Supreme Court gun ruling
High court upholds basic right of all U.S. citizens
Congratulations to the Supreme Court for upholding one of the most basic fundamental rights of the citizenry and thank you for a balanced editorial. I would argue that when the founders wrote the Second Amendment, they were attempting to ensure an even more basic right than the citizens' right to self-defense against criminals. It was intended to ensure the citizens' rights to self-defense from their own government, should it become too oppressive.
The founders had lived through a revolution against an oppressive government. Remember that the "shot heard round the world" at Lexington and Concord occurred because the king sent his troops to confiscate the colonists' guns and ammunition stored there. So for all the revolutionary talk before Lexington and Concord, the revolution, in the sense of an armed uprising against the forces of the king, actually came to fruition when the king sent his troops to take away the colonists' means of defense against his tyranny.
I am sure this lesson was not lost on the founders. Just as they provided so many prudent checks and balances in the governmental system to prevent the different arms of government from accumulating excessive power, they also provided that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed" in order to ensure that the citizenry could never be stripped of their ability to defend themselves from oppression of any kind.
The Supreme Court decision does nothing to keep the states from passing laws to keep the weapons away from the bad guys; it only ensures that the citizenry is not neutered in the face of any form of oppression.
Lowell Wilson, New Port Richey
Understanding the meaning of 'militia'
The court's gun ruling was correct, but I'm sure the arguments will go on. It would help if people understood what is meant by "a well-regulated militia." When the militia system first came to America it was based on the English system, in which only a royal representative had the authority to call up the militia. In the new reality, where communities were isolated, travel difficult and threats did not telegraph themselves in advance, this system did not work. By the time the government called up and trained a militia, everyone could be dead.
So the militia system changed to suit the new environment. It is the government's version of the militia that is "unregulated." "Well-regulated" meant that the members drilled regularly, had officers (elected by the members) and trained themselves to deal with threats to the community immediately. Local companies had the authority to call themselves up to deal with threats, not wait for approval from a distant government.
This system worked only if the members of the community could keep and bear privately owned arms. The intent was that their arms could be used for hunting, self-defense or voluntarily in a well-regulated militia.
If you believe that the Second Amendment provides only for a government-run militia, you must ask yourself: Why did the British march out of Boston? They were going to disarm the militia that was organizing and drilling without the crown's permission.
The initial battle of the birth of this nation was over the right to keep and bear arms privately for self-defense without approval from the government. We won.
Ed Mills, Clearwater
I agree with Antonin Scalia's commonsense opinion that was the basis for the Supreme Court decision to confirm that the Second Amendment is an individual right and strike down the D.C. handgun ban. However, I am disturbed that four justices dissented.
Justice John Paul Stevens in his dissent wrote that the majority "would have us believe that over 200 years ago, the framers made a choice to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate civilian uses of weapons." Perhaps Stevens needs a refresher course in constitutional law. Maybe then he will learn that the Bill of Rights' very purpose was to do just what he has difficulty believing — place limits on elected officials.
John Cornish, Palm Harbor
Dangers of guns
Time and time again it has been proved that permitting people to own guns has no effect on crime. The fact is, it is much more likely that the gun you keep at home will be used to kill you instead. Kids find guns and think they are toys. Paranoid people shoot innocent people they think are a danger. And many times the gun someone keeps at home is used against them in a burglary.
This country has veered so far right of what was intended by the Founding Fathers. It is a sad statement. I would only own a gun for the sake of protecting myself from the gun nuts.
Ken Sturmer, Hudson
In war's darkest hour, Bush made right call | June 25, David Brooks column
Gains are illusory
David Brooks' opinion piece that President Bush went against the public, many in his party and most generals calling for the surge and by doing so made the "right call" is disingenuous at best. Brooks says "the surge has produced large, if tenuous gains."
This goes against the latest U.S. Governmental Accountability Office report. The GAO report is very telling about the true conditions in Iraq and has been mostly ignored by the media. The report states that most of the benchmarks have not been accomplished, plus mentions many other problems we have there.
In truth, Bush's only option was the surge. He wasn't going to bring the troops home after accusing the Democrats of being cut-and-runners. He used the surge to help stabilize the country so the Iraqis' oil could soon be Big Oil's oil, the original intent of the war. The permanent military bases, more money for Halliburton and the rest of the military-industrial complex were just icing on the cake.
Scott McKown, Palm Harbor
The war's heavy toll
Let's go back and consider how the world looked before the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. More than 4,100 of our brave men and women were still alive. More than 20,000 still had their eyesight, limbs and all their fingers and toes. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens were still alive and several million more were still living in their country and not as refugees.
So Brooks says Bush made a courageous and astute decision about the surge. Well, maybe he can make another astute decision by starting the drawdown of our troops now. That would be a strong message to send to the Iraqi leaders that we are not going to be there forever.
John Solvibile, Clearwater
I hate the way you have changed the TV Times section of your Sunday paper. For one thing, there are no descriptions for any of the movies that are listed. There are no features. Most of all, I always enjoyed working the puzzle. Now, there is nothing of interest in your TV Times.
Claire Moran, Beverly Hills