NRA's long arm; President anti-American; don't vilify President — Letters to the Editor 1-20-18

NRA’s long arm reaches beyond membership

I’m writing in response to Stan Easter’s letter (“Inaccuracies Portray NRS in Bad Light,” Jan. 17).

Mr. Easter’s statement that the NRA “is no different from groups such as the Sierra Club, Trout Unlimited, The VFW, the Amercia Legion and Planed Parenthood” doesn’t ring true.

While the NRA is a membership organization, it is also funded by gun manufacturers via direct contributions and advertisement. For example, Ruger (arguably the top-selling gun manufacturer in the U.S.) launched a program that donated a dollar for every sale of one of it guns (which amounted to in excess of a $1.25 million contribution) going directly to the NRA Institute for Legislative Action — the lobbying arm of the NRA.

So to characterize the NRA as “simply an organized group of like-minded individuals” is disingenuous at best.

Furthermore, the NRA has deviated far from its original purpose of advancing rifle marksmanship. It has become a top lobbying organization in Washington, D.C. whose agenda includes: attacking laws that make it easier for untrained individuals to carry concealed weapons; deregulating gun silencers; opposing the strengthening of background check laws; and ending gun-free school zones — to name just a few issues.

Its influence is brought to bear through campaign contributions and millions of dollars in off-the-books spending on issue ads. According to the nonpartisan, independent and nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics, the NRA’s lobbying efforts alone exceeded $4.1 million in 2016 as it tried to influence a multitude of government agencies including members of Congress, the Departments of Agriculture, Interior and Justice as well as the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service and the National Park Service.

So, if we are going to analyze tactics, let’s be clear: The NRA’s long arm reaches beyond its membership and into the lives of every American.

It is not just a bunch of folks trying to protect their Second Amendment rights.

And, while Mr. Charles Pennington’s facts (“Learn the Art of Compromise,” Jan. 10) regarding history may not have been spot-on, his contention that the NRA has a major influence on legislation in this country is certainly closer to the truth than some NRA supporters want to acknowledge.

—Dolly Brock



Presidential views on race are anti-American

America is a melting pot of immigrants. America is an all-inclusive nation. Since it was founded, it has been a mixture of races and religions.

America is not — and never has been — an all white, all Christian nation.

Native Americans were here long before America was “discovered.” Much of the west coast and Texas was part of Mexico before it was acquired by the U.S.

Black explorers in the 1500s landed in the Gulf of Mexico and settled around the area of the Mississippi River.

Many were Muslims.

Many of the slaves kidnapped and  brought from Africa were Muslim as well.  When the white European settlers finally arrived, it was so they could practice whatever religion they wanted.

Since the beginning of his campaign and continuing to this day, President Trump has promoted, both subtly and blatantly, notions of white supremacy. Prior to running, he was one of the loudest voices in the “birther” movement, which was an attempt to try to delegitimize our first black president.

In his announcement of running for president, he accused Mexicans of being “rapist and drug dealers.”

His defense of the neo-Nazi alt right as “some very fine people”  in Charlottesville was blatantly supportive of racism and bigotry.

He has abandoned the mostly black Americans of Flint, Mich., (still waiting years later for potable water); the majority Hispanic residents of Puerto Rico (American citizens), who since September are still in need of basic necessities, have seemingly been abandoned; his travel ban applies only to brown-skinned travelers and Muslims;  his border wall is meant to keep Hispanics out of this country; his reversal of DACA affects mostly brown-skinned people; and he has discontinued protected status in the U.S. for Haitian refugees and Salvadoran refugees.

Most recently, there has been the news of the president referring to Haiti, El Salvador and several African nations as “shithole” countries during a discussion that included both democratic and republican leaders.

He went on to lament the fact that we didn’t get more immigrants from Norway.

In other words, white people.

This president’s views on race are anti-American. As Americans, we need to stand together and reject his bigotry. 

Remaining silent is complicity.  

— Marybeth Marenco



Verify before you vilify the President

I think the hysteria about what President Trump said or didn’t say in a private meeting is beyond ludicrous.

No one reading this paper heard what was said.

Not one of the TV talking heads heard what was said.

The editor of this newspaper did not hear what was said.

In my opinion, all these people are denigrating our president because of a rumor started by an old, washed-up politician.

Why wasn’t anyone called for a test of his mental ability and his hearing?

Actually, what the president says in a private meeting is none of your business.

Verify before you vilify.

— Martin Cable



Let the mayor be the mayor

Recently, some residents of Florence have chided the mayor for not signing his name to support the Paris Climate Accord (Climate Mayors), or not making special proclamations about Florence’s sanctuary city status.

I’d like to suggest that, if the mayor changes his mind, there are a few other issues he might consider putting his name on.

For example, there are about 14 Christian churches in Florence. Maybe those 2,000 to 3,000 parishioners would appreciate Mayor Henry recognizing the “world-wide persecution of Christians” (Mayors Against Christian Persecution.)

I’m sure all atheists see the humanity in that.

Also, President Trump seems to be running into a lot of friction. How about Mayor Henry signing a proclamation, “Florence Supports our President.”

After all, the majority, (47 percent vs. 43 percent) voted for him here.

Any democrats here on board with that?

NRA, GMO, PETA, NARAL, PLO, Israel, Iran, North Korea — there’s a long list of national and international causes and concerns that thousands of Florence residents would appreciate the mayor getting behind.

And thousands that wouldn’t.

How about we just let the Mayor of Florence be the Mayor of Florence.  

—Jeff Ashmead



Solution to homelessness, affordable housing not the same 

I think one of the main challenges to affordable housing is that, when the conversation starts about building housing units, immediately the waters are sullied with discussion about how to end homelessness.

The latter is a huge socio-economic issue; the former a development opportunity for those who are able to navigate the terrain of land procurement, codes, investors, banking, etc. 

Why should housing developers be denied an opportunity to make a profit on their projects just because of the incredible boondoggle related to serving people who are experiencing homelessness for any of a variety of reasons?

— Ivy Medow



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