2nd Amendment not about home defense

To the editor:

I think if I read one more letter from an American spewing nonsense while proudly trying to impress his likewise dull peers, I will scream.

I see plenty of evidence that people don’t understand the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. I read where people think the Second Amendment is about muskets, hunting or fighting Indians attacking your cabin. They don’t understand that everybody is expected to be a citizen soldier with soldier-type weapons to defend against enemies who would take our freedom, be they foreign or our own government grown too full of itself. The founders were very concerned about that very thing.

We have talking heads who try to speak knowledgeably about firearms, especially the dreaded semi-automatics. By God, that does sound scary, but what does it mean? Maybe it fires bullets as long as the trigger is held back? No, that is full automatic fire and is for the military only, unless you pay many bucks, jump through hoops and have the patience of Job.

We also have dangerous people who would gladly like President Obama to declare himself a dictator and forgo the people’s constitutional protections altogether. One writes for The New York Times. We have some here.

Remember that history’s worst dictators had willing dupes and followers who helped disarm the people. Then the masses were murdered. Avoid the knee-jerk reaction. Educate before it’s too late.

ROBERT SPRIESTERBACH

LAS VEGAS

Hollywood torture

To the editor:

The movie “Zero Dark Thirty,” to be released Jan. 11, suggests that a tortured prisoner provided information that led the United States to Osama bin Laden. This false scenario has been labeled “bunk” by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., someone who knows about torture first-hand and who got the facts about bin Laden directly from Leon Panetta, head of the CIA. Nevertheless, this movie, like the Fox TV show “24,” will now be in the public domain, leading many to believe that torture is in fact effective.

The United States has always condemned torture, but this changed after 9/11 – not by virtue of a policy debate in Congress but as the result of a secret plan hatched by a small group of individuals. Captives from Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere were secretly flown off to dark sites in Egypt and Syria, where ruthless dictators assisted the CIA in torturing suspects. Others were taken to Guantanamo Bay, where they were hooded, stripped naked, beaten and water boarded, and denied food, water and sleep. The photos of abused prisoners at Abu Graib were not an aberration. They depicted standard operating procedure. Many prisoners were innocent of wrongdoing, but they were denied the right to any type of a rudimentary hearing to determine whether there was probable cause to hold them. For a full account of those in our government believed to have taken part in authorizing torture of enemy combatants, read “The Dark Side” by Jane Mayer or visit www.tortureaccountability.org.

Cruel, inhumane treatment is unethical, immoral, illegal, ineffective and even counterproductive. Instead of eliciting the truth, torture compels prisoners to say anything to stop the mistreatment, often leading troops on wild goose chases, thus wasting valuable resources. Moreover, once tortured, these prisoners cannot be brought to trial because their “confessions” are inadmissible.

Many Americans seem apathetic about the mistreatment of these prisoners categorically labeled “terrorists,” but these are human beings, many of whom were simply turned in for the U.S. bounty. In any event, regardless of the apparent complacency of many Americans, the Muslim world is watching, and the anger against the United States is mounting. If those who tortured prisoners in our name are not going to be prosecuted, at the very least, we should denounce and boycott any movie that portrays torture as acceptable.

ALBERT G. MARQUIS

LAS VEGAS

Gun crime

To the editor:

Gun bans and other restrictions on our Second Amendment rights are not the solution to ending shooting crimes, massacres and other heinous abnormal acts against innocents in our society. I would like to remind your readers of three incidents regarding the ineffectiveness of preventing gun crime through the “assault weapon ban” mentality that appears to have gripped some politicians in Congress.

First, the 1999 “assault weapons ban” was in effect when the tragic Columbine massacre occurred. It did nothing to prevent the kind of crime it was intended to stop.

Second, NBC’s David Gregory, in a Dec. 23 “Meet the Press” interview, brandished what appeared to be a large-capacity magazine during that interview. This magazine appeared to be illegal to possess in Washington, D.C., where the studio is located. If it is illegal to possess, how did Mr. Gregory manage to get one? This helps illustrate that a laws won’t prevent crimes from occurring when someone decides to break them – even a television anchor who should know better.

Third, on Dec. 22, CNN anchor Don Lemon admitted to purchasing an AR-15 rifle for himself in the state of Colorado. If he still lives in Atlanta, where his network biography says he’s based, then he violated Colorado gun laws.

These three instances certainly dispel the notion that gun laws stop gun crime, because all three of these crimes are or were illegal at the time of the perpetrators’ law-breaking activities

Justin Saragoza

Las Vegas

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