- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 25, 2007

PETA posturing

Thank you for your article about PETA’s State of the Union Undress campaign (“Disrobed dissent,” Inside the Beltway, Tuesday). As the activist who starred in the provocative ad, I was proud to be able to lay my convictions bare to speak up for millions of my fellow Americans who have no voices of their own: animals.

Because the press and public pay more attention to racy and colorful ads and campaigns and part of PETA’s job is to reach as many people as possible, I chose to use my body as a political tool to bring much-needed attention to animal suffering.

Every year, foxes are electrocuted and skinned by the millions for the fur industry; calves are torn from their distraught mothers and slaughtered for the meat industry; elephants are beaten bloody and forced to live in chains in circuses; and billions of other animals suffer from torture, maddening isolation, starvation, terror and violent death at the hands of uncaring industries.

I believe every American, whether walking, flying or swimming, deserves to be free from oppression. I believe America is ready to wake up to the naked truth about how animals are treated. I believe America is ready to turn away from cruelty and embrace compassion and respect for all living beings. It’s time for all of us to help create a kinder, gentler nation for people and animals.

SARAH HARLEY

People for the Ethical Treatment

of Animals

Norfolk

Guns and the Naked City

It should be noted that Mayors Michael Bloomberg and Thomas Menino come from heavily anti-gun states (“Sights on illegal guns,” Commentary, Tuesday). Their efforts to turn their constituents into victims by disarming them has been so successful that they are experiencing persistent and rising crime rates because the criminals have nothing to fear.

However, as with most anti-gunners, they refuse to admit this increase in crime is their fault, and because of this failure to admit a mistake, they are pushing to make all law-abiding persons into victims.

It’s not just a crime issue, as they claim, it’s a privacy issue, and moreover, it’s a Second Amendment issue. They need to stop attacking the Constitution, start repealing their “do nothing” laws and then give the people back their ability to defend themselves effectively. After that is done, they will see the crime rate decrease because no criminal wants to go up against an armed person.

ROBERT E. BRAND

Frederick, Md.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino’s call for proper and vigorous enforcement of existing laws against the illegal sale and possession of guns leads them to the view that they should have access to additional information about firearms purchases. I’m not sure whether this is a good idea or not, but at least with respect to Mr. Bloomberg, color me skeptical.

I recall last year the stories about Mr. Bloomberg hiring private investigators as part of a plan to entice gun store owners to violate federal laws. The investigators made firearms purchases that violated federal law and reported their activities back to Mr. Bloomberg, who then brought civil lawsuits against the store owners, who typically were owners of small businesses and lacked the wherewithal to withstand this legal onslaught.

Using this threat of potentially ruinous civil lawsuits, Mr. Bloomberg proceeded to extract from certain store owners agreements to sell firearms in a manner acceptable to New York. This plan was executed not only in New York, but here in Virginia and in other states.

It is possible that only bad actors got caught up in Mr. Bloomberg’s scheme and that we should applaud his use of extralegal tactics to stop them. There exists, however, a federal agency dedicated to enforcing federal gun laws in the United States.

Moreover, I cannot abide the mayor of New York City regulating commerce in firearms, through blackmail, here in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

I have no sympathy for gun stores that sell guns illegally, but I’m not sure why a bunch of mayors need to be involved in this matter.

CHRIS OHMES

Vienna

Do Democrats have backbones?

After the State of the Union address, one could not help but notice the lack of support from the Democrats for the president’s plan for victory in Iraq (“Bush urges victory in the Iraq war, cuts in gas,” Page 1, Wednesday). If the Democrats had a plan, I’m sure their friends in the liberal media would have made it known to everyone in the country. The truth is, retreat is never a plan for the brave men and women in America’s armed forces.

It is time for Democrats to find their backbones and straighten up. I’ve spent a year in combat in Iraq, and I know the facts of the situation firsthand. If we run from Iraq, the radical Islamists will take over the country and it will become a base of operation for worldwide terror. Then the terrorists will return to Afghanistan in full force. The casualty count there will increase. They will wait for us to lose our nerve, tuck tail and run from there, too. All the whining and complaining will not change these facts. We in the military are willing to face this challenge before us and win. All we ask is that anti-war advocates keep their mouths shut and stop encouraging the enemy to kill us.

My family and I have given 1½ years of our lives in this just cause, and when duty calls, we will sacrifice again. We are not victims; we are volunteers. Do not insult us with pity. It is a privilege for us to serve our nation, and we thank God that He has allowed us to serve this great nation. Americans have a choice to make: We can do what is right and fight, or we can run in fear and pass our problems on to our children and future generations.

MARK RUSSAK

North Irwin, Pa

President Bush, in his State of the Union address, made the point that though government-funded health insurance is fine for the poor, the rest of the country should purchase it in the marketplace (“Bush prepares for ‘future of hope and opportunity,’ ” Nation, Wednesday). The problem with this statement is that once the government opens the door to health care as a right for the poor, universal government care is inevitable. Either we’re a free country, operating on a free-market system, or we’re not. If we’re not, the government will redistribute health care — first to some, then to all.

It’s happening before our eyes: The government picks up the tab for the elderly and the poor. That’s a sizable amount of health care purchased in the United States. This creates demand too great for the supply, which drives up costs for everyone. Government regulations, designed to address the rising costs, drive up costs still further. There’s nothing left to do but what Sen. Edward M. Kennedy proposes: expand Medicare to everybody. Then, once that’s done, the last logical step will be what Sen. Hillary Clinton proposed more than a decade ago: making it illegal to obtain health care from any source but the government program. (Think of it as a public school system, only with no option to go to private school or to home-school).

This is where we’re heading, and there’s no way to stop it because the only alternative is to massively deregulate the market and get government out of health care altogether. No politician is going to propose that. So, regardless of who’s in charge, we’re all going to be under government care sooner or later. For details on what that will be like, ask any Canadian who has waited months, or years, for his heart surgery. Maybe at that point, Americans will start to appreciate and understand the value and virtue of a free market.

MICHAEL J. HURD

Bethany Beach, Del.

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