Hacking at the branches
Martin Weiss’ letter, “Shooting is not the same as killing” (WJW, Dec. 8), is an example of a point made by the American philosopher Henry David Thoreau: “There are thousands hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.”
Weiss seems to think that there is not a “plague of death” because people either shoot guns and don’t kill, or just kill one other person, or the shooter “only” kills himself, or are gang and domestic related, or the shooter is not prosecuted, etc. Regardless of all these obfuscations, there is record occurrence of mass murder by guns (shooting) in the USA, abetted by the gun culture, the political establishment and other causes. He is correct, however, in stating, “there are no easy answers here.”
KENNETH M. DAVIS
Why schools need diversity
Regarding “Alternatives to affirmative action” (Editorial, Dec. 8):
The government lawyer gave a clear warning: If the Court outlaws the importance of ensuring diversity then, according to research, this will affect military leadership, medical innovation and other opportunities for creativity in work and in prevention of hasty decisions. It was a serious warning about the dire consequences if the efforts for monitoring and maintaining diversity are discarded.
Second, schools need students to keep their professors working. For example, Harvard’s School of Education needs to attract and accept education majors. Should the applicant have perfect SATs and GPAs or also show they previously tutored and motivated kids in school? The SAT is validated against first or first two years of college GPA, and with high school GPA are solid academic predictors, but not perfect and comprehensive. Schools use indicators of persistence and motivation. Lastly, past total nixing of Jews from college and today’s ensuring diversity are not equivalent; diversity improves education.