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Military compulsion is not a freedom

August 12, 2006

I found myself recently in an oftentimes uncomfortable position for a man, or boy, to find himself in. While spending the day with my beautiful girlfriend, who I am definitely not uncomfortable around, I found it necessary to enter a place that, like a boxing ring, should not be entered until you have your defenses in place. The place? A beauty salon.

I desperately clutched your newspaper like a young child does its security blanket and I began to read.

In that issue, dated July 25, a "letter to the editor" was published pertaining to the issue of gun control and the weakening of our society as a whole in America.

The author of that letter suggested several changes to our national policy toward gun control that I found not only impractical, but against the principles of democracy as a whole, and therefore in violation of everything that our Founding Fathers stood for.

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I am the first to admit that I am not all that brave (as evidenced by the beauty salon event mentioned earlier). Because of this, I deem it a fair sacrifice to wait the few weeks for police to ensure I am not, in fact, a hardened criminal.

After all, everyone must undergo this treatment before becoming the proud owner of a new hunting rifle, handgun, or automatic weapon, for that matter. While it may seem inconvenient at the time, it is definitely preferable, in my opinion, to the inconvenience of being confronted with a weapon held by a person who underwent absolutely no background check whatsoever.

The author of the letter next suggested a law allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons in public, the object being to help these citizens protect themselves from other citizens with concealed weapons. After all, every citizen is a law-abiding one before they commit a crime, and if they're smart, which they often are, potential criminals wait until they have permission to carry a weapon before waltzing into the First National Bank and demanding all the money.

I could feel the earth rumbling as I began to read the next paragraph outlining the author's thoughts on our national policy. You see, I have been taught from day one of fifth-grade history class that, as an American citizen, I have the right to do whatever I please (to a certain point, of course).

As an American citizen, I can democratically elect the leaders of my nation. As an American, I can rent movies, speak my mind, and yes, even own a gun or two.

As an American citizen, I cannot be forced into doing something that goes against my better judgment and system of beliefs. As an American citizen, I cannot be forced into compulsory military service. Everything about those three words goes against everything I have been taught as a student growing up in the United States of America.

But, of course, you never know. It might work. I mean it worked pretty well for the Soviets, right? And I believe we even used it once. I'm not really an expert, but I believe it had something to do with some incident back in the '60s and '70s that had to do with some place called Vietnam, or something like that, and we're none the worse for wear because of that, right?

And then, on top of that, the writer proposed compulsory membership in the Reserves until the age of 65. Gee, that's like cake and ice cream. Nothing like getting up every Saturday morning at dawn at the age of 65 to do jumping jacks and pushups, huh?

But I'm afraid I'm getting carried away and may even sound a bit biased, and even disrespectful (something I would like to apologize for before it is too late), at this point.

But it is my right as an American to hold an opinion, and be biased about it, even be passionate about it, and I'm absolutely positive that the author of the letter I read the other day is just as passionate about his opinion.

And because of the system we live under, there is nothing I can do to force him to believe as I believe, and nothing I can do to force him to do as I say. Other nations have tried to do such things, but it has never worked, because an action taken in the face of a gun will never be as effective as an action taken because you believe in the cause you are defending. The word compulsory does not disguise in any way what such a practice would truly be - slavery.

Nathan P. Wuertenberg
Needmore, Pa.

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