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Letters to the Editor

The Second Amendment

Amendment II to the Constitution states: 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.

Note: There are several versions of the text of the Second Amendment, each with capitalization or punctuation differences. Differences exist between the drafted and ratified copies, the signed copies on display, and various published transcriptions. This in itself presents a problem.

What is the meaning of the Second Amendment? It appears that no one really knows, even though many emphatically claim that they do. I think the situation being applied to this Amendment can best be described by applying the Humpty-Dumpty Theory of Language, as found in Chapter 6 of the book, “Through the Looking Glass,” substituting “the Second Amendment” for the word “glory” as used in the story.

“I don’t know what is meant by ‘the Second Amendment’,” Alice said.

Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t – till I tell you.

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”

“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

Maybe the time has come for us to give up trying to understand the Second Amendment and just apply “common sense” to the subject of guns?

– Charles Urban, Boerne

The drift to the right

I realized some time ago that the Republican Party had drifted to the right of center. However, I had no idea how far to the right President Trump had led his Republican followers until a friend of mine sent me a film snippet of “The Last Speech of Ronald Reagan as President on Immigration.”

I do not have the vocabulary or talent to give your readers a full appreciation of Reagan’s words and his delivery skills.

The purpose of this letter is to encourage your readers, who have access to YouTube on their computers, to search for this speech and hear once again Reagan’s rich, full baritone voice delivering his final address.

I guarantee your readers, Republicans and Democrats alike, will feel a renewed pride in America after listening to Reagan’s observations on our nation’s immigration policies as they existed during his time in office. It may also strike your readers, as it did me, just how far our nation has drifted from the America that Reagan knew and loved to where we find ourselves today.

– Terry Thompson, Boerne

Ending oppression

This Sept. 1 will mark 80 years since Hitler invaded Poland and started World War II. Three years later he launched the Holocaust that murdered 6 million European Jews.

A key question facing historians is how could an enlightened society that produced our civilization’s greatest philosophers, poets, painters and composers also produce its most notorious mass murderers, along with millions of ordinary upstanding citizens who just went along. Was the Holocaust a peculiarly German phenomenon or are other enlightened societies capable? How about our own American society?

Jewish Nobel laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer gave a clear answer when he wrote: “To the animals, all people are Nazis.” Singer’s message is that we are all capable of oppressing the more vulnerable sentient beings in our midst, frequently without even thinking about it.

Our own enlightened society has translated the arbitrary Nazi dictum “the Christian lives, the Jew dies” into an equally arbitrary “the dog lives, the pig dies.” Only the victims’ names have been changed. The blissful, self-serving ignorance of the death camps and slaughterhouses in our midst remains.

Our very first step on the long road to end all oppression should be to drop animals from our menus.

– Braxton Stuttgard, Boerne