John Walsh, War Crimes, SARS, Mo Cheeks readers took particular issue to Wendy McElroy's discussion of a recent fiasco on The John Walsh Show that centered around the continuing gun control debate. Readers' interest was heightened with the idea of the U.N. judging war crimes to erase any American bias, as well as to the rejection of the theory that obesity leads to cancer.

Other points of intrigue for readers were the conflict between looming SARS outbreaks and illegal immigrants from Mexico, the non-imperialistic goals of America in the rebuilding of Iraq, and the acclaim Maurice Cheeks received for helping a teenage girl finish singing "The Star Spangled Banner."

Here is a sample of this week's mail.

In response to ifeminists:

Joyce Dykes writes:

The fact of the matter is a woman who is armed and takes the time to learn how to use a firearm will, in all probability, never have to use it to defend herself. It gives her a confidence in herself that the criminals who would attack her seem to sense and decide to look for a helpless victim. In the cases where a woman is about to be attacked, merely allowing the gun to be seen ends the thought of attack. In the cases where a women is attacked and is armed, she stands a 99% chance more of surviving than helplessly going along with her attacker and begging for her life. Women with children have a right to defend themselves just so that a child can go to bed at night and have their mom tuck them in.

Ralph Zecco writes:

Women and men should always be armed. Circumstances are getting worse and the government is not doing anything about it. When you have to wait up to an hour for a police response to an armed burglar or a person determined to assualt you, you have the right to be able to defend yourself with deadly force. Yet the government blames the law abiding citizen for the crime otherwise why all the obstacles to purchasing a gun and nothing stopping the criminal? The second amendment was put into place to give our government something to think about. It was placed there to allow the citizenship to defend themselves from a tyrannical government. If I was a lawmaker today doing what they have been doing, and the population was armed, I'd be very nervous.

J. R. Baize writes

If Mr. Walsh is using these types of tactics to misrepresent himself, and to attack our constitutional rights, it's time for his program to go into the trash bin.

Michael Martin writes:

The truth is, it is legal to own guns in this country, and I do not believe anyone should be victimized for the sake of Nielsen ratings simply to push an agenda. Shame on John Walsh. I am not a gun owner, nor will I ever be. But I am a big fan of the constitution and the Bill of Rights, which guarantees gun ownership to citizens of this country.

In response to The Heritage Foundation:

Anonymous writes:

Is it possible for the U.S. to file charges against these countries and the U.N. for their actions before and during the war with Iraq in the same courts that these same people and governments have time and again used to attack us? If so, why do we not bring them up on charges of endangering the citizens of the U.S. for their involvement either overt or covert support of terrorist organizations and regimes? These organizations and governments have, by their lack of support and inactivity, killed American civilians and soldiers as surely as if they had flown those airplanes, set off those suicide bombs, or pulled the trigger with their own finger. I do believe that it is high time that we finally stoop down to these peoples, governments, and other useless organizations levels and start to give them a lot of their own medicine.

Ronald Thomas writes:

I have a pretty long memory of how the U.N. has failed so many times in the past because of political conniving. And after observing the activities involving members and officials of the U.N. in the past, I would not trust them in such an important activity. How many times in the past have they ignored and over-looked illegal and immoral activities all around the world? Therefore, we cannot trust them with any of the serious decisions in the future. Let them help with humanitarian services as long as they can keep themselves honest. It is sad to see such an ambitious and potentially helpful organization fall into an ingrown and self-centered group of politically devious people.

William E. Nichols writes:

Absolutely correct! The U.N. is a defunct, politic-debating society with highly questionable motives. Their collective involvement, or lack thereof, was decided by their own actions and words in the early going. Now, they are looking for headlines and attempting to justify their self-importance. They have been missing their chance to make a positive difference for the majority for an extended period of time.

In response to Junk Science:

N. Lynn writes:

I don't appreciate your quick dismissal of an association between cancer and obesity. You are giving some people who may have started to think soberly about their health/weight an excuse to go on the way they are. And, you are doing it like it is the thin people with a problem. I really don't believe thin people anywhere are plotting sadistic schemes to hurt people who are obese. In my experience, it is some of the obese people who are often voicing the desire for everyone else to be fat like they are whether it hurts them or not. I really don't want to live in a world where no one admits "the king has no clothes on" and they let obese people think they are fine. I think the kind thing to do is support the obese with the truth and healthy alternatives to gluttony and poor eating habits.

Kelly Russell writes:

As a health care professional, I read your article with interest. I found your conclusions to be extremely compelling. Frankly, I couldn't agree more with your frustration with the "waistline police" and scientists who offer "junk science" as proof of anything other than skillful manipulation of media hyperbole and self-promotion. I have worked in hospitals for nearly ten years and have found that cancer affects thin people as often (or maybeeven more often) than those who are overweight. As far as fasting goes, it seems that the amount one eats should be in proportion to one's exercise level and metabolism.

In response to Behind the Bar:

Kyle Peterson writes:

While it's sad that it may take such a tragedy to awaken Americans to the fact that their borders are very much in need of enforcing, your article makes a very good point that SARS may be it. Let's hope we catch the message before it gets too late. I have no problem with legal immigrants; we have plenty of room and resources for them. It's when people who have no right to our societal structures start using and abusing them that I get outraged.

Frank Jennings writes:

I think the finger is being pointed in the wrong direction. Sure, Mexico and other Latin American countries are the source of most illegal immigration. But, as Mr. Hayes points out, Mexico has only had one reported case of SARS thus far. The greater threat and potential entryway for SARS to the U.S. is in the opposite direction - - to the north in Canada. Toronto, which rests along the shores of Lake Ontario, already has 140 documented cases of SARS with 20+ associated deaths. Anyone who's lived in the Great Lakes region knows there're too many boats, too many harbors, too much shoreline and not enough government resources to ensure compliance. Government immigration officials are mainly concerned with bridges between Canada and the U.S.: the choke-points. Despite years of warnings concerning the state of northern border, Washington and the current administration still turn a blind eye. I applaud Mr. Hayes for raising the issue of SARS and our broken-down immigration system. However, let's look at the entire threat.

In response to Off Campus:

Jennifer Kirley writes:

Thank you for your support of what we can only hope (even many Americans are not wholly convinced) are pure motives for the invasion of Iraq. I appreciate your mentioning Japan's success under our occupation. Japan's rebuilding was an interesting case story. Due in part to social qualities and their extreme drive and discipline, the Japanese accepted our help in rebuilding their manufacturing & marketing base and proceeded to run us over with them. It was all in the business of doing business well, carefully doing what they thought was right for the customers, both internal and external. For decades they have, as a result, beat us at our own game in the making of durable goods. I desperately hope that the reformation in Iraq is done with the same inspiration and sensitivity, but I can't be sure enough to feel comfortable.

In response to Strakalogue:

John Hernandez writes:

While Mr. Barkley has indeed made some awful decisions in his life, and particularly during his basketball career, he has certainly matured. In fact, I have seen several interviews (within the past six months) where he downright impressed me. These were not "sports" interviews either. I think that the guy deserves a lot of credit for that. In one interview, he openly admitted to his immaturity and said that he regretted many of the insanities of his younger days.

Patrick M. Keating writes:

Mo Cheeks is the classiest of the classiest - - I've always admired him. What he did more than makes up for the TV throwing antics of Ron Artest or the thuggery of Rasheed Wallace, ironically of the Blazers, too. But what the moment really demonstrates is how far we've come from Jim Crow America: A black man coming to the aid of a white girl while a mixed race crowd joins in cheers and tears. Only the race mongers squirmed.

Ellis M. George writes:

The assertion that Barkley and his ilk should pay heed is a bit off target. Charles Barkley has for years stated that he is not a role model and should not be held up as a role model, and that teachers, police officers, parents and clergy, etc., should be role models. I'm not discounting what Mo Cheeks did. He did what anyone should have done: help a child. That simple act in and of itself is a testament to those who influenced Mo Cheeks during his life.

Jack P. Aunkst writes:

Your praise of Mo Cheeks was a great read - - almost tear jerking. But, of all the available jerks of the NBA why did you decide to make an example of Sir Charles? He certainly has his rough edges, but he is nothing if not honest and ultimately well intentioned. Could not you have mentioned Sprewell - - or whatever his name is?