I’m for gun ownership, but am sickened by the acceleration in the scope of mass killing made possible by the assault-style military weapons used most recently. Florida, Nevada and Connecticut have all had records set for the biggest mass killing in state history since 2012 — all with military-style assault rifles. But gun legislation has remained elusive. So let’s leave the Second Amendment alone and make gun violence a free-market issue. Let economic incentives, or disincentives, regulate gun ownership by requiring firearm insurance.Like car insurance, each state would require that all firearms must be insured before the sale of that weapon. Insurance companies would have to carefully vet each citizen applying for insurance and make sure lies on applications are fact-checked.If that gun is used in a (single or mass) killing, the insurance company would have to pay out significant damages to victims. The incentive for meticulous screening and the costs of insurance would prohibit a lot of mentally unstable people from procuring firearms. It wouldn’t be perfect, of course.There is no panacea for the problem of a country of 323 million citizens possessing 300 million firearms already. It might save a few lives moving forward though. And what do we have to lose?Christopher OgnibeneNiskayunaMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationNiskayuna girls’ cross country wins over BethlehemFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?Puccioni’s two goals help Niskayuna boys’ soccer top Shaker, remain perfect Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion
Solochek: There have been some pretty interesting moves and millions of dollars spent by Major League Baseball teams in preparation for the 2009 regular season. The worst of them was probably made by the Chicago Cubs in releasing Kerry Wood and bringing in Kevin Gregg from the Florida Marlins.Sure, Gregg had a decent season last year. He had 29 saves with a 3.41 ERA. But he also failed to convert on his other 11 save opportunities and posted a 7-8 record on the season.The right-handed closer was brought to Chicago to compete with young fire-baller Carlos Marmol, who has previously been in the setup role for the Cubs in front of Wood. But with his youth and his ability to strike out batters with a hard fastball and excellent breaking ball, management thought he would finally be ready to take over the closer role.This decision was made at the expense of releasing Wood, who signed with the Cleveland Indians. Last season, Wood had an All-Star year. He made 65 appearances in relief and for save opportunities while posting a 3.26 ERA. He had 34 saves on the year and 84 strikeouts, which helped the Cubs on the road to the 2008 National League Championship.Releasing Wood wasn’t just a poor decision because of his playing abilities. The Cubs organization and fans had a lot invested in Wood. During his debut season as a Cub in 1998, he had a 20-strikeout game on his way to being name NL Rookie of the Year. He was part of the 2003 team that survived to within five outs of the World Series. Most importantly, he remained in Chicago and the fans cheered him on through countless surgeries.So while other teams have released players who have no emotional value associated with the team, Wood did, and that is why his release was a poor decision by the Cubs.Braun: Obviously, Kevin Gregg may have been a pretty bad acquisition, but when you look at the bigger picture, the worst offseason move has to be the Yankees acquiring overrated fire-baller, A.J. Burnett.Unlike Gregg, Burnett did not have a good season last year. Somehow, he managed to win 18 games with an OK Blue Jays squad, but aside from that unreflective statistic, Burnett was rather unimpressive.His ERA was the highest it has ever been in a full season at 4.07. Not exactly worth the five-year, $82-million contract the Yankees gave him at the beginning of free agency.Don’t get me wrong — Burnett is serviceable, but that kind of money belongs to a pitcher who deserves it.Why not do what the Braves did and sign a non-injury prone solid starter in Derek Lowe, who had better overall statistics than Burnett did last season and cost quite a bit less? Why even not give some of the younger guys a shot, especially with CC Sabathia heading the rotation?But really, nothing is new here. The Yankees spent way too much money on mediocre pitching. Just like when the Bronx Bomber signed Carl Pavano (four years, $40 million) or Jaret Wright (three years, $21 million). Like those two, Burnett was overpaid and severely overrated.Oh, and by the way, Pavano and Wright didn’t even perform to the most meager of expectations.Like every MLB offseason, teams make stupid decisions. But unlike most offseasons, the Yankees made some decisions that are simply dumbfounding. While Gregg might have been a poor pickup, at least he didn’t cost $82 million. Not that the Yankees really care.