israel ‘two-state solution’ bill” (June 8): This article is one-sided, biased and factually inaccurate. The Palestinians have never negotiated in good faith with Israel. However, Netanyahu has made efforts towards a two-state solution, most recently when Tzipi Livni was in his government as his lead negotiator. Although Livni later became Netanyahu’s arch political enemy, she, nevertheless, blamed Abbas, not Netanyahu, when the peace talks collapsed. Netanyahu even succumbed to Abbas’ demand to a settlement freeze as a pre-condition to negotiations. At great political cost, Netanyahu managed to push a ten-month settlement freeze through his coalition. Abbas, however, refused to start negotiations until the settlement freeze was about to expire. He then demanded another settlement freeze, which Netanyahu could not produce within his coalition, because he received nothing in return for the first freeze. The Palestinians never negotiated in good faith. They had many opportunities for peace and rejected them all. Netanyahu is not the problem here. Israelis repeatedly elect him because no one believes the Palestinians have any interest in achieving peace. Robert J. Firestone

Partly cloudly

High Bridge, N.J.: Voicer Rosie Stine’s letter about Weatherman Sam Champion was hurtful and disrespectful. I don’t know Sam personally but I feel his reporting of the weather is very accurate. I’m glad he came back to Channel 7 and I hope he is there to stay. Sam, keep up the good work and thanks to WABC for bringing him back. JoAnn Russo

Puppy chow

Huntington, L.I.: To Voicer John Esposito: No, losing horses from the Belmont don’t become steaks. They change their name to “Al Po.” Leonard Stevenson

Bronx bookworms

Bronx: This past weekend, more than 3,000 participants gathered in Fordham Plaza and Fordham University to celebrate the second annual Bronx Book Festival. Founded by Saraciea Fennell, a Bronxite who (besides being a mom and having a full time career in publishing) works tirelessly to remind the “outside world” that the Bronx is reading, and always has been. Fennell has shined a light on our borough’s authors, illustrators, readers and creators — reminding the publishing world that we exist and that our borough is bursting with talent and stories to tell! And that is just who gathered in the Bronx this past Saturday — publishers, authors, aspiring writers, illustrators, and readers galore! Sitting U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor headlined the event as the keynote speaker alongside Sonia Manzano, a published author, advocate, who is perhaps best known for her role on Sesame Street as “Maria.” So, when you think about the Bronx — besides Cardi B. and the Yankees and our beautiful array of cultures and delicious eateries — remember with the annual Bronx Book Festival, 35 New York Public Library branches and a brand new indie book store (The Lit Bar) on Alexander Ave., the Bronx is reading! Always has been, always will be! Jodie Quaglia

When in Nevada...

Glendale: Jessica Raven states that the only places in the world that have decriminalized prostitution are New Zealand, and Australia’s New South Wales (“Stop criminalizing sex work, New York,” op-ed, June 10). Perhaps she was not aware that right here in the U.S., prostitution is legal in 11 counties in Nevada. Who says we’re not a progressive country? Diana Mischler


Bronx: Please, someone come up with a better system for service for jury duty. This is exhausting. I want to be a part of the process but it sickens me and wastes my time to just sit here bored. Help, somebody! Pamela White