Truth a casualty
The entire drug war becomes absurd when we realize that drug warriors are inveterate liars who have never told the truth about any drug. If they can get away with it, they'll tell you that marijuana is a "death-dealing drug" — even though there has never been a marijuana caused death in all of recorded history.
The drug warriors have been lying since the very beginning of their drug crusade. They have to lie, because there is no compelling reason control what drugs a person uses.
Before drug prohibition there was no such thing as "drug crime." No one was robbing, whoring and murdering over drugs until after the drug warriors outlawed their drug. Search the archives in vain seeking an armed robbery, a theft, an assault or a murder caused by drug addiction before the drug laws went on the books. —Ralph Givens, Daly City
Employing his customary closely reasoned intellectual analysis, Lessenberry concludes that anyone who disagrees with his interpretation of the Second Amendment is "crazier than a shithouse rat" ("Straight shooters," Jan. 19). Must be some of that new civil political discourse I've been reading about in the New York Times.
Since Lessenberry must know that the U.S. Supreme Court has sided with the shithouse rats, in a democracy there's only one solution: Amend the Second Amendment to read precisely the way Jack wants (I suspect that would be "No citizen shall be permitted to possess a firearm," which is a tad inconsistent with a Bill of Rights, but let that pass). The process for constitutional amendment is straightforward, and surely the right-thinking citizens of this country far outnumber the shithouse rats, so the task should be a simple one. Lead on, Jack! —Tom Nowinski, Grosse Pointe Park
Aim for context
I disagree with Jack about something. He refers to the Second Amendment as "the clause is poorly written." I believe it was very precisely written, but we just don't understand the generation who fought the American Revolution. The Tea Party understands it least of all.
In 1787 most of the everyday, ordinary people in Western Civilization were living under feudalism. Americans were people who fled the tyranny of the old world, creating new communities. Under feudalism, the lower classes were not allowed to hunt or own weapons. Allowing common people to bear arms is a revolutionary rejection of feudalism.
By the same token, the Second Amendment is the only part of the Bill of Rights which includes the word "regulated." Libertarianism is a later intellectual invention, long after the Revolutionary Generation had made it safe to be an individual. Living in a frontier settlement lent people a tight sense of community, observable in the "townspeople" of an old Western movie.
The amendment says the community makes the regulations as to keeping and bearing arms. The federal government has no role telling communities how to regulate the kinds of arms the community deems necessary to establish the dignity of bearing arms for a free people. The rural deer hunter who doesn't want the federal government to take away his .30-06 and the urban grandmother who doesn't want handguns on her street, are both right! They just live in different kinds of communities.
To say there should be a federally imposed rule as to the community's right to regulate how we keep and bear arms is a complete reversal of what the revolutionary generation intended. But, then again, the modern corporation is a form of feudalism, so we're losing it all anyway.
Since weapons and ammunition are transported as interstate commerce, the federal government could impose an excise tax to help pay for the costs of gun violence.
Most gun owners I know are good people who genuinely want to protect the community. Making this contribution could be their way of protecting our communities. —Kurt Thornbladh, Dearborn
I rise to two points of disagreement with two commentators on America's perpetual "gun issue." One goes beyond derision to contempt, the other is a weary resignation.
1) The allegation by Bruce A. Hoepner (Letters, Jan. 19) that "violent crime and murder rates have actually dropped since more American states liberalized their gun control laws" is disingenuous. Rather than counsel a lobotomy, understand that two independent phenomena can co-exist with little if any causation or auto-correlation. The dependent variable he cites is the result of maybe a half-dozen factors, of which packin' heat comes in dead last.
2) Commentator Jack Lessenberry wants better laws and I agree, with this caveat: probably hopeless. Americans are too systemically felonious and paranoid for legal reforms to have significant effect, certainly in the short run. I think quick-firing or high penetration arms should be addressed like toxic waste policy, but that is just me. —G. M. Ross, Lowell