'Change' train boarding
Just as the return of one robin doesn't guarantee the full arrival of spring, so the flipping of an election in a gerrymandered state district does not mark a national turnaround.
All the same, a few somewhat-progressive bills passed in Congress, a#MeToo uprising, countrywide demonstrations in and outside our schools, revised corporate policies on gun sales, student conferences with their congressional representatives and editorial commentaries in respected journals, together, just may be calling us to action.
Jesus compared his generation to children in the marketplace, calling out to decision-makers: “We piped to you and you did not dance.”
Maybe it's time to get on board for this long journey into the future of the American democratic experiment, as projected by the framers of our Constitution. It would seem that the train is about to leave the station: Board!
NRA has morphed into gun-industry front
I wonder how many members of the National Rifle Association are aware of its history. For example, that it was founded in 1871 by two former Civil War veterans in New York. Its purpose was to improve the shooting accuracy of the average Union soldier, who, it was said, fired 1,000 bullets for every one that hit a Confederate.
There was no mention of the Second Amendment. The NRA focused on hunting, conservation and marksmanship. The right to bear arms was not on their agenda and, for nearly a century, members lobbied for gun control. They worked with government, creating gun limits until the 1970s. The National Firearms Acts of 1934 and 1938 put heavy taxes on machine guns, silencers and sawed-off shotguns and prohibited felons from owning weapons. These laws required gun owners to register with the federal government.
Karl Frederick, an NRA leader, said, “I have never believed in the general practice of carrying weapons. I think it should be sharply restricted and only under license.” Some kind of control was supported through the 1960s, when John and Robert Kennedy were assassinated, along with Martin Luther King Jr.
Ronald Reagan said, “There's no reason why on the on the streets today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons.”
Anti-gun-control feelings were raised inside in the NRA in 1968. While still supporting the Gun Control Act of 1968, it opposed a national gun registry and license requirements for gun owners.
Things changed radically in May 1977, when gun-rights radicals took over the NRA's annual meeting, demanding changes in the governing structure and installing as executive vice president Harden Carter, who had served time for shooting dead a Mexican teenager. The new slogan was: “No compromise. No gun legislation.”
NRA power has two sources: the huge lobbying effect with A-to-F grading system, frightening weak-willed members of Congress, and multi-million-dollar annual subsidies going both to the organization and the legislators. Today, the NRA receives million-dollar donations annually from 22 gun manufacturers.
While boasting itself as a protector of the freedom of individual gun owners, in reality it is working to protect the freedom of the gun industry to make and sell any weapon and accessory.
Leonard M. Goldstein
'System works for itself'
I would like to have the senators and representatives, along with the president, sign a contract upon their election stating they will not accept any money from any group or individuals. That certainly would clear out the swamp.
Something has to change because the current system doesn't work for the people. The system works for itself. A contract such as this would change Washington.