Right to bear arms is sacrosanct
I offer some comments on the article "NRA under new fire for rhetoric on assault weapons" (May 7).
The article quotes Denis A. Hennigan, general counsel for Handgun Control Inc. ". . . To (Justice) Burger and us, the fraud is the NRA's assertion that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to be armed apart from service in a well-regulated state militia."
Perhaps Mr. Hennigan would be better informed on the origins of the Second Amendment if he would read the scholarly work of Joyce L. Malcolm, a professor of history at Bentley College, particularly "To Keep and Bear Arms, The Origins of an Anglo-American Right" (Harvard University Press, 1994).
With regard to the individual right to be armed, Ms. Malcolm states that "the American Bill of Rights, like the English Bill of Rights, recognized the individual's right to have weapons for his own defense, rather than for collective defense . . .
" 'When the sanctions of society and laws are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression,' these private weapons would afford the people the means to vindicate their liberties . . .
The future composition of the militia, however well- or ill-armed, was not crucial because the people's right to have weapons was to be sacrosanct. As was the case in English tradition, the arms in the hands of the people, not the militia, are relied upon 'to restrain the violence of oppression.' "
Ms. Malcolm quotes the Philadelphia Gazette and Philadelphia Evening Post of June 18, 1789, which described each of the proposed amendments.
L "The aim of the article that became the Second Amendment was
explained this way: 'As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow-citizenry, the people are confirmed . . . in their right to keep and bear their private arms.' "
Mr. Hennigan needs to read his history on how the Second Amendment originated and why it was included in the Bill of Rights.
This would give him a more accurate reading of the Constitution.
Perhaps then he would see the true fraud he alleges is actually that foisted upon an unsuspecting citizenry by Handgun Control Inc. and by federal law enforcement agencies run amok.
David H. Welch
Bad for children
Isn't it ironic that just a short while ago we were fighting to have a bill passed that bans the advertisement of alcoholic beverages on billboards.
Well, they are back. Yes, the newest thing in town is to drink fruit juice out of bottles that look exactly like bottles containing alcohol and beer.
We fought to have billboards advertising alcohol taken down only to have these bottles replace them.
We should all be outraged at this form of advertising. These bottles send a subliminal message to young people that the way to success and maturity is through alcohol consumption. The bottles glamorize alcohol consumption as the in thing to do.
Why do we continually allow companies to target our children? These are companies that we patronize every day, such as Everfresh and Mystic.
If you will not give alcohol to your 5-year-old, why should you allow him to drink out of bottles that are identical to liquor bottles?
What is even more sickening is that this form of advertisement seems to be concentrated in inner-city areas. I personally feel this could keep our communities in disarray with diseases such as alcohol and drug abuse.
Our children have enough obstacles facing them. I urge all interested parties to demand that the stores in our communities stop selling these products.
If not, we should boycott the stores. After all, an investment is at stake -- our future, our children.
Sister Chanelle Cooper
I am not opposed, per se, to a judge ordering a convicted person to perform community service in lieu of jail. I am opposed to the manner in which it is carried out.
When these persons perform their community service it is usually accepted as a charitable act, which it is not. This is a punishment in lieu of a jail sentence, and the beneficiaries of these services should be made aware of same. This is not done, and the person receives accolades for doing a charitable act.
The folly of not identifying these persons as criminals rather than as charitable persons was clearly demonstrated last week on television.
A woman, whose actions almost destroyed another's career, was depicted as a very caring and considerate citizen when performing her court-ordered community service.
A judge in Arkansas has the solution. When a first-time shoplifter appears before him, he gives that person a choice of 60 or five.
The 60 is days in the local jail. The five is five hours in front of the store where the offense occurred. For five hours the shoplifter would have to wear a sandwich-board sign that said: "I was convicted of shoplifting and this is my punishment.`