Email letters, Dec. 28, 2012

Heed political radical’s word before relinquishing liberties

As I read through The Daily Sentinel published on Dec. 23, I noted that you believe there’s nothing unconstitutional about a ban of so-called “assault weapons.”

You are wrong. After all, how hard is it to comprehend a statement providing that “… the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”? The Second Amendment is clearly designed to protect ownership by private citizens of weapons up to and including those that an ordinary soldier might use. And any legislation designed to prevent that is unconstitutional, notwithstanding whether a court can be found that will go along with it.

But there is a larger point. Over the past century or so the federal government has arrogated to itself the power to reach into every corner of our lives, and that trend shows no sign of abating. People who seek power gravitate to government. And because absolute power over the individual is the ultimate expression of that drive, over time government itself gravitates toward despotism.

But we in America have the Bill of Rights. And two of its provisions are linchpins. One, the First Amendment to the Constitution protects our rights to communicate and to persuade, even if the governing powers don’t approve. The other, the Second Amendment, protects our right to keep and bear arms. It allows us to defend ourselves and our communities. This includes resisting, by force of arms if necessary, the despotic actions of our own government. And that explains the repeated attempts to eviscerate it.

An 18th century political radical once wrote, “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

His name? Benjamin Franklin. And you might take his advice to heart before you advocate the abridgement of any more of our essential liberties.

GREG CORLE

Grand Junction

Top 2 percent need to give middle-class financial break

I was greatly heartened earlier this month by Republican Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee and Mike Johanns of Nebraska, who both stated a willingness to increase tax rates on the top 2 percent.
Previously a small-business owner for 20 years, I have personal experience with financial straits most of our lawmakers apparently can’t imagine. Families across the country face a similar situation every month, having to choose between buying food and getting to the dentist regularly or buying new tires so the car is safe to drive.

If I had an “extra” $2,000 per year, I would spread it out among the local businesses and professionals with whom I do business. If someone in the top 2 percent had it, what would he or she do? Place it in his or her portfolio? Buy a Jag? What benefits the 98 percent the most?

Let’s face it. The middle class is squeezed to a grease spot already. If the top 2 percent of earners pay a bit more, it will maintain the system on which they grew and flourished.

Like it or not, we are all in this together. Living in community means being part of a security net when things get rough, as well as being supported by that net when it’s needed. Or, at the very least and most cynical, enlightened self-interest?

I salute Sens. Corker and Johanns for moving beyond partisan scorekeeping, and I call on Rep. Scott Tipton to do the same as he returns to Washington after the Christmas break. For 98 percent of us, this is not a Monopoly game.

Are we a nation, or aren’t we? If we are, we’d better start acting like it.

JENNIFER SCHELLENBACH

Loma

Environmentalists spread propaganda but enjoy benefits of traditional energy sources

I could not agree more with the letter from Monte Williams in the Dec. 27 issue of The Daily Sentinel. The picture Monte wrote about was of people with respirators on at a gas well. The only real poison gas at a gas well is hydrogen sulfide, a very potent poison that cannot be mitigated by a respirator. There is virtually NO hydrogen sulfide in the natural gas in this area. A respirator filters out dust, not dangerous chemicals.

I, too, have worked in the oil and gas industry for 50 years. I owned 50 gas wells in Utah for several years and produced them myself — injecting chemicals and treating the gas. I have never suffered any ill effects from gas or oil production.

I believe all the negative untruths and propaganda about the “dangers” of fracing (yes, that’s how it’s spelled) are promulgated by the environmentalist zealots because they are afraid clean, cheap, abundant, convenient, dependable natural gas will replace big wind.
The environmentalist zealots are the true big wind —never doubt it. If I could have one wish, it would be to cut off the environmentalists’ auto fuel, natural gas and electricity. After all, that’s what they seem to want. The rest of us can then live normal lives with the conveniences wrought by engineering and technology.

NEWT BURKHALTER
Grand Junction



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