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Letters to the Editor 4/3

April 03, 2000

Now we can be punished for our thoughts?

To the editor:

Your editorial of March 10, about the new ordinance passed in Charles Town, was appalling. I really was rather shocked to see your paper support such a terrible thing.

This is not a law worthy of a democratic society, this is Soviet style, police state behavior. Apparently, you can now be arrested, fined and put in jail in Charles Town upon suspicion of having the intent to commit a crime! Suspicion of intent - Orwellian might be understating the situation. Ludicrous is a better description. I would expect this from Mr. Aldridge - after all he did come from the DEA, not exactly what you would call a democratically inspired organization. The Herald-Mail on the other hand is usually more sensible, more circumspect, more thoughtful about matters of public policy.

The US has more people in prison than communist China, a country that has five times our population. The "Drug War" seems to have made most of our public figures a little crazy, led to unprecedented levels of police corruption and has led normally sensible institutions like The Herald-Mail to write editorials denigrating our hard won rights. "...if citizens have to give up some freedoms for victory in this war so be it."

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Indeed! My father didn't fight in World War II and go on to give another 25 years in duty to his country and I didn't risk my neck four years in the Army so Mr. Aldridge could pull me over, throw me up against the car and handcuff and frisk me because I drove around the block too many times to suit him.

You can print this letter or not. I didn't really write it for that. I wrote it to express my outrage, my disappointment in your editorial staff and your newspaper. I know you believe this law will have no effect on you; you won't be stopped. Nor will I for that matter. I'm 53 years old and white and I'm seldom in Charles Town anyway, but as Mr. Timmerman, the Argentine newspaperman kidnapped and tortured in the 70s by his own police and soldiers said, "If you don't speak out for strangers, who will speak when they come for you?"

Michael Harman

Harpers Ferry, W.Va.

Gun a day keeps enemies away

To the editor:

Last year my daughter and I moved to Washington County from Montgomery County. I had worked in D.C. for five years and enough was enough. As a "freedom fighter," grassroots activist, I have followed the gun control issue closely.

Have I missed some key articles and letters? The very reason the Second Amendment is so dear to me has not been a key issue in the media. The American citizen's right to bear arms is a fundamental part of our defense structure. I firmly believe that the reason no foreign entity makes an effort to overtake our country is our Second Amendment and how zealously we embrace it.

Several not-friendly countries have the power to blow big holes in the middle of our country. As sophisticated as our defense is, it is not infallible. The reason none of these counties would ever begin this type of attack would be, if they ever tried to actually set food on United States soil, and physically take control of our country, every living soul has the right to stand on their own doorstep, with their weapon of choice, and say "Not on my five acres, you worthless scum." Do you know how awesome this concept is to any tyrant who has complete control over the population of his kingdom?

Even though the Clinton Administration claims it doesn't want to take our guns away, the history of many other countries which have addressed gun control and gone forward with it shows that the laws that Clinton wishes to enforce are just the beginning.

"This year will go down in history. For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration. Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future." Adolph Hitler, 1935. Hitler set the course to lose his power, his people and his country with this action. At this early date of his regime, he lost. Let's keep the United States a free country of the people, by the people and for the people. Do not fall for the hype that the government will take care of you.

It is time for another type of leadership in the United States of America. When our president goes before the people and leaders of our country, and especially foreign countries. I want him/her to talk about how great this nation is because of the people and our freedoms - not because the government is so powerful that it is able to "take care of us." I am not particularly confident of my position in the "food chain," but I would rather take my chances as a free, accountable, responsible citizen than sit around waiting for the government to take care of my business and life for me.

Americans, be proud, be free.

Carol A. Simpson

Hagerstown

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