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Web Letter

Readers may wish to take note of this portion of the Rhode Island Constitution in which the damnable grammar of the Second Amendment (US) is employed:

Section 20. Freedom of press. -- The liberty of the press being essential to the security of freedom in a state, any person may publish sentiments on any subject, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty; and in all trials for libel, both civil and criminal, the truth, unless published from malicious motives, shall be sufficient defense to the person charged.

Somehow I don't think Rhode Island's protection of an individual's right to publish would face much scrutiny. Now, I'll let the ink dry.

Stephen McGuire

Austin, TX

Aug 3 2008 - 2:56pm

Web Letter

Great article and excellent analysis. We have met the enemy and he is us!

Seriously, there is an obvious dichotomy in both the Constitution and American society. We pride ourselves on our collective achievements (moon landings, interstate highways etc.), but get leery when the group-think starts getting too uppity.

I don't think I'm as pessimistic as Lazare's conclusion seems to be. Even if the Supreme Court's ruling reawakens the individualist-reading of the Constitution, we as a society are still able to come together and accomplish great things. At least until the unity falls apart and we start squabbling amongst ourseleves again.

Oddly enough, I think there is room for both individualism and collectivism to exist side-by-side. I believe we can accommodate our individualistic tendencies while still reserving the ability to engage in collectivism when the need arises.

Lyle Gentry

Cape Girardeau, MO

Jun 28 2008 - 9:30am

Web Letter

The argument from the right has always been that to protect our freedoms from an over-reaching, dictatorial government we, the people, need to be ready to defend ourselves from all enemies, foreign or domestic. I agree. Yet today that threat comes the right. Conservatives, true conservatives, were always wary of anything that they perceived as an infringement on the rights of the people. And now we have lost habeas corpus rights, any criticism of the President is "aiding and abetting the enemy," and we have just seen our rights to privacy pissed away to placate the telecoms and shield Bush from accountability. We, the people, are in danger and must learn to protect ourselves and our country before we become just sheep led to the slaughter.

Richard Fessenden

Savannah, NY

Jun 26 2008 - 4:21pm

Web Letter

Doesn't the Second Amendment mean simply this: since we need to have a well-trained, competent militia, people ought to be familiar with weapons? This was in an age of no military conscription. Now we have an army, volunteer now, consscripted earlier. We don't need an armed citizenry.

These lawyers, judges and scholars are far too Talmudic (or Jesuitical) for my taste.

norman ravitch

Savannah, GA

Apr 19 2008 - 7:38am