Letters to the Editor

Readers' views

Court's gun ruling based on ideals of nation's founders

The Second Amendment, reaffirmed by a recent Supreme Court decision, reads: ”A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.“

What did the founding fathers mean by those words?

James Madison: Americans have ”the advantage of being armed“ — unlike the citizens of other countries where ”the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.“

Patrick Henry: ”The great objective is that every man be armed ... Everyone who is able may have a gun.“

George Mason: ”To disarm the people [is] the best and most effectual way to enslave them.“

Samuel Adams: ”The Constitution shall never be construed ... to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.“

Alexander Hamilton: ”The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed.“

Richard Henry Lee: ”To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.“

Chief Justice William Rehnquist stated that the term ”the people“ has the same meaning in the First, Second, Fourth, Ninth and Tenth Amendments.

All those five amendments in the Bill of Rights use the term ”the people“ to guarantee a right for individual citizens, not just some collective right of the state as a whole.

Daniel M. Davidson


Gun restrictions needed

The Supreme Court's decision that the Second Amendment's right to bear arms is an individual right rather than one held by a group, i.e. militia, irreparably sets back efforts to curb the disturbing and frightening rate of gun violence in our country.

One need only recall the frequency of shootings in schools and the Virginia Tech massacre to understand the folly and ramifications of this decision.

Having lived in London, England briefly, I can testify that I felt safer with the miniscule rate of gun crimes on the street there.

While I would rail against any restrictions on sporting weapons, if defined appropriately not to include semi-automatic weapons, any limited right to bear a handgun should come with reasonable requirements including waiting periods, background checks and registration. These would be minor compromises to ensure a safer country with less gun violence.

Emery Caywood


Too focused on Israel

We hear a lot about how the United States is going to ”protect Israel“ at all cost to American taxpayers, but nothing about what the U.S. is going to do for the Palestinians whose country has been ravished by the Israelis. Let there be no mistake, the Palestinians are the victims and the Israelis the aggressors. We hear how the occupied Palestinians conduct ”terrorist“ attacks on poor Israel.

According to the conservative British publication The Economist, the Palestinian rockets are inaccurate and mostly homemade and in the last eight years have killed a dozen Israelis, while Israel's attacks on Gaza have killed some 370 Gazans in 2008 alone and 70 of them were children.

As the ”Great Protector“ of Israel, the United States is responsible for the atrocities Israel heaps upon the defenseless Palestinians.

Stanley Stratford


Bush's Mideast fiasco

By driving Saddam Hussein from power, we have given Iran what they had unsuccessfully gone to war with Iraq to achieve back in the 1980s. Thanks to President Bush, Iran now has a strong foothold in Iraq. And it was the United States that first provided Iran with basic nuclear knowledge when our friend, the bloody Shah of Iran, was in power.

All the Arab countries strongly urged Bush not to invade Iraq because, by so doing, he would destabilize the entire region. Of course, Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney did not listen and allowed radical decisions to take effect without adequate study. Some say Bush has kept ”us“ safe for seven years. Apparently, those people don't count the nearly 4,500 military deaths, or the 30,000 wounded, including 3,500 with multiple amputations as being part of ”us.“ Every time we have killed a civilian in Iraq, estimated to be 100,000 to 600,000, we have greatly increased our enemies.

Our invasion of Iraq unleashed many competing forces. Although some Shia are fighting us in Iraq, the Sunni insurgency has expanded beyond the Taliban and is spreading violence across the Mideast, Southeast Asia and Europe.

In 2003, Bush thumbed his nose at the wise advice of the Arab nations and in May, 2008, they sent him home with his tail between his legs. Of course, it is our weakening dollar, not the Arabs, that is driving up the price we are paying for gasoline. And it is our sky-rocketing debt, brought on by our war in Iraq, that is weakening our dollar.

Lucia Beeler


Social Security fallacy

Nothing hacks off a conservative quite like someone who continues to repeat a dissembling, self-serving statement, a non sequitur, or a flat-out lie long after it has been put to rest. Yet Paul Krugman, esteemed Ford International professor of economics at MIT and syndicated columnist for the New York Times, did just that in a June 18 article.

He said: ”Whatever would-be privatizers may say, Social Security isn't in crisis; the Congressional Budget Office says that the trust fund is good until 2046, and a number of analysts think even this estimate is overly pessimistic.“

Well, whoop-de-do. Never mind that by 2017 or thereabouts, Social Security tax collections will fall short of benefit payments, and there isn't any money in the trust fund to honor the beneficiary's interest, because the fund is nothing but a portfolio of IOUs from every nook and cranny of the federal government.

Krugman must have been that incredulous bank customer who, upon being told by the teller that his account was overdrawn, replied with righteous indignation: ”Impossible! I still have a whole box of unused checks!“

Richard Degener


Liberal non-thinkers

Syndicated columnist Paul Krugman writes that ”the conservative message loses its meaning without racial divisiveness.“ It seems the left in this country doesn't even attempt to have an honest discussion anymore. People like Krugman just spew any ridiculous thought that enters their agenda-racked minds and expect us to believe it.

Conservatism — and liberalism, for that matter — has nothing to do with race. It has to do with policy. By Krugman's way of thinking, we don't even need to have an election. Since all whites must be conservative and all minorities must be liberal, we can just do a head count, and the race with the most members wins. Since we all know that isn't true, we can write off Krugman and others like him as the non-thinking, agenda-pushers that they are.

Doug Reed