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One More Shot

Infused/flavored Jack at the Horse You Came in On

I was very disappointed in your whiskey article (“Stay Warm, Drink Whiskey,” Feature, Jan. 23). It never mentioned the Horse You Came in On. My husband and I belong to their Jack Daniel’s club. They also serve their own infused/flavored Jack[s], which are great. Just the fact that this establishment has been the longest-running saloon in America would be enough to mention their name. If want to check us out, we are member number 36B.

Anita Hare

Baltimore

More Guns In Schools and Mexico

Cartoonist Tom Tomorrow makes fun of the concept of armed guards in our schools in your most recent edition (The Mail, Jan. 23), but he is more on-target than he knows. If we are not willing to defend children with armed guards in our schools, then whom are we willing to protect? Over 25 years ago, I predicted that, in time, we’d have armed guards on all our various means of public transportation, and in the long run, I’ll be proven right. Certainly we can do this if we can afford to ship troops overseas to protect people we don’t even know! The same is true for all our shopping malls and theaters.

Readers of this paper may recall that I’ve opposed sending our troops overseas to both Iraq and Afghanistan in our alleged “war on terror” when our real objectives were to serve as Israel’s handmaiden there and also to outflank China and to deny it Iraqi oil for its all-ocean, blue-water navy. There is, however, one war that I would support, and that is an incursion into Mexico in concert with the Mexican Federal Army to help wipe out its drug cartels, as well as to arrest its main customers: Americans. We invaded Mexico twice before: once to take its land, and again in 1916 when bandit-leader Pancho Villa attacked a New Mexican town. The current situation with Mexico is becoming more our problem than it is theirs. I can think of no better place to station our returning soldiers from our current two wars than there.

Blaine Taylor

Towson

Guns Don’t Kill, Criminals Do

I recently came across two letters published in the Jan. 2 City Paper and my hair immediately stood on end. Both letter writers spoke to the gun violence of recent weeks and the huge and important issue of gun control.

Let me preface this letter by saying I consider myself a liberal and am a registered Democrat, so this is not a rebuttal based on party lines. I know this is rather lengthy but please hear me out.

One person suggests that liability insurance for gun owners is the way to go. At first blush this seems reasonable—until you realize that this will be a means to make responsible, legal gun ownership totally impossible for a vast majority of the people who need it.

Yes, we have car insurance—because we are out there every day, all day, routinely pointing our cars at people. Not so with guns. In this state, except in rare occasions, guns are intended to stay in the home for protection there. And if the letter-writer doesn’t think the insurance companies will latch onto that and run wild with it, they aren’t thinking. (Because insurance companies have such a great track record for fairness, right? After all, it took an act of Congress to get decent health insurance!) Red-lining by insurance companies is technically illegal, but astronomical insurance rates for cars and homes based on ZIP code are not.

So, basically, gun insurance for people on the mid to lower end of the economic scale or in struggling neighborhoods would be steeply cost-prohibitive. And in case it has been missed, most of the mass shooters come from middle- to upper-income families.

What this policy would do is create a situation where a basic constitutional right is handed to the rich and deprived of the poor, while giving insurance bureaucracies even more power in society. And protecting no one. Sorry, I’m not OK with that.

The second writer suggested a “simple” solution of creating a federal law that would make mandatory a 10-year prison sentence for the owner of a gun which is used by another in the commission of a homicide, as well as having all federal assistance pulled from states that do not comply on the state level. The writer says that the prospect of such punishment might make people reconsider owning a gun. There are so many things wrong with this idea, I hardly know where to start. The first and primary problem is that a perfectly legal act, owning a regulated, registered firearm for home defense, becomes a threat to the law abiding citizen if a home is burglarized, a gun is stolen, and it is used to kill someone.

Even years later, the law-abiding citizen, who has done everything right, goes to prison, right along with the person who committed a string of crimes. And, as happens all too often, there are sentences of 10 years or less handed out for various degrees of murder. So in the letter-writer’s scenario, the gun owner—also the victim of a crime—might serve more prison time than the person who killed someone.

This plan is, by the writer’s own admission, an (unethical) tactic to coerce people into being unwilling or unable to be a responsible gun owner. If this isn’t motivation to own an illegal gun, I don’t know what is.

Have we not been here in history before? Where laws which were enacted under some loose pretense of keeping people safe have prevented law-abiding citizens from exercising their rights?

Whether the writers like it or not, owning a gun for protection of home and self is legal and constitutionally protected.

Guns are not the problem. Most people who own guns legally are not the problem. Stop trying to punish the wrong people.

I’m not professing to have the answers to the problem of gun violence by criminals, but I know that in a free and democratic society, this is not it.

Tweefie Millspaugh

Baltimore

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