Letters to the Editor: Nov. 15, 2017

How many?

After the December 14, 2012 Newtown, Connecticut, tragedy in which 20 precious children and six brave teachers were murdered by a 20-year-old carrying a high-powered rifle and two handguns, I wrote a letter to the editor of our local newspaper. I wrote that the time was right for common-sense measures such as reinstating the assault weapon ban, closing gun show loopholes and banning the sale or transfer of high-capacity magazines.

Multiple mass killings later, including the tragedy of 58 killed and 489 wounded in Las Vegas, the majority of our elected leaders still show no desire to enact any common-sense measures, even the outlawing of “bump stocks.” Just as our freedom of speech is subject to reasonable regulations, so too is the Second Amendment, as affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2008.

After Newtown, President Obama said, “If there’s even one step we can take to save one child or one parent … then surely we have an obligation to try.” How many more men, women and children must die from senseless gun violence before a majority of our elected leaders at least try?

Anthony D. DeGiusti

Oklahoma City

 

Meaning of the flag

The great American flag to me represents freedom, representation in government for the people by the people, constitutional protections and personal security. Let me also state that I have served this great nation and its flag by spending over 30 years in the active and reserve military forces and working for the United States Army as a civilian for approximately 28 years. Hopefully, I have earned the privilege of an opinion on the subject.

First, what is freedom? Webster’s dictionary states, “The condition or state of being free; independence; possession of political rights; boldness of expression; liberty; unrestricted access or use.” Recently, our president chose to call out citizens of our nation for exercising their freedom and rights under the American flag. He called for the nation to boycott their teams; he called for their employers to fire them. Why did he do this? He chose to do it because they were honoring the American flag by exercising their rights guaranteed by the very flag he accused them of dishonoring.

Second, these patriotic acts by the NFL members seem to be their attempts to represent very important issues before our government. They seem to be calling attention to obvious injustice being neglected by our president, Congress and law enforcement across the nation. In my honest opinion, the president must recognize this and is trying to draw attention away from his deficiencies. In so doing, his acts are very divisive and possibly go to the extreme of violating his oath of office. I believe he pledged to, “the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

In my opinion, he has and continues to do just the opposite. Is it just possible that he is the one that should be fired?

Third, I have been taught that the Constitution of the United States guarantees freedom of speech and expression. I also have been taught that kneeling was an expression of respect, honor, reverence, value and admiration. I’m sorry I don’t understand how anyone could interpret this to be disrespect to our nation’s flag.

Finally, I would like to see our great nation come together in brotherhood and sisterhood, embracing what is right and good between us and working through our differences, guaranteeing to each an equal opportunity to succeed, an equal opportunity to education, an equal opportunity to health care and an equal opportunity to the protections under our nation’s flag and its constitution.

Kenneth L. Daley, MSgt USAF Res, Ret., MSM

Warr Acres

Nuclear chicken

Never will I forget that October day in 1962 when I sat in my dorm room frozen by the image of President [John F.] Kennedy announcing to the nation that he had ordered our navy to stop and search every Soviet vessel heading to Cuba for the possibility of finding and removing missile launchers and/or nuclear explosives. Armageddon seemed nigh. That had been my deepest sense of impending doom — until now.

[Nikita] Khrushchev and Kennedy had both experienced the horror of war, so their steady hands averted ultimate war.

We are presently experiencing a very different and even stronger possibility of nuclear war. To our horror, the competing nations this time are led by two absolutely uninformed, bombastic, immature heads of state with no concept of war playing chicken with nuclear weapons.

North Koreans are helpless under their mad dictator. However, we have our illustrious Constitution providing ways to prevent “mad leadership” from dooming us. The 25th Amendment could eliminate our half of the madness. Is there time? Is there the courage? “We the people” can determine our fate.

Frank Silovsky

Oklahoma City

Stretchy optimism

Optimism about America’s political prospects is, in the short run, a stretch these days. The spectacle that is this current administration invites violence.

Today’s target is the press. The president pretends to be the essence of conservatism: victimized, defamed and sorely oppressed. Like a morality play of the Middle Ages’ Everyman, he demonstrates what every man should do. Apparently, the president’s preferred role is to model behavior to dismiss pesky criticism by the press with vile insults and a bodyslam.

As revulsion to this man’s tactics and persona increases, the glee and resentment of his core base condenses. The result is largely predictable. The details, place and timing are limited only by the imaginations of the usual subset of people with profoundly unmet mental health care needs.

Again, responsible adults will be our nation’s leaders. The American community has a preponderance of sensible grown-ups in every walk of life and neighborhood across our great country. Unsung leaders have been and will continue to be our strength and moral center. Without that foundation, optimism for the America’s long term would be ill-advised as America’s Lady Liberty enters her 241st year.

Sharon Tilbury

Oklahoma City

Inheritance conundrum

It seems only two positions remain available regarding historical statues: If one cherishes Confederate memorials, one is complicit in racial animosity associated with 19th-century Southern states; if one feels disgust for these sculptures, then one must revile a whole segment of fellow Americans. Middle ground seems lost, uncertainty unimaginable.

Meditation, often evoked by the subject matter of public commemorations, is, thus, lost. Never mind that this is the genuine purpose of most art — to provoke us, even uncomfortably, towards alternative ideas, even ones anathema to our perspective. Declaring that such sculpture should be limited to museums should, one hopes, give every artist pause, wondering which of their more evocative, controversial ideas will also be deemed inappropriate for the public sphere. Decades ago, the idea of a statue of two men holding hands together, clearly depicting their romantic feelings for each other, would have been decidedly an exhibit best quartered off in a section of some art gallery, protected by curtains and maybe even age-restriction admission for visitors. Today, many of us would almost celebrate such art in a public park while others would declare it a horrible surrender of some moral ground. Which mob should we listen to in such an instance?

History, presently, must yield to historical interpretation where mentions of our ancestors must also include judgment on them as people. Their adherence to our present social psyche is paramount, and our acknowledgment of their shortcomings, sacrosanct for anyone wishing to avoid labels of “racist” or “sexist.” How much longer before a generation arises which sees sculptures of American soldiers from the Korean or Vietnam wars as celebrations of “illegal encroachments” against “civilians”? You may scoff now, but is this wholly unimaginable?

If this present form of strict interpretation holds up, one can only wonder how many of us will be considered barbarians by our children’s children’s children a few generations from now.

Wayne Hull

Yukon

City symbol

I am so happy that we voted yes on the infrastructure development on the recent ballot. So many great things are happening in OKC, and heaven knows the streets need attention, as well as the other issues approved.

Right now, we have street work going on that is dragging out — especially EK Gaylord by the train station and Chesapeake Energy Arena. Everywhere I go in the downtown area and all over OKC, there are more projects in process, but I am not seeing any completed. For the new bond work to be successful and voters to be glad we said yes, it must be managed where only a few projects are underway at same time and they are finished quickly. We need projects completed.

In 1979, my then sales manager moved to OKC from Dallas, and he said, “I don’t care where I am going in OKC; they are working on the street I want to use to get there.” He moved back to Dallas, but his statement still stands all these years later. At least 20 years ago, I saw comedian Carrot Top in OKC. He spoke about the city symbol of OKC. He said we must be really proud because it was everywhere! Everyone in the audience wondered, “What is he talking about?” He undraped the orange-and-white construction cone. While funny, it was true. Those cones were everywhere then! And they are now. I don’t want Oklahoma City to be known by our terrible streets, and I don’t want to be known as the city of constant road work (like Interstate 35). To those who work in the city to award and manage these contracts, we have put our trust in you, so please manage them well! Please finish projects so we see progress and not just torn-up streets and construction cones. Otherwise, maybe I should consider buying stock in the company that makes all the orange-and-white construction cones and barrels.

Catherine Quinlan

Oklahoma City

 

Oklahoma Gazette provides an open forum for the discussion of all points of view in its Letters to the Editor section. The Gazette reserves the right to edit letters for length and clarity. Letters can be mailed, faxed, emailed to editor@okgazette.com or sent online at okgazette.com. Include a city of residence and contact number for verification.

Gazette Staff

This article was written by the Oklahoma Gazette staff. To reach an editor, please email jchancellor@okgazette.com with this story headline in your subject line.

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