Re Max Brantley's column “Still a Man's World”:
I will not forget the dogma that the Baptists teach and a big part of it is sexist and discriminatory. They rely on a verse in the first book of Timothy, “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” From that they draw the inferiority of women in comparison to males.
The Baptist faith predominates in the South. You could also find Catholicism is discriminatory historically in keeping women in submission to men. Several other denominations teach roughly that same thing.
So, while the gun toters and baby makers are well represented outside the churches, sexism is more the result of religious dogmatists and fundamentalists' teachings than redneck attitude.
Since I'm 68 years old and have been in many respects ostracized by the more faithful menfolk to Baptist dogma in my family, I can speak from experience on this matter. I got on their list from the outset because I upbraided our dear father from an early age for the abuse of my mother. I also got the crap beaten out of me from that early age for saying what I did on the matter to him.
Although it's “still a man's world” as Max Brantley wrote, a redeeming number of gun-owning men in this state do recognize and appreciate the fully-shod strength and intellect of women, regardless of their maternity status.
That said, just imagine what could be accomplished here if the un(der)utilized experience and talents of the distaff denizens of Arkansas were fully deployed in a state that ranks 46th in the number of college graduates and 50th in the number of women executives!
Currently I am a volunteer at Heifer Ranch, arriving two weeks ago from up-state New York. I am overjoyed to read Max Brantley's comments in the Arkansas Times (which I found at the Perryville library). During the “campaign” I have voiced a similar opinion, and many have agreed, but your voice is read by a greater audience.
Barbara M. Traynor
From the Internet
Working for inmate
I read Mara Leveritt's article Feb. 21 about former prosecutor Ron Fields with great interest. During the past 6 months I have written to a number of legislators asking them to consider helping Rolf Kaestel, whose conviction Fields won, obtain clemency. I have sent Governor Beebe three letters. As of this date I have received no replies. I feel Rolf deserves clemency and a chance to start his life over. I have found him to be a very kind and insightful person. Perhaps if anything positive came of his jail sentence it is that he was able to receive a college education. Perhaps this was unavailable to him many years ago or the choices he thought he had in life were limited. Often this is an underlying cause of crime to begin with. Rolf was a nonviolent offender. Most certainly he is not the man who robbed the taco stand over 20 years ago but a mature and intelligent man with insights about his past. I hope your article will help to gain attention and support for Rolf Kaestel's release.
I usually like Ernest Dumas' articles. Even when I disagree, they are usually well reasoned. This was not the case with his column “Gun rights: A loaded issue.”
Ernie tells us that if the U.S. Supreme Court finds that the Second Amendment protects an individual right rather than a collective right held only by state governments, that gun regulation of any kind would be virtually impossible.
None of our individual rights protected by the Constitution are “unfettered.” All of our other individual rights are regulated to one degree or another. We ALREADY “have it both ways” with our individual rights. That is the beauty of our system. The First Amendment protects our individual rights to freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press and to assemble, but it does not allow me to yell “fire” in a crowded theater, nor does it allow me to slander another person. It does not allow me to print known lies about another person in a newspaper, or to start a riot, or to use peyote in my religious observances. Our Constitution protects our right to vote, yet convicted felons cannot. We have a right to redress grievances with our government, but just try to stage a sit-in at a government office. The individual rights protected by the Second Amendment are no different. The sky is not falling and there will be no return to the “Wild, Wild, West” regardless of the Supremes' decision.
Ernest Dumas wrote that a court case could make every kind of weapons regulation null. So, I have wondered, when did the “right to bear arms” became defined as the right to carry a gun? And which guns? What is a gun?
Are we sure this “arm” is not a knife or a Louisville slugger? Or, in the other direction, a 50-caliber machine gun or a shoulder-launched missile. Would it allow a teen-ager to have an armored car or a tank? What exactly is the “arm” our constitution gives us the right to bear?
Sen. John McCain says he might stay 100 years in Iraq. Then he's quoted as saying he doesn't understand economics.
If this country wants to stay in Iraq a hundred years, national service of some sort should be mandatory. It will not prevent Armageddon, however.
On the economic question: You don't have to understand economics when you marry a millionaire liquor store owner or you believe that supply side economics is the number one answer to economic ills.
North Little Rock
Though I support Hillary Clinton and I think she has the needed experience, it makes me cry with joy when I see the numbers supporting Obama. Martin Luther King gave me the dream of a better America, but the dream was being held by a thread. I feel the move forward now.