, Salem, MA

January 25, 2013

Letter: Fools tilting at windmills

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

Barbara Anderson’s selective reading of the Second Amendment and her NRA advertisement (“Overreaching government still a concern,” Jan. 3) is disappointing.

Never mind that there is no major movement or serious interest in repealing the Second Amendment — and while there are people advocating this, they are on par with those wishing to secede from the United States; fools tilting at windmills.

For now, let’s ignore the glaring contradiction of starting an article claiming a right shall not be infringed upon and then ending it by saying it should be infringed upon if one is not legally declared sane (after all, our Founding Fathers didn’t stipulate mental health with regard to one’s rights, so why should we?). While she is quick to emphasize gun rights “shall not be infringed” — she ignores the context into which the gun rights are issued without infringement: “a well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state.”

“Well-regulated” is often ignored by people claiming an unambiguous right to bear arms.

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary gives us three definitions for the word regulate:

1. to govern or direct according to rule

2. to bring order, method or uniformity to

3. to fix or adjust the time, amount, degree or rate of

Given the surrounding words, definition one or two is an appropriate interpretation here. Together, the actual context that our rights to bear arms is not infringed upon is if we have given ourselves over to be governed as a group for the protection of a free state (local, state or nation). That some gun advocates ignore, neglect or claim it’s not important speaks volumes about their own means of liberal interpretation.

I believe in the right to bear arms, but I think Anderson’s arguments largely misinform and misdirect the real conversation. They do more harm (promoting myths that government is full of bullies looking to rob you of your guns and mentally ill people should have their rights restricted) than good.

Lance Eaton