Tougher lawsneeded to keep guns from the ill
Five times in my life, as a member of the United States Army, I took an oath to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America."
In my heart, I do not believe the founding fathers, while preparing that great document, meant the "right to bear arms" gave our citizens the constitutional authority to take a gun and spray bullets into a crowd, a school cafeteria or at a member of Congress whose policies might not be in the shooter's interest.
The right to bear arms gives the right to licensed hunters to shoot game in authorized areas to provide food for the family table; the right to defend one's home, property and family against an intruder; and the right for members of the military forces to defend our nation against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
Shopping centers in America's heartland and high school cafeterias don't fall into any of those categories.
Despite what the National Rifle Assocation might support, we need stricter laws about who can buy a gun. Applicants must be more carefully screened.
Laws keeping guns out of the hands of the Timothy McVeighs, Michael Carneals and Jared Loughners must be passed and enforced, or we'll have more innocent children killed in a shopping center by a known-to-be-dangerous fanatic.
I don't want my grandson put in the same situation in which 9-year-old patriot Christina Green found herself Saturday.
Patricia A. Currans
McConnell shares blame
The blood shed in Tucson is on Sen. Mitch McConnell's hands, and he knows it.
His unprincipled campaign of innuendo and half-truths against our president not only produced the impact he sought, but it also helped instigate the tragedy in Arizona.
It's time for him to start to behave more responsibly. I suggest he begin by making it clear he knows our president was, in fact, born in the United States and that there is no doubt he is a practicing Christian.
The senator's repeated false insinuations against the leader of the free world are despicable and deadly.
Douglas S. Andersen
Attack on Palin unfair
The "Indict Palin" letter Wednesday has to be one of the most inane I have read in some time. It complains that Gabrielle Giffords' challenger, Jesse Kelly, invited supporters to join him in a shooting an M-16.
It further complained of Sarah Palin publishing a map using cross hairs of a rifle to mark Giffords' district. Because of those factors, "Palin needs to be indicted for complicity to murder."
First, a look at a campaign video from Giffords in the 2008 campaign shows her (GASP!) shooting an M-16. Second, the cross hairs on the map were actually symbols from a U.S. Geographical Survey that marks spots on a map.
A look at the USGS Web site under Topographical Map Symbols shows a section titled "Control Data and Monuments." Under that heading there is the symbol shown to be a "principal point."
Carrying this a step further, in 2008, the Democratic National Campaign Committee published a map showing states where Bush won in 2004 by narrow margins. Each of those states was marked by a "bull's eye" (a symbol used on rifle and archery targets).
The caption under the map read, "Behind enemy lines ... ripe targets for Democrats ..." An additional map published by the DNCC shows districts where the party could possibly overturn Republican incumbents. It is marked with those same bull's-eyes.
By the logic in Wednesday's letter, we should be indicting Giffords herself, along with the DNCC.
Once again, our news is eerily akin to that of 1930s Germany. Then, as now:
The economy was tough: high unemployment, much homelessness, general distress and fearfulness.
Politics were unsettled and turbulent, discourse polarized and toxic.
Guns were readily available — then, to be sure, mostly leftovers from World War I.
The down-and-out and the merely fearful wanted quick solutions and easy outs.
Behind the scenes, well-funded bully-groups saw their chance to manipulate this instability into profit and power.
To these ends, they promoted carefully targeted violence against the "enemies" — mainly, highly visible ethnic minorities unlikely to fight back and the more socially responsible portions of the populace who quickly became the preferred scapegoats.
The same groups controlled many of the mass media and used them to propagate smear campaigns, thinly veiled invitations to violence and inflammatory ideological indoctrination parading as "news."
There were also, of course, aggrieved crazies rattling around, ready to accept the most bizarre conspiracy theories and eager to be "activated" by even imagined encouragement.
Doesn't this sound familiar? It should. This scenario didn't play out well 70 years ago, and it won't today either.
Remember that history, like most of the really ancient gods, is jealous. Persist for long in ignoring her, and she will come back to haunt you.
Charles S. Merrill
UK games too loud
It had been some years since I was fortunate enough to attend a University of Kentucky basketball game, until the University of Pennsylvannia visited earlier this month.
Arriving 30 minutes before the game, I was attacked by the exceptionally loud music coming from the umpteen speakers in the ceiling. It was constant. I found it impossible to carry on a conversation without shouting.
Is this extreme volume necessary to entertain the fans? For people who go to game after game, this loudness has to have some serious effect on their hearing. Even during timeouts and TV breaks, the noise was extreme.
Someone must take charge and solve the extreme volume issue for the health and comfort of the people who pay the bills.
Back gay rights
The time has come for Kentucky to pass a law to prohibit terminations based on sexual orientation and gender identity. You can be fired for being gay, but you cannot be fired for being a smoker. What kind of logic is that?
In 1966, Kentucky became the first state in the South to pass a Civil Rights Act. The commonwealth also became the first in the South to establish enforcement powers over civil rights violations on a state level.
The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights became the state enforcement authority of the act.
What happened to us? At what point did our great commonwealth lose its leadership in the area of civil rights? When did we decide to surrender our freedoms and civil rights? For our economy and population to improve, we need to lead again, not only in the area of civil rights but in others as well.
Kentucky Equality Federation