Magazine article National Defense

Readers Forum

Magazine article National Defense

Readers Forum

Article excerpt

Gun Control

I am responding to the reply in the Readers Forum, "Reason for Gun Control" from Jack Sawicki (May/June 1999, page 8).

The only reason that the .50 caliber Browning sniper rifle, and all firearms, Jack's rifles, pistols, and shotguns included, should be controlled would be if we had a government that feared its people.

I have never heard of a .50 caliber rifle being used with criminal intent in my 40 years as a gun user, other than the ATF/FBI Waco rifle (it never existed).

Shooting at a 1,000-yard target takes great skill and rifle savvyand money. The finely made .50 caliber rifles on the market ain't cheap! The cost and time devoted to mastering the 1,000-yard shooting sport is enough to control the availability of these fine rifles.

Historically, the Whitworth rifle of the 1860s, a 1,000-yard rifle, has been available for more than a hundred years to the public and never used in a crime, depending on how you look at the War Between the States.

Jack Riddle


Anthrax Vaccine Safety Verified

The recent column "Lack of Trust Saps Bio-Defense Effort" (October 1999, page 4) perpetuates myths about side effects caused by anthrax vaccine, Vaccines are among the safest of all medications. Your comment that "between 7 to 10 percent end up hospitalized with fevers" is grossly wrong, perpetuating the mistrust lamented in your column. No vaccine, certainly not anthrax vaccine, causes so many side effects. At the rate you mention, we would have seen 24,000 to 120,000 hospitalizations, depending on how you do the calculations.

To date, 17 reports of hospitalization in relation to the anthrax vaccine have been reported among more than 355,000 service members given more than 1.2 million doses. All reports of adverse events after vaccination are referred to an independent civilian panel convened by the Department of Health and Human Services. After reviewing relevant medical records, the panel concluded that only five of the 17 could be considered certainly or probably caused by the vaccine. All five involved complications of injection-site reactions that have been subsequently resolved.

The independent review panel, unprecedented for any vaccine licensed in the United States, is an example of how the Defense Department seeks to affirm the nation's trust. …

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