About Bruce VanWyngarden's Letter from the Editor on the Civil War (and civil rights) ...
Man, it's great to see someone grab a machete and hack through the thick brush of douchebaggery. Splendid!
I was the only white speaker eight years ago, when the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition held a rally in what was then Forrest Park. Rev. Al Sharpton spoke, the late D'Army Bailey spoke, as did others. We were right then, and recently, events have proved us right now. What was written in this article well encapsulates what I said then. It is an excellent piece of truth-telling, nicely exampled. To be brave and even brilliant in a malevolent cause is still damnable, at best pathetic, but never glorious.
About Jackson Baker's cover story, "Into the Sunset" ...
My goodness. I guess "we the sheeple" are being hornswoggled by politicians who don't understand the ramifications of moving an old dead guy from under a bronze statue in a park to the cemetery he and his wife got disinterred from about 100 years ago.
I almost never argue about what to do with 100-year-old corpses. It's not something that comes up in conversation all that much. As long as he isn't in my back yard, I'm probably good with it.
But Elmwood sounds fine for Forrest. It's a nice place. He has friends and family there already. And give Shiloh the statue. They have a lot of antique bronze out there already. Problem solved.
Holding on to the symbols of disunity, oppression, and bigotry won't accomplish peace and unity between peoples. Since the white South was irrefutably wrong in seceding and using the excuse of Reconstruction to terrorize black people and white Republicans, and subsequently using Jim Crow to resubjugate Southern black people after the North gave up trying to make white Southerners behave civilly, then white Southerners should, as a gesture of conciliation, give up these retrograde attempts to whitewash history. Tell the real history, not the fake history the white citizens who erected the statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest in 1905 have concocted out of the ether.
Don't we have bigger fish to fry in this city than to worry about a dead man who is not doing anyone any harm right now? If you don't like the statue, go to another park. We have several nice ones.
Just for the record: Confederate soldiers, sailors, and marines who fought in the Civil War were made U.S. veterans by an act of Congress in 1957, making all Confederate veterans equal to U.S. veterans. Additionally, under U.S. Public Law 810, approved by the 17th Congress in 1929, the War Department was directed to erect headstones and recognize Confederate gravesites as U.S. war dead gravesites. So, in essence, when you remove a Confederate statue, monument, or headstone, you are, in fact, removing a statue, monument, or headstone of a U.S. veteran.
About licensing guns ...
Cars are so dangerous they can kill. That's why we require a license — not to own one, but to use one. You must be age 16, get training, pass a written test, pass a road test, and get retested every so often for the rest of your life. And if you want to drive anything bigger (trucks, buses, bulldozers, etc.), that requires a different license, one that's more difficult to attain, again from a state-certified system. No one has a problem with any of this.
So why don't the same kinds of laws apply to guns? Cars kill by accident, but guns kill by design. That's why the police have to have serious background checks and lots of practice, testing and retesting, all by a state-certified system, before they are allowed to carry a gun.
All gun users should have to get training then a license. There should be small-gun and large-gun licenses. Ammunition should be sold in quantities appropriate to the purpose of the gun. If you think you need a 100-round magazine to shoot a deer, you really need more practice.
Like alcohol and tobacco, firearms should be heavily taxed, but all gun-safety devices should be tax-free.
J. Andrew Smith