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  • Understated, effective - Attenborough
    If you like movies – good movies – you will be saddened by the death of Richard Attenborough this week, just days short of his 91st birthday.

Letters to the editor

U.S. in sketchy company in rejecting arms treaty

On April 3 the United Nations passed the Arms Trade Treaty by a vote of 154-3. This treaty brings the international sale of all weapons under the same regulation as nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. The intent is to limit the availability of weapons that fuel violent conflicts, mass murders and genocides and make political takeovers and civil wars more murderous than ever before. Although often more symbolic than enforceable, United Nations treaties do bear the weight of public pressure and can influence action against countries that violate those treaties.

Now, according to the Constitution, the treaty must be ratified by the Senate. It failed to ratify a similar treaty last year and probably won’t this time either. The National Rifle Association doesn’t want it. The Republicans don’t want it. Why? Because the export of guns and other weapons of war is a huge financial success for U.S. weapons manufacturers.

Even though the treaty states that each country retains control and regulation of its own weapons, the NRA sees it as a threat to our Second Amendment. In drafting the treaty, the U.S. required watered-down restrictions on ammunition sales – thanks to pressure from the NRA.

If our representatives once again let the NRA, fronting for the big business of international gun sales, stop Senate ratification of this treaty, the United States will join the three other countries that voted against the Arms Trade Treaty: Iran, Syria and North Korea. The company we keep reflects our values.

Do we care about the death of civilians on a massive, worldwide scale, or do we care more about our companies making huge blood-money profits? Is this end-stage capitalism where corporations and their lobbies run our government and our democratic republic ends?


Gun control debate questions unanswered

Hundred twain, a score and two years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent the Second Amendment to our Constitution, which reads, “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.”

The venerated formulators seem to link this “people’s right” to a well-regulated militia and the security of a free state but not to an individual.

Further, their vision focused on weapons of their times, single-shot muzzleloaders. However prescient they might have been, surely they did not foresee automatic weapons with magazines spraying death in seconds. If they were the beacons we credit them to be, our fathers would be revolted at the turn of events and the twisting of their intent by the National Rifle Association and their victims/cronies.

Amid all the posturing and grandstanding on gun control, the following questions are never addressed: Do the words “bear arms” mean in service to our country or shooting at people and animals? Should a strict constructionist approach limit “the people’s right” to only members of a militia? Does a “militia” have a chance today against a “loose cannon” general, not to mention a “mutiny” by the Pentagon?

Our politicians, Sen. Dan Coats and Rep. Marlin Stutzman among them, should do well by changing their motto to: “We Serve Our People” instead of lobbyists and PACs.


If you know something, please say something

Frank Gray hits a home run! On behalf of my family and friends, we would like to thank Frank Gray for his column in general, and most especially the one on unsolved murders and the need for witness cooperation (“Can’t solve crimes by pretending not to see it,” March 21).

My brother, Jerry W. Barker, is one of the numerous victims of the recent spate of violence plaguing our city. Somehow we have to impress upon the witnesses of these murders/assaults that if they do not speak up, they could be next. Heaven forbid it happens to their loved ones; then they will pray for someone to come forward.

It is time to put these cold-blooded murderers where they belong.


Stand fast in defense of our Constitution

What will America look like one or two decades from now? Will we look like the failed Roman Empire, or will we be the great America we once were? What we are currently trying to enact will not be beneficial to return America to greatness.

We have an economic situation that is only being made worse by uncontrolled spending.

Major concerns are the new health care program that has thousands of regulations and pages of controls. We have an out-of-control immigration program; we have supported 20 million illegal immigrants in our country who are taking jobs that could be done by our citizens. This only helps with a higher unemployment rate, and with the aid given to these illegal immigrants in education, housing, food, medical and financial programs, it only adds to our overall financial problems. We must control where we need workers.

The lunacy of our gun control programs and proposed additional controls is amazing, unless a complete disarmament of our public is the aim. The current laws are not even being enforced, and the new laws will protect and assist the criminals even more by eliminating the ability of the general public to defend themselves.

Our Constitution, which has superbly guided us for many decades, is under attack. Pressure from the United Nations, power mongers, un-American factions and those who want to be “kept” is constantly evident in the desire to change the Constitution to fit their respective benefits.

What is happening in many cases is sheer lunacy. The nation’s ability to be sovereign and free is being destroyed. Spending is out of control, our laws are being replaced by regulations, the morality of our country is declining, dishonesty overlooked and almost encouraged, and it seems that many of our citizens do not want to live free or earn anything for themselves. Why?

We had better search our souls as to what must be done individually to stop the lunacy we are experiencing. It’s not as simple as a Republican vs. Democrat problem; it’s up to the people.


Nosy non-farmers need to mind own business

I would like to address Janet Katz (“High expectations of farmers,” April 4). I am not blaming all city people for her being so narrow-minded.

I talked to a dairy farmer the other day who had $8.1 million invested in his operation. Next day I talked to a poultry farmer who had more than that invested. On top of their investment, those farmers have a lot more years and time studying how to make those operations successful. They are in the same boat that doctors, lawyers, school teachers and people who operate large businesses are in.

Disease can wipe anyone out in a hurry. Disease can be picked up in any restaurant, store or just walking in a park. We are in the same business, as farmers, as the doctors and hospitals treating humans. If we didn’t have disease, probably only 20 percent of doctors would have jobs and half of our hospitals would be closed.

In 1968 I wanted to expand my hog operation, and I knew the county agent close to Lafayette. He was successful in getting me in to view two operations 45 years ago. I had to strip all my clothes – shoes, socks, shirt, pants, everything – and wear their clothes. Today I would not get in and I wouldn’t be stupid enough to ask.

When I was on the town board, I wanted to tour the local tomato-processing plant, probably the second- or third-largest in the United States. I could not and I understood.

I have a suggestion. Go to your doctor’s office and tell him you would like to sit in the room while he is talking health issues with a patient and snoop around there also. Then go to the hospital and do the same. Then, if you haven’t learned anything, go to most any business and tell them you would like to look their business over and make suggestions. Go to General Motors and tell them you drive one of their cars and you sure could make suggestions.

Always remember the purpose in life is to lead a purpose-driven life.


Minimum wage meant purely as starter pay

I find fault with a number of things mentioned in Betsey Stevenson’s April 12 article, “Five myths about the minimum wage.” However, the biggest fault is that she missed the main myth, and that is that the minimum wage should offer a living wage. This seems to be the liberal consensus today, but the problem is that the minimum wage was never planned to offer a living wage. When it was first conceived, it was planned to deliberately eliminate minorities and “inferiors” from the workforce in the hope that they would starve to death and die out (Read Jonah Goldberg’s “Liberal Fascism”). The minimum wage was planned only for those with skills who could qualify for that level of pay.

For most of the time since then, the minimum wage was supposed to be an entry-level wage. That is: minimum pay for beginners. This usually meant teenagers and those just out of school. No one was expected to stay at that level for long. Workers were expected to increase their skills and knowledge through more training and education. They were never expected or encouraged to stay at that low skill and pay level and support themselves or a family. They were supposed to work their way up the ladder.

I think most true Americans still think the minimum wage should be a starting, beginner-level wage and expect people to work up from there. They know that you need to increase your skills and knowledge if you expect to increase your pay.