Century Marks

Century Marks

Homicide control

Research done at the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research shows that a Con­necticut law enacted in 1995 has reduced gun homicides by as much as 40 percent. The law mandates that all potential gun buyers apply for a permit in person with the police, even if the seller is a licensed dealer. The legal age for purchasing a gun was raised from 18 to 21. Prospective gun buyers must also complete at least eight hours of training in handgun safety (Connecticut Mirror, June 11).

Lost opportunity

Eboo Patel, founder of the Interfaith Youth Core, remembers Vincent Harding coming up to him at a church in Denver and suggesting that they work together. Patel declined, saying he thought the mission of his own organization didn’t mesh with Harding’s. After Harding died, Patel read his obituary and learned Harding was an unsung hero of the civil rights movement and a speechwriter for Martin Luther King Jr. Later, at an event attended by Patel and Harding’s widow Aljosie, Patel confessed that he had passed up a great opportunity. Aljosie said to Patel: “You should know that Vincent followed your work, and he loved you, and he forgives you” (OnBeing.org, June 9).

Biker priest

Lou Vallone, a Catholic priest in western Pennsylvania, is a master scuba diver and a self-proclaimed barbecue expert. His favorite activity is riding his Harley Davidson motorcycle. Two hours on the bike is better than a three-day vacation, he claims. His diocese is wary of his biking avocation, but his parishioners are supportive. Vallone uses his biking experiences in his homilies (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 27).

Slip up

Anne Lamott has been criticized for a Twitter comment she made about transgender Caitlyn (formerly Bruce) Jenner. She confessed to being “a tiny bit tired of Caitlyn” and repeatedly used male pronouns to describe Jenner. Lamott added that she “will call him a she when the pee-pee is gone.” One writer accused Lamott of being transphobic, and the Daily Kos said she was bigoted. Lamott later apologized to transgender people and the parents of transgender children. RNS commentator Jonathan Merritt responded that “a couple of ignorant comments do not erase Lamott’s long history of defending marginalized people. And they certainly do not turn her into a transphobic bigot” (RNS).

Love and loss

Danielle Snyderman, a geriatrician, says it isn’t possible to work successfully with an elderly patient without knowing about that person’s relationship with his or her spouse. This awareness led her to start collecting stories about the love lives of the couples she was working with. These stories are “packed with humor, history, wisdom, and grace. Who wouldn’t feel better after bearing witness to love that has weathered child-rearing, war, poverty, financial success, and physical decline?” Couples have difficulty addressing one question: “How do you anticipate a time without each other?” (Philadelphia Inquirer, June 14).