Beamed up?The point of Brandon Dutcher’s "State government’s overhead overload” (Opinion, Dec. 28) can be best illustrated by driving north on Interstate 35 from Norman to the I-40 interchange during the morning rush hour on holidays such as MLK Day or President’s Day. That’s when gross domestic product producers (private industry) have to work and GDP consumers (state employees) are off. When I first experienced this phenomenon, so many cars were missing that I thought we’d had the Rapture! It was clear sailing all the way instead of bumper-to-bumper slow go. Yep, that’s a lot of state employees. Bob Whistle, Midwest City
Primary problemRegarding "Changes at lockup may cost more than $60 million; Officials say Oklahoma County has no choice but to fix its jail” (news story, Jan. 6): The special committee formed to study problems that continue to plague the county jail cited a lack of manpower within the facility as the first concern. Perhaps if Sheriff John Whetsel would assign to the jail some of the personnel he uses to duplicate the efforts of other metro law enforcement agencies, that problem would be greatly diminished, if not eliminated. The sheriff has his horse patrol, his information kiosks, his motorcycle squad patrolling the interstate highways within the county as well as a myriad of other duplicative functions better left to the other police departments. The primary problem besetting the county jail is poor or inept management. Robert Rowell, Oklahoma City
Accountability neededAny adult who has a child in the house and a gun on the premises (loaded or not) should be held accountable in the event that the child shoots himself or another person with that gun. If the child is unattended, a harsher punishment should apply. Oklahoma has laws in the best interest of minors regarding alcoholic drinks, gambling, driving and smoking; any adult who facilitates a minor who breaks these laws faces criminal charges. A new law should require the gun owner, and the parents, to be held accountable when any child in a private residence shoots a gun from that home and it results in injury or death. L.K. Love-Holland, Moore
Friends and foesAfter seeing The Oklahoman’s coverage of the Jan. 5 anti-Israel protest at the state Capitol, including signs equating Judaism with Nazism, I wondered what would happen to Jewish protesters holding a pro-Israel rally in the capital of an Islamic or Arab country. How long would they remain alive? I was reminded of the difference in the response to 9/11: Palestinians passed out candy and celebrated as if they’d just won the Super Bowl. Israelis flew flags at half-staff and had a national day of mourning. Most Americans can see who our friends are and who our enemies are. Gary Beasley, Oklahoma City
The bigger problemRegarding "States remain focused on childhood obesity” (Our Views, Jan. 5): As a dietitian, I think banning junk food may encourage students to opt for healthier snacks, but if schools are really committed to improving students’ eating habits, they must solve a bigger problem. As the rates of childhood obesity and other chronic diseases skyrocket, students across the nation continue to go through lunch lines packed with high-fat, high-cholesterol foods. Students who fill up on pepperoni pizzas, hot dogs and cheeseburgers have little appetite for fruits, vegetables and other healthful foods. The upcoming reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act, which determines what foods are served in the National School Lunch Program, is the perfect opportunity to make a difference in school nutrition. Under the new act, every child in America should have access to a low-fat vegetarian meal and fresh fruits and vegetables every day. Healthful snack options are significant, but let’s not miss this rare opportunity to clean up the lunch line as well. Kathryn Strong, Washington, D.C. Strong is staff dietitian for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.