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Your Views for January 30

In need of tweaking

Regarding “Officials say $66 million projects will boost UH-Hilo” (Tribune-Herald, Jan. 20): It seems that the Hawaii Legislature wisely denied construction funding for the school of pharmacy at UH-Hilo.

I say this because the university seems incapable of spending construction tax dollars wisely: The new $18 million student services building at UH-Hilo stands locked and empty.

Construction on this 35,000-square-foot building concluded in late July, yet the students and Hawaii taxpayers have yet to see a return on this multi-million dollar investment. All those tax dollars not being put to use as promised.

Last week, I inquired about this in the main administrative building, which houses the chancellor’s office. I was told that construction was complete, but that they were still in the “tweaking” process. The administrative assistant said the building would open “soon.”

I would encourage our legislators to be sure to return the “tweak” next time the university asks for more construction funding. If this idle building “in need of tweak” represents how the university spends money, then I would lock shut the cookie jar.

Richard Dinges


Guns not the answer

Paul Rizzo’s advocacy of legally carried handguns as a solution to the crimes of assault, rape and murder (Tribune-Herald, Your Views, Jan. 26) is uninformed and illogical — and very scary.

If he were to look to Japan, for example, he’d see a state wherein handgun ownership — in fact the ownership of any sort of gun besides shotguns and air rifles — is prohibited. His letter’s presumed logic would lead a reader to believe that without handguns, Japan’s assault, rape and murder rates would be greater than those of the United States.

However, per the most recent data available, the opposite is true. Japan’s assault rate is 0.1 percent of the population; the United States’ is 1.2 percent. Japan’s rapes are 0.1 percent of its population; the United States’ is 0.4 percent. And Japan’s murder rate in 2012 was 0.4 per 100,000 people; ours was 4.7 per 100,000.

There is no correlation, then, between lowered rates of assault, rape and murder and increased rates of handgun ownership. What makes Rizzo’s handgun proposition really scary is the data regarding firearm deaths specifically: in 2008, more than 12,000 Americans were killed in firearm-related homicides; in the whole of Japan, 11 people were thusly killed.

Handguns don’t seem to be the answer to anything.

Ed Comstock



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