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Letters to the editor

Thoughtfulness key in free society

Dennis Cooley’s arguments about the Second Amendment and bad parenting (“Naïveté guides shooting reactions,” Dec. 23) are easy to accept at face value. Grotesque events such as the mass shooting of children in Newtown, Conn., deserve stricter scrutiny and, under that level of analysis, his arguments do not hold up.

The reason for the Second Amendment was never “…so the people could not be subjected to tyranny by their own government…” as Cooley said. If anyone was confused, they only needed to read the first portion of the aforementioned amendment: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State...” The Founding Fathers, while wary of a standing army, were certainly against the type of vigilante separatism implied in Cooley’s letter. In fact, as commander in chief, President George Washington led a militia to put down a rebellion over taxes of whisky. Citizens were not to bear arms against their government but in support of their government.

As a country, we have a model for how to regulate guns. Australia and America are, in many ways, cut from the same cloth. Both are nations where firearms for hunting and personal protection are woven into the countries’ histories and traditions. Both have experienced atrocious gun massacre tragedies.

Immediately after Australia’s massacre, however, gun reform laws and a gun buyback system were put in place. The result? No mass murder since the law took effect in 1996.

The Australia model for gun reform is by no means a panacea. The need for de-stigmatization, identification and treatment of mental illness is self-evident.

I fundamentally disagree with Cooley – parental fear of school massacre is not the price we pay to live in a free society. We are better than that.


No legislating against evil

The recent tragedies in Newtown, Conn., and upstate New York have highlighted a debate on what role guns and evil have in our society.

The knee-jerk reaction was to blame the guns for the brutal murder of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary, and two firefighters in upstate New York. The easy, “we’ll do this to solve that problem” is to strengthen already-strict gun laws. In Newtown the shooter used legally registered guns. The shooter’s mother jumped through every hoop that Connecticut required. The shooter in New York was a felon who could not own a gun but had one anyway.

The more thoughtful response is that government cannot control evil. The devil used the shooters in Newtown and upstate New York like hand puppets to do his will. No law will protect people from evil; only a humble repentance to God will do that.

The Supreme Court has spoken on what the Second Amendment to the Constitution means. The gun-control advocates have tried everything they can to take all our guns through onerous waiting periods and regulations, to no avail. It is time that they see these crimes for what they are, evil perpetrated on innocent people.


Job figures based on half-truths

Presidents and economic developers both like to tout the number of jobs they help create. President Obama says his administration created 5 million. But the Bureau of Labor Statistics says just 1.1 million more Americans are employed today than when he was sworn in. Captive to a public hungry for new jobs, economic developers also report their own numbers, normally the promises of new jobs from expanding businesses they’ve helped with tax incentives, real estate and advocacy.

The awkward question neither answers is how these numbers are calculated, particularly when BLS data support neither claim.

How can the president justify 5 million new jobs? Only by selecting December 2009 as a baseline after the fact, something Pulitzer Prize-winning called a “cherry-picked time frame” and a half truth.

And how can economic developers report job growth when BLS reports employment declines? By reporting only jobs they’ve helped create, not net changes in employed residents: like a business reporting income but not expenses.

The president continues a long tradition of those before him who did the same. And economic developers adopted the model decades ago. But voters and development advocates should ask both for new year’s resolutions giving us more than half-truths in 2013.

RICHARD HEUPEL Director, Economic and Community Development Building Better Communities at Ball State University