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Saturday, December 29, 2012 - 12:01 am

.We can't make schools gun-free

Most of recent mass shootings in America have been in “gun-free zones.” Even in concealed-carry states, politicians think it’s important to keep guns out of places like parks and schools. The appeal for the shooter is obvious: If someone is planning to produce gun mayhem, why not seek out a place where no armed opposition is likely to be found? Police are at best minutes away, but seconds count when the shooting starts, so gun-free zones become shooting galleries where defenseless victims get mowed down.

The answer is obvious: Every place that has vulnerable people needs one or more responsible people who are armed. We could use off-duty police, but that could get expensive for, say, Fort Wayne Community Schools with its 31 elementary schools. So let’s consider an easier and less expensive option: Let teachers carry guns.


I bring you good tidings of great joy

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were so afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.


Time to reform our sentencing

State legislators need to make a top-to-bottom reform of Indiana’s criminal-sentencing system a high priority when the General Assembly convenes. A plan supported by Gov. Mitch Daniels after consultations with think tanks and criminal-justice experts was introduced last session, but, in a rare loss for him, it crashed and burned.

At the top of the system is capital punishment. Should Indiana remain one of the 33 states still using the death penalty as the ultimate punishment? If so, for what crimes should it be used?

At the bottom are the relatively harsh sentences given for relatively minor crimes (mostly involving drug possession) that are filling our prisons beyond their capacity, risking a court order that would require more prison space or partially emptying the cells we have now.


Transportation needs a study

For politicians in public office, it’s all about current popularity and the next election. That’s why it’s so hard for them to support long-range initiatives. The costs to taxpayers tend to be immediate, the benefits off in the future. What’s in that fact for a politician to like?

But John Ketzenberger, president of the Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute, identifies a long-range effort so vital to our prosperity that it must demand the governor and state legislators embrace it. “Indiana must maintain a comprehensive plan to build and maintain its transportation structure and create a long-term method to pay for it,” he writes in a column for the Indianapolis Star. “If they do the legislation right, lawmakers will create a system that boosts the state’s economy and sustains the transportation system for years to come.”


Not ready for electric cars

The Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs has published a study outlining Americans’ attitudes toward electric cars. The results should be unsurprising to any but the most dimwitted among us.

The researchers surveyed more than 2,300 adult drivers in 21 large U.S. cities in the fall of 2011. They found that the perceived drawbacks of electric vehicles outweigh the advantages for most consumers. The primary drawbacks are the limited driving range, the vehicles’ high sales or lease price and the inconvenience of recharging batteries.

The report, IU suggests in a news release, “casts doubt on the Obama administration’s goal of putting a million plug-in electric vehicles on the roads by 2015.”

No kidding. You can’t make people want what they are not ready for.