Newtown schoolchildren had rights, too

John Franchy's letter ("More restrictive gun laws are not the answer," Dec. 20) was myopic in its views and his ideas as antiquated as the weaponry that the founding fathers considered when they wrote of the Second Amendment's "right to keep and bear arms." A trained minuteman could load, aim and fire three rounds per minute. An M16-A1 can fire 45-60 rounds per minute on semi-automatic and has a cyclic rate of 750 rounds per minute on fully automatic. No, Mr. Franchy, they aren't for hunting deer. They are for slaughter.

The Bill of Rights was written when the 13 colonies were, for the most part, a wilderness. James Madison was referring to the "tyranny and oppression" of Great Britain, from whom independence had been achieved little more than a decade previous. Do you think Thomas Jefferson meant that the "tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood" of 20 six-year-olds? Mr. Madison and Mr. Jefferson were also slave owners. Should we adhere to their beliefs on slavery as well or recognize them as "American values" of a far less humane time?

The Second Amendment says nothing about the rights of citizens to protect themselves from their own government when it's no longer "By the People...." I guess Mr. Franchy thinks that's what Jared Loughner was doing when he shot Rep. Gabby Giffords. He seems to have the current administration confused with a prior one in his vilification of warrantless wiretaps and extreme search measures at airports. Note the Patriot Act. After Sept. 11, most of us agreed that there was a need for tighter security and more aggressive surveillance to prevent further terrorist attacks. I'm still waiting to see his "drone attacks against American citizens whom the president deems as enemies of the state." I must have missed that episode of "24."

Misguided paranoia like that of Adam Lanza's mother who bought the weapons that he used in Newtown because of "what will happen when the economy collapses," according to an interview with her sister, is far more dangerous than our own government.

Quote Ben Franklin's assertion all you want, Mr. Franchy, but the dead from Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, Stockton, Killeen, Sandy Hook Elementary School, and the numerous other mass shootings that have occurred in this country in the last 25 years are hardly the sacrifices that Mr. Franklin or any other rational human being would deem as "essential" to preserve liberty in a civilized country.

Jim Kirby, Baltimore

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