This letter is in response to the coverage of the fatal shooting at Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina and the subsequent surge of momentum to take down the Confederate flag from all public and private places.
The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution states: “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.”
Obviously the need for a state militia has been replaced by the National Guard and Coast Guard whereby trained military personnel are entrusted with the defense of this country against domestic enemies. Their weapons are tightly controlled and safeguarded. The only two reasons for a citizen to own a firearm are for hunting or defense of the household from intruders. In either case, ownership of a handgun, shotgun or rifle is more than adequate to satisfy these purposes.
There is absolutely no need for any U.S. civilian to own any weapon more powerful or sophisticated than these. Accordingly, all handguns, shotguns and rifles must be licensed and registered to the degree necessary to match weapon to owner at the click of a computer key. Furthermore, we must guarantee that the mentally ill do not gain access to them under any circumstances. Finally, if we had prohibited the purchase of more sophisticated weapons several innocent victims would not have died or been harmed at shopping malls, college campuses, Congressional meetings and now churches.
As for the Confederate flag, I agree that it should be removed from all government buildings because it is neither a national nor state flag. But the outpouring of yanking it (no pun intended) from everywhere else seems a bit extreme. Neither the flag used by the Army of Northern Virginia nor the official flag of the Confederacy had anything to do with being a symbol of pro slavery but rather was the colors adopted by men who chose to fight for the preservation of state’s rights against what was perceived as the growing encroachment of the Federal Government.
Slavery may have been the straw that finally broke the Union’s back but it was the wealthy plantation owners who stood to lose most from the loss of their “peculiar institution.” Instead of following the North’s industrial push they left themselves behind only to be crushed by a more powerful enemy.
Billy Yank and Johnny Reb did not enlist (or get drafted) into their respective armies to aid or oppose slavery; they did it because from each side’s point of view it was the right thing to do. The ending of slavery was just a positive result stemming from the outcome of America’s second revolutionary war. Everyone is certainly entitled to their own opinion of the Civil War, but fortunately they are not entitled to their own facts.
Joe Bialek, Cleveland, OH