June 2005


AirSoft not to blame People need to understand that, yes, AirSoft guns (May 2005) do look realistic, though they come with bright orange tips. They should not be sold to anyone under 18. They should be treated as real firearms. They should only be used on an AirSoft field or event, not after school in the neighborhood, nor anywhere in public. I have played a few times (at a controlled AirSoft event). These events are organized and focus on safety.

Yes, AirSoft guns shoot cornstarch BBs, but at a lower velocity to comply with laws and keep them safe. They are not your conventional BB gun. A BB gun can kill someone—AirSoft guns can’t.

So, what—they should ban AirSoft guns? Let’s just ban everything that someone has an incident with. Pretty soon, it will be illegal to do everything except watch TV and play video games.

Why not paintball guns, too? They shoot at higher velocities and are far more dangerous. I have a friend who was shot in the neck and it left a huge black bruise.  

I feel that education is key—not only for AirSoft, for everything. If you are walking around in your kitchen with a knife, you point it downward, right? It’s just common sense. There seems to be a shortage of that with kids these days.

Common sense 101 teaches your kids what not to do. Bad parenting should not amount to banning a sport that some responsible people enjoy.

Don’t blame the AirSoft gun industry for poor parenting. SAM LANZAFAME Des Plaines

Elective C-section caution Thanks for your article on elective Caesarean sections (May 2005). I have given birth three times—the last by C-section.

I strongly urge any woman leaning toward an elective C-section to reconsider. There was a marked difference in the physical impact and recovery following the C-section compared to the vaginal births. I was as weak as a kitten following my C-section, barely able to take care of my new baby, let alone my other two children.

Breastfeeding had been fairly easy with my first two, but my immobility was a huge detriment to establishing it with my third. (My daughter came with nursing issues of her own; some theorize this is a side effect of being born by C-section.)

Nearly four years later, I still have numbness on my abdomen and yucky pockets of fat that cling to the scar tissue.

A C-section sounds like a quicker, more manageable option. But this faster delivery will likely come with a much longer recovery. LESA ALEXANDER BENTLEY Waukegan

Fund our schools I am writing to urge the governor and Illinois Legislature to fund our schools in Illinois. Schools are doing a good job with the little they have but more must be done. We are 49th out of 50 states in education funding. Since the governor and state legislature aren’t doing their part, Illinois schools must lay off teachers, which forces schools to increase class sizes.

Increasing class size has been proven to decrease test scores and the quality of education. Not only are we laying off teachers, we are also cutting programs such as special education and athletics.

If you want to ensure our children get the education they need to survive in today’s marketplace, join me in writing Gov. Blagojevich, your state senator and state representative and urge them to adequately fund our schools. ALFRED J. BROWN Chicago

Nice job on VeggieTales Thank you for your new VeggieTales review (“Let’s try that VeggieTales review again,” April 2005). I was very impressed with your review and your reply to the feedback on last month’s review. You spoke from your heart and with professionalism.  LAVONNE VANSOMEREN Wheaton

Schultz is still wrong As I read Susy Schultz’s review of her blunder in the first review (“Let’s try that VeggieTales review again,” April 2005), I thought, “Great of her to take responsibility for her mistake.” It’s something I try to teach my 3-year-old daughter.

But as Schultz goes on, she blows my whole opinion of her because I feel she is still trying to prove she is right. I respect her having an opinion on the VeggieTale Bible story. But I disagree with her wanting the video to tell a hard core version of the Biblical story to a bunch of budding new Christians, such as the young children who will likely be watching the video. 

Quit while you are ahead, Ms. Schultz. Kids have enough time to find out how hard and cruel the world has been and can be today.          TROY A. WILLIAMS Gurnee

Be careful with guns Imagine coming home to see your child lying on the floor, possibly near death. Your gun is missing from the dresser drawer. One less bullet is in the revolver.

“I should have kept it locked up in a safe place,” you might tell yourself. “Why didn’t I teach my child about the dangers of playing with guns?” According to a recent study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, many parents who own guns keep them loaded or unlocked at home, underestimating the risk of injury to their children.

Parents must realize the consequences of this perilous situation.

According to the National Self-Defense Survey, a gun is used for defense 2.2 to 2.5 million times each year. However, studies show that in the majority of cases, handguns are not useful in self-defense. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, guns are 22 times more likely to kill someone you know than for protection.

May 3, 1999: a 16-year-old boy killed his 15-year-old cousin in Chicago while playing with a handgun found in their grandmother’s apartment. Incidents like this happen too often. In a survey of 806 parents done by the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence, 43 percent of households with children have guns. Among those, 23 percent keep the gun unlocked.

I believe that before anyone purchases a gun, he or she must be required to take courses that educate parents on how to keep a gun safely in the home with children.

Home is a sanctuary for children. Their playground. Their own world. But as soon as a gun enters, home becomes a dangerous place. By educating parents, children and gun owners through training and classes, we can help protect our communities. LAUREN MA Naperville North High School

Support Jessica’s law I am writing to ask for your help. Recently, a 9-year-old Florida girl, Jessica Marie Lunsford, was abducted, assaulted and murdered by a registered sex offender who lived across the road from her family.

The Lunsford family didn’t know there was an offender living that close to them—his registered address was two miles away.

Tragically, this is an all-too-common occurrence. Jessica’s family wants to change that. Mark Lunsford, Jessica’s father, has a Web site for Jessica (www.jessicamarielunsford.com), and is forming the Jessica Lunsford Team.

Mark, the family, and the team want to make sure no other parent has to go through what he endured. The family is working with legal representatives to research the laws and penalties concerning sex offenders/predators, and we are organizing the team to help.

We have a contact person in most states, but we want to cover all the states. We also need volunteers for research. Once research in each state is done, Mark and the rest of the Lunsford family will draw up a petition for signatures, which will be sent to elected state and federal officials.

Mark’s Web site is the only one authorized by the family. Unfortunately, there have already been scams over the Internet. Please do not send donations or sign petitions at any other Web site. Once you register on the Web site (it’s free), you will find a variety of ways to help.

Click on the “Talk” forum and and click on “Cover Your State.” The contact person will let you know how you can help. Please join our efforts so no other child has to suffer as Jessica did.  MONICA LIGHTFOOT New Baden

Women deserve birth choice Thanks for another great issue of Chicago Parent. As a childbirth educator, professional member of the International Cesarean Awareness Network (www.ican-online.org) and homebirth-after-Caesarean mom specializing in VBAC (vaginal birth after Caesarean) and HBAC (home birth after Caesarean), your article on C-sections caught my attention (May 2005).

I look forward to the day when women have more choices overall, such as whether to have a highly trained and experienced lay midwife attend her at home.

My hometown library just bought a new book by world-renowned “mother of authentic midwifery” author Ina May Gaskin who is not medically trained but has a birth statistic record similar to those of the most advanced nations on earth, if not better. It will be a great day when all women are given this type of choice for our births. MARY B. CANTORAL Warrenville

To declaw or not? I am an animal person. I have two children, two dogs and two cats, whom I love more than you can imagine. I believe animals should be treated with dignity and respect. Because I love animals so much, I have been a vegetarian for the past 25 years.

But, after a life-changing incident involving a cat, I am writing to urge everyone to have their cats declawed.

My mom was house sitting for my brother’s two cats. My son was there playing. Suddenly, one of the cats attacked my son with a viciousness that I have never before seen from a cat. My son was left with a deep cut under his eye, a slice across his ear, and lacerations on his arms, legs, scalp and back. My mother also was attacked scratched.

My brother’s veterinarian is opposed to having the cat’s front paws declawed because it is considered cruel. What about the cruelty to my 4-year-old son? Are the veterinarians really putting an animals’ rights above a human’s rights?

I understand that a cat attack is somewhat rare, but Please declaw your cat if it will be around small children. JODIE MOSS Wildwood

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