Email letters, January 17, 2013
Armed school employees could deter another tragedy
I understand the emotional need to take some action to prevent further tragedies like that at Sandy Hook, but we need to exercise reason over emotion in fashioning a solution. Outlawing hunting guns that look like military weapons won’t solve the problem. There will still be hunting guns that don’t look like military weapons that are just as lethal. Limiting the size of magazines won’t solve the problem. It takes only a few seconds to insert a fresh magazine into a gun.
Universal background checks would make it more difficult for mentally disturbed people to get their hands on guns if a national database were established that prohibited selling guns to the mentally ill, but this would require a radical change in our current privacy laws.
Armed guards in our schools might be a deterrent, but a guard would be the first target of disturbed individuals bent on taking as many lives as possible before taking their own. Don’t forget that Columbine had an armed guard on campus, and that did not deter Harris and Klebold. The guard was not at the right place at the right time. And don’t forget that they used shotguns and handguns, not “assault” weapons.
The school principal and a psychologist at Sandy Hook, although unarmed, confronted the shooter but were instantly killed. One wonders what the outcome would have been had they been armed. They were at the right place at the right time to change the outcome.
Properly trained and licensed school employees who, on a volunteer basis, are discretely armed would not be a threat to the general population and would be a powerful deterrent to another tragedy such as Columbine or Sandy Hook.
RICHARD L. UDD
Despite common beliefs, U.S. is a republic, not democracy
When Casey Anthony was determined innocent of the murder of her daughter Caylee, most Americans believed that justice had not been served. Famed Harvard jurist Alan Dershowitz declared that it was, “not about justice, but the law.” Interestingly, most of us find justice and law synonymous.
We are a republic, although most Americans believe that we are a democracy. But the Founders abhorred democracy. John Adams predicted, “Remember democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There was never a democracy that did not commit suicide.”
In a democracy majority rules, but majorities are often wrong. Adolph Hitler was voted chancellor of Germany by a majority of its citizens.
But how does a republic differ from a democracy? Majority opinion is but one aspect of a republic, and all government officials are charged to act with reason and moral judgment while protecting the rights of the minority. James Madison wrote in Federalist 10, “Measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minority party, but the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority.” Is there a better example of this than the forcing of Obamacare on the American people?
Our morality and sense of justice emanates from natural law and our Judeo-Christian ethic, not from a simple majority opinion. However, knowing that all humans are to some degree corrupt, our Founders developed a complicated system of checks and balances to limit personal corruption in government.
Thus, legislators write laws, both moral and immoral. If it is not about justice, then in a republic majority does not rule. If the tyrannical government cannot be voted out, Thomas Jefferson’s credo applies. “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”
Cartoon misinforms readers about raising debt limit
I was disappointed to see the editorial cartoon in Wednesday’s Daily Sentinel showing President Obama holding an assault rifle representing government spending and the debt limit. There is a common misperception that a vote to raise the debt limit is a vote to increase government spending. That is not true.
Raising the debt limit merely allows the U.S. Treasury to borrow money to pay for spending that Congress (not the president) has already approved. It is simply paying one’s bill after running up the tab.
In fact, Congress voted to increase the debt limit seven times during President George W. Bush’s term, 18 times during President Reagan’s term and only three times during President Obama’s term. Everyone agrees that we should reduce our country’s debt, and, in fact, our country’s annual budget deficit has been decreasing.
I know that you take your responsibility to accurately inform your readers very seriously, but to mischaracterize debt limit legislation as a vote to increase government spending is a disservice to the community that you serve.
President should clean up Chicago’s violence
President Obama’s chosen hometown of Chicago has the highest murder rate in America and the strictest gun laws in the nation.
How about his cleaning up the streets, alleys and back trails so that decent, hardworking, innocent American citizens can move freely about their city without fear?
He should find out what works and get the job done. Then he should get back to us with real world plans.
Blind panic now drives our thinking on weapons
This letter is something I thought that I would never write, but considering the circumstances of recent weeks, I feel compelled to do so at this time. I write in reference to the tragic event at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn.
After watching countless news broadcasts and reading numerous newspaper reports about the tragedy, I have concluded that much of our nation is in a state of blind panic. We hear and read of many “solutions” to the problem of mass murders, and probably none of them will work. The panic situation reminds me of an old saying I learned years ago. I have no ides as to its origin. It goes: “When in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout.”
Right now I see a lot of running in circles, accompanied by abundant screaming and shouting and precious little serious thinking. It is my feeling that the “assault weapons” are a symptom of a disease that requires serious, deep study over a long period of time. We must find out what prompts mass murderers to commit these atrocities. Simple explanations will not suffice.
PHILIP L. BORN
Centenarian’s life shows importance of motherly love
On Jan. 6 The Daily Sentinel ran an article about the death of a lady from South Carolina who was 114 years old. Her name was Marnie Rearden.
She had raised 11 children. She had taught school and had done volunteer work for the county in which she lived, helping get more children into schools. She wasn’t a president of a bank or of a college or anything, her daughters said, but they also said they were just as proud of her role as a mother and a homemaker.
She was married in 1920 to her husband, Oacy. They were married for 59 years and together raised their family.
So today, what level of importance does our society hold as that of a mother? A job of caring, feeding and loving the very young. Of proper bringing up and teaching and instilling goodness and self-guidance within the child. A molding of a life. To bring up properly the future caretakers of the land in which we live. This is a job of the highest, and Rearden was a true hero.
So, it starts in the home, and it begins with a mother.
GALEN W. SMITH