This is Viewpoints for Sunday, June 22, 2014

June 22, 2014 

Bought by pizza

On the morning of the recent Tuesday primary I was 150 feet away from Thomson Middle School in Centerville on a grassy strip next to the highway sitting in a lawn chair. I was waving a sign for the Republican challenger, Heath Clark, to replace state Rep. Willie Talton, the incumbent.

As a lifelong Democrat this was a new role for me but one that I enjoyed very much. It all started with a phone call from Clark and an invitation to meet him and his wife at a local pizza restaurant for free pizza.

After a conversation with Clark, I decided to offer my services on primary day. Even after telling him I was a Democrat, he quickly agreed to let me help him at Thomson Middle School. We ended the day on election eve with more free, excellent pizza.

I learned a lot about Clark, and I enjoyed talking with some of his campaign team. My retired life was enriched by my brief, unique, Republican campaign experience, and I am still a loyal Democrat. It was a win-win experience for me and lots of fun.

-- Frank W. Gadbois

Warner Robins

Enough already

OK, have we had enough yet? Fast and Furious, Benghazi, Obamacare, Veterans Administration, IRS, negotiating with terrorists. That is just the recent scandals that have touched this country. Let’s talk about the economy, housing, food stamps, unemployment, illegal immigration. Wait, there’s more: executive privilege, DOJ, Susan Rice, debt to China. When are Americans going to wake up? It makes me sick to think that people are still blinded by this administration.

Use your phones and pens. Write your congressmen and women and get these people out of office who have lied, equivocated, stonewalled or waffled. Wait. That would mean all politicians need to be voted out. I don’t care what you call it. They have destroyed the character of this country. They have made people into takers. Honest, hard work, ethics and morality are sadly lacking in this country. Let’s take it back.

-- Vanessa Whitney


Not only hoodlums

Is it not time we realize how dangerous some people are? We had five not only hoodlums, but hard-core criminals on the front page of a recent edition of The Telegraph. All had bad rap sheets, with Vincent Lewis arrested 24 times. Lewis Cheney was sentenced to 10 years and released after one year. Terrence Dent was locked up 17 times.

It seems it is normal to catch and release criminals as well as illegal aliens. If we cannot rely on our justice system to punish those who break our laws, how in this world can Macon-Bibb become a safe community for its residents and a welcome site for new businesses? It seems our justice system allows them to be released until they finally commit murder. Who is to say the surviving murderers will not be released shortly?

-- Faye W. Tanner


Who is sensible?

Apparently, I’m not a sensible person. If you believe the words of Murray Calhoun, I am. In his letter, he spoke of how “sensible people” should agree that only the police and military should possess guns that fire hundreds of rounds a minute. I disagree with that premise wholeheartedly, because I don’t fear other people owning guns. I don’t care what other people own and prefer to worry about my own life.

As to his logic about who should own what kind of weapon, what about the shootings at Fort Hood? Both were done by people in the military. Calhoun mentioned Sandy Hook. What he failed to mention was that the shooter stole the guns from his mother. He also didn’t mention the strict gun control laws in Connecticut and that the school was a “gun free zone.” How would Calhoun rectify the shooting in Seattle done with a shotgun? Would that be considered an unreasonable weapon?

Would he want the weapon the two 12-year-old girls used to stab another nearly to death banned? Or perhaps he should realize that evil people will do evil acts regardless of what weapons are available. As to grieving for the victims and their families, anyone with compassion does that. But their grief, or Calhoun’s fear of what someone owns, doesn’t trump their right to own it.

-- Dave Whitaker


Fact checking

A letter to the editor contained a quotation which the writer attributed to James Madison: “We have staked the whole future of our new nation not upon the power of government; far from it. We have staked the future of all our political constitutions upon the capacity of each of ourselves to govern ourselves according to the moral principles of the Ten Commandments.” Seems uplifting to be sure.

Allow me to quote “Actually this statement appears nowhere in the writings or recorded utterances of James Madison and is completely contradictory to his character as a strong proponent of the separation of church and state.”

I have noticed recently that several letter writers have included quotes from the likes of Madison and Thomas Jefferson and other founding fathers, usually imparting a Judeo-Christian slant to their alleged writings. In every case the quotes have been completely wrong, often implying beliefs that these founding fathers did not and would not have held.

Perhaps in the future editors might do a little fact checking before publishing, since often the writers of the letters seem unwilling to.

-- Jack Mahaney


Gun hysteria

With all the hysteria regarding gun control lately, you’d think guns were jumping off the racks and driving themselves to nearby schools. The argument seems to get more irrational and divided by the day. Progressives hate them, conservatives love them. The proposed answers range from banning them outright to making them mandatory so that everyone is on the same level.

All the arguments seem to be over the guns themselves. It seems like everyone is just content regurgitating hyperbole and propaganda from the powers that be of their respective parties than trying to put themselves into the minds of the perpetrators. Why would a 17-year-old kid or a social outcast grab a gun and shoot up a school or a movie theater?

Because, in doing so, they become celebrities overnight. Their names are put in big, bold text across the front page of CNN, their favorite celebrities tweet about them, and for months they’re the talk of the entire nation. In a single day, they go from being lonely guys spending entire weeks holed up in their rooms surfing the Web to being famous criminals. Each time we plaster social media with the name of a mass murderer, we’re encouraging and fanning the flames of hate in another. If you want to protect your children from the Adam Lanzas and James Holmes of the world, stop feeding them what they crave: attention.

-- Thomas Minter


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