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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

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Open for the Holidays

One wonders how many CEO’s and corporate executives in the retail industry worked this Thanksgiving if their establishments were open and how many will work if they’re also open on Christmas. Most likely it’s the old do as I say not as I do philosophy that prevails. It would be nice if all consumers simply boycotted all such businesses for the entire holiday season!

Michael J. Rusznak

The “TERROR GAP or LOOPHOLE”

Shortly after the vicious attacks in Paris by the “Islamic practitioners of peace,” I was watching news reports on several “news” stations. After a few days one of the reports mentioned a bill, (actually two bills that never made it out of committee), to prevent people on the terror watch list, (The List), from purchasing a firearm. They said that these bills were blocked by republicans because of pressure from the NRA. They even gave it a name; some called it the Terror Gap some referred to it as the Terror Loophole. The reason given for opposing these bills was that it might prevent someone who was mistakenly put on the watch list from legally purchasing a gun.

My first reaction was to think, “That’s stupid, that’s the kind of stupidity I’ve come to expect from the Obama administration”. To block a bill that would stop someone on the terror watch list from buying a gun because a few might be on the list by accident would be ludicrous. It would be like saying, oh… I don’t know, something like, not blocking all refugees from coming here because a few widows and orphans might be left out in the cold.

Well I was about to fire off a poison keyboard email, (because we all know nobody uses a pen anymore), to the NRA telling them just how stupid I thought this was. I was even prepared to resign my life membership. But then I thought, why would a bunch of gun toting, bible thumping, flag waving, conservatives be against a bill that would prevent a terrorist or alleged terrorist from legally buying a gun. So I decided to do some research on the subject.

First I went to the NRA website and could not find anything on the subject. Strange!! So I did more digging. It turns out that the bills in question were first introduced in 2011. One, S.34, by Sen. Frank Lautenberg. The other, H.R.1506, by Rep. Peter King. In a nutshell, these bills would give the attorney general and the F.B.I. the right to deny a person his/her 2nd amendment rights by adding that person to the terrorist watch list. On the surface it seems ok, right! Wrong, very wrong on many levels.

First the terror watch list does not involve due process of law, you are only suspected of terrorist activities. Ehh, so what? Better safe than sorry some would say.

Second if you are put on the watch list and already legally own guns you could be subject to ten years in prison. Again some would say, “So what, a terrorist shouldn’t own guns in the first place”.

Somehow I ended up in the ACLU’s website. Whoa, how did I get from the ultra conservative NRA to the super liberal ACLU? Well I did and this is what I found. It seems the ACLU has also been opposed to “The List” as it currently stands.

The watch list is deeply flawed. You have to remember the watch list was started in 2003. Now let’s take a look at some of the people on the list, which conservative estimates put at over a million names.

Fourteen of the nineteen hijackers from 911. They should be you might say, well yes they should, except they were dead for two years when they made the list.

Saddam Hussein who was in US custody in Iraq at the time.

Sen. Ted Kennedy, Rep. Don Young, Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, and Rep. John Lewis all had problems flying. Ted Kennedy finally had to call the head of Homeland Security to get removed from the list after months of trying.

There are thousands of others but one of my favorites is John William Anderson, he was a very dangerous, blond haired, blue eyed six year old when he was marked as a possible terrorist.

Another problem with “The List” is that you might never know why you made the list or that you are even on it that is until you try to fly on a plane. And once you’re on it, it is next to impossible to get off.

So how does one get put on “The List” you may ask. Good question. That is something that only a select few know unfortunately. In April of 2007 the DHS came out with a report on right wing extremism, the following are some of the things that could get you on the list according to the report;

• Americans who have fought in the Global War on Terrorism;

• Americans who are concerned about issues such as abortion, immigration, the economy, our loss of jobs overseas, including the loss of America’s manufacturing base to China and India, the decline of our construction industry, and home foreclosures;

• Americans who disagree with the policies of the Obama Administration and who encourage others to disagree with such policies, or who believe in federalism;

• Americans who post their political opinions on the Internet;

• Americans who oppose gun control and who, in anticipation of a new push for federal gun control, buy firearms and ammunition;

• Americans who disagreed with the Brady Act and semi-automatic firearm ban, and the FBI’s and BATFE’s actions at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and Waco, Texas, in the 1990s; and

• Americans whose religious beliefs hold that there will occur a time of hardship accompanied by the rise of unscrupulous or evil political leaders.

These reasons could get you on the list but what else could get you on the list seems to be a secret. Really, if Ted Kennedy made the list, and I don’t think he met any of the above criteria, then anyone could be next.

Think about it, using just the above criteria for making “The List” you’ve effectively wiped out the 1st, 2nd, 5th, and 14th amendments in one shot. It’s no wonder these bills never made it out of committee.

Let’s face it, if the NRA and the ACLU agree on something there must be something to it.

I guess President Bush’s critics were right on one thing. If you keep the people scared you can get anything passed. Only now the shoe is on the other foot.

Joe Bayona

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