"Amendment II: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the rights of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."
This was written after the colonies had defeated the strongest nation on Earth and won our freedom from repressive government. It was not written by the NRA or wacko gun nuts or baby-killers, it was written by the forefathers of this nation in order to protect the people of the United States of America (then and forever).
It has nothing to do with authorizing the possession of muskets. It has to do with never again allowing an oppressive government to become the oppressor of us all. It is as valid today as it was on the day it was written. It is our insurance policy to prevent us from ever being ruled by another king or dictator. You need not be a Ph.D. to understand it.
Five times, I have taken the oath to "Protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, both foreign and domestic." Presidents and presidential fiats are not included in this oath.
I shall continue to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America until my death.
WILLIAM W. FRAKER, Col. U.S. Army (Ret.)
The current flu vaccine is reported as only 60 percent effective. The vaccine is raised against antigens (proteins) on the flu virus envelope that to a large extent are constantly changing, forcing vaccine developers to guess each year prior to vaccine production which antigenic strains will be present on next year's flu virus.
A flu vaccine raised against viral core antigens that apparently do not change over time could be developed, potentially 100 percent effective for as long as a decade.
As I write this, my wife and I are suffering a miserable viral illness, possibly flu, which has lasted over 10 days. Influenza deaths have already been reported across the country. Considering the costs, both direct with regard to diagnosis and treatment as well as indirect (e.g. lost work, diminished productivity) to society and the economy, it is incomprehensible that we continue to utilize yesterday's technology.
Vaccines do not have a great rate of return on investment. If this is the case, then this government, which seems to be intrusive in every other sector, may for once have a legitimate reason to be so, funding the research, so as to eliminate this yearly health debacle.
As a liberal (oh my goodness, who admits to that these days?), I would like to see you dispense with dispensing David Brooks' faux "centrist" pabulum. He purports to be a noble seeker of common ground and a proponent of evenhandedness in our political discourse; in truth he is but a sycophant of the right wing who is trying to edit out all the social conservatism and racism at the core of the modern Republican Party.
Blithely he defines us: Republican = low tax; Democrat = entitlements. He goes on to worry about those mean Democrats trying to split the Confederate Party from the country club set, our true Galtian overlords. Never mind that every Republican since Nixon (including St. Ronnie) has won by pandering to racist fears. Even the false equivalence of Democrats with entitlements bears the stench of the shiftless "Welfare Queen" (with her Cadillac) meme. An "earnest, good-government type" indeed.
David Brooks' "centrism" has no place on the left side of this paper, unless you desire to be complicit in the Right's determined shifting of the Overton window. So please, if you really want to have a left-side view, go find a real lefty. The fresh air might do everybody some good.
CATHY CLARK, Decherd, Tenn.
My perspective on gun control has been molded and influenced over the past few years working in law enforcement, and my experiences make it difficult for me to believe the policies of stricter gun control will do anything other than disarm law-abiding citizens and infringe upon their 2nd Amendment rights.
I've arrested criminals in possession of stolen guns, and I've arrested criminals committing crimes with those guns. Criminals scoff at gun control laws, and criminals always target someone they believe is unarmed.
I do not believe tighter gun control laws will stop the crimes we are trying to prevent. To those that disagree, I ask several questions:
Do you really believe a criminal determined to obtain a gun cares that it's against the law to break into a home and steal that gun?
Do you really believe an armed robber cares if it's against the law to take a gun into a bank?
Do you really believe a mentally deranged criminal cares it's against the law to take a gun into a school?
Do you really think there's a difference between the use of one gun with a 30-round magazine and one gun with three 10-round magazines?
The young man in MyStyle feature Jan. 21 looks quite polished (very "cool") in the photograph. I noted the cost of his glasses ($240), jacket ($270) and shoes ($249) ... and that may not include taxes! Those three items alone equal $759; the entire outfit cost $933. That's more than half what I receive (and live on) from monthly Social Security funds and only $77 short of two months' worth of my rent and twice the yearly total of my supplemental Medicare insurance!
Since my retirement, outfit-of-choice is a favorite set of comfy PJs. An old lady like me certainly is not jealous of his outfit -- its "look" or its costs. But I do wonder how featuring the prices of a teenager's clothing impacts students of his age, perhaps his own classmates, who are unable to afford even necessary items for attending school. Perhaps, for those students, MyStyle could feature the same look as this one, listing reasonable prices from "local stores" as was done in this MyStyle with "designer names."
CARREN LOUISE BERSCH
The fear that any gun any control legislation whatsoever will allow the government to come into our homes and confiscate our hunting rifles and shotguns is ridiculous, and the gun lobby knows it.
When citing the Second Amendment in support of firearms ownership the gun lobby conveniently omits the opening defining clause, "A well-regulated militia being necessary to the safety of a free state ..." Wonder why? These words authorize state militias, not individual gun ownership. In 1791 Congress had a natural distrust of standing armies and preferred civilian state militias for national defense. Gun ownership was then, as it is today, an assumed right under the common law.
We have had gun control laws in this country since the early 19th century, even in Southern states such as Alabama and Tennessee, plus the National Firearms Acts of 1934 and 1968. But we still have our guns.
The National Rifle Association was founded after the Civil War by two Union veterans to improve the marksmanship of potential army enlistees. The NRA has approved gun legislation in the past, but since the NRA-GOP nuptials, things have changed. That organization needs to divorce the Republicans and reassume its original role.
GEORGE B. REED JR., Rossville
The proposals to achieve gun safety have caused some to be concerned about their Second Amendment rights to own guns.
These concerns can be easily addressed.
It is a matter of constitutional law. And that law absolutely guarantees the right of citizens to own guns.
Moreover, the Supreme Court's most conservative member, Justice Antonin Scalia, has clearly confirmed our Second Amendment guarantee, as well as the people's right to enact reasonable laws to make gun ownership and use as safe as possible.
Two rights, both guaranteed.
Our 3rd District congressman, Chuck Fleischman, a lawyer and a conservative, knows the law and can reassure his constituents that, without a doubt, the Second Amendment has our back.