I have used Uber in many cities around the world. I find it convenient, fast and hassle free.

As for the competition issue with taxis, my Australia experience may shed light on one way competitors function. Within months of Uber’s arrival in Brisbane, Black and White Cabs set up the same service: app, credit card, location of cab, etc.

The fees were less, so I often switched to Black and White. When Uber had surge pricing, I simply tapped my BW Cab app. So easy.

When a company creates a better mousetrap, it seems the competition should compete.

The shared economy, including housing rentals and selling online has only just begun. Let’s get with it.

June Bradham

Confederate Circle

Charleston

In response to a recent letter I’d like to clear up a common misunderstanding about the Civil War.

It was started by Abraham Lincoln to keep the country’s principal source of revenue, Southern trade tariffs, in the Union — perfectly logical — not to stop slavery, which Lincoln specifically said he had no right or interest in doing.

The start of secession, on the other hand, was the right to continue slavery and a two-centuries-old Southern culture, which many felt was threatened despite Lincoln’s promise.

Keeping slavery started secession; keeping tariffs started the war.

Kirkpatrick Sale

Oak Tree Lane

Mount Pleasant

Texting while driving is now illegal, but cell phone use is not. And even if it were illegal, it would go on.

I feel that a federal law requiring cars to be equipped with Bluetooth so that hands- free calling would be available would make roads a little safer.

It would be a good example if local and state vehicles were so equipped. I see police and government officials using cell phones while driving all the time.

Paul Krechman

Jasimine Court

Summerville

We seem to be running out of taboos in the West. There’s simply no shock value left in bad words or sex. Even homosexuality is humdrum.

But taboo and conflict sell, so what are the media to do?

In our “free speech” justifications of Sony’s “The Interview” or the cartoons of Charlie Hebdo, are we not somewhat confusing free speech with media sensationalism? Satire with goading?

While we’re defending our freedoms, let’s recognize that media have an inherent self-interest in pushing the world’s buttons.

Bertha Booker

Maybank Highway

Wadmalaw Island

The year 2014 turned out to be a very good year for the country.

It was the best year for job growth since 1999, unemployment is below 6 percent, gas prices are the lowest in eight years, the stock market is at an all-time high, consumer confidence is at a seven-year high, people are beginning to move between jobs for better pay or benefits and wages have even ticked up a little.

The Europeans have adapted austerity proposals so often put forward by the GOP and have reaped the just reward of stagnation and recession.

Presumably, all this good news was a problem for the Republican mantra of gloom and doom.

Despite the fact that the Republicans left this country in the dumpster and have waged a successful seven-year campaign of utter uselessness, and obstruction, Mitch McConnell has decided to take credit for the success.

He called it significant that all this good news comes on the heels of a huge success for the Republicans and gives us a glimmer of what his party will do to restore the strength of the American economy.

Now, while the fact that he is as delusional as he is does not surprise me, the fact that no one laughed out loud does.

Richard L. Beck

East Ashley Avenue

Folly Beach

The article “2014: A deadly year” gave some very interesting statistics. What it does not say is where the guns came from. The National Rifle Association and its advocates say that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. The truth is that people use guns to kill people, a lot of people.

The police have no way to trace bullets used in murders thanks to the NRA. The technology exists to keep track of every gun barrel ever made and the markings it leaves on a bullet. The NRA has stopped every effort to track guns.

Most illegal guns are stolen and resold or come from gun shows or private sales. All of these are completely unregulated. A tracking registry from the manufacturer to the ultimate buyer would go a long way to improving the situation.

What will not improve the situation is to have more guns on the street. Every morning I read the paper and every morning there are multiple reports of people wounded or killed by guns.

Our Legislature’s solution is to allow more powerful weapons to be used by more people in more places.

This problem will not be solved until we bring some sanity to gun laws.

The truth is that there are too many guns on the street. Access is too easy. Records are nonexistent.

Until we stand up to the NRA nothing will change.

Neal Gittleman

Park West Boulevard

Mount Pleasant