Letters to Editor
More letters on P8
nThe violent video loop that plays in an unstable person's mind includes the requisite assault weapon, but that person's fantasy of carnage would probably go unfulfilled were none available, period.
Naturally, our lawmakers are compelled to take action to soothe the emotions of their constituency, but any law banning the new sale of these nonsport guns would be ineffective, I believe, because it is too late. The market is beyond control.
It is just sad that our children must lose their fear of going to school, or to the movies or the mall, courtesy of someone's interpretation of the Second Amendment.
Carol S. Rettew
nI am reading the Sunday News, and I see in Urbane Peachey's letter to the editor a common misconception. He states that the Second Amendment is not intended to arm the citizenry with AR-15s.
Well, Mr. Peachey, you couldn't be more incorrect. In fact, the Second Amendment grants us the right to have even more powerful weapons. In essence, it allows the citizenry to carry the same weapons that our military uses.
But rather than you and I argue on what the Founders meant, why don't we refer to the words of James Madison, who wrote the Bill of Rights? I'm sure you'll agree that he knew what he meant while writing it, yes?
You should begin with Federalist 46. The relevant passage is too long to include here, but it points out quite convincingly the need for an armed populace. Educate yourself.
nThe Department of Homeland Security has issued information needed to purchase 7,000 personal defense weapons. It describes the rifle that it wants to acquire as ideal for close-in personal defense.
What are the features that DHS has deemed important to a self-defense rifle? Well, it should fire the 5.56-by-45 NATO round. It should have a pistol grip, adjustable-length stock and mounting rails for lights or optics. Other needs that the DHS has identified as useful are two 30-round magazines, a muzzle brake, sling mounting points and, of course, a switch to place it into a safe mode. Lastly, it wants the rifle to be black and have the option of firing fully automatically.
The above, of course, is describing an M-16 or M-4 rifle . It's ironic that when the government is buying the rifle it's called a personal defense weapon. When a law-abiding citizen wishes to own a lesser version called an AR-15, the same government and the media call it an "assault rifle" or "weapon of mass destruction."
East Drumore Township
OPINIONS ON THE OPINIONS
nThe Jan. 20 "In My Opinion" written by State Rep. Ryan Aument prompted me to write.
It was the most sensible and thought-provoking article written by a state representative from Lancaster County in years. He has touched on many issues that plague the taxpayers.
I think it is time to have a constitutional convention. I recommend Rep. Aument take the bull by the horns and submit a bill and enlist all the Lancaster County legislators onto this bill. I don't mean to just sign onto this bill (so it looks like they are doing their job) but stop kicking the can down the road and push, push, push this bill forward.
There are numerous issues that need to be addressed. I will list a few that would cut billions of dollars for the taxpayers.
--Overhaul (cut) the two largest state public pension systems.
--Reduce the size/cost of the legislative bodies.
--Replace real estate tax.
--Merge the turnpike commission into PennDOT.
--Privatize the state liquor stores.
Most taxpayers agree we need to change the way state government does business. The best way to accomplish this is to have a constitutional convention.
Mount Joy Township
nCongressman Joe Pitts began his Jan. 6 op-ed by talking about federal debt, which is fair enough. In round numbers, the federal government has an operating budget of $3 trillion annually and is borrowing around 40 percent of it.
If Joe were sincere about reducing our debt, he would have written about what is far and away the biggest item in the budget: spending related to "defense" and the military. It consumes about $1.2 trillion annually, the same amount we are borrowing.
But no, Joe didn't mention it. Instead, he focused on Social Security and Medicare, two programs currently not adding a cent to the national debt. This reveals Joe's real agenda: taking money away from ordinary folks who aren't on the military dole.
Here's the sad part: Many Democrats are playing the same game. They'll gladly spend money we don't have on the military but then wring their hands when discussing Social Security, Medicare or -- God forbid -- infrastructure spending that would put lots of people back to work.
Lest we forget, the USA hasn't had a serious military rival since 1989. So, tell me again why we're spending as much on military preparations as the rest of the world combined?
nIn a recent opinion column,Tom Baldrige, president of the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce, addressed a very important issue -- lack of funding for state transportation infrastructure. He said the state is $3.5 billion behind in funding roads, bridges and mass transit, but he expressed optimism that this problem will be addressed soon by Gov. Corbett.
What is unknown is how this proposal will be funded, although I've read that a tax on gas stations is being considered.
Instead of putting more taxes on small businesses and, in turn, the consumer, why not finally impose a severance tax on natural gas? Pennsylvania is the largest natural-gas-producing state without one. Severance taxes around America range from 5 percent in West Virginia to as high as 50 percent in Alaska.
Gov. Corbett allows the huge profits associated with Marcellus Shale gas drilling to go to Range Resources (Texas), Cabot Oil and Gas (Texas), and Chesapeake Energy (Oklahoma). These companies are not paying fairly for the irreplaceable natural gas that they take. A severance tax could fund badly needed repairs for our failing roads and bridges and create many jobs for Pennsylvanians.
nIn response to Mr. Testa's "A Moral Shame" letter, Jan. 27:
Not everyone in this country believes that our nation professes the Bible to be the word of God, as you alluded to in your letter. This country was founded on religious freedom and the separation of church and state. We will remain the greatest nation on earth as long as we continue to practice these principles.
Homosexuality may be an abomination to you, but your thoughts on this issue may be an abomination to others.
We will be better off as a nation if we keep religion out of our political discussions. Please remember that our Constitution stated that all men were created equal and have the same unalienable right to the pursuit of happiness.
As far as your belief that President Obama is trampling on the Constitution, remember that the Constitution also says that the Congress of the United States will pay the bills that it incurs. And we all know which party doesn't want to do that. We have already lost our good credit rating once, and I hope the Republicans don't try to hold us hostage again and lessen our credit rating more.
nWhat is really important to the Manheim Township Commissioners?
I was disappointed that the commissioners have made decisions to further isolate themselves as a township and as elected officials. The first was to drop out of the Lancaster Inter-municipal Committee, LIMC. They said that it wasn't worth the dues they were paying. The staff and commissioners have short memories on the benefits realized by their membership in the LIMC. One example is the four intersections that were improved along Lititz Pike at a saving of $5 million to the township. These intersections were approved by the Lancaster County Transportation Authority, a direct result of the LIMC.
The other action was to eliminate events that the residents and volunteers of the township participated in. These included Community Day, two events for volunteers and board members, the Spring Fling and the Fall Into Fitness 5K. Chairman Casselbury was quoted as saying: "Let's scale back and concentrate on the important things, those that are well-attended." What is more important than to appreciate your volunteers and to plan programs for your residents?
I contend the staff and commissioners have lost touch with the residents. The Community Day golf outing is always at maximum capacity.
If the commissioners are truly concerned about the taxpayers , I suggest they lower residents' taxes as a result of having $11 million (more than the county) in their capital reserve fund.
Roy E. Baldwin
nA short rebuttal to Jeff Hawkes' column, Jan. 24.
I am also a resident of Manheim Township and a homeowner. So I am very glad that the commissioners, including Al Kling, are looking out for our taxes and costs in the township. I say well done.
If Mr. Hawkes thinks $22,000 is chump change to give to the Lancaster Inter-Municipal Committee, then let him and all his wealthy friends donate $22,000 to LIMC and keep it off the backs of retired Manheim Township taxpayers living on fixed incomes.
Keep up the good work, Mr. Kling, and all the commissioners.
P.S. Mr. Hawkes, it would be good to get your facts straight before you try to do a hatchet job on anyone.
nHow can our wonderful governor try to get rid of employees and pensions and not a word about cutting the pensions of state senators, representatives and himself?
Does anyone realize how much they get after only four years of part-time work? How much will he get for four years as governor? A lot more than the teachers or other state workers get. Of course, we have to wait and see what comes out of the Penn State scandal as to whether he acted properly.
Let's get real and go after the people who set their own salaries and pensions. Don't you wish you could do the same?
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