- The Washington Times - Monday, May 20, 2002

Disarming the truth
"For the second time now, Michael Bellesiles, a historian at Emory University, is being accused of having relied on missing or nonexistent records for evidence in his Bancroft prize-winning book 'Arming America.' And, for the second time, Bellesiles's protestations and explanations have failed to vindicate his book, which sought to refute the 'myth' of widespread gun ownership in antebellum America. Elementary fact-checking has destroyed the credibility of Bellesiles's story of how he discovered various 18th century Vermont court records others say don't exist.
"The documents in question are Vermont court records from the late 18th century. The key passage appears on page 353 of 'Arming America': 'During Vermont's frontier period, from 1760 to 1790, there were five reported murders (excluding those deaths in the American Revolution), and three of those were politically motivated.' The endnote for this finding refers the reader to Superior Court records at the county courthouse in Rutland, Vermont. But as Ohio State University historian Randolph Roth has pointed out (and the court clerk in Rutland has confirmed), the volumes for 1782 to 1790 are not in the Rutland court's holdings. Furthermore, the Superior Court did not exist before 1778, so it has no records for the period 1760 to 1777."
David Skinner, writing on "Setting the Missing Records Straight," Friday in the Weekly Standard Online (www.weeklystandard.com).

Star-mangled banner
"[T]here isn't a public rendition of ['The Star-Spangled Banner] in America today that doesn't come wallowing in a melismatic sludge. This is rife wherever we gather in numbers to watch sports, to remember fallen heroes or to go through any sort of vaguely civic motions in which upliftment is called for.
"There's a need to put a stop to this form of anthem abuse and to return to a simpler, less self-indulgent manner of singing. Currently most public performances are more about the singer than about the anthem; and Americans don't like that they loathe it.
"I canvassed scores and not one person in a wide spectrum of ages expressed a preference for the star-spangled caramel that is poured over our eardrums by the likes of Mariah Carey."
Tunku Varadarajan, writing on "Star-Spangled Racket," Friday in Opinion Journal at www.opinionjournal.com

Blame who?
"Among the terrorist entities that supported the al Qaeda terrorists were Yasser Arafat's Palestine Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization. The PLO had created the first terrorist training camps, invented suicide bombings and been the chief propaganda machine behind the idea that terrorist armies were really missionaries for 'social justice.' Yet, among foreign leaders Arafat was [President Bill] Clinton's most frequent White House guest. Far from treating Arafat as an enemy of civilized order and an international pariah, the Clinton administration was busily cultivating him as a 'partner for peace.' For many Washington liberals, terrorism was not the instrument of political fanatics and evil men, but was the product of social conditions poverty, racism and oppression for which the Western democracies, including Israel, were always ultimately to blame
"Clinton's continuing ambivalence about America's role in the world was highlighted in the wake of September 11, when he suggested that America actually bore some responsibility for the attacks on itself Characteristically [Mr. Clinton] took no responsibility for his own failure to protect Americans from the attacks."
David Horowitz, from his pamphlet, "How the Left Undermined America's Security"


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