Lane doesn't get it
Mike Lane needs to wake up and smell the smoke. His Oct. 10 cartoon portrayed the armed goons in Haiti as National Rifle Association members.
National Rifle Association members cover a broad spectrum of Americans. Most, though, are average middle-class people.
In Rwanda they enacted gun control in 1968. It's 1994 now, and 250,000 Rwandans are dead.
In Haiti, private ownership of firearms is very restricted, as well as being beyond the financial means of most Haitians.
Ownership of firearms is restricted in Cuba as well. Castro had all firearms registered for reasons of "safety" -- and then confiscated them since they were no longer needed in such a well protected society.
In Haiti, the only people running the streets with guns were the military, the police and the "attaches." Most of Haiti's population had no firearms. Only the aforementioned or the rich and politically well-connected had protection.
All of these peoples mentioned have been looking to the United States for protection from armed thugs.
Who is going to come and rescue us when we have been disarmed and it is our turn to be terrorized?
Lawrence D. Lease
Regarding the Moving To Opportunity program:
Do residents of Dundalk believe that all of the participants in the program are going to move to Dundalk -- or that they'd even want to given the fact that participants will be able to move to communities throughout the metropolitan area?
Deborah E. Scriven
Glendening is not the centrist he claims to be
Maryland's gubernatorial race in 1994 may be the most important of any yet to occur.
Parris Glendening is not the answer but rather the vehicle of the final disintegration of our state as an independent entity. He is the prime mover of a county that is no more than a wealthy suburb of Washington D.C., not a willing part of Maryland.
Mr. Glendening claims to be a "centrist." A centrist, that is, like Bill Clinton. In truth, his real identity is that of the ruinous liberal philosophy of the Kennedy/Johnson era. We do not need another 1960s disaster to cure what began with that pseudo-Camelot period and has worsened with every new incursion of liberal answers.
Fighting fire with fire may work on occasion, but one disease is seldom cured by another.
The Prince of Prince Georges is also trying to make people believe that his stand against "assault weapons" is the ultimate in crime fighting.
The simple and indisputable truth is that these firearms are seldom used in crimes hereabouts. Criminals, however, are involved in most every crime. Mr. Glendening prefers to entertain our criminal element rather than blame and punish them.
What he is really espousing is more worthless gun control but no scum control. Does Parris really think that crime will decrease if lawful gun-owners are harassed and penalized while the real problem people are coddled, supported and excused? Where has this solution ever proven its worth? Certainly not in Marion Barry Land, where guns are outlawed but law-breakers are exalted and drummed into political deification.
The Democratic candidate for governor has no shortage of funds for his campaign. This is rather strange, seeing as how the Democratic party in Maryland claimed virtual insolvency earlier this year. These seemingly unlimited funds did not come from grass roots nickel-and-dime contributions. The big bucks for Mr. Glendening came from special interests and powerful financial moguls who await a fat political payback. A payback that will be borne by the taxes on middle-class Maryland.
The interests of our state will never be represented in toto by a person who is bought and paid for by a liberal establishment of entitled denizens from a moneyed out-of-touch county. Maryland a diverse population of rural, urban, desperately poor and obscenely rich citizens as well as everything in between.
How then are we to be served by a puppet of money-mongers and social blood-suckers, who claims to be a centrist while walking on the left of every issue except those of his personal benefactors?
No, thanks, Parris.
Ronald B. Dowling
Differing interpretations of the Second Amendment
Once again I have read the same specious argument used by the proponents of gun control in their never-ending crusade against an "evil" tool.
The letter printed in the Oct. 6 Forum, "Induct the NRA into the National Guard," by Bill King of Columbia, was another case of indirection into the true meaning of the Second Amendment of the Constitution. He starts out by quoting the text of the Second Amendment, namely:
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
After quoting this text, Mr. King goes on to say, "It gives us the right to bear arms, based upon the need to maintain a 'well regulated militia,' " and "It is clear to me that if anyone wishes to own [bear] arms, he must become a member of a 'well regulated militia.' "
This is entirely incorrect, as even a cursory reading of all the Bill of Rights will show. In the first 10 amendments, every mention of the "right of the people" is taken by the courts (and the Federalist Papers, describing the thinking of the framers of the Bill of Rights) to mean an individual right, not a right of a group or the state. Why would this not be true of the Second Amendment, yet remain true for the remaining nine?
In addition, according to U.S. code, every male that is a citizen of the U.S., or that has "declared the intent" to become a citizen, between the ages of 17 and 45 is considered to be a member of the U.S. militia, to be called up by the president when needed and to report with his own weapon. This is a law still on the books since the early 1800s, and revised as recently as the 1930s.
To take Mr. King's interpretation to the extreme, here is the text of the First Amendment:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
This can be taken two ways. In the most literal sense, only Congress is bound by this entire amendment, and the various states can establish or prohibit specific religions, or abridge speech and the press, and prohibit peaceable assembly.
More in keeping with Mr. King's argument, though, would be the interpretation that follows: The rights outlined in the First Amendment apply only to religious speech, or religious press, and the people can only peaceably assemble in religious matters. Using the same reading Mr. King used for the Second Amendment, obviously the framers thought this amendment was only important in religious matters.
However, either of the arguments for an interpretation of the First Amendment which I presented are specious, as is Mr. King's reading of the Second Amendment, because the phrase "right of the people" used in both amendments (and throughout the Bill of Rights) means those rights are reserved for the people, you and me, not limited groups or the state.
ario M. Butter