Letters, Letters to the Editor, Opinion

Feb. 26 letters to the editor

Gun rights elevated over responsibilities

After several unsuccessful attempts, campus carry in West Virginia is close to becoming a reality.

The right to bear arms, written into our Constitution, is cited as a reason for the proposed legislation. Sometimes supporters also claim that such laws enhance public safety, although there seems to be almost universal agreement that the presence of guns among the general population does not enhance safety in state capitals and airports. West Virginia’s senators and delegates seem equally disinclined to extend gun-carrying rights to visitors to the Capitol in Charleston.

Gun advocates, in general, and supporters of campus carry in particular, easily refer to rights but rarely mention responsibilities that usually come with the right to carry a lethal weapon. Nor do they usually consider the rights of others who may be harmed by them exercising their rights.

 I was a college professor for just shy of 40 years, and during that time, I never had to worry that a student coming to my office to question a grade was armed. My colleagues who are still teaching no longer make this assumption.

When I served in the military, I was given a personal weapon and learned to use and care for it. Thus, while not an expert, I have experience with guns.

I object to campus carry because it is another step in the current atmosphere that seems to elevate the Second Amendment beyond all other rights. Hopefully, one day this country will hold the First Amendment rights in equally high esteem and defend them with equal passion.

Peter Schaeffer

Gov’t meddling in WVPB draws national attention

As a long time financial supporter of West Virginia Public Broadcasting (WVPB), I am deeply concerned about the recent national public radio report on Morning Edition, entitled “Reporter’s dismissal exposes political pressures on WV Public Broadcasting.”

This national report details political interference from Gov. Justice and other state officials into the independence of journalistic reporting by WVPB on various issues within our state. In summary, it states, “since 2017, politicians have sought to eliminate state funding (of WVPB). The governor appointed partisans hostile to public broadcasting to key oversight positions. And the station’s chief executive has intervened repeatedly in journalistic decisions.”

The final straw was the reporting this past fall by a WVPB reporter on allegations that people with disabilities were being abused in facilities run by the state. West Virginia political leaders were incensed at the perceived criticism and wanted the article retracted.

This political interference was first reported by the Ogden Newspapers (headquartered in Wheeling). Next, it sparked a federal investigation into the allegations of harm to individuals with disabilities in state-run facilities. It then snowballed into national attention with an investigative report by the National Public Radio into the journalistic independence of WVPB.

Meanwhile, the lead reporter on the initial article lost her part-time position at WVPB. In response, WVPB has sought to minimize the entire controversy by giving limited public responses and removing any reference to it on its website.

The Dominion Post has shown journalistic integrity in reporting on various legislative and executive (good, bad and stupid) decision-making at the state level. I hope that The DP will also bring attention to this WVPB scandal for its readership.

 I also encourage concerned citizens to participate in the next online meeting of the Friends of West Virginia Public Broadcasting board meeting Wednesday, March 8, beginning at 12:30 p.m., or attend in person in Charleston.

Patricia Schaeffer

‘Buy American’ means more than higher prices

The Feb. 17 column by Jonah Goldberg focuses on what he calls the folly of buying American.

In particular, he states that when you hear the term “buy American” that you should immediately translate it into “we’re going to pay extra.” But I don’t think it’s that simple.

For example, when steel plants in the Rustbelt were closed — besides the “good consequence” of cheap steel — other probable “bad consequences” were more divorces, more suicides and decreasing tax bases leading to poorer infrastructure, poorer schools and shuttered downtowns. Also, increased drug and alcohol abuse, resulting in the need for more police, more prisons and more treatment programs. You might say that none of this was the responsibility of business, but we now know these outcomes were part of the story.

Other consequences result from economic choices that disregard the notion that people matter. A 2003 article in National Geographic states 27 million people lived as slaves at that time. Some of them were debt slaves. One example given in the article was of a bar owner who would persuade women to work in his bar, then denounce them to the police and have them arrested for having no documents. Then he would bail them out and tell them they would need to work as prostitutes to work off their debt.

The current online estimate of the number of slaves in the world stands at about 40 million. Some of these slaves are in the United States.

Perhaps our ability to see injustices in the world is related to how we view our own laws. Does our Constitution embody principles of justice? Or is it a mere code of laws, a set of rules in some sort of game that is played out for selfish benefit?

Bill Miller

Nation has outgrown the Second Amendment

The world has changed. The Second Amendment to our Constitution should be done away with, obliterated. It has been so removed from its original meaning in the 20th and 21st centuries that our Founding Fathers would not recognize it.

In our collective ignorance, we have forgotten that our Founders created the Second Amendment because they feared the creation of a large standing army. That was the result of their dealing with the British army during the colonial period and their understanding of how standing armies negatively affected the rights and freedom of people.

The Founders also understood that military preparedness  “… being necessary to the security of free States” was at times essential. The solution to avoiding a large standing army was to have “A well regulated Militia ….” Within the well regulated militia, people had the right to bear arms. Those militias were state organizations that were at the disposal of the president. President Washington first used this power by nationalizing the militias of Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey to put down the Whiskey Rebellion in southwestern Pennsylvania in the 1790s.

Now, in as much as we have the largest standing army in the history of mankind, the Founders’ fear of a large standing army has no meaning for us today. And since the right to possess arms within a well regulated militia has been interpreted to mean the unfettered right to bear arms by individuals, it, too, has lost its original meaning.

Let’s get rid of the present Second Amendment — or join the Originalists, those who believe we should abide by the original meaning of the Constitution, and get rid of our large standing army and relegate our rifles and other arms to our state militias. Time marches on.

Joseph Martinelli

Youth obsession with fame leads to infamy

This message is for young people, but especially girls. Because of the internet, everyone wants to be famous. And it’s because of the internet that a lot of young lives have been ruined.

What is fame? A lot of strangers know your name and face. That’s the definition.

It’s human nature to want to be worshipped. Fame used to equate to respectability; if you were famous, people held you in high regard. But not so much these days.

Think of current “celebrities.” Most of them are (in)famous, but for the wrong reasons. They are so narcissistic, they will manufacture “controversy” for their 15 seconds of shame.

Someone wisely said, “Never do anything you know you’ll have to apologize for later.” The great American writer Ernest Hemingway put it more crudely: “Fame is death’s little sister.”

Donald Stump
Terra Alta

Guns not the problem; devaluation of life is

The guest editorial “The Generation of School Shootings” concludes with, “we are cowards each time we decide that this is the price of freedom.” To that I say, no, we are cowards if we continue to ignore the real problem. That problem is we have destroyed the value of life.

We glorify violence today. That is seen in many of the movies and shows being produced. We split people into various classes based on race, sex, sexual orientation, political affiliation, wealth — the list goes on and on. Our political leaders, media and influencers play these classes against each other. They do so to control power and wealth. Sadly, many advocate violence against opposing classes.

On top of that, our youth are bombarded with gloom and doom. They are fed a steady diet of “the world is going to end” because of climate change. They are being taught they are victims, and there is little they can do to improve the world. They are taught there is no hope, no reward for hard work and that they are being oppressed by one class of people or another.

We have raised a couple of generations now who have been taught they are morons if they believe in a Supreme Being. We have a couple of generations who believe themselves to be the supreme beings and can do as they please.

That, my friends, is the issue we must find the courage to deal with. Until that time, you can outlaw all firearms and all that will be accomplished is the firearm will be replaced with other items that, when used improperly, can also kill.

Bill Hill