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Letters to the Editor 4/22

April 21, 2000

Gun battle

To the editor:

Mr. Winn's letter (Let's get rid of the guns, April 12), while entertaining, contained at least two premises that were flawed.

To begin, the Second Amendment was not added to the Constitution for reasons such as hunting, protection from British troops or Indians, etc. Sure, these were realities in certain sections of the U.S. then, but the overwhelming reasons for passage of the Second Amendment was to preserve individual liberty and to act as a check against tyrannical government. A cursory examination reveals quotes from most of the Founding Fathers in regard to this issue. Here are just a few:

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759.

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"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." Thomas Jefferson, Proposed Virginia Constitution, 1776.

The Founders, having had first-hand experience, realized that citizens too easily became subjects when private gun ownership was outlawed. I will agree with Winn in one respect: Freedom requires far more responsibility than does life under an autocracy. Because of this, irresponsible citizens should be held accountable if their guns are used or obtained by kids.

Winn's second, and most glaring, error concerns gun owners turning in their guns for a specified length of time. The flaw here rests on the utopian idea that "everyone" will agree to do this. Sorry, but I doubt very seriously that criminals will join in this uplifting experience. In fact, one of John Gotti's former lieutenants has stated that criminals would rejoice if private gun ownership were banned.

Blaming an inanimate object is easy; but it isn't effective. There are other countries with more guns per household than the US, yet a much lower crime rate across the board. The question then becomes: What is wrong with us as a society? Until that question is answered, gun confiscation merely serves to make law-abiding gun owners criminals, as most will not turn theirs in, and to allow criminals an unfettered open season.

So here's my idea: If you do not want to own a gun, Mr. Winn, by all means don't. But have the courage of your convictions. Place a sign in your yard proclaiming your home gun-free. Then see who pays a visit first: Representatives from Handgun Control, Inc. or your local burglar.

Doug Walker

Hagerstown

Fund the track

To the editor:

The drive for private contributions - to cooperate with the Washington County Board of Education, to replace the 25 year old track at BHS - is going well. More participation, however, is needed by individuals.

Please support the effort to provide a safe surface for their heavily used school and community year round, all weather facility - with your much appreciated tax-deductible donation.

Further information and details may be obtained from those members of our BHS Track 2000 Committee: Chair Athletic Director Jeff Barnhart 301-766-8028; Coordinator for Nelson Resker 301-432-5424; alumni and parent donations Chuck Wade 301-432-4270. Checks should be to B.A.B.I., and sent to Kerry Miller, treasurer, P.O. Box 13, Keedysville, Md. 21756.

Dwight Scott

BHS, retired

ATT is not communicating

To the editor:

Question: Name a popular telecommunications company that uses language and figures to conceal more than to reveal? Answer: AT&T Long Distance Service when billing customers.

A case in point involves billing for service where no long distance calls are made.

The following is the information/disinformation used to explain how non-use generates an AT&T bill for $18.58.

Quote: "Telecommunications companies are required to contribute to the universal service fund. AT&T recovers its contribution for the fund through the universal connectivity charge. Beginning with your April bill. This charge will change from a flat monthly fee of $1.38 to about 8.6 percent of your state to state and international long distance charges, as well as any service charge."

In the summary of AT&T charges there are listed individual charges that for all intents and purposes remain fictitious as there is no reference to calls made or not made.

This really amounts to a penalty for not making long-distance calls. In making inquiry to AT&T, be prepared to encounter a language barrier with the informant.

This AT&T policy is akin to our county or state government declaring that all licensed drivers from this time on are hereby charged a monthly road access fee in addition to the tax. The only difference would be in the latter case there would be a public mutiny.

David E. Culler

Boonsboro

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