News of Otsego County

2nd Amendment

DEROSA: Walking unveils a world of hidden wonders

Up On Hawthorn Hill

Walking unveils a
world of hidden wonders

Richard DeRosa

Two days ago, after visiting a friend in the village, I walked home, a jaunt of about five miles.

I am a walker by nature, but it has been a while since I have taken a walk of any substantial length. Most of our walks around here are two to three miles. That, coupled with working in the gardens and doing chores up here on the hill, usually serves as a worthy, and tiring, supplement to longer walks.

However, that walk a few days ago reminded me of the salutary rewards of a long, leisurely walk, a walk Thoreau so sagely described as a ‘saunter.’

As I started my way up Pink Street, a neighbor stopped briefly to chat. After a bit of neighborly catching up, he observed I had two walking sticks. At that moment I was only using one, saving the other for the uphill climb ahead. I informed him of my wife’s encouraging me to walk with two sticks, believing it might help improve my posture.

He paused for a second, I suspect to gather up his philosophical wits and, with respect to my wife’s concern for my posture, said, “that’s why I don’t have one.”

One of life’s enduring options.

deBLIECK: Governed Also Can ‘Regulate’

Governed Also Can ‘Regulate’

To the Editor:

It is ironic that those who achieved an impressive education simultaneously lack the very basics of Constitutional study. Upon the current topic of the Second Amendment seems to illustrate this dichotomy quite well.

The notion that the word “regulated” applies only to that of the government is both taking words out of context and as completely ignoring the very function of the Bill of Rights in the first place.

To exemplify this, the Second Amendment states: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to secure a free state, the Right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

This can be split into two general parts. The former is by far the most commonly misinterpreted: “A well- regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state.”

If one were to assume that “regulated” is deemed only to that of government, how can a government regulated (which is a method of control) secure a free state? Quite to the contrary, if a government evolved into a tyranny, what stops them from regulating the militia into virtual nonexistence and paralysis? After all, to regulate such in any manner would clearly be within stated
Constitutional grounding.

Current conversation that I have been seeing from our opponents is that such regulations are not even limited to the militia but also to the people themselves. One wonders why the latter portion containing “shall not be infringed” rings any bells.

It is pure nonsense to interpret the word “regulated” as only manifest from the government. To assume so renders the Amendment moot. For if it is permitted to allow government control of an armed populace, how then can such populace secure their republic free? The short answer is that it doesn’t.

The fact of the matter is that government is NOT the sole source of regulation. To the definition, to “regulate” is “to govern or direct according to rule.” Allowing government to control the Second Amendment is logically the same as allowing the prisoners to control the prison.

Rather, our Founders are concerned with a Militia being organized with a system of accountability, restraint, and method of function. All of which are well constituted without government intervention.

A logical parallel can be argued to that of organizational bylaws. Such bylaws form the lawful/unlawful order by which it functions. In other words, the rule is not by virtue of government, but rather to that agreed among the people of said organization.

Brought under this interpretation, the Amendment, as a whole, loses the contradictions and fully makes sense. By being separately regulated among the people from government control(s), the militia does indeed manifest the function to counter check the government if said government strays from the Constitutional Law and into despotism. Therefore, it secures a “free state”.

Further, by removing government controls and entanglements, there also is no longer the contradiction to the latter portion of the Amendment that “the Right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

It serves proper advisement to the county representatives to heed Thomas Jefferson’s advice concerning Constitutional interpretation to rebuke such flawed arguments. For one to ignore the very purpose of our Bill of Rights and to ignore the innate contradictions in holding such flawed positions, only the uneducated would embrace such, and the fool to follow it.


SMITH: Constitution Gives Us The Right To Do What Makes Sense

Constitution Gives

Us The Right To Do

What Makes Sense

To the Editor:

I’m afraid that Mr. deBlieck (Letter to Editor, March 19-20) doesn’t understand what the U.S. Constitution actually says and does. Like the power to declare war and raise taxes, the power to organize and arm militias is explicitly reserved to the Congress of the United States.

Don’t believe me? Read Article One.

There are no provisions that allow the “entire population to form a militia.” Moreover, the Constitution
authorized the militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions and not to “secure the liberty of the place in which they live.”

Don’t believe me? Read Article One.

Today, everyone has an idea of what the Second Amendment means – with many Americans believing that it allows a citizen to have any kind and keep as many guns as one wants.

Let’s start with phrase “the People.” Read the Preamble of the Constitution – it says, “We, the People.” The Second Amendment allows the People (a plural usage), not individuals, to keep and carry arms when serving in the militia. Period.

Don’t believe me? Read the Preamble and the Second Amendment back-to-back.

More to the point, Congress passed laws in 1792 and 1903 delegating the authority to organize militias (and after 1903, the National Guard) to the respective states but not to individual citizens.

Don’t believe me? Read the laws.

As to the kind of weapons, in my opinion, no one needs assault weapons, which are specifically designed to kill humans with a massively high volume of firepower.

I am not an anti-gun nut. When I was younger, everyone seemed to have a gun to go hunting, and many kept their guns strapped to the back window of their truck. No one was worried about that – least of all me. Even my family kept shotguns and pistols (with a license to carry). And no one was worried about that – least of all me.

But the gun lobby, especially the National Rifle Association (NRA), has gone far beyond the America of my childhood by advancing unrestricted gun ownership.

Today, why do you think there are so many guns?? I believe that it’s all about money – the NRA’s constituents are in favor of gun control, but the NRA itself has become a powerful and influential money-maker.

Guns are sold not only to our citizens (many – about 40 percent – without a background check), but they are also sold around the world to our allies and to our enemies. Oh, that glorious money!

Our country is awash in uncounted guns. Stop to think about the things in our lives that are so destructive –and big businesses and institutions (like the NRA) are the ones making money off everyone in our country (not only guns, but alcohol, drugs, gambling, cigarettes, and vaping).

If we enforced proper and effective laws that made gun purchases legal and fair, we would not have many of these problems. Too many people go underground for their guns – and therein lies one of the biggest problems we currently have.

Gun Control does not mean people are going to take away your guns. It means that proper and effective control over the purchase of weapons best serves honest and fair Americans.

Moreover, it also means that individuals respect what our Constitution actually says and not misstate the words for their own personal satisfaction and gain.


STAMMEL: ‘Sanctuary’ May Kill Golden Goose

‘Sanctuary’ May Kill Golden Goose


To the Editor:

Elected officials should make efforts to understand and represent, within the confines of the law, our constituents’ varying perspectives. Thus, Representative Brockway’s “Second Amendment sanctuary” letter in last week’s edition was concerning both in its substance and tone.

His letter rebutted a column a week before submitted by an active local resident. Brockway dismissively wrote that the author “is not native to the area and does not understand the people of rural, Upstate New York.”

Politicians may disagree with a community member’s position on an issue; but negating the personal value of those opinions based on assumptions about where someone was born is inappropriate.

We have a duty to work respectfully for all constituents, whether they’ve lived here for 80 years or eight months.

The opinions of “native” rural Upstaters about the difficult issue of gun safety are not uniformly absolutist.

Upwards of 90 percent of Americans believe some level of gun safety regulation is appropriate. This includes large proportions of people, like myself, who have lived in rural Upstate our whole lives or who have a familiarity with guns.

Among wealthy nations, ours is a significant outlier in the high level of deadly gun violence. Anyone who objectively looks at this fact will realize it is a problem in need of solutions. In government, we don’t solve the tough problems by retreating to rigid ideological corners. Instead we need to bring the best minds together from different perspectives and work collaboratively and creatively to create a better future for the next generations.

Sanctuary movements urge a radical and dangerous drift away from the rule of law. Many of us object to specifics in the SAFE Act or the process by which it was adopted. But like it or not, it is the current law.

Under our system, the way to change the law is to urge our lawmakers to repeal or amend it or to vote in new representatives who will do so. If a law is claimed to be unconstitutional, it may be challenged in the courts, which are tasked with interpreting the meaning of the state and federal Constitutions. Pro-gun special interest groups are generously funded and assist citizens in these lawful efforts at campaigning, lobbying, and litigation.

In Otsego County government, we frequently complain about unfunded or ill-fitting state mandates and often urge the state to improve them. In fact, the county board has been on the record for years with
its concerns about the SAFE Act.

Despite objections, our county and local governments are still obligated to follow our laws. The suggestion by politicians or by the county board as a body that our government not enforce the law is deeply irresponsible and de-stabilizing.

It puts at risk two of the primary pillars of our local economy – higher education and tourism. Our economic vitality depends on the revenue from those “outsiders” and newcomers about whom Representative Brockway speaks so dismissively.

How many fewer families will visit or send their children to our area if they believe they’re venturing into the Wild West where public safety laws will be applied arbitrarily or not at all? This divisive and misguided effort would not lead to a brighter future for the county we love and should be rejected by the county board.

County Representative
Town of Oneonta

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