Letters to the editor: Jan. 29

January 29, 2013 

NRA can pay if it wants armed guards at schools

I have no problems paying school taxes as that is part of an educated public being for the common good for all. But armed guards are something that my federal, state, county, city or school taxes should be spent on.

If National Rifle Association members are serious about have armed guards at every school, then it's heir responsibility to pay for trained police professionals (minimum of two at each school) since it's their toys creating the problem.

Since the NRA so kindly made the recommendation I'm sure it will support taxes on guns and ammunition to pay for it. Call it a "use tax" for fans of anti-tax activist Grover Norquist.

In Lexington there are more than 60 public and private elementary, middle and high schools. Assuming $62,500 ($50,000 average salary, benefits and administrative overhead costs), uniforms, assault rifles, ongoing training for at least 120 guards, then the taxes on guns and ammunition need to amount to at least $7.5 million annually just to add on-site police protection for Fayette County's schools.

The NRA and others in the gun lobby need to put their money where their mouths are and pay for the problem they've created.

Joe Crouch

Lexington


Free speech on steroids

Roger Guffey's commentary about "extremists in the Christian faith" merits our attention. It seems the Rev. Mike Huckabee declared that the people of Newtown, Conn., were being punished for ordering God out of their schools. Punished? What an awful thing to say.

The Rev, Pat Robertson prayed for a hurricane to punish Disney World for its "Gay Day" in Florida. Stupid speeches by high-placed people, passed off as profound, can be infuriating. Worse, they degrade the public dialogue and distract us from real problems. In America, free speech is on steroids.

There will always be people on the fringes of religion — politics in particular, society in general.

There are plenty of references in the Bible to change. We have to accept it. It's a constant. There's even more about power. We live always in the presence of change and power. Same for people reinterpreting God and the practice of religion.

A 19th century British statesman said "Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely." It is rushing change and abusing power that we must worry about. The practice of religion continues to renew itself and always will. I'm not so sure about politics. Is it worsening? It is more partisan and ugly today.

Personally, I think we will have to do something serious with the Second Amendment so we can live in a civilized way with guns.

A deranged man with an assault rifle, in a classroom full of kids has absolute power for a moment. That's one moment too long.

Sam Phifer

Mount Sterling


Rights not absolute

Of the world's 23 richest countries, the United States' gun-related murder rate is almost 20 times that of the other 22, claiming a life about every 17 minutes.

Despite such violence, the mere discussion of reforms to prevent more innocent victims provokes extreme rhetoric by those who think Second Amendment rights know no bounds.

I support the Second Amendment, but it is not unfettered. In society, we sacrifice some freedoms for the greater good. While the First Amendment grants freedom of speech, people cannot yell fire in crowded theaters because it potentially endangers the lives of others.

Those who decry any gun control as a violation of rights often quote, "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed," but omit the amendment's first clause referencing a "well regulated militia."

The Supreme Court interpreted the right to bear arms as an individual right not dependent on membership in a militia, but validated limitations on the right.

After last year's tragedies in Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo., it is our moral obligation to implement comprehensive reforms including universal background checks, limits on magazine sizes and a renewed assault weapons ban. Assault weapons are used to hunt people and there is no place for them in civilian society.

Polling shows a majority of Americans, and even a majority of gun owners, believes some reforms are reasonable and appropriate. Our politicians must act courageously to protect victims despite retaliation threats by the gun lobby.

Emery Caywood

Paris


Blame starts at home

The more I pick up the paper or check the headlines online, the more I become utterly disappointed in humanity. People say "Tighter gun laws!" or "Ban violent video games!" as if this will make the act of murder miraculously end. Lest we forget, murder has been around since the beginning of time — before guns and video games.

So who else can we blame in this assault of words? Why don't we try ourselves? Nobody seems to bring up the fact that so many parents just allow their kids to sit in front of video games every day; so many parents baby their kids into such a fear of the world and guns that when kids get angry they feel the only thing they can possibly do is pick up a gun and take a human life. So many parents expect the government to parent their kids.

When I was a kid, the worst thing I could think to do when I was mad was talk back to my parents. Maybe if parents took responsibility and taught their kids values and discipline, things like Sandy Hook wouldn't happen. Well, one can only hope.

Andrew Edwards

Lexington


Deficit flip-flop

After all the years he has been in the Senate, one would think Mitch McConnell would know that the Constitution grants Congress the power to tax and spend. The president may send proposals to Congress but he cannot raise or spend a dime. He can only spend what Congress authorizes.

During the eight years President George W. Bush was in office, McConnell voted time after time for tax cuts, the greatest expansion in government spending, Medicare Part-D and the Wall Street bailout without giving any thought whatsoever about ow to pay for them because, as Vice President Deck Cheney claimed, "Reagan proved deficits don't matter." Maybe he should have added "unless a Democrat occupies the White House."

It takes little stretch of the imagination to believe if Mitt Romney had won, once again deficits wouldn't matter.

Dave Midgett

Richmond


Babies, bullies, bullets

I feel a shiver of embarrassment every time I see this: Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. To imagine that my state keeps electing this ridiculous excuse for a representative. He and his cohorts remind me of a bunch of babies standing around stomping their feet and whining because they cannot have everything their own way.

As for young men who are so bullied that they turn to being bullies themselves and shooting up a bunch of children — perhaps we should never say their names or show their faces; perhaps if they knew ahead of time they would not get that fame it would take away some of their incentive. On the other hand, I find it disturbing that the numbers of dead never include the perpetrator.

As for the Second Amendment, what was available at the time of its passage were muskets, so I say have all the muskets you want. The intent of the amendment was so that people could have arms in order to form militias and protect their communities. If our forefathers had known that someday we would have these types of guns and ammunition, they would have written the amendment in completely different language. No one needs a high-powered weapon that shoots 200 bullets a minute to defend the home or to hunt.

Lynn Fish Blacketer

Nicholasville

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