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‘Useless ideological diatribes’
I know it is a common practice for newspapers to have regular columnists from opposing sides of the political spectrum so that readers can benefit from different opinions on important issues.
The April 5 opinion page, however, was noteworthy by the stark differences in tone between the two commentaries. Jim Rohrer dispassionately listed facts and statistics about gun deaths and traffic deaths. He ended with a call for compromise with mutual respect for other opinions and a unifying goal. 
In contrast, John Riddell began his column citing the hypocrisy of the “anti-gun” march, the Democratic Party, George Soros, the Women’s March, Progressives, Obama-era public policy, the PROMISE program, and something he called “this movement.” 
I was so turned off by the first half of his column that it was hard to keep reading to see what his suggestions were. Eventually, I discovered that he felt we could save children’s lives by “simply” enforcing existing texting-and-driving laws and shaming people by having them wear “I texted while driving” vests. 
I happen to agree with Mr. Riddell that distracted driving is a serious problem and should be addressed. But this doesn’t mean we should ignore gun deaths. The leading cause of death in the U.S. is heart disease, but this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try and find a cure for cancer, too.
In the future, I hope the Courier can find opinion writers who don’t use their platform for, in the words of Mr. Riddell, “useless ideological diatribes.”
Mary Parker

Inconsistent with his ideology
What a contrast in the two columns published on April 5 regarding the recent student activism against gun violence. 
Jim Rohrer acknowledges the safety concerns of students, points out the warning signs ignored in Parkland, Fla., and offers some possible ways to address the problem. (For the record, even if someone had seriously tried to address those warning signs in Parkland, nothing in their laws would have enabled police to take away the shooter’s guns. Florida has addressed that problem by passing a “red flag” law, and an attempt is being made right now to introduce a similar bill in our legislature.) 
John Riddell’s column, on the other hand, doesn’t even acknowledge the problem or the students’ concerns. What a thing to write when you’re writing for a newspaper serving the Columbine area. He views the student movement as merely a way to (gasp!) get kids to register to vote. 
He accuses students of being mere puppets of billionaire George Soros and the Women’s March (while providing zero evidence), as if they couldn’t possibly do anything on their own or think for themselves. 
I’ll bet he hasn’t met these student leaders. I have. They are not puppets, they are intelligent, they are tomorrow’s leaders. 
Finally, he tries to diminish the problem of school violence by insisting that more teens die from texting and driving than from gun violence. The reality is that both are tragic and preventable. 
Our nation is trying to do more to prevent those driving deaths, but Mr. Riddell wishes to dismiss attempts to reduce the gun violence because they are fewer in number and inconsistent with his ideology. 
America’s levels of gun violence are shameful, and Mr. Riddell’s attempts to dismiss them are likewise shameful.   
Tom Mauser
Father of Columbine shooting victim Daniel Mauser