Self-protection is a natural right
America’s Declaration of Independence is based upon the “self-evident” truth that all men “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” By referring to them as “unalienable,” the founders of our liberty meant that they are natural rights distinct from legal rights. That’s an important distinction to note, because natural rights are those neither incidental to the laws of any government nor contingent upon any customs or beliefs of any particular culture.
First and foremost among our few natural rights is the right of self-protection. Thus, it must follow that ownership of adequate weaponry to facilitate that right is itself a natural right. While once musket fire was returned with musket fire, warfare technology has taken us far beyond. Now that bad men brandish assault weapons that no laws will prevent them from having, what are the chances of good men without them?
For those who demand that the natural right of self-protection become a legal right for government to decide and dispense: Let us tread lightly here. Does government really protect us? How well? We need only look to history to consider what happens when a society begins to believe government will provide for the protection of the people and the people are, thus, not required it for themselves.
RON A. HOFFMAN
Others have rights
Conservatives say that the Second Amendment guarantees them the right to bear arms – as many arms of whatever type they choose. But where are the rights of the schoolchildren, educators and families who have fallen victim to indiscriminate gun violence? Do we all not have the constitutional rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? How are these rights enhanced when any gun-wielding fool can wantonly and with ease obtain and use weapons that massacre our fellow citizens by the score?
The time is long past to have a serious national discussion regarding the availability of guns to anyone who wants them for whatever reason. These tragedies do not have to happen.
Though it is true that no set of laws or precautions will prevent every lunatic from wreaking havoc, surely we can, as a society, do better than the status quo. Limits on the size of ammunition magazines, more thorough examination of the mental health status of those who seek to purchase guns, and limits on the type of guns, especially assault weapons, are places to start.
If we remain idle and silent, these needless tragedies will inevitably continue. The only moral response is to limit, as best we can, these horrific attacks.
Guns on tables?
To help prevent school massacres, I favor proposals to designate a limited number of willing and well-trained school staff members to use firearms in emergencies. A letter writer (“Arming teachers adds to gun problem,” Dec. 29 Letters to the Editor) opposed this idea, writing: “The shooter would not even have to take a weapon with him. He could just use the ones in the school already.”
I always supposed that schools would conceal the firearms in secure, readily accessible places. It never occurred to me that they might keep them on tables at their entrances.
Gospel of guns
The religious groups that see gun ownership as God’s will seem to have Jesus Christ confused with John Wayne.
Out of desperation for something to back up their views, they use the puny argument that Jesus told his disciples to buy a sword.
Gospel gun mongers never tire of telling us that Jesus “wasn’t a weakling.” They are absolutely right. As a man of strong character, he had no need to use a weapon to state his case. I think it’s time for gun owners to examine their obsession with the sanctification of their demented hobby.
Demand a seat
In China, they have decided to let women sit comfortably in Apple computer factories (Dec. 27 Eagle). Americans used to sit, but about 25 years ago, cashiers, clerks and others had their chairs and stools removed.
Since then, I have asked people all over the world who are standing behind airline and hotel desks, drugstore counters and food stands how they feel. Not surprisingly, their legs hurt.
Once an airline clerk spent an hour in Dallas rerouting me, all the time standing behind a high counter in high heels. When I got to France, the clerk at Air France was seated in an ergonomically designed chair. She said no one wanted to work in New York because even Air France personnel had to stand there. Recently, an international student standing at a food counter at Wichita State University said (good-naturedly) that people only stood in Japan and America.
I think this began because we were scared Japan was getting ahead of us economically. Now we are scared of China. Perhaps there is hope.
In the meantime, the unions should demand this simple reform, which would allow workers to be more efficient, healthy, comfortable and happy. Demand a seat.
DOROTHY K. BILLINGS