Letters to the Editor are typed as submitted. No changes are made to sentence structure or grammar.
A statement of sentiment
It is a failure of imagination, both on a personal and a community level. A failure to imagine what it is to be a woman of any age, who is pregnant and facing the prospect of birthing an unwanted baby, for whatever reason — rape, incest, bad relationship, too young, too immature, still in school, wanting higher education or a career, the man irresponsible or not available to support, no family for support, no job, poor, too many children already, not in good physical or mental health, don’t want responsibility of raising a child. A failure to imagine a community with poverty levels rising, crime increasing, women having to give up education and careers, women unable to enter the workforce, abandoned and neglected children, violence against women, drug culture. And do not forget the responsible fathers who do take care of those mothers and babies and are then unable themselves to complete their education and careers.
And that failure to imagine on the part of judges, governors, and legislators who have the power to take control of women’s lives has devastating consequences, again, on both a personal and community level.
When I was a young mother and happily having babies, during the 50s and 60s, I was appalled at hearing stories of mothers unwilling for whatever reason to have babies and submitting to back-alley abortions with sometimes horrific consequences. I had no lack of imagination when contemplating the anguish those women were suffering that brought them to those decisions; from the deepest reaches of my heart and my mind I could not see the justification for forced births. How could a woman be a good mother to a baby she did not want?
Now the West Virginia legislature has rejoiced in SCOTUS decision to overturn the rights granted by Roe v Wade and has passed legislation banning abortion with only limited exceptions. Also passed WV House Resolution 302 “Statement of Sentiments” (look it up, and compare with “Declaration of Sentiments 1848”) which, while granting that society has an obligation to look out for women and children, insists that woman is only a vessel to produce children, and she is not responsible for decision to have abortion, that decision is rather being forced upon her by “the abortionist, the propagandist, the boss, or anyone else [with power over the woman], who is acting in their own best interest.” A chilling document indeed.
J.M. “Windy” Cutler, Three Churches
Before hitting ‘send’
The underlying premise of September 7’s “Smoot Point”, that President Biden threatened to use F-15s against political opponents, is absurd. In fact, Biden’s statement in context is an unambiguous paraphrase of Justice Scalia’s discussion in D.C. v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008).
To summarize, in Heller, the Supremes resolved longstanding ambiguity to conclude that the Second Amendment right “to keep and bear arms” (the “Right”) inures to individuals rather than only through a militia, a milestone victory for firearm owners. In his majority opinion, however, Scalia considered a contradiction: on one hand, the drafters of the amendment thought that militias could constitute a check on federal power; on the other, longstanding authorities concluded that the Right was not unlimited, such that the government could preclude ownership of certain classes of weapons. In this connection, Scalia observed that the Right would not extend to permitting an individual to own weapons that effectively could be used against a government today, in relevant part, stating, “It may well be true today that a militia, to be as effective as militias in the 18th century, would require sophisticated arms that are highly unusual in society at large. Indeed, it may be true that no amount of small arms could be useful against modern-day bombers and tanks.”
Biden’s comment specifically references Scalia’s opinion and, in relevant part, tracks Scalia’s logic: both observe that (i) the Second Amendment is not unlimited – one can’t go out and buy certain types of weapons, and (ii) notwithstanding the historical concern regarding a militia as a check on federal power, today, to take on a government, one would need weapons not available under the Second Amendment – in this connection, Scalia referenced “modern-day bombers and tanks” while Biden referenced “an F-15.” Suggesting that Biden, and by association Scalia, were “fantasizing” about using F-15s on protesters or promoting civil war is ridiculous.
It used to be the case that a conservative intellectual’s obvious perversion of the most sacred writings of Saint Antonin would earn them a spanking from the Buckley Smart Conservatives Club. Today, however, it sadly appears that ignorance has become a feature rather than a bug, with such ignorance not only tolerated, but weaponized to stir up fake fear and partisan anger. In my opinion, America would be far better off if people would consider context and do their research before hitting “send.”
John Geracimos, Mathias