It is probably true that a majority of gun owners favor reasonable regulation of firearms and firearms sales. Unfortunately it is the strident, paranoid minority that controls the dialogue.
In digesting their tiresome clichés and talking points, one thing is quite obvious: These gun enthusiasts believe that the Second Amendment is sacrosanct, not subject to any kind of regulation. They are constantly reminding us of its status as a “right,” as if being so makes it immune to even common-sense interpretation, practice or restrictions.
The First Amendment, by contrast, is not so sacrosanct. We can’t yell “fire!” in a crowded theater. When we want to “peaceably assemble” for the redress of our grievances, we must first obtain a permit from a specified government agency.
Is it not odd that some of our rights can be regulated, but not others? An Orwellian paraphrase seems appropriate here: All these rights are inalienable, but one is more inalienable than the others, at least as far as the National Rifle Association leadership and its sycophants are concerned.
The Ninth Amendment states that the enumeration of rights in the Constitution shall not be interpreted to “deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
Clearly the authors recognized that other rights existed, independent of their being enumerated, and that the people, in their collective civil wisdom, would recognize them in the course of maintaining a civil society.
Some examples of these unenumerated rights might include hiking on public lands, driving a car, traveling across state lines or, hey, singing in the shower. But to the far-right gun fringe, these are not “rights,” they are mere “privileges” and, therefore, obviously discretionary.
I’m afraid the faith of our founders in civil wisdom was overly optimistic, if the gun-nut emphasis on Second Amendment immunity is to be logically interpreted.
Because they believe it should not be subject to regulation, the rest of us have no right to be safe from gun violence or to be protected from the egregious results of uncontrolled firearms proliferation.
Isn’t that the message they send when they tell the Newtown families of slaughtered children to butt out of the debate?
But, of course, they’re justified: The Second Amendment is a right, don’t you know, before which mere rights — uh, privileges — can and will be sacrificed. Even Justice Antonin Scalia doesn’t buy into that.
Tom M. Liston
Secret force nowhere found
The Beacon Journal made a questionable call in running the June 5 letter, “An anniversary to note.”
The notion that Obama five years ago proposed the creation of a secret military beholden only to the White House, and which has somehow gone unnoticed by the media and the American people, is absurd.
While Obama did utter the one sentence quoted in the letter, “We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set. We’ve got to have a national security force that is just as powerful, just as strong, just as well funded,” it’s quite clear in the speech — transcripts and video recordings of which are freely available — that he was referring to social programs like AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps.
To publicize such a rant can only be described as mockery of the letter writer and abuse of the medium. The public deserves an editorial board that has enough respect for its readers to weed out submissions from people who are clearly not capable of understanding what they are saying.
Slander? What slander?
As an avid listener to the late-night radio talk shows on WNIR, I have never heard a slanderous remark about President Obama.
In order to be classified as “slander,” the remark must use false accusations. So far, those “ accusations” have all been true.
Joseph C. Gardner
Crash course in bike safety
I would like to thank Akron Children’s Hospital and Safe Kids Summit County for partnering with the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics to help promote Bike Helmet Safety Awareness Week, held May 6-10, by hosting a helmet giveaway.
Your community’s participation is critical in helping the academy reach the Put a Lid on It! campaign’s goal, which is to raise awareness of the importance of safe biking among Ohio children and to encourage adults and children to wear bike helmets.
Bike helmets save lives and prevent injuries. In 2010, the number of people injured because they were not wearing a bike helmet was 51,000, enough to fill Nationwide Arena in Columbus 2 1/2 times.
By providing a $10 helmet to a child, we can take $41 out of our health-care system.
Sarah Denny, M.D.
Injury Prevention Committee Co-Chair
Ohio Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics
Get to the bottom of Benghazi attack
I read the May 12 commentary, “After the attack, the fog of Benghazi,” and the June 6 article, “Presidential appointees to be tested.”
I guess that if you are part of a government that lets four Americas die without trying to save them, you get rewarded with a promotion.
I watched the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing and listened to Gregory Hicks’ account of what happened,
I heard last year from U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice what caused the attack. I also heard President Obama at the U.N., the State Department and the White House spokesman. The only thing that I got from these statements is that they are 180 degrees different.
With all of this still hanging over the ambassador to the U.N. and the State Department, the only fact that I know is that our ambassador to Libya and three other Americans are dead and our military was told to stand down and not try to help save them. We will never know if they could have stopped the attack and saved these four men.
With all of the unanswered questions, how can President Obama reward Rice with a promotion? I read that her promotion does not require congressional approval. What a shame.
The American people will never know the truth on Benghazi because we have such drastically different accounts of what happened.
I am tired of America approaching everything in a politically correct manner, so as not offend others, rather than telling the truth. I wonder how the State Department will get new employees and veterans of the foreign services to work for America overseas.
First, protect first responders
The federal Emergency Planning Community Right to Know Act requires facilities that use, store or make threshold quantities of hazardous substances to report them to state and county emergency planners and local fire departments.
In this way, the local emergency responders have the information they need before they arrive at the scene of an accident, explosion or spill.
However, the current Ohio law allows oil and gas drillers engaged in the practice called hydraulic fracturing to claim chemicals as trade secrets, making it extremely difficult for responders to know exactly what they are dealing with when they arrive at the scene.
Trade secrets claimed by a company should not override safety issues to the public. Hydraulic fracturing forces toxic chemicals into the ground, where they could contaminate our drinking water. This should be of special concern for people who are on well water.
It is wrong to purposefully withhold information on the chemicals from emergency crews should they be required to respond and treat possible victims.
Persons concerned about this matter should contact their state legislators and urge them to support Senate Bill 17, the Fracking Emergency Medical Right to Know Act.
As a Catholic and a parent of two Ohio State University students, I was disappointed to hear that Gordon Gee is being forced into retirement for committing the venial sin of telling some corny jokes.
Both of my daughters have emailed Gee for various academic reasons, and he personally emailed to respond to their concerns.
He went so far for one of my daughters as to interview her in his office, then write her a recommendation letter for graduate school. How many university presidents would do that for one of 65,000 students?
Kevin M. Ryan