Address the real problem
To the editor:
I am a resident of the town of Charleston who recently attended the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors meeting held on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, in which a unanimous vote to repeal the NY SAFE Act was passed and I was pleased at the resolution's passage.
Then on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013, I walked up to the gun rally at the Capitol in Albany, New York. I work downtown so it was just a short hike up State Street hill and once there I discovered that several thousand American citizens were gathered to protest the recently passed NY SAFE Act. This legislation was shoved through by our state governor, Andrew Cuomo, and our elected representatives without allowing public comment ... not one.
These American citizens who gathered in Albany were passionate yet peaceful in an effort to convey their message (and mine) and I stood there among them to say, "we know what the 2nd Amendment to the American Constitution means and we do not intend to give up our freedom without a fight."
In the days since the NY SAFE Act was passed I have become familiar with the 2nd Amendment's short but concise words: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
After my first reading of the 2nd Amendment I had to look up the definition of the word "militia" for clarification because for me the word militia always conjured up the image of a group of violent and unruly thugs. What a relief to discover that according to the New Webster's Dictionary (Vest Pocket Edition) "militia" is a citizen's army.
So it seems by the wording in the 2nd Amendment that our founding fathers knew -- even in 1791 -- that a "citizen's army" might be needed in order that we retain our freedom. It's also pretty clear that they intended this right shall not be violated, encroached or breached. I'm no constitutional scholar but its reading seems very clear. I believe where we are at odds is over idea of what "well regulated" means. Remember that laws are already in place to regulate the sale, possession and use of firearms. More regulations will not solve the problems we are faced with.
I suppose the thing that makes this issue so important is that this latest infringement on our freedom is just one more in a long line of governmental regulations that continue to rob the average citizen of one's freedom. This latest infringement is, I believe, just the first step in removing any legitimate means of self-defense. More limits lead to more limits until we have nothing left but limits. We the people just want to live our lives in freedom, we want to dream big dreams that might someday come true and we want to be happy.
I can tell you that it truly was a hopeful scene at the Capitol in Albany on Thursday. With lots of handmade signs and American flags waving I was witness to 5,000-plus people united as visible proof that "We the People" are willing to fight for the freedom we enjoy and while we don't want to imply that there is no compassion for those who have been victims of gun violence, taking such a means of self-defense from innocent, law-abiding citizens will not net the answer that is sought.
I believe it's high time for our elected officials to address the real root of the problem. Instead of imposing more and more regulations how about welcoming God back into the conversation? How about trying to help families remain intact by becoming a good example? How about valuing life? How about being appalled by violence instead of glorifying it in the movies and in children's games? It's time to get to the root of the problem and stop thinking that by clipping the leaves you've eradicated the weeds.
I posted a modified version of this statement on my blog but wanted to share my words in the hope that more and more Americans might decide to become involved, informed and exercise their privilege to vote when the time comes.
The facts are frightening
To the editor:
Did you know that there is a new "commercial hunting preserve" that I will refer to as a "canned hunting" facility in Fulton County, in the town of Perth? First let me say to the hunters that get a hunting license and hunt wild deer in the woods during hunting season, that this is not directed to that type of hunting. I know many hunters and listen to their tales of adventure when they go hunting. This is about a canned hunting facility that was literally placed in residential property owners' back yards. It was erected without any input from the neighboring property owners.
Did you know that bullets can travel from .5 to 5 miles? Did you know that some types of guns will shoot bullets straight through a branch and continue on to their target without a flicker while others ricochet at the slightest twig? Did you know that a hunting license is not required in a canned hunting facility? Did you know that canned hunts can operate 365 days a year? Did you know that the minimum requirement for a canned hunt is 10 acres? If these facts don't frighten you, they should. They frighten me.
I can show you a newspaper article where a bullet ricocheted off a boar and killed a driver in his vehicle one mile away. There are many similar newspaper articles. The fence line of this facility is about 50 feet from the road.
So now you are thinking that so what, it's only this one and I don't live near it. There is another one going up in the town of Brunswick. Without laws to protect us they will be going up all over. I suggest you attend your town board meetings and get some laws on the books to either ban them or restrict how close to residential properties they can be. If you see a petition asking legislators to make laws governing these facilities, please sign it.
Town of Perth
Reading to the Curie students
To the editor:
On March 1, the students and staff of Marie Curie Institute participated in Read Across America. We would like to thank the following people who took time out of their day to read to our students:
Mayor Thane Larry Banta, Firefighter Iannotti, Tom Perillo, Donna Decker, Alicia Satty, Lisa Lorman, Stormy Orengo, Kent McHeard, Chief Liberti, Rick Potter, Officer Spencer, Undersheriff Smith, Colleen Braender, MOJO from the Amsterdam Mohawks and his reader Brian.
Involving the community in our schools is always a positive experience. Our students see first-hand how important their education is to the community and how much the people of Amsterdam care about education. Our students are always excited to meet people from various professions.
Thank you again for helping us to make Read Across America at MCI a success: Donna Marek, Jamie Farrington, Jamie Masterson, Sarah Cetnar, Jenna DeGiulio, Roseanne Lybolt, Susan Kelly, Sue Leone, Marisha Gennett, Barbra Riedel, Marie Curie Institute.