NRA has pushed personal arms race to absurd
Recently, the National Rifle Association's political arm, the Republican Party, voted down bills that would have implemented the most modest of gun control regulation.
This reminded me of a debate I had with a friend many years ago. My argument was that the Second Amendment should be interpreted within its historical context, and that the framers were referencing single-shot, muzzle-loaded rifles.
My friend, an NRA member, disagreed and said the amendment applies to all arms, and should be interpreted literally.
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I'm game. The exact language of the Second Amendment is, "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."
The first thing that jumps out to me is the term "arms", not "firearms."
So, taken literally, the amendment applies to all arms available at the time, as well as to any invented in the future
Some have said that owning a shotgun is insufficient to provide them with a sense of security; they need assault weapons.
Well, I'm even more fear-ridden and I won't feel safe until I possess a thermonuclear device.
Some will say, obviously the framers were referencing firearms, and couldn't have envisioned nuclear, chemical or biological arms.
I say, if they could envision today's firearms, they could envision these other arms.
Yes, my argument is reductio ad absurdum. But, I'm not the one who moved the discussion to the absurd. The NRA beat me to that.
My daughter and her family were driving on Winchester Road on March 25 when they were hit head-on by a drunk driver.
I always thought that if you got caught drinking and driving you would be arrested and, surely, you would be arrested if you caused a wreck, so wasn't I surprised when the driver was only cited.
He had to go to the hospital for hurt ribs and walked out four hours later, while my daughter spent four days in the hospital.
She has a $60,000 hospital bill, a $600 towing bill, and her van that they saved to buy was totaled.
To make matters worse, the driver who caused this wreck has no insurance to pay for any of it.
Our laws need to be changed to protect innocent people so that if you cause a wreck and are driving without insurance you will be responsible for all the bills and if you get caught DUI it's an automatic arrest. This driver has put my daughter, her husband and three small kids in a hole of about $80,000 so far.
But I'm sure he's not worried as long as he gets his next beer because if he cared about anyone but himself he wouldn't have been driving drunk in the first place and he sure would have had insurance to cover anyone he might hurt.
Earth Day praise
I read the comments from a letter writer who associated celebrating Earth Day with somehow being non-Christian, or at least on the side of those who would take an honoring of God out of our culture.
As the organizer of this year's Earth Day celebration in Williamsburg, I take offense at that implication.
The Earth is God's creation and we do well to celebrate that fact on Earth Day. We should pledge to do what we can to honor and protect this planet and it's environment — the air, water, trees, plants, animals and people.
Here in Williamsburg we celebrated Earth Day with original songs by Earth mama Joyce Rouse. Children from a local school made Earth Day prayer flags which flew that day taking our prayers for the earth up to the creator.
We read The Canticle of the Sun by St. Francis, the original ecologist back in the 1100s. (Google it to see how much praise is offered to God through his creation).
It's too bad that conservative Christians put environmentalists on the "bad guys" list. I am a liberal, Catholic environmentalist, and proud of it.
We all know Mitch McConnell is a multimillionaire. He has always received money from the rich to vote to protect their wealth.
He doesn't care that Kentuckians and other U.S. citizens are just scraping by in today's economy. Now he has a beautiful wife with money, even better for him.
He visits Kentucky once at Fancy Farm and tells people what they want to hear, then goes back to Washington and becomes the obstructionist.
When I read that Bennie Smith, Ed Marksberry, Tom FitzGerald and Alison Grimes were all considering a run for McConnell's seat, I just had to give my two cents worth. It will take all of their efforts, talents, money and backers to defeat McConnell.
All four should sit down together, write down what issues are needing the most attention and include them in one platform. Then vote as to who would be the best candidate to defeat McConnell (or do rock, paper, scissors).
Forget wasting time, money and energy on a primary; save everything for the fall election.
As for Ashley Judd's depression, my sister Ellen Tracy said, "We all have been depressed with having Mitch McConnell as our senator."
Even my Republican sister Lois does not like McConnell. My 89-year-old mother-in-law says of McConnell: "Never trust someone with beady eyes and thin lips."
Kentucky people have always been fighters for what is right, and now is the right time to retire McConnell.
Alberta Johnson Toomey
Where's Barr now?
Comments on two recent stories, "E. Ky. coal production off 27.6 percent last year" on April 4, and "Abandoned miners," a commentary by Bill McKibben, several weeks ago:
Andy Barr's successful congressional campaign focused on preserving coal miners' jobs by eliminating the Obama administration's onerous anti-pollution regulations.
He wanted to preserve jobs, which is good, despite studies showing that residents in the vicinity of mountaintop mines have an increased risk of health problems caused by that pollution, which is bad.
Since his election, two stories of coal miners losing their livelihoods for reasons other than anti- pollution regulations have been in the news.
First, 3,500 Eastern Kentucky miners lost their jobs in 2012 due to reduced demand for Eastern Kentucky coal, in part due to cleaner alternatives.
Second, two large coal companies created a third to which they spun off pension obligations. The new company has now declared bankruptcy and is seeking to end benefits, including medical care, for 10,000 retired miners.
Even though no coal mines are in Barr's district, he campaigned on preserving the livelihood of coal miners. Why is he silent now when 13,500 miners are losing their livelihoods?
Wait, I almost forgot. In his campaign ads, Barr dressed up a coal company executive as a miner to complain about the anti-pollution regulations.
I guess he was really campaigning to preserve the jobs of coal executives who could afford to donate to his campaign and wasn't concerned about the coal miners who couldn't afford to donate.