Letters to the Editor

This is Viewpoints for Saturday, July 25, 2015

Where’s the logic?

Cars are so dangerous they can kill. That’s why we require a license. Not to own one, but to use one. Parents, relatives and friends’ training isn’t enough: we require state-certified instructors whose jobs are on the line if they fail, as are those of the elected representatives in charge of drivers education. You must be age 16, get training, pass a written test, pass a road test, and get re-tested every so often for life. And if you want to drive anything bigger (trucks, buses, bulldozers, etc.), that requires a higher license, you must go again to a state-certified system. Everyone knows all this, and no one has a problem with it.

So why doesn’t all this apply to guns? Cars kill by accident, but guns kill by design. That’s why cops have to have very serious background checks, practice, testing and re-testing, all by a state-certified system, before using even the smallest gun. And they can’t use bigger ones without further training and higher licenses.

All gun users should have to get a cop’s training and then a license, first. It’s called logic. There should be small and huge gun licenses and everything in between. Ammunition should be limited and appropriate to the purpose at hand. If you think you need a 100-round magazine, you really need more practice.

Furthermore, like alcohol and tobacco, all firearms (and explosives) should be heavily taxed, but all gun safety devices should be tax-free. And most important of all, no mentally deranged person should either drive or shoot.

-- J. Andrew Smith

Bloomfield, N.J.

More laws not the answer

Why should we believe that new and ever-stricter gun laws are the answer to gun violence? The vast majority of the violence is committed with illegally-acquired guns, when in the recent South Carolina church tragedy the FBI failed to prevent an admitted drug user with a police record from legally buying a gun from a licensed dealer who did his part to follow the FBI’s existing required background check process?

Effectively enforcing gun laws already on the books is a partial solution available today. Unfortunately, enforcing current gun laws still does nothing about violence committed with illegally-acquired guns, or about the very occasional violence committed with legally-acquired guns either, for that matter. What does do something about gun violence, regardless of the source of the gun, is having someone with a concealed carry permit and a legally-acquired weapon already present at the scene. If someone like that had been in the Charleston church, as is already legal with church approval in many states, the death toll resulting from the FBI’s admitted failure to enforce existing gun laws would likely have been much lower.

Someone was actually quoted in the media after that tragedy as saying that if someone else with a gun had been there too, the death toll would likely have been even higher with two shooters. If you, God forbid, ever find yourself in a similar situation, will you be saying to yourself as others are being gunned down around you, “I certainly am glad that no one else here has a concealed carry permit and a legally-acquired weapon”?

Do you believe that the 12 people killed and 70 people wounded at the Century Theater in Aurora, Colorado, near Denver, on July 20, 2012 during a midnight screening of the film “The Dark Knight Rises” were saying that to themselves? I think not. As a matter of fact, on Sunday, Dec. 17, 2012, five months after the Denver theater shooting, a man went into a restaurant in San Antonio to kill his ex-girlfriend. After he shot her, most of the people in the restaurant fled next door into a theater. The gunman followed them into the theater and began shooting. People in the theater started running and screaming. Fortunately, there was an off duty county deputy in the theater working as a security officer, and she shot the man before he killed anyone. However, since this story illustrates the point that the best way to stop a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun, the national media treated it like it never happened. Only the local media covered it. The city gave her a medal for heroism.

-- Bill Pitts

Centerville

They can’t see

Right on Joe Hubbard. You are absolutely correct in the content of your letter. My right to love different flags, etc., has been shot down and yet they have hoisted the rainbow flag and all of the bigot politicians are eating it up. The South Carolina govenor pretends to be happy, but I don’t think she is all about votes. America has been eroded and I feel like my race is the very one now that is left without rights. The lawmakers in this country can’t even see what’s going on.

-- Sterling Fallin

Warner Robins

Unworkable

I do not think Father Al’s recommendation of 10 July is practical. He proposed that Catholic couples ask a civil magistrate to sign their marriage license prior to their church ceremony. I do not think a civil magistrate can sign a marriage license until after he performs the ceremony. What the good priest is proposing is how weddings are conducted in France. A couple is first married in a civil ceremony, than a church ceremony later that day or the following day.

This whole marriage debacle could have been avoided if legislatures would have allowed magistrates and judges to conduct civil unions for same-sex couples. But in an effort to appease their vocal constituents they enacted legislation that would be overturned by the courts. They knew they could blame the inevitable on judicial activists.

Now these same self serving politicians are proposing a constitutional amendment to define marriage. They are not ashamed that they are the ones responsible for the new American definition of marriage. Some of these high-minded public servants want to redefine how federal judge’s terms are established. One scheme is to have federal judges elected. That is all we need, more politicians seeking money and making promises. Another bright idea is to have federal fudges serve for six years then they would be confirmed for life. This would be the greatest circus in history. Judges making decisions based on obtaining tenure. And senators grandstanding before TV cameras.

Since self-appointed high principled individuals cannot let well enough alone, expect more court cases like trans-gender rights. But most of all, you have them to thank when you try to explain American marriage to your kids. The rest of the world doesn’t have these problems. Why?

I believe marriage is between one man and one women. And I realize that for some it is not forever. But the longer I live, I come to the realization that common sense is not as common as it once was.

-- Jim Costello

Perry

Questionnaire

Rather than voting for a particular candidate in the presidential primaries, I propose that each candidate and each voter complete an objective questionnaire stating his/her position on prominent national issues. The candidate whose position statements match those of the majority of voters wins. This process would force the candidates to state their positions, create a record of what they have promised to do once elected and eliminate character assassination as a political strategy.

-- Neal Snyder

Warner Robins

Called to love not affirm

The Rev. Cassandra Howe said the Supreme Court has “affirmed” the right for same-sex couples to marry. What the court actually did was to create a previously non-existent right by imposing a new legal definition of marriage on all of the states. While all citizens are entitled to equal protection under the law, the so-called right to marry is not unrestricted. If it were, there would be no prohibitions against adults marrying minors, incestuous unions or polygamy.

Five lawyers in black robes have usurped the power of states to establish and enforce community standards. It may have been inevitable that all 50 states would eventually sanction same-sex marriage, but it should not be dictated by the central government. It’s been a long time since high-school civics class, but I don’t think that’s the way our system was designed to function.

Rev. Howe rightfully asserts that we are called to love all people. Nevertheless, we are not called to endorse, respect or celebrate all forms of human activity. I think Jesus was exceedingly clear when he gave a concise and unambiguous definition of marriage in Matthew 19:4, but I’ll leave it to Rev. Howe and others of all faiths to live by their own interpretation.

-- Steve Wooley

Macon

FBI’s fault

At last we find out that the Confederate flag had nothing to do with the killings in South Carolina, but “we are just sick about it.” The FBI was the cause by not checking out Roof’s background. Now lets get rid of them like we got rid of the flag.

-- Charles Biggerstaff

Macon

Who’s idea?

Let us all pause and think. Our leaders are the commission, mayor, sheriff and the taxpayers. The current situation is utter turmoil. We cannot even keep our grass cut or our roads repaired. Our public schools are a disgrace. Blight is decades old and jobs are as scarce as hens teeth. Drugs are rampant throughout the county. Crime is out of hand.

The taxpayers’ liability alone should end all discussions. Who orchestrated even looking into drones? Might I suggest we lean toward getting the physical conditioning and obesity problems dealt with throughout Bibb County employees first. Mandatory drug testing for everyone. No exceptions.

-- Joe Hubbard

Macon

Are you kidding me?

This has me all up in the air. The proposal to employ drones is, according to the mayor, “forward-looking.” There are still many unspoken questions. Who pays for this equipment, for the payroll of pilots, for retirement for a drone pilots? Taxpayers do. Let’s put this into perspective. The county is to pay Olaeris and Haeco $5.7 million. There are fewer than 56,585 households and ownership of households is 54.4 percent, that means there are about 30,782 homeowner/taxpayers.

We are endorsing spending over $100 per household for drones or $187 per homeowner/taxpayer household for drones. Wow, we must be a rich county. They say it will save $8 for every $1 spent. If this makes sense, and some of our leaders think that it does, let us trim the $46,080,000 from the county’s budget. I wonder where to trim the money, from the Sheriff’s budget or from the recreation department budget. I will bet you Sheriff David Davis will tell you that what counts are deputies and Fire Chief Marvin Riggins will say that firemen fight fires and that drones just make great video.

I will bet most taxpayers would say this is more recreation than public safety. Perhaps it is indeed a fine idea. No one loves gadgets more than I do, but I would rather see a reduction in property taxes.

-- David H. Israel

Macon

Just the beginning

What part of fiscal responsibility does the mayor and the Macon-Bibb County Commission not understand? They are struggling with the budget and giving incentives to entice retirements to save money and then to consider spending $5.7 million on drones is ridiculous. I am sure they have not even considered that $5.7 million is not the final cost. Once established, the program would have to be maintained and staffed at who knows what expense. It seems they are continually seeking ways to spend money we don’t have on things we don’t need. The first priority should be on getting the government on a solid, stable footing, which it is not.

-- Jim Owens

Macon

Think twice

Have members of the Macon-Bibb County Commission reviewed the contract with Olaeris and understand what they are signing up for? This company does not have a track record to fall back on and is tied to a company based in China (HAECO). Do we really want a Chinese company collecting data on our city? This is something to think about before signing that contract.

-- Charles Martin

Macon

Hearing loss

Hey, all you anti-discrimination lovers out there, I must be losing my hearing. Since we seem to be on a roll to make all people equal, I don’t quite hear all the calls for justice for the largest and most discriminated group in the world. Uh, did you forget the unborn? It’s only those who are the most innocent and yet have no voice to complain. I mean, it’s not like they want to get married or something. They just want to live.

-- David Burkovich

Macon

Double vision

Catherine Meeks has again used an isolated incident involving a deranged young man to further her agenda of continuing to fan the flames of racism. I actually found it unbelievable that she could not exit her vehicle due to grief and had to call her son so that he could console her. He just added to her vision of hopelessness for all blacks in America. The hypocrisy is imbedded in the fact that she is a Ph.D., of God knows what, but this is not the only point.

In her 1 July column she says blacks in America have not been able to establish a sense of identity. Not true because they identify with gang signs and have the opportunity to view their mug shots. They haven’t been able to establish their self worth. Again, not true as evidence in the mantra, “black lives matter.” They do matter -- as statistics -- in places like Chicago, Detroit, Washington, D.C., Atlanta and right here in Macon, where black on black crime is rampant. Where are her race-baiting friends Al and Jesse? They prove on almost a daily basis that they think they are not worth a hell of a lot -- school drop outs, drug dealers and felons.

As far as relating to others is concerned it is apparent that any time there are more than a dozen or so blacks together there is going to be a shooting or stabbing -- again no self worth. Blacks do love. No doubt about that -- oops, I think the more appropriate phrase is lust, as evidenced in the 71 percent illegitimacy rate. Again young women are not exhibiting any self worth by apparently laying down in an instant with men who are not planning to stick around to be fathers.

I guess Meeks thinks the 40 or 50 teens that ran through Wal-Mart were justified in their rage? It certainly looked to me as just a bunch of thugs and future prisoners that were enjoying themselves and playing to the cameras.

I write this as an observer of what is going on around us and I can assure you I am not a racist but a realist. Meeks said a couple of months ago that white folks are afraid to discuss race relations. I would be glad to sit down with her and discuss the opportunities she has had to get a Ph.D. Colin Powell became a four-star general and Condoleezza Rice to be secretary of state. Unless I have a serious change of mind, I intend to vote for Dr. Ben Carson. I spent 25 years in the military and can tell you that some of the finest military folks I know are black, but guess what, they can identify themselves as individuals that have self worth and love their families and friends.

-- Dennis Solari

Warner Robins

Not prepared

In the recent, surprising victory for same-sex marriage, one writer said, “the times of testing are coming -- just as they have come to every generation of God’s faithful.” I disagree. Shouldn’t we first consider or ask ourselves, how did we come to this? How did we get in such a difficulty where traditional marriage could receive such assault? Has the Christian church been true to its Biblical origins? The church in its early years was “tested,” but the Apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit. They were thrown in jail because their preaching arrested the people’s conscience.

The church of today isn’t prepared for testing. It needs to return to sound, Biblical preaching. A preaching against all sins. The church seems to think some sins are alright and others are wrong. But all sin is displeasing to God. The church needs to repent of its “lukewarm” condition. We need to learn how to love our neighbor as ourselves and to reach out to a lost and troubled world. The church is in desperate need of revival. When God comes, people are made aware of their dire condition. And, the church is triumphant. Then, we will be ready for testing. We can be thrown in jail and can sing praises to God. The jail doors may even open for us. And perhaps, we can close some unwanted doors.

-- Dwight Poole

Hawkinsville

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