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Letters 11/27/2013

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The learning
environment

    Putting guns in schools is tacit acceptance that society has failed, whether it’s a school resource officer, a metaphor for policeman, or armed instructors. Like many of our problems, we refuse to see the deeper reasons for school shootings and only apply easy, mindless solutions.
    The example used at the Supervisor’s meeting can be seen more as an exception to the rule, than as a rationalization for arming teachers.
    VCDL president, Phillip Van Cleave’s argument that shooters choose gun-free zones, such as schools or theaters to unleash their carnage is illogical. With the exception of some urban neighborhoods and police stations; all locations in our society are gun-free: public and private places such as businesses, parks and playgrounds. That’s the way it should be.
    The Virginia Citizens Defense League believes they are invoking the frontier spirit of self-defense by advocating armed teachers. But in the American West, one of the first laws passed in town was “no guns in town.” It meant they believed in the rule of law, the power of the law over the power of the gun. Who defied the law? Only bullies and cowards. And bringing Christianity into the argument is hypocrisy squared.
    By not going armed, teachers are implicitly saying, “I do not want to change the school atmosphere to one of a fortress mentality. If I carry a gun that means the kids need to be afraid of something.” That’s not a great learning environment.

David Goode
Bedford
Scandalous
reasoning

    Granting how close Virginia’s recent gubernatorial race was, one wonders how many winning ballots were based on McAuliffe’s claim that Cuccinelli was opposed to women’s rights, because of his stance on abortion.
    Sociopaths notwithstanding, we all agree that adult human beings enjoy an equal share in equal rights, which we commonly call human rights. What, though, is that property we all share that grounds our human rights?
    Is it function, size, development, race, or gender that grounds human rights? No, because these criteria sometimes vary radically among people, while our claim to rights does not. Human rights do not come in degrees. Our rights are based on what we are, not what we can do.
    That universal property which grounds human rights is the human nature. Human nature is not something that develops over time. Instead it’s a necessary precondition for all of our subsequent development. Therefore, human nature is prior to human development.
    The continuum of human development begins at fertilization and continues to natural death. All humans, from conception onward, have an equal share in human rights, especially the right to life. Women’s rights are what they are because of their more fundamental basis in human rights.
    Despite, whether or not this year’s race was won by controversial vote counting, if the winning ballots were based on McAuliffe’s women’s rights rhetoric against Cuccinelli, it was certainly based on scandalous reasoning.

Kevin Stevenson
Big Island