Pesticide Spraying

Wrong Assumptions (March 8, 2018)

My dad said to always think about the assumptions one operates upon. If one operates on the wrong assumption, there will be unintended consequences. Such is the premise of Klayton Kubo’s Community Voices article, “Are Chemical Companies More Important Than Voters?”

As much as the data and testing has shown, the pesticide detections are well below the standards of even California’s levels. To think that farmers are wantonly spraying people is an example of a false assumption.

What good is spraying something on an off-target such as a person going to do for a farm? It does farmers nothing because those costly crop products are then wasted and we face a fine for such a violation.

Kubo makes it sound as if the legislators are being irresponsible for not passing those disclosure laws. Those laws are written by a Washington, D.C., based group fronting for the organic industry. They want to be able to let citizens have the ability to sue farmers which is written in the bills itself.

This would be a gravy train for the lawyers wanting to go after deep pockets in my opinion. Why sue a small commercial farmer and get nothing when you can get a lot more from a corporate one?

I’ve personally spoken to Klayton about farms and what we do. It’s too bad he chooses to repeat unfounded claims and target farms. I hope he actually reads those bills he’s asking for because he will understand why I take issue with it. My dad and brother’s farm is at risk for more attacks from activists who believe these fear-laden claims and stop thinking critically.  

—Joni Kamiya, Kaneohe

A Computer Science Future

Look To Community Colleges (March 8, 2018)

While there is a lot of discussion about programming (“It’s Time To Prepare Our Students For A Future In Computer Science”), it appears there is little discussion about mapping out/solving a problem/project.

Too often students want to begin coding without giving a lot of thought to the project itself (guess you could call it systems design). This in itself is a skill set that needs to be developed. In today’s world this would be a team effort. So, communications skills are high on the list as well.

The community college system, in the past, has been addressing this training need. Developing a curriculum in the high schools seems to me to be redundant. That said, there should be provisions for high school students to take courses at the community college while they are still in high school and receive both high school and college credit.

Many community colleges have a co-op education program whereby students are placed in the private sector as interns. During the internship they are assigned a company/organizational mentor. This is a collaboration between the student, instructor and mentor. The collaboration meets over the course of the semester to discuss the student’s progress.

For what it is worth, I am a retired computer science professor. I taught in the community college system in California for 35 years.

As a separate matter, we need to move jobs to the outer islands. The internet makes it possible.

—Richard Bidleman, Pahoa

Getting Your Goat

Eliminate Them All (March 7, 2018)

Should the state be responsible for providing hunting opportunities for hunters or for protecting the watershed?  Apparently hunters think water is less important than hunting (“Goat Hunters Say State’s Aerial Shooting Threatens A Traditional Food Source”).

The state even allows hunters to harvest the carcasses after the aerial hunts. So food is not the problem for hunters. They want to hunt!

I believe elimination is preferable to culling. The state says that elimination would restore the watershed faster. Is it even possible to restore the watershed with managed goats?

—Pearl Johnson, Kaneohe

Assault Weapons

Erroneous Statements (March 8, 2018)

I am responding to Tom Tizard’s remarks in Letters, Reasonable Gun Regulation: “Drop the Illusion,” regarding assault weapons and guns. Tom states, they are not designed or used for “hunting, self-defense, or legal gun sports.” Obviously, Tom is not truly familiar with this topic or he wouldn’t publicly make erroneous statements such as this.

First and foremost, let’s get facts straight; The AR-15 is not an assault rifle: “assault rifle,” noun, plural assault rifles. Learner’s definition of assault rifle: a gun that can shoot many bullets quickly and that is designed for use by the military.

In other words, a machine gun! Machine guns are assault weapons and always have been. Nomenclature is important here.

Now it is true that today it is often referred to as such, but in fact it is an erroneous term that became popularly used by anti-gun advocates years ago to create a bad image for the rifle.

Having corrected that, let’s move on to other errors: “semi-automatic” weapons are not designed or used for “hunting, self-defense, or legal gun sports.”

The AR-15 is one of the most popular rifles in America today, making it a commonly used rifle. It is used for hunting all over the U.S. It also is used extensively and effectively for home defense because the rifle is easily adjustable for various size individuals and it is light.

Hawaii Rifle Association's 23rd Annual Shooting Sports Fair held at the Koko Head Shooting Complex. 19 june 2016
The Hawaii Rifle Association’s 23rd Annual Shooting Sports Fair, held at the Koko Head Shooting Complex, June 2016. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

It is also very easy to shoot and very accurate. Having such little recoil makes it a good choice for women or anyone with smaller size or strength. As for legal gun sports, again, it is one of the more popular rifles used, especially in three gun competitions which have become hugely popular.

And then Tom goes on to say: “tell the truth and look at the record of use — and join the intelligent drive to ban them, as well as the automatics.”

Well, I agree with Tom on telling the truth, and here is the truth. Automatics have been essentially banned since 1934 by the National Firearms Act. While one may still technically own one they are extremely hard and expensive to get. The act defines a number of categories of regulated firearms. These weapons are collectively known as NFA firearms and include the following: machine guns.

This includes any firearm which can fire more than one cartridge per trigger pull. Both continuous fully automatic fire and “burst fire” (e.g., firearms with a 3-round burst feature) are considered machine gun features. The weapon’s receiver is by itself considered to be a regulated firearm. A non-machine gun that may be converted to fire more than one shot per trigger pull by ordinary mechanical skills is determined to be “readily convertible”, and classed as a machine gun, such as a KG-9 pistol.

As for Tom’s remarks about the Second Amendment, I can only suggest that he read further and study the history more. The Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers might be a good start, and other collections of letters between the Founding Fathers.

Now that we have corrected this, let’s get to the heart of Tom’s letter. If America wants to do something about AR-15s, that is everyone’s right and prerogative. Even the Constitution has Article V, which allows for amending the Constitution. If America wants that done, then by all means, that is the proper method and way to achieve this. You could actually amend the Second Amendment and be done with this issue. 

And the last point I would make: If we look to the FBI data on violent crime. In the FBI “Crime in the United States” report of 2013, one can see the data for weapons used in violent crimes for each year.

Total firearms used hovers around 8,500 to 9,000 weapons. Of all of these weapons used, rifles (which includes AR-15s) runs from a low of 285 to a high of 367. That is 0.038 percent of weapons used! 

Now I understand that mass shootings in our schools are the most horrendous, egregious acts one can imagine, but the point here is that what would be accomplished by banning AR-15s and other similar rifles when they are so rarely used. Wouldn’t it make more sense to ban handguns, which average about 6,000 of the 9,000?

I mean, knives represent 1,800, clubs and hammers are about 600 and even hands, fist and feet are 750 to 800 average, almost three times the numbers of rifles.

Now while these rifles have been used in some school shootings, pistols have been used in almost every one of these incidents.

I am all in for stopping school shootings and protecting our children. I have eight grandchildren, so I have skin in this game, so to speak. But what we need are effective solutions, not mere feel-good solutions. So, whatever we do, let’s do it in an honest and forthright manner. Not by fear-mongering and misleading information.

—Forrest Shoemaker, Honolulu

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