News From Terre Haute, Indiana

July 22, 2013

READERS' FORUM: July 22, 2013


TERRE HAUTE — NRA’s gun show

goes on and on


There are elephants in the tea room. (Some of the tuskier specimens may even be Boone-and-Crockett caliber.) And no one is taking aim at them. Pray tell, why not? Are they invisible? Are they out of season or simply subjects taboo?

Once again, the National Rifle Association has begun its summer festivities, that is, the herding together of its membership for their traditional march of circular reasoning. (More on that a bit later.) To paraphrase Charlton Heston, former spokesperson for the NRA, “They can have my little pea-shooter when they twist this soda straw from my chilly, tea-stained fingers.”

Nobody wants to take away your pea-shooter. Chuck, you poor, dead, self-aggrandizing, misguided messianic warbler.

As Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president-for-life (and the life beyond) of the NRA, put it following the defeat of a recent effort to ever-so-slightly expand background checks for those wishing to purchase firearms, “This fight will never be over.”

Not even, presumably, after all the combatants are long-since deceased.

I do not see the correlation between concealed-carry laws and the need for a well-regulated militia, but apparently Illinois lawmakers did recently. Perhaps, they were focusing more on political pronouncements than on constitutional proscriptions.

Some will say that the more people who carry guns, the safer we will all be. But when guns are used against other humans to save someone else’s life, it is a one-in-a-million proposition. If a gun is used by one citizen to save another, it makes the news far and wide because it is such a rarity. If, however, a gun is used to murder someone, we rarely hear about it unless there are multiple victims, or it occurs nearby, or if there are freakish or unusual other circumstances surrounding the event.

I am not anti-gun. Furthermore, I support the right to own firearms as outlined in the Second Amendment. I have long believed that the most compelling reason for citizens to have their own weapons is not to defend home and hearth, nor for hunting, nor sport, nor for intimidation of one’s fellow citizens (their most common and exhilarating use today), but because we need to be able to back up our ballot boxes with the actual physical means of removing tyrants, lunatics or conspirators and usurpers of power. The founding fathers acknowledged the importance of this capability (although some of them began to have second thoughts once they realized that they had gained control of the new government and thus stood to be the next ones in line to be overthrown … and these were no nervous Nellies, mind you.)

Times have changed. Today, a small group or even a single person can inflict great harm among the rest of us. The argument is raised that muskets represented cutting-edge technology when the Constitution was adopted. True, but we don’t allow individuals to own tanks, fighter jets, RPGs, landmines, etc., now do we? So, it is established already that there should be limits. The “right to own” is not above logical restrictions.

Ask yourself this: would AR-15s really do the job if it became necessary to upend the government? Have you ever known of a revolution where there was a shortage of small-arms-type weaponry? The arms merchants have long tentacles, and they are always ready to turn a profit.

What’s more, their consciences are small enough, spit-wad-sized, to slip easily through the muzzle of a soda straw.

The hallelujah chorus of the NRA’s declaration of positions is that the only way to stop the use of guns in mass killings is to prevent criminals and people with mental problems from acquiring guns. Yet the same remain steadfastly opposed even to minimalist expansion of background checks. This is logic marching in a circle. How can those with mental problems or criminals be identified without checking into the background of would-be purchasers? That’s just crazy talk. (Friendly little game of Catch-22 anyone?)

Yet, for the benefit of M’sieurs Kite and LaPierre, the show must go on. Let’s get these ducks in a row.

All together now, tail-to-trunk-to-tail-to-trunk, once more around the Big Top!

— Clay Wilkinson

Terre Haute

Digesting the

pool issue

I’m writing this opinion in response to the upcoming meeting on a new centralized pool for our schools.

This is fine and dandy except the board and superintendent haven’t proven to the public that all the students will benefit. Promising that the Torpedoes swim club and teaching young kids how to swim is not including all students who should have this included in their P.E. classes.

For many reasons this should be a priority over a few getting to use the pool.

How much is the upkeep, utilities, insurance, cost of a swim teacher or teachers (because if we are really going to teach swimming it will take more than one teacher), the person who will run it and clean it? What are our liabilities? This should not be built on the ability for us to compete in swimming or to have swim meets with more lanes.

Our tax dollars at this time should go to help educate our children (all of them) better to fill the jobs that some leaders say we can’t fill because our kids are not educated enough. Our schools are 40 years old now; we will have to replace them in the next 10 years or so.

Are we thinking about that?

So another reason not to vote for it right away is because this had only been in the public eye for about two weeks.

The least you should do is give information on every aspect and let us speak. Let the taxpayers digest every aspect.

— Dennis Huey

Terre Haute

Board must respect

the people’s ideas

I read your editorial about the meeting at Sarah Scott school for the swimming pool debate. You said the public must respect the School Board and others.

That’s fine, but the board must also respect the public and not look down on them as if they are nobody. We the public pay their wages and insurance.

The last time a meeting was held for public comment was over the wheel tax and EDIT tax. The County Council looked down on the people as if they were trash. They were very rude. One council member was talking while a person from the public was talking. Very rude on his part.

Let’s hope the board does not do the same and that this is not an already cut-and-done deal behind close doors like the EDIT and wheel tax was.

— Butch King

Terre Haute

Only a spiritual

solution works

President Obama says, “We should ask ourselves if we are doing all we can to stem the tide of gun violence.” I reply to the president (source CNN):

Sir, you will not resolve the handgun problem or any other social problem until you first resolve the spiritual problems of our nation.

There is a spiritual war being fought in the air that needs to be won, before we can expect any success on the natural level.

— Van W. Cottom

Terre Haute