Original Text of LTE Censored by The Lebanon Daily News

 

This page is written to inform and educate the public about media bias.  Materials duplicated on this page are intended to illustrate my criticism of The Lebanon Daily News and it's editorial policies.   They are being published here to put the whole issue in context.

On Friday May 25, The Lebanon Daily News published a letter written by Fred Goudy of South Lebanon Twp.  On Saturday, June 2, 2007, The Lebanon Daily News published my response.  The editors knife was not kind and most of my main arguments were neutered.  In order to show the full context of what was written, this page contains four letters, Mr. Goudy's, the entire letter I wrote in response, the one that was published, and the one I wrote chastising the Lebanon Daily News for its censorship.

No right to have a shootout
(Lebanon Daily News, May 25, 2007)
Editor:
    Recently, state Rep. RoseMarie Swanger took a stand opposed to gun controls citing that her constituents were opposed to the same. I wrote to Swanger and suggested she is not accurately assessing her constituents. The inclusive embodiment of all constituents without polling the citizenry is without merit.
    I recognize that there are many hunters among her constituents, and I recognize that it is impossible to "un-invent" firearms. But, it is possible to insert gun controls and not violate the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
    The Second Amendment reads: "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."
    In its only extended treatment of the amendment, the Supreme Court in United States v. Miller (1939) gave guidance: "With obvious purpose to assure the continuation and render possible effectiveness of such forces (militia) the declaration and guarantee of the Second Amendment were made. It must be interpreted and applied with that end in view." Again, I remind that we cannot "un-invent" the gun so we need to learn how to protect people from the misuse of same.
    The NRA continues to oppose gun controls. Many who oppose gun controls see the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States as protecting a citizen's right to own and bear arms. That, most assuredly, was not the intent of the amendment.
    I do not hunt. Yes, I do eat meat. Let's defuse the trite arguments that might cross the lips of the uninformed. I believe we should govern our actions to address our needs on the food chain as humanely as possible and not kill for fun or pleasure. I shudder to consider the Wild West mentality of carrying a gun for protection as we go about our business. I believe we have more to fear from those "good guys" who tote guns than we ever have to fear as we go about our daily routine.
    Imagine living in a neighborhood where carrying guns is the norm. Imagine living in neighborhoods where toting is considered being a "real man." I believe if a question was posed to the men, women and children who now live within those compounds if they like living with those guns there would be a resounding "No!"
    I ask Swanger to find a way to control the abomination of violence living in our neighborhoods. There must be a sensible way to make all of our neighborhoods safer. And please take the Lead in reminding all the people that the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States protects the people's right to act as a militia (as was the case in the late 18th century) and not the right of people to recreate the shootout at the O.K. Corral.

Fred Goudy
South Lebanon

My Letter as I Submitted to The Lebanon Daily News

Editor
    I am always amazed at the capacity of the liberal left, particularly the anti gun crowd, to obfuscate. Fred Goudy's arguments clearly are so far off base as to border on out and out lies.
    First, let us take a close look at the legislation which Rose Marie Swanger was referring to. This proposed bill, if passed, would be a state law. In this case the 2nd Amendment is irrelevant. Article I, Section 21 of the Constitution Of Pennsylvania clearly states, "The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned." So, you see, we do have a right to use guns for self defense.
    But, even if it were the 2nd Amendment standard that we were relying on, again Mr. Goudy tries to confuse us by taking the entire Miller case out of context. "Miller" was not about the right of individuals to keep and bear arms, it was about what kind of arms they were allowed to have. Miller was arrested for possessing a sawed off shotgun. Sawed off shotguns were made illegal in the Gun Control act of 1934.
    But as is the usual ploy of the liberal left, the quote Mr. Goudy used was taken out of context. Let me enlighten you what the rest of the opinion says after the sentence he used
    "With obvious purpose to assure the continuation and render possible the effectiveness of such forces the declaration and guarantee of the Second Amendment were made. It must be interpreted and applied with that end in view.
    The Militia which the States were expected to maintain and train is set in contrast with Troops which they [307 U.S. 174, 179] were forbidden to keep without the consent of Congress. The sentiment of the time strongly disfavored standing armies; the common view was that adequate defense of country and laws could be secured through the Militia- civilians primarily, soldiers on occasion.
    The signification attributed to the term Militia appears from the debates in the Convention, the history and legislation of Colonies and States, and the writings of approved commentators. These show plainly enough that the Militia comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. 'A body of citizens enrolled for military discipline.' And further, that ordinarily when called for service these men were expected to appear bearing arms supplied by themselves and of the kind in common use at the time."
    The real ruling set forth by the Supreme Court in Miller was, "In the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a 'shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length' at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument. Certainly it is not within judicial notice that this weapon is any part of the ordinary military equipment or that its use could contribute to the common defense. Aymette v. State of Tennessee, 2 Humph., Tenn., 154, 158."
    Miller was dead by the time his case reached the Supreme Court and no one showed up to argue that sawed off shotguns were frequently used as a short range defensive weapon in trench warfare during WWI. This ruling merely stated that the judges knew of no such use. It is possible that someday this ruling could be overturned if the situation were revisited. Perhaps when you try to take our self loading homeland defense rifles. (Assault weapons for those of you in Rio Linda)
    As for the "Wild West" argument. It is an old and tired one. "Shall issue" concealed carry laws have been around for about 20 years or so. Currently there are at least 38 states that have them. Pennsylvania has had one for 12 years. Every time a state considers these laws the gun control crowd pulls out the "Oh no! It will be the OK Corral. There will be blood in the streets!" argument.
    It hasn't happened. People are not gun fighting over parking spaces and other inconsequential issues. There is no wild west. There is no blood in the streets, at least not from lawfully licensed owners. A quick Google search showed that since the carry law went into effect in 1987, less than 0.02% of Florida carry permits have been revoked because of gun crimes committed by license holders. Similar statistics show up everywhere that concealed carry laws are enacted.
    In fact, licensed gun owners use their guns almost 2 million times each year to thwart crime. Most of the time the gun is only displayed and never even fired.
    Then you show your naiveté. You say "Imagine living in a neighborhood where carrying guns is the norm." Open your eyes. People all around you are carrying guns. You just don't see them, hence the term "concealed carry". The nice thing about this is, if you don't know who is carrying, then neither do the bad guys.
    But guess what? Since you wrote your letter, it is a good bet that the bad guys know that you are unarmed and easy prey. You might as well have put a sign on your home that proudly says "Gun Free Zone". Now wouldn't that be a novel idea?
    Finally, let me close with one last thought. Most anti-gun people such as yourself believe that only the police, government agents and the military should have guns. Do you really want George Bush and Alberto Gonzales to be in charge of the only people who have guns?
    I thought not.

Richard Mase
Lebanon

What The Lebanon Daily News Published
 

Guns are out there, and that's OK
(Lebanon Daily News, June 2, 2007)

Editor:
    Fred Goudy's arguments in his recent letter are far off base.
    For the legislation that Rose-Marie Swanger was referring to, the Second Amendment is irrelevant to the case. Article I, Section 21 of the Pennsylvania Constitution states, "The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned." We have a right to use guns for self defense.
    Even were it the Second Amendment we were relying on, Goudy tries to confuse us by taking the entire U.S. v. Miller case out of context. Miller was not about the right of individuals to keep and bear arms, it was about one type of weapon. Miller was arrested for possessing a sawed-off shotgun, made illegal in the Gun Control Act of 1934.
    The quote Goudy used was taken out of context. The rest of the opinion, after the sentence Goudy quoted, says:
    "With obvious purpose to assure the continuation and render possible "the effectiveness of such forces the declaration and guarantee of the Second Amendment were made.
    "The Militia which the States were expected to maintain and train is set in contrast with Troops which they ... were forbidden to keep. ...
    "(T)he debates in the Convention, the history and legislation of Colonies and States, and the writings of approved commentators ... show plainly enough that the Militia comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense."
    The real ruling in Miller was, "In the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a 'shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length' at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument."
    Miller was dead by the time his case reached the Supreme Court, and no one argued on his behalf.
    As for the "Wild West" argument, it is old and tired one. "Shall issue" concealed-carry laws have been around for about 20 years. At least 38 states have them. Pennsylvania has had one for 12 years. Every time a state considers these laws, the gun-control crowd pulls out the O.K. Corral argument.
    A quick Google search shows that since the carry law went into effect in 1987, less than 0.02 percent of Florida carry permits have been revoked because of gun crimes committed by license holders.
    Then Goudy shows his naivete. He says, "Imagine living in a neighborhood where carrying guns is the norm."
    People all around him are carrying guns - he just doesn't see them. Hence, "concealed carry." If you don't know who is carrying, neither do the bad guys.

Richard Mase
Lebanon

My Letter Chastising The Lebanon Daily News

Editor

    The editor's scissors can be sharp and merciful or dull and painful. This time it was more like a meat grinder because it turned the meat of my arguments in my last letter into hamburger. It also shows me the anti gun bias of The Lebanon Daily News.
    It is unfortunate that you did not allow your readers to see all of what I quoted from the majority opinion in Miller vs. The United States. It clearly shows the intent of the founders that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right and not a state right to have a national guard.
    The sentence I am referring to was not even replaced by three periods showing that it had been cut. The editor merely truncated the sentence after the words "common defense".
    While I understand the need for brevity in such letters and the News' policy on word limit, your execution of editorial privilege shows your hypocrisy. In your own editorials you proclaim support for the First Amendment then you censor scholarly debate on positions which you oppose.
    For those of you with Internet access, the entire content of my last letter is posted at http://rickmase.highspeedweb.net/censored.htm.

Richard Mase
Lebanon