Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor on health care, abortion, concealed-carry

Already mandated to buy insurance

I find it very interesting that there is so much controversy regarding the individual mandate to purchase health insurance, which is included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It seems to me that the precedent for such a mandate was set long ago with Medicare.

Are not all individuals required to purchase health insurance in the form of Medicare? Premiums are automatically deducted from my wages, and I have no legal right to opt out. The same can be said for Social Security. We are mandated, by the federal government, to purchase what is in effect a retirement supplement annuity.

Given these two programs, which are very popular with the citizens who benefit from them, it is a bit of a stretch to argue that the individual mandate for health care coverage is an affront to personal rights.



Founders’ wisdom

I am neither a college graduate nor a constitutional scholar. Rather, I am just an American who decided I needed to know more about the Constitution.

What a treasure trove of information it is. How the founders finally reached the writing of the Constitution is nothing less than a miracle of God and human genius.

The language of the day requires some rereading, but for the most part it is easily understood because of the commonsense approach.

One such example from James Madison in the Federalist Papers: “It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.” Another example: “What farmer or manufacturer will lay himself out for the encouragement given to any particular cultivation, or establishment, when he can have no assurance that his preparatory labors and advances will not render him a victim to an inconstant government?”

Remind you of anything?



Ban is irrational

Anyone who understands modern medical technology realizes that an absolute prohibition of abortion is irrational, inhumane and immoral.

This is because we can now know many things about a pregnancy during the pregnancy, and sometimes what is known is devastating. For example, in rare cases it can be known that the pregnancy will kill the woman, and that the fetus is so defective it cannot survive outside the womb.

In such situations, a couple cannot help but wonder if they should continue the pregnancy. No matter what they decide, they will agonize over whether they decided correctly.

Society also must ask whether the couple should be allowed to have an abortion. But society need not agonize over its response, for the consequences of its decision fall only abstractly upon society.

In the abstract, it is easy for society to consider the death of a particular but unknown individual as having been necessary and justified. It is easy because, unlike the couple involved, society does not have to personally live with the consequences.

But society, after all, consists of individuals, and those individuals should vividly ask themselves what they would choose for themselves if they were enmeshed in such a tragic situation. More important, they should ask whether they would prefer that society dictate the answer for them.



Don’t allow guns

As headlines about shootings on college campuses show, all it takes is one person in possession of a gun with the intent to use it to create a residue of fear on a campus likely to last for years. Rep. Valdenia Winn, D-Kansas City, who is a history professor at Kansas City (Kan.) Community College, only began to express the problem with allowing concealed guns onto college campuses (“House approves changes to concealed-carry law,” March 13 Eagle). If a law is passed to allow this, anyone could bring a gun onto the premises unimpeded.

The larger problem here is safety, as Rep. Forrest Knox, R-Altoona, pointed out – but not in the way he argued. Allowing concealed-carry on campus would make it impossible to distinguish “law-abiding citizens” from that one person who plans to use the gun to shoot someone. No alert can be sounded until the gun is in use, which is too late.

Keeping guns off campus is important to allow for an early alert. If it may mean a few false alarms, so be it. If even one alarm is a real one, it could save someone – or several people – from being shot and also eliminate years of fear and grief throughout the community.



Right to bear arms

The bill allowing concealed-carry permit holders to carry guns in government buildings would be beneficial to our state (“House approves changes to concealed-carry law,” March 13 Eagle). It allows citizens to protect themselves and their families.

Fears of concealed weapons seem groundless. If a person goes through the legal process of obtaining a permit, what would be the motivation to use the weapon for criminal purposes? This bill would allow citizens, as part of their constitutional rights, to bear arms.