- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 24, 2001

Football player just exercising right to bear arms

Dan Daly's Oct. 19 Sports column "Another jock goes mindless" has me scratching my head. The Washington Times has a reputation as a conservative newspaper, and conservatives have a reputation for supporting the right to bear arms, including for self-defense. I have to believe that this article was meant to appear in your competition but was misdirected on the way to the printers.
Many Americans reacted to the Sept. 11 attacks by buying guns. Some apparently realized for the first time that they alone are responsible for protecting themselves and their families. New York Jets player Damien Robinson presumably decided it was a good time to practice at the range. Mr. Daly, instead of seeing the sense in this, was so freaked out by the security at Giants Stadium that he felt the need to demonize Mr. Robinson, equating what was likely an honest mistake with an intent to wipe out police departments.
If Mr. Daly thinks a rifle locked in the trunk of an SUV is "scary to think about," then he presumably never visits Virginia, where residents like myself have the right to carry concealed handguns, even inside (gasp) sports stadiums. To my knowledge, no permit holder has "wiped out" a police department, much less a pack of frightened journalists. Mr. Daly probably feels safer in "gun-free zones" such as Washington, where, as we all know, random shootings are not a problem.
I'd like to see a little honest reporting about this case. For example, Mr. Daly does not mention which of New Jersey's ridiculously oppressive firearms laws Mr. Robinson is accused of violating. He calls a semiautomatic AR-15 rifle in the hands of a private citizen an "assault rifle," "dangerous weapon" and "toy." Also, he apparently considers three magazines and 200 rounds of ammunition an "arsenal." The fully automatic version of the same rifle, the M-16, and the same amount of ammunition in the hands of a Special Forces soldier in Afghanistan would be considered standard equipment, and would be reported without hyperbole.
Mr. Daly asks, "We all know sports figures live insulated lives, but how could he be so blissfully unaware of society's circumstances?" I would like to ask Mr. Daly the same question. In a time when we are asking our young men to fight and die to protect our country and preserve our freedom, how can he be so eager to criticize someone for exercising that freedom?


More aid for Afghanistan

It's heartening to read that the United States is working with the United Nations to feed the Afghan people, even though the United States' contribution so far is seriously inadequate ("Taliban claims victory; refugees flood into Pakistan," Oct. 21). The fact that one-third of the Afghans will need food aid this winter should lend urgency to our efforts.
The United States has two good reasons to be generous in helping meet the shortfall faced by the World Food Program. First, it is our simple humanitarian duty to provide food where there is hunger. Second, it is to our political advantage: The more Afghans are adequately fed, the less will be the appeal of the Taliban, whose soldiers may simply drift away and join the Northern Alliance.
Security is needed regardless of whether it is provided by U.S. or U.N. troops to ensure that the food distribution is done equitably. It was heart-wrenching after an American food drop to see on TV little children going away with the few yellow packets they could carry and then a man fortunate enough to own a donkey heading off with the baskets carried by the animal near bursting with dozens of packets. The Taliban must be kept at all costs from seizing or destroying food supplies.
One more thought: If we respond so admirably to hunger in the Third World, why are we so stingy when it comes to providing food stamps to our own people, in many cases denying them to legal immigrants?

Buffalo, N.Y.

Gen X to bin Laden: Beware

Although your Oct. 21 story "Generation X seen less ready for war sacrifices" was indeed more rounded than its headline, those who are concerned with the mettle of the generation currently comprising our military forces need a reminder.
Gen X had its formative years in the Reagan era, which was focused on cleaning up the mess left by the baby boomer generation. Gen Xers became the troops of Desert Storm the war that redeemed the military after Vietnam, and many of them are now military leaders in this new war. The frontline troops are part of Generation Y and "the millennial generation." Their motivation, just like Gen X, is to be a part of the solution, not the problem.
Had this challenge taken place during the 1960s, 1970s, or during the boomer flashback of the Clinton era, I might agree with the concerns voiced by Robert L. Maginnis, vice president for policy at the Family Research Council, that today's generations aren't tough enough. It didn't, however, and Osama bin Laden and his ilk chose the wrong time to attack the American people.
Yes, after eight years of focusing on political correctness, O.J. Simpson and the extracurricular activities of Bill Clinton and Gary Condit, Americans now have to change the way they think and feel, but the new generations are ready, willing, and able.

Inkster, Mich.

Pakistan 'running with the hares and hunting with the hound'

I agree with Brahma Chellaney's Oct. 17 analysis, "Tough stance on Pakistan clouds Powell's mission." India sees the United States' coddling of Pakistan as a poor repayment for India's unflinching and unconditional assistance and support of the fight against terrorism.

The United States is aiding and abetting Pakistan, a country that is "running with the hares and hunting with the hound." This may serve the mutual interests of Pakistan and the United States in the short term, but it clearly is detrimental to India. A United States that is beholden to a strengthened and sanitized Pakistan will be unable to rein in Pakistan's historic animosity toward India, which manifests itself in the export of terrorism across the borders into India.

The Taliban may be eliminated, but Pakistan may prove to be even more of a problem. For instance, Pakistani nuclear weapons could fall into the hands of the other questionable partners in the coalition, and the scars left in Pakistan by the defeat of the Taliban could serve as a motivation for Pakistani terrorism perhaps with nuclear weapons.

India may have to stand alone in its fight against terrorism. This would be a great loss to the United States in terms of its long-term interests. The current international coalition against terrorism cannot endure. It is not too late for the United States to rethink its tactics and strategies for fighting terrorism.



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