To the editor of THE EAGLE:

Joe Nocera's May 29 op-ed column "Distorting the Second Amendment" was a breath of fresh air.

I tired long ago listening to gun lovers spouting their Second Amendment rights as if they were a birthright bequeathed by the gods (or in some cases, God Himself). In reality, they were bestowed by a highly questionable vote by the rogue 5-4 right-wing majority on the Supreme Court, who once again, ignored precedent, historical context and any sense of jurisprudence in rendering its decision in 2008. These are the same guys who brought us Bush v. Gore, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, and a slew of other highly dubious decisions based not upon any insightful interpretation of the Constitution but upon their right-wing political agenda.

In discussing Michael Waldman's book "The Second Amendment, A Biography," Nocera notes that virtually every historical reference to the right to keep and bear arms was within the context of military defense. This was appropriately referenced and lawfully incorporated into the Supreme Court's 1939 decision to uphold the National Firearms Act. Justice John Paul Stevens, in his dissenting opinion in 2008, stated that the majority's decision made for "a strained and unpersuasive reading" and bestowed a "dramatic upheaval in the law" -- words that could well describe nearly all the notorious decisions to date by the 5-4 conservative majority.


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I don't know what makes people in this country obsess about guns, since it is not replicated in other developed, more civilized countries where shootings constitute a mere fraction of those committed in the United States. We don't have any militias, except for the right-wing wackos intent upon overthrowing the government, and it's pretty safe to conclude that our forefathers did not have them in mind when they considered national defense.

The new "open carry" aficionados, who initially even embarrassed the NRA for being "weird," like to strap their weapons to themselves while having a coffee at Starbucks. Since their lives are not in danger in such venues, nor are there any targets, the only motivation I can think of for engaging in such bizarre behavior is that it makes up for some sort of sexual inadequacy.

As we have seen too many times in this country, any yellow-bellied, cowardly sicko can shoot a good man, woman or innocent child from 50 yards, while guns in the home lead to far more accidental deaths than any incidents of self defense. Meanwhile, cowardly and intimidated politicians balk at reasonable gun control that would save thousands of lives.

RICHARD T.

DELMASTO

Pittsfield