I was disappointed to read the editorial column calling for further gun control, particularly on so-called assault weapons. The editor claimed to "fully support the Second Amendment" then made a hypocritical statement supporting limits on the sale of assault weapons, banning high-capacity magazines, and finding it "hard to defend why those rights should cover an arsenal designed for military use."
The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) recently held in D.C. v. Heller that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess weapons "in common use for lawful purposes." The AR-15 rifle, the type used in Newtown, is the most popular centerfire rifle for sale in this country and has been for several years, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Thus, the AR-15’s popularity indicates it is in common use. No longer on the fringe, AR-15 variants are manufactured by hunting bellwethers Remington and Mossberg as well as by firms with a rich history of civilian self-defense arms including Smith & Wesson and Colt.
SCOTUS’ opinion in U.S. v. Miller indicated that the Second Amendment protects firearms that are conducive to militia service and are "ordinary military equipment." The AR-15 rifle is the semi-automatic (one shot for one pull of the trigger) version of the Army’s fully-automatic M16 rifle and M4 carbine, so the AR-15 passes the Miller test.
If we look past AR-15 rifles and other assault weapons, we will find that many other common arms have a military pedigree. One of the most common is the bolt action rifle, found in deer stands and battlefields alike. The fodder for the M1903 Springfield bolt action rifle is the classic .30-06 cartridge, designed by and for the U.S. military, and one of the best selling cartridges for big game hunting. The Remington 700 is issued to certain troops and is a favorite with hunters. The pump-action shotgun saw military use as far back as World War I and is still a tool used by the military. Revolvers have been used by the military as far back the 19th century. If we begin banning or imposing draconian limits on firearms with a military heritage, we will find ourselves left with sticks and stones.
The fringe left would have people believe that AR-15 rifles and rifles similar to them have no use except on the battlefield. This is untrue. Such rifles are legally taken afield every year to humanely hunt large and small game. They are also used in sanctioned competitions including the National Matches at Camp Perry and in more jocular events like Pandemic 2012 in Grand Island.
The editorial points out there are millions of these firearms in the hands of citizens, but the writer seems to disregard the fact that on Dec. 14, only one of them was used by a monster. In the same vein, I do not see the editor calling for bans on cars and trucks despite their involvement in DUI deaths. It would be ludicrous to blame the vehicle as it is just a tool. We need to place the blame for this shooting not on the gun, the parents, or video games. The responsibility for this atrocity falls squarely on the perpetrator.
We already have safeguards in place to limit access to weapons. It is already illegal for someone adjudicated mentally defective or committed to a mental institution to possess firearms. Fugitives, felons, wife beaters, illegal aliens, and drug addicts are prohibited from possessing firearms. Connecticut is one of seven states with a state-level assault weapons ban.
There are tens of thousands of laws pertaining to firearms in this country. It is naïve to think that one more law, especially one which disproportionately punishes law-abiding citizens, would curtail the activities of a depraved lunatic.
Richard Ballas Aurora
Teachers need to be armed with guns
We spend hundreds of thousands on our schools -- grassed and irrigated school yards, sporting equipment, stadiums, security cameras, fire alarms, on and on.
But there are no weapons to protect our children and grandchildren in a town like ours, with a large school, hospital, nursing home and day care.
This is no reflection on our police or sheriff’s departments. They would respond to a shooter, but in the time they may get there it may be too late. I think teachers should have concealed weapon licenses, with the fortitude to use a weapon, the skill to use it and the fortitude to kill an intruder who is killing our children, teachers, cooks and maintenance men.
Our country isn’t Disneyland anymore.
Thank you for being our heros
In light of the unspeakable event in Newtown, Conn. last week, I came to a sad realization that sometimes our heroes only get the recognition they deserve after they have left us.
So, to the maintenance staff, the aides, the teachers, coaches, office staff, administrators and the many school volunteers, thank you.
Thank you for being there every day for our kids. Thank you for your care and compassion. Thank you for giving us peace of minding knowing that if, heaven forbid, something happens at our school like it did in Newtown, you would do whatever is in your power to keep our kids safe, even if it means harm to you.
Thank you for all you do. Thanks for being our heroes.
Are you missing Christmas?
In a few days the world will celebrate Christmas, but the majority of people will miss Christmas because they are unwilling to give up the throne of their life to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He’s coming again soon!
King Herold missed Christmas. He knew a special King was born. He called in the wise men who knew the prophecies and then he became agitated, filled with hate because he didn’t want to lose his throne. He loved being a BULLY. So in his satanic madness he had all the children under 2 years of age killed. But God’s plan wouldn’t be foiled by a man. Herod’s madness grew as he aged. Five days before he died he had all his relatives killed so none of them could take his throne. He had all the distinguished people of Jerusalem imprisoned and ordered them slaughtered the moment he died. He drove himself insane worrying about "losing his throne."
Our world today is filled with Herods and Herodiuses, people who are worried into madness about "losing their thrones." The word LOVE is nowhere to be found in their heart, only ME, ME, ME. They don’t want anyone or anything to interfere with their career, their position, their power, their ambition, their plans or their lifestyle. So they line up people to slaughter with their hatred: their babies, their families, their friends, their employees, their soldiers. No one or nothing will take their throne or their ego. So they think!
But God said human life is like the flower in the field -- it is here today, gone tomorrow. Like King Herod, the grim reaper, the king of terror, awaits all of us and then comes the judgment. And no one knows the day the grim reaper will swing his sickle and cut us down.
So my prayer is that this Christmas everyone will turn their lives over to Jesus. Then we could see some "Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men."
Jesus in the age of technology
We live in an age of technology. Technology has been a marvelous creation, in all its forms, to better advance our lives in many ways. Yet, it has also disconnected us in many ways from the very fiber of our knowing and belonging to that which is human.
But... how we remember! We remember what it was to unfold the creased pages of a letter. Written and folded, thoughtfully and with great care, by someone who cared about us. Someone who cared enough to sit silently and write with their own had, words of greeting, tiding, good news or bad. We greatly anticipated the news the page or pages would bring. Many cries of joy and tears of sorrow slipped from our lips when learning the pages’ meaning.
Or the phone calls! How our hearts would quicken at the thought of someone calling us to send a greeting of "Happy Birthday" or "It’s a boy" or "It’s a girl." Oh my, the sound of the human voice! How wonderful, how enjoyable, how complex.
The please of human contact. Looking a person "in the eye" and having them look back at us, talking, gesturing, nodding, smiling or frowning. Seeing the other person display laughter or pain in their eyes, feeling the warmth in their touch, sensing their body language and knowing innately what they might be feeling.
Because we are human and, for the eons before our knowledge, humankind has sensed, learned and felt the nuances of human behavior and communication, we have felt a touch and inherently known its meaning. We understand deep within, because of our humanness created by God. We understand we are weak, but are strengthened by touch, eye contact and the warmth of others.
God brought Jesus to us in human form because he knew the love of Jesus, human and humble, could imprint the love of God on mankind. God created us. He understood us. He knew what we needed. He is the Creator and through Him we were blessed by His Son to come to understand the importance of touching and loving those near us. Jesus felt love and great pain. He also felt sympathy and sorrow. He became human and experienced human emotions. Jesus was sent to earth to bring us "good news" -- to help us understand that we need God. We can only get to God through Jesus Christ, our Savior. Christ, the perfect one without blemish, was hung on a cross to suffer and die for us, imperfect as we are. He was betrayed by those closest to him, mocked, scorned and belittled.He trusted His Father. God, the Beginning and the End, knew that only His Son, in human form, could make mankind understand our weaknesses and our strengths.
Technology can be used to deliver powerful messages to receive the Blessings of Jesus. Use it as a means to stay connected to those around you. God delivers powerful messages to us through technology. Don’t forget the "human component" in that process.
Recently, I received two CDs from my friend and author, Fern Nilson, about the birth and death of Christ. Even though I have been a Christian for many years, it literally brought to life the story for me in a new and exciting way. It is an incredible example of technology sending the message of Christ in a way I had not experienced. Jesus conveyed perfect love in human form. Listening to the story, as Fern told it, makes me want to be more Christ-like and less childlike. I want to be more giving and expect less. I am going to pray more. I want others to be curious about my faith. I am going to welcome questions. It may bring an unbeliever to Christ. I am going to look a fellow sinner in the eye and say "Peace be with you!" ... and mean it. I am going to go out of my way to be kind. I am going to love the unlovable. I am going to give more hugs. I am going to give the gift that Fern created, using technology, to convey the message of Jesus and what His life and death means to us.
I highly recommend the CDs Fern created in her own way to tell the age-old story of Christ. Listen to it. Get copies for your loved ones and friends. Make a copy available at your place of work. Help God spread the message about His Son through technology. What a wonderful and simple way to do so!