In the Jan. 29 letter “Right of self-protection,” the writer said, “The Second Amendment was placed in the Bill of Rights because it is so essential to our ability to protect the rest of our rights and to protect ourselves against all governments, domestic and foreign.”
I have heard this argument before and respectfully disagree, at least in part.
The Second Amendment makes reference to a “well regulated Militia.” U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clark McReynolds, in delivering the opinion of the court in United States v. Miller in 1939, gave clarity to those words.
He wrote, “The Constitution, as originally adopted, granted the Congress power — ‘To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions; To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress.’ ”
He went on to say that the guarantees of the Second Amendment “must be interpreted and applied with that end in view.”
I see no mention of the right to keep and bear arms for the purpose of overthrowing an elected government, and for a good reason.
You don’t need the government’s permission; that’s why they’re called rebellions, after all.
Beyond that, we live in a representative democracy, in which issues are meant to be decided at the ballot box and not on a battlefield.
You can’t threaten Second Amendment solutions for our problems every time you lose an election and expect to remain a free people.
It’s not only unpatriotic, it’s irresponsible and immature.
Wayne M. Crislip
In response to the Jan. 23 commentary “Whom to hold accountable?,” too many of our officials, in politics and business, seem to have forgotten or ignored a precept I learned early in my business career: You can delegate authority, but you cannot delegate responsibility.
Harry Truman’s buck still stops at the top, and nowhere else.
Robert A. Dill
Appreciating Pete Seeger
Pete Seeger — folk musician, peace and environmental activist, champion of the five-string banjo, and writer (in all or in part) of such songs as Where Have All the Flowers Gone?, If I Had a Hammer, We Shall Overcome, and Turn, Turn, Turn — passed away last week.
Although I only met him a few times, he was an important figure in my life.
He was a contemporary of my parents, and my children are third-generation Pete Seeger fans. Like thousands of others, I feel as if I knew him personally and, with his passing, that I’ve lost a friend.
His melding of music with social consciousness inspired me to pick up the banjo and guitar when I was in high school, learn scores of songs and use them to connect with people the world over.
His calm but resolute commitment to his principles of understanding, empathy and social justice has helped me and countless more admirers keep our moral compass pointing in a positive direction. The world is now a poorer place, but as my friend and blues musician, Andy Cohen, pointed out, “the ones who paid attention are the richer” for Seeger’s 94-year presence.
Or, in the words of one of my favorite songs — one I learned, appropriately, from a Pete Seeger record — “sometimes happy, sometimes blue; glad that I ran into you. Tell the people that you saw me passing through.”
Thank you, Pete, for passing through and spending a few years with us.
Good decision on food stamps
In the Jan. 26 editorial “SNAP judgment,” this editorial page criticized Gov. John Kasich for failing to adequately take into account the needs of the poor in his decision not to seek a waiver from work requirements for recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or, more commonly, “food stamps”). To the contrary, the governor’s decision was both sound and compassionate.
While the editorial suggests that the work requirements are “harsh,” the actual requirements are quite flexible.
If a recipient cannot find a job after receiving benefits for three months, then he or she can still satisfy the work requirement through job training or volunteer work.
That promotes job skills and provides benefits to the community, and is not unduly burdensome in times where finding jobs is particularly tough.
The requirements do not even apply to single mothers struggling to feed small children on a shoestring budget. The requirements only affect mentally and physically able adults without dependents.
Reinstating effective work requirements will help get people back into the work force and turbo-charge Ohio’s recovery.
That is far more compassionate than continually waiving these requirements and allowing valuable works kills to atrophy. The governor’s decision is not a harsh injustice; it is a necessary first step in the right direction.
Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions
The Jan. 31 column headlined “Pete Seeger’s last night on stage,” by Jesse Wegman, a New York Times editorial writer, erred in identifying Seeger’s last major public performance. It was in late November at Carnegie Hall in New York City.