Letters to the Editor 7/7/16
Several years ago, the recently retired and greatly missed Dave Bakke of The State Journal-Register wrote an article expressing his concern about what he considered to be the excessive number of stoplights in Springfield. I agreed with his article and thought about roundabouts in Europe, which are a better alternative to stoplights or signs. (For more on this subject, see “Going ’round and ’round,” by James Krohe Jr., Dec. 3, 2009, at illinoistimes.com.)
The April 23 edition of The Economist confirmed my thoughts with an article on roundabouts. The U.S. has 4,800 roundabouts, but one-quarter of all road deaths occur at intersections. Comparatively, France has 22.2 roundabouts per 1,000 intersections, and 5.3 road fatalities yearly per 100,000 inhabitants. The U.S. has .09 roundabouts per 1,000 intersections, and 10.6 road fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants. Australia, Spain, Britain and Germany all have higher numbers of roundabouts and lower road fatalities than the U.S. (2014 Nokia Map, WHO). The Federal Highway Administration states roundabouts could reduce deaths and serious injuries by about 80 percent compared to stoplights or signs.
In addition to safer intersections, additional roundabout benefits include a more efficient traffic flow, fuel savings, time savings, less maintenance and probably a savings of electricity.
Perhaps Springfield and many other cities would consider these public safety and additional benefits and begin a serious program to construct more roundabouts. Recently there have been numerous Springfield road and intersection reconstruction projects but unfortunately none have included roundabouts, just more stoplights. There is one roundabout in Springfield, and that is a start, but much more could be done.
If Phil Bradley is depressed by the political discussion today, one antidote might be for him to actually think about what the people he decries believe. (“Unsocial media,” June 30.) He complains that they “want to tell us who we can marry” without mentioning that Barack Obama opposed gay marriage not only before he was president but for several years while in the White House. He complains that they want to tell people “whether we can use birth control” when the only debate that has been going on about birth control for decades has been who should be forced to pay for it, not whether we are free to use it. When you convince yourself that those who disagree with you are more unreasonable than they really are, then of course you are going to feel the discourse is becoming sour.
See, “A tribute to Phil Bradley,” p. 3.
Any concealed carry instructor will tell you that nobody should be forced to carry a gun because they would not be effective in a gunfight. I believe anyone would benefit from a concealed carry class even if they decide not to shoot, although I think they would benefit from target shooting to see what is involved and learn gun safety. You would also learn to avoid any gunfight if possible, not to go any place with a gun you wouldn’t go without, and to always be aware of what is happening around you and the persons near you (situational awareness). You would also learn the legal aspects of carrying and firing a gun. You may only fire if you or others are in danger of lethal force and have to stop if the threat is gone or leaving. You most likely will be arrested and may be jailed even if you fired in self-defense and should have legal counsel.
The weapons of choice for officers used to be the semi-automatic handgun and shotgun. That changed when criminals and terrorists began using illegal automatic guns and body armor, causing them to counter with military type equipment.
Tyre W. Rees