Valid points on both sides

As a result of the tragedy in Connecticut, there's been a rush by many to mostly blame the gun culture for this calamity. Undoubtedly, there will now be a justifiable push for tighter gun control. Obviously, assault weapons and licensure issues need to be addressed.

However, before we get caught up in the media-driven search for an easy answer, let's remember that when it comes to these tragedies, easy answers may elude us. Although Western it has had strict gun control, they've had many mass shootings more than the past 20 years. In addition to the recent shooting in Norway that took over 60 lives, there have been horrific mass shootings in schools in Western Europe, too.

To reduce these crimes, we need to be truly liberal enough to realize that conservatives make some valid points on this issue, too. For instance, since many of America's worst mass shootings have occurred in gun-free zones, maybe it's time to rethink these areas. Since gun-free zones offer little resistance to an assassin, we should at least consider having an increased police presence in these areas.

Hopefully, America can work on reducing these crimes while retaining the more positive aspects of our Second Amendment. — Perry Casilio, Talent

Poor timing

After a year of tragedies, on New Year's Day I opened the Mail Tribune with expectations of "Happy New Year" hopes and wishes for a better world. Instead, the front page featured a story of a mad rush to stock up on ammunition and guns, reminding us sadly of the recent heart-wrenching slaughter of innocent children. To say that it was poor timing is an understatement. — Shirley Buckley, Medford

Local control was intent

Mr. Whitlock's interpretation of the federal government's right to the land is skewed and naturally biased with him being a government employee.

The treaty laws we signed with countries such as Spain and Britain, for instance, were and still are the supreme documents of law concerning land ownership. The documents read "We the People," just like our Constitution tells us that we the people have a government that is limited — not a government that has a people who are limited.

The early congresses followed the law and developed ways to divest the land to the people and to territories for the purpose of growth and development. These were clear titles.

The federal government was limited to its own land for national defense, mainly forts and the national capital; state and county governments could exercise their lawful rights and take back local control.

The federal government is the bully here, imposing its will against the people. It is hurting our local economy and does not serve the public interest, but serves only a political agenda.

Local control always was a feature of the Founders' intent and it's the best for our counties and states. — Dan Pietila, Eagle Point

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