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Guns & the Constitution
At the time the Constitution of the United States was drafted and ratified the “state of the art” in assault weapons here was a very heavy muzzleloader rifle. It was made of solid iron and trimmed in hardwood.
There were no bullets as we know them today. To fire the gun the frontiersmen had to first pour a measured load of gun powder down the barrel. Then he had to push a rod all the way down the barrel to tamp the powder firmly to the bottom. He then had to push an iron ball into the barrel and tamp it down till it fit snugly into the gunpowder nest he had just created. After that he had to pour more gunpowder into the flintlock mechanism to completely activate the weapon. If the flint was able to produce a spark and, the powder was good and dry and, he had carefully packed the barrel, the gun just might shoot!
If a colonial madman had ever strolled into a colonial McDonald’s restaurant or a colonial Kindergarten classroom determined to kill innocent children with a preloaded flintlock rifle - he could get off one shot for sure. If he had a preloaded flintlock pistol tucked in his belt he might have been able to whip it out and squeeze off a second shot before an angry mob dragged him into the street and lynched him.
The high performance killing machines we have come to know weren’t even conceivable back in the 1700s. The same can be said about other alien concepts of the time, including space travel, particle accelerators, quarks, and GPS precision airport approaches, to mention just a few.
Our forefathers had no idea that one day a crazed zombie would be able to carry a compact, light-weight assault weapon infused with more brutal killing power than an entire Revolutionary Army regiment into a classroom with murder on his mind.
The good men of 1776 America had no premonitions that in just seconds a happy, loving classroom full of beautiful five year old children would become a scene of carnage and horror leaving scores of dead, injured and terrified children wallowing in pools of blood.
If our Founding Fathers had been able to look into the future and understand that their shiny new America would one day be held hostage by sick, evil men brandishing handheld WMDs – well, let’s just say, George and Tom and the rest of the good guys would have worded that pesky Second Amendment with a little more grit and foresight, don’t ya’ think?
All America owes a high-five to the public school teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Some of them defended their children the way a dedicated Secret Service agent would defend his Commander-in-Chief in a time of national crisis.
Vince Perez • TC
The NRA and its members must be in a total adrenalin rush with the murdering of 26 children and teachers along with the mother of the shooter by not condemning the incident as any responsible organization would have.
Them not saying anything is an admission of their guilt by association. Their proponents’ excuse is that the teachers should have had guns in the classroom to shoot back. Can any reasonable person see this response as sane?
Teachers are educators arming their students with books for learning and socializing in a positive way, not paranoid extremists teaching children hatred for society and arming yourself with guns and bullets and conjuring up excuses of their Second Amendment rights.
Guns are a right and we should protect that right, but assault weapons and multiple clips of rounds are for the purpose of killing people, not for hunting purposes to put food on the table or protecting yourself and family in your home from unwanted intruders. Books, not guns belong in the classrooms.
George Edmonds • TC
The role of mental illness
I seem to have a little different take on the Newtown tragedy than most. What I notice is that on the same day, halfway around the world, a disaffected Chinese worker went to a local elementary school and stabbed 22 kids.
A quote from the article: “Security at China’s schools has been increased in recent years following a spate of similar knife attacks in which nearly 20 children have been killed... many of the attackers have been mentally disturbed men, prompting a debate about the effects of China’s rapid social change and the inability of an antiquated hospital system to cope with rising levels of mental illness.”
This should sound hauntingly familiar in light of the Newtown attacks. I think the following three points are worthy of discussion.
1. The knee jerk reaction in America is that this is all about guns. Yet in a modern technological society anyone with a will can find a way. Had either attacker simply grabbed a wrench and opened a gas line they could have killed everyone within a few hundred yards. Controlling guns will not stop the insane from committing mass killings just as the war on drugs has not stopped mass drug abuse.
It isn’t that simple and, indeed, the guns used in Newtown were all legally acquired by a supposedly sane citizen. A ban on assault style rifles and 30 shot clips will solve little and is a misdirected effort.
2. These horrific events seem to be a feature of modernity. I do not recall frequent incidents of the insane committing acts of mass destruction before the late 20th century. The fact that individuals who are so far outside the bounds of rationality are tolerated and allowed autonomy is a result of the atomization of our society.
Any solution to the problem of mass carnage by the diagnostically insane will have to come from the mental health realm, not the regulatory realm. This thought is scary beyond belief but, if you imagine a system where all youngsters are required to do two years of community service, you can imagine a system where the truly deviant are detected and neutralized.
3. Is there really a moral difference between an insane person using a Glock to make a point by killing innocent kids and the President of the United States using a Hellfire missile fired from a Predator drone to kill a bunch of innocent children who happen to be in the vicinity of a designated enemy?
Add in video games where kids kill thousands before they are teens and our moral arguments seem ever more feeble. If you worship violence as a means of solving problems, even in the virtual world, don’t be surprised when it comes to a place near you. So, now, go off to your local theater and watch Zero Dark Thirty and be entertained.
Ed Timm, PhD • via email
No such thing...
How stupid are the American public? And how disingenuous is the left-wing press? Those poor children’s bodies were still inside the school building and the freekin’ liberals were all talking about gun control.
To the progressive liberals, the lives of those children were nothing more than a wonderful opportunity to politicize their agenda.
A school bus is bombed in Israel, children are lost, what do we do? Nothing. A school bus goes off the road and children are lost, what do we do? Nothing. Do we ban school buses, do we demand more laws governing those who drive those buses? No.
There is no such thing as “gun” violence. If guns were not available, evil would find a way, if it had to resort to sticks and stones.
We allow our children to play violent video games, and say nothing while they shriek with joy as they watch their opponent’s head explode.
Our schools do not allow sound religious teaching; the progressives are working to abolish the family, any outward displays of true moral conviction, and anyone who mentions the possibility of there being a power greater than ourselves which may actually have a positive effect on the residents of this planet.
Today’s society is the problem, not guns, if our morally corrupt political leaders think the tragic deaths of children is going to be their ticket to confiscate our guns, they are badly mistaken, I fear we will need our guns to protect our families from the very government we, in the past, believed was on our side.
Paul James Nepote • TC
Extremists in charge
Our Republican dominated State Legislature has passed legislation that allows religiously affiliated hospitals and physicians to deny emergency room care to anyone who is a member of a group they consider immoral. This includes, of course, gay people and women who are pregnant and who are experiencing a life-threatening emergency requiring an abortion in order to save the life of the mother.
Presumably both the pregnant mother experiencing a life-threatening emergency and the gay person in the death grip of AIDS or any other illness can now legally be left to die on the street, courtesy of the Michigan Republican Party and their cohorts in barbarity like Michigan Right to Life, et al.
We are witnessing the establishment of a theocracy in this state with large segments of the population being targeted for eventual destruction.
Along with a theocracy one can also add the term autocracy, since Representative Greg MacMaster refuses to respond to or even acknowledge the receipt of letters from his constituents expressing disapproval regarding this legislation. He simply ignores you. Apparently if you aren’t with the Koch brothers or a conservative religious organization, your views don’t matter to him.
God save us from the Michigan Republican Party!
Brian R Morgan • Gaylord
An answer to ignorance
The Israeli occupation of Palestine is nothing short of a complicated mess that feeds an often-confusing public discourse. But what feeds that confusion is exemplified in last week’s letter by Joel Weberman, titled: “An ignorant letter.”
He starts by accusing a letter writer of “lying” about her statement that Israel targets Gaza civilians. He then unintentionally exonerates her by stating that Israel has no choice because that’s where Hamas hides their weapons.
His disagreement with the words “ethnic cleansing” and “apartheid” are countered by stating that many Arabs have Israeli citizenship and are elected officials. What? Does that statement shed light on the fact that “rights” in this region is distributed based on ethnicity?
Ethnicity determines one’s right to immigrate, travel, build a home, dig a well, establish a settlement, what side of a “security wall” you might live, what roads you may travel or whether you can be arrested and detained without charge or legal representation.
He further falls into the trap of citing the treatment of some other ethnic or religious group in another land, or another time in history, to either justify or condemn actions by one side or the other today.
I find it unfortunately typical of the lack of civil and effective public dialog on this issue from both sides. My many trips to the region have taught me that one person’s terrorist can be equally and passionately another person’s freedom fighter. And both perspectives can be held by reasonable, decent people.
I’ve also learned that there are Arabs and Israelis on all sides of the issue and it’s never as black and white or certain as so many letters and media products attempt to portray.
This sort of ideologically handcuffed or biased portrayal of the region has been happening since the creation of the state of Israel. The truly unfortunate part is that our opinions matter in the public policy arena and the current state of those opinions only spell continued suffering on both sides for generations to come.
Timothy Young • Empire
(Timothy Young is the president of Food for Thought and a participant in last year’s Run Across Palestine and the resulting film, “The People and the Olive.”)
The concert controversy
the Veterans Day concert at First Congregational Church ... As a
Christian, FCC member, and veteran, I attended the concert and commend
all who participated.
Prior to the concert there were pictures of veterans, both living and dead, including my own, displayed on a video screen in front of the sanctuary. Many attendees may have thought that the veteran’s pictures displayed were an endorsement of the concert. I for one was not asked, nor do I endorse the inclusion of the Islamic Call to Prayer, or the concert itself. I do however fully endorse the decision by Pastor David Walls and church council member Doug Bishop to not include the Islamic Prayer.
While I respect the opinions of others, we now live in a politically correct world. I suppose a Christian prayer, Islamic prayer, Hindu prayer, Jewish prayer, and a Buddhist prayer all could have been included; still others would have been offended. Then there would be no time for the concert.
I’m sorry the young Muslim student and her family were offended. If the concert had included a Christian prayer, and the concert planned for her place of worship would the concert have even been presented at all?
Doug Shaffer • TC
Lame duck outrage
One hundred eighty-two bills were passed in Michigan’s lame duck session, many in the middle of the night with no discussion.
Would YOU have time to read and understand 182 bills in that length of time? Would it be possible to understand the ramifications of this legislation in three weeks time?
Clearly we have extremely intelligent legislators who are current with all the issues and who need no input from citizens.
Lou Ann McKimmy • via email