Forum, March 25: We Are Not ‘Well-Regulated’

Published: 3/24/2018 10:00:06 PM
Modified: 3/24/2018 10:00:07 PM
We Are Not ‘Well-Regulated’

Your March 18 editorial, “Bringing The Heat,” about young people promoting solutions to school shootings through protest notes that in Washington, “moral cowardice struts about cloaked in constitutional principle.” I assume the principle alluded to is the part of the Second Amendment about “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” But what about the part that precedes it: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State ...”?

My computer’s dictionary function offers three definitions for “militia”: a military force raised from the civilian population to supplement the regular army in an emergency; a military force that engages in rebel or terrorist activities in opposition to a regular army; and all able-bodied citizens eligible by law for military service.

If a militia is to supplement the regular army, it would properly rely on government-owned weapons, as government is the only entity that can afford the sophisticated and terrifyingly effective weaponry used in war today, as opposed to 1791, when the Second Amendment was ratified. (I see your AR-15 and raise you an M-134 Mini Gun, Tomahawk missile or fully armed F/A-18 Hornet.)

If a militia is to oppose the regular army, because it is threatening our form of government, all restrictions on private ownership of weaponry would be eliminated. However, as only the most wealthy among us could afford to be armed to oppose the U.S. military, we’d effectively be establishing a culture of warlords.

If it’s to maintain a pool of eligible citizens for military service, government-owned weapons would again be the answer.

One thing is clear: “We the People” are not remotely well-regulated where firearms are concerned. We have the capacity to do better through honest examination of the issues. But honest examination is effectively prohibited by legislative action driven by special-interest political pressure. Like voter suppression, gerrymandering and the substitution of popular fiction for uncomfortable fact, it’s reasonable to ask how that’s working in our lives today.

Chris Weinmann


Carbon Pricing to Fight Climate Change

The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife has recommended the fewest number of moose permits distributed in the modern era due to an infestation of ticks and brain worms threatening their population (“Vermont to Issue Fewer Moose Hunting Permits,” March 13). The story stated that these infestations were caused by climate change. The moose infestations are only one of the many drawbacks of climate change. Climate change is also associated with a higher number of Lyme-disease infested ticks and increasingly intense storms in Vermont, as well as rising sea levels, droughts and wildfires in various parts of the country.

I, along with my fellow students at Our Climate, believe that Vermont needs to take measures to help mitigate climate change in the future. We believe that Vermont’s proposed carbon pricing legislation is the answer to our problems. This new bill aims to charge a tax on high-carbon fossil fuels and use half of the revenue to offer rebates on electricity use, due to its lower carbon emissions. The other half of its revenue would be used to pay rebates for moderate- and low-income Vermont residents.

Various carbon legislation efforts have been effective in the past. In California, my previous home state, legislators instituted a cap-and-trade program. In 2017, this program raised $6.5 billion to combat climate change and set the state on track to reaching its ambitious carbon emissions goals for 2020.

I urge the Valley News to publish an article explaining the Vermont carbon tax bill and its implications. Additionally, I urge your readers to call their state legislators to tell them to vote “yes” on the bill.

Alice Zhasng


Mascoma High’s ‘Annie’ Was Great

Thanks to the David Wilson, music director at Mascoma Valley Regional High School, for a wonderful, colorful, beautifully performed Annie. Once again, Wilson showed us the great value of involving parents, local artisans and teachers and encouraging the students to reach above and beyond what they are normally comfortable doing. Standing up in front of an audience is a daunting challenge. The important thing is, they did it and they did it well. Everybody learns. Everybody gains from the experience.

Every show in the new auditorium — from Peter Pan last year to Annie last weekend — is generating confidence and pride in this community.

Bruce Shinn


Coping With Driving No More

The article in the Sunday Valley News by Liz Sauchelli regarding seniors and driving (“Discussing When It’s Time to Put the Brakes on a Senior’s Driving,” March 18) was excellent and timely for me as just a year ago I sold my car and surrendered my right to drive after having had a license since 1937.

Everything she wrote in the article is true. The loss of independence and isolation are difficult to accept and adjust to, but it can be done. Most people have relatives or friends available for shopping, appointments and even entertainment now and then. But the freedom of jumping into the car and running down to the store for a quart of milk is gone. Now that I have accepted it, it is not so big a deal any longer. It does require some thought, however.

I decided, prior to my action, that I was not going to have someone advise me to stop driving or to have the Department of Motor Vehicles revoke my license for whatever reason as I was approaching my renewal date. I wonder if the people who insist on retaining their driving privileges after they know they have age-related impairments know that they are putting themselves in jeopardy as well as the other motorists on the highway.

There is some consolation in all of this. To those of us with limited income, the cost of owning and maintaining a motor vehicle has reached ridiculous amounts. If you take the annual cost of owning a car and divide by the miles traveled, the result is usually an astronomical amount per mile After the car is gone, it is like getting an annual income increase.

There are alternative transportation methods in the Upper Valley. In addition to Advance Transit’s fixed routes they also operate a service you can request that picks you up at your residence and delivers you to your destination. The Lebanon Senior Center also has a convenient and accommodating bus service.

Gordon M. Stone

West Lebanon

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