Written by Walter Verfenstein, firstname.lastname@example.org Friday, 04 January 2013 00:00Recently, golf’s two governing bodies, the USGA and the Scotland-based R&A, proposed a rule change that would prohibit the use of anchored—or belly—putters. Their rationale is that by anchoring the butt of the club against part of the body, a player gains more control and therefore an unfair advantage.
It’s hard to imagine that the advantage could be so great since relatively few people use these putters. Tiger Woods doesn’t like them and you hardly ever see them employed by casual players. The golfing community seems to be coalescing around the idea that there’s something wrong about these ungainly putters, and that they shouldn’t be part of the game.
I wonder why a similar (although much stronger) distaste for assault rifles hasn’t taken hold among civilians who use guns for work or sport. Nancy Lanza, the first victim in the Newtown massacre, took up target shooting as a hobby about three years ago, according to reports. But she didn’t pursue her new interest with the right equipment—the long-barreled, small-caliber rifles and handguns we see in the Olympics. Instead, she chose Glock and Sig Sauer handguns of the kind favored by law enforcement for their “stopping power,” and a Bushmaster AR-15 assault rifle, which is similar to the military’s M-16. The Bushmaster features a lug for attaching a bayonet and a barrel that can be outfitted with a grenade launcher.
Why do civilian hobbyists choose to shoot targets with high-powered assault rifles specifically designed to kill scores of people on the field of battle? Why don’t their fellow target shooters see how harmful this practice can be to public safety and the reputation of their sport? In other words, why aren’t target shooters packing AF-15’s laughed off the range by their peers and derided as commando wannabes with adolescent Rambo fetishes?
Golf may be persnickety about its rules, but all sports and pastimes have behavioral norms. Backpackers learn to leave the woods in a more pristine state than when they entered them. Anglers eat their catch or throw it back. Can’t we expect gun enthusiasts to carefully select the right tool for the job and to leave combat weapons to soldiers?
News reports suggest that Nancy Lanza may have thought war could come at any moment, and that possibility may have been reason enough for her to buy an assault rifle. But is it reason enough for her fellow gun owners? If I am any guide, unarmed citizens increasingly look at those who purchase or trade in assault rifles, expanding bullets and high-capacity magazines as aiding and abetting mass murder.
Possession of some armaments should be reserved for the military. Protecting you and yours isn’t adequate justification for an AR-15, no matter the law. There are plenty of other firearms suitable for robust self-defense.
I don’t wish to make pariahs of gun owners, but hope they will marginalize the most extreme members of their group, much as golfers are showing belly putters the door.
Walter Verfenstein lives in Port Washington.
Thursday, 16 May 2013 00:00
Dodds and Eder will be hosting a wine and cheese reception on Saturday, May 18 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at their Sag Harbor location to showcase the work of Plein Air Peconic, an artist group dedicated to helping the Peconic Land Trust conserve the natural beauty of the East End. The reception will showcase “At Home in the Natural World” an exhibition and sale of landscape paintings and photographs. The exhibition is on view at Dodds and Eder, which is open Thursday through Monday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Many of the paintings and photographs in the show are larger works composed in the studio from field studies of preserved sites. By painting and photographing images of conserved land and other spaces of the East End, the artists call attention to what has already been accomplished by land conservation and the continuing need to protect these vital resources from unchecked development.
Friday, 17 May 2013 00:00
A large crowd of almost 100 people gathered at 95 Shore Road in Cold Spring Harbor on Saturday, April 27 to celebrate the completion of the environmental clean up at the former Exxon Mobil site. The 8-acre waterfront parcel, where the oil tanks once stood, was donated to the North Shore Land Alliance for conservation purposes.
On a sunny picture-perfect spring afternoon, Land Alliance officers and staff were joined by elected officials, including State Senator Carl Marcellino, Huntington Town Councilmen Mark Cuthbertson and Mark Mayoka, Heather Amster, Region 1, New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and community members to thank ExxonMobil for this valuable gift.
Thursday, 16 May 2013 00:00
According to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, more than five million Americans are suffering with Alzheimer’s disease, the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.
Troubled by these statistics and personally affected, Long Islander and NBA draftee Gordon Thomas founded the Alzheimer’s All-Star Basketball Classic Committee, a group of professionals dedicated to raising awareness of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Thursday, 16 May 2013 00:00
Ronald Caronia, MD, a glaucoma and cataract surgeon and partner of Ophthalmic Consultants of Long Island (OCLI) with Tom Burke, CEO of OCLI, participated in the first annual American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) Foundation’s “Run for Sight” 5K and 1-mile walk during the ASCRS/ASOA Annual Symposium and Congress in San Francisco. Dr. Caronia hails from Oyster Bay Cove and Mr. Burke is a resident of Islip.
The ASCRS partnered with TearLabs to host this first-ever “Run for Sight” event. It took place on Sunday, April 21 near the beautiful Japanese botanical gardens in Golden Gate Park. The event raised close to $25,000. All proceeds from the race will benefit the ASCRS Foundation’s cataract blindness treatment efforts.