Letters are posted as we receive them during the week, and before they are printed in the paper, so check back frequently to see new letters. If you'd like to send a letter to the editor, use this postmarks submission form, or email your letter directly to Thanks for your patience.
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Learn From Europe?

RECEIVED Wed., July 10, 2013

Dear Editor,
    We've all observed the abortion battle over the years, and I have to wonder how much of these perpetual flames are fanned by politicians on both sides with their own political interests ["SB 1/HB 2: How a Lie Becomes a Law," News, July 12]. It seems that the extremes on both sides are at the forefront of the battle. To some degree I blame Roe v. Wade – not so much the decision, but the idea of judges ramming their viewpoints down our throats. Indeed, even liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg seems to agree that Roe v. Wade went too far and ignored legislative processes that might have handled this in its own way. But it's clear to me that we need to resolve this in some way that allows most of us to put this issue behind us.
    I looked to Europe for guidance. As far as I know, abortion is not a big issue over there. What are they doing differently? Actually, some of their laws sound incredibly like the Texas law we are debating right now. Take France, for example. Abortions are freely available only up to 12 weeks – that's eight weeks shorter than the Texas proposed law. After that, it takes the signatures of two doctors to approve one if they feel the life or health of the mother is at stake. And there is even a mandatory one-week waiting period for early-term abortions. Yet, I don't see French women protesting that they have absolute right over their bodies, nor do I see abortion protesters yelling "babykillers." It seems that everyone accepts this law, draconian by even our standards, and other countries in Europe have similar laws.
    So my question is how do we get to a European model from where we are at? Why is it such an emotionally and politically charged issue here and not there? I would love to find those answers.
Mark Evert

Gun Control Costs Lives

RECEIVED Tue., July 9, 2013

Dear Editor,
    The reader comment from the July 5th issue [Postmarks] accurately points out the absurdity of those who support capital punishment (and oppose access to sex education, birth control, and STD screenings) calling themselves pro-life, but then veers into absurdity itself with "People who vote against gun control time and time again cannot accurately be called pro-life," which is a patently ridiculous argument. Gun control does not save lives; ask the next of kin of the hundreds of people shot to death in Chicago, Ill., and Washington, D.C., every year how effective those cities' openly unconstitutional de facto handgun bans are at saving lives. You can't even get accurate statistics for how many people are shot and injured in those cities; the local governments won't release the numbers because they are so appallingly high they would make it unambiguously obvious that gun control policies are abject failures.
    Abortion, gun control, and marijuana legalization are the three hot-button issues where both left and right are exactly as stupid as each other, in exactly the same way. Making abortion illegal (or functionally illegal per current Republican strategy, since they know they don't have public support for an outright ban) doesn't stop abortions from happening, it just stops them happening legally and safely, and anyone who thinks laws banning pot are effective at all is high as a kite. In the exact same way, gun control has no effect whatsoever on denying criminals access to guns; it only makes it illegal and unsafe for the law-abiding to defend themselves, and criminals know that. Gun control costs lives. All three issues are also ways for our corporate-owned government to exercise quiet control over minorities and the poor; if you think gun control isn't about race and class, then you're not paying attention to its real-world application.
    Fetishizing guns as some kind of willfully malicious avatars of death and destruction doesn't make the left look any more rational or intelligent than the right.
Jason Meador

Service Still Available

RECEIVED Sun., July 7, 2013

Dear Editor,
    After reading the “Who Says You're Drunk?” article in the last issue of the Chronicle [News, July 5], I noticed the author mentioned two defunct and outdated designated-driving services but failed to include the most popular service that has been open, operational, and profitable since its launch in September 2012, Sober Monkeys. Sober Monkeys has taken hundreds of people and their cars home and continues to keep Austin streets safer. Austinites are able to socialize without being forced to leave their car behind to be towed or have the burden of returning the next day to recover it. Most importantly, no need to risk a drive home intoxicated. Anyone can simply schedule a ride in advance or call on the fly after going to and becoming a member.
Angie Brinkley

Shot Memories

RECEIVED Sat., July 6, 2013

Dear Editor,
    Great story about the glory years of Jägermeister at the Hole in the Wall [“Liquid Black Licorice,” Music, July 5]. Whew, memories … Yes, trays of shots would magically appear at the left side of the stage, but originally they were "mini gimlets." Jägermeister was a major step up, but the bands seemed to like it. I'm pretty sure that none of the bartenders actually drank it more than once. The Wannabes were one of many, many bands that we inflicted with this restorative. Alejandro Escovedo and his orchestra could sometimes cause us to run low on shot glasses. After a stopover, the touring band the New Duncan Imperials recorded the song, "Jägermeister." My favorite shot memory, however, is Evan Johns, the big and burly guitarist, yelling for "some of those peach fuzz thangs!" Let's not talk about when Rumple Minze hit town.
Kevin"the Squid" Bolling
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