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What Russia is really after in Ukraine
I watched a TV program in which an American farmer taught Ukranian famers how to cultivate their land to increase crop yields while preserving its viability for the future. This was in the mid ’90s and I still clearly remember that American farmer being in awe of how rich and vast the fields of Ukraine were. He was asked why he was helping foreigners to compete in the agricultural marketplace. He responded that feeding people was what was important – “food drives the world.” What happens when people starve? They flee and become refugees, often times in countries that spurn them, or fight and war ensues.
The verdant and vast fields are the joy and the curse of Ukraine because make no mistake, that is what Russia is after. Ukraine exports food that feeds almost 20% of the world. Russia is not interested in preventing starvation. Imagine Russia controlling the food supply of entire countries! Benevolent overlord? Experience proves the opposite. Enslaved people who are expendable if they are not completely compliant is a normal day under the Russian government. And history proves that Russia cannot be trusted; today, just saying “the war in Ukraine” gets a comrade 15 years jail time in Russia.
Right now, the USA has the luxury of sending only desperately needed weapons and ammunition to the Ukrainian people to defeat the Russian invaders themselves. If we stop, Ukraine will fall adding fuel to Russia’s insatiable desire to control more resources and people.
This 4th of July recall how we are able to celebrate our independence and how it is only possible because Spain, the Netherlands and France helped the colonies become the United States of America by providing weapons, ammunition, training and soldiers.
Mary Carroll – Franklin, N.C.
Light versus darkness
Isaiah 5:20 – “Woe unto them that call evil good and good evil, that put darkness for light and light for darkness.”
In the mid 1800s, people began to be converted at the rate of nearly 10,000 a week in New York City. In 1957 at Easter time the tall buildings of New York City left lights on at night to form a cross. In 2015, New York City decided to project an image of Kali the demon goddess of darkness on the side of the empire state building. Today, New York City is one of the worst cities for crime. Woe to those who call darkness light.
In Matthew 18:6, Jesus says it would be better for a person to sink to the bottom of the ocean than to cause a little one to stumble or sin. Yet today we have people who want to mutilate little children’s bodies and we also have those who want to fill little children’s innocent minds with filthy books that describe explicit sexual acts, graphic gender change, vulgar language and satanic themes. They know that if they can affect the minds of the little children today, it will affect the generations of the future. We can not let this happen. When a civilization redefines its moral values, when it changes the meanings and definitions of reality away from God, away from the created order, away from right and wrong to conform them to its own will and desires, it is making man into God. This is a formula for disaster.
“Woe unto them that call evil good and good evil, that put darkness for light and light for darkness.”
Mike Townsend – Franklin, N.C.
People should demand an answer and wait for it
What is “communication that is primarily used to influence or persuade an audience to further an agenda, which may not be objective and may be selectively presenting facts to encourage a particular synthesis or perception, or using loaded language to produce an emotional rather than a rational response to the information that is being presented?” If you don’t know the answer to that question, you are a prime target for it. Commercials are a good example of the above. Their producers have an agenda. They want to cause you to want to buy the product they are advertising. Sometimes it is harmless marketing. But unfortunately, not always. Many people have suffered and died prematurely because they believed propaganda from the tobacco companies and others.
Propaganda is most dangerous when governments, pseudo-science and big business are involved, and any rebuttal or opposition is censored. Governments have the power of coercion. This makes them very dangerous when they fall, or are stolen into the wrong hands.
True science invites peer review and critical evaluation. But in the past few years, public opposition to government/big pharma ideas has been squelched by any means necessary. This kills good science (and that’s not all it kills).
Critical thinking skills are necessary to avoid being victimized by propagandists. One of my favorite bumper stickers says, “Question EVERYTHING.” I wish millions had followed that advice in recent years. The most important question is: Why? People should demand an answer to that question, and wait for it. Compliance should be conditioned upon a satisfactory answer. Under tyranny, compliance is mandatory. Answers to questions are not provided, or if they are provided, they are not reliable. But as beautifully stated in the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” I hope you all will read all of this great document this 4th of July week, and think about its importance for the survival of freedom for ourselves and our children.
Ed Hill – Franklin, N.C.
Not surprised at Trump’s mishandling of documents
The indictment of former President Donald J. Trump in the Southern District of Florida on June 8, 2023, is only 44 pages long. Yet, it is quite revealing. Read it. Since I am not a lawyer I make no claim to fully understanding everything it says. But, I plan to watch the case progress through the courts.
I am also currently reading the January 6 Final Report. It is over 600 pages. Read that document to get a clearer view of the conduct of Donald Trump from 2017 to 2021.
Through the eyes of a “man on the street” who tried to remain attentive to Trump’s actions/ inactions during his presidency I am not one bit surprised that he has been indicted for mishandling government documents. As a Navy veteran I wonder how active duty servicemen and women feel about the endangerment that is manifested by Trump’s careless/reckless handling of documents.
Two clouds hang over Trump: 1. What was said between Trump and Putin in Helsinki? And 2. Why did Trump try to withhold military aid from Ukraine? Is there any connection between these two questions and the current documents case?
Let me say here – I have no objection to investigating Trump. Neither do I object to investigating Hunter Biden. Maybe it is time to move on from Hillary Clinton, though. Enough is enough.
Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius said, “If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it.” These words relate to all investigations.
In a related political matter it is interesting to listen to Republicans rail about the “unfair” 2020 election that Trump lost while at the same time they gerrymander voting districts across America to gain unfair advantages.
As Thomas Paine said, “These are the times that try men’s souls.” Indeed they do, Mr. Paine.
Dave Waldrop – Webster, N.C.
Mass shootings result of legally acquired firearms
According to Terry Swift in last week’s paper, legally acquired firearms are not the problem. According to Statista, over 67% of mass shootings (4 or more killed) in the U.S. were carried out with legally purchased guns between 1982 and April 2023. There has been a total of 142 mass killings in the U.S. during this time. In 2021 alone, 706 people died in mass shootings in the U.S., according to Pew Research Center. That seems very problematic to me.
For clarity, 80% of murders are carried out by firearms in the U.S., including 52% by handgun. Unfortunately, the latter number isn’t broken down by revolver or semi-automatic, which are faster to reload and can hold larger-capacity magazines.
The Second Amendment states “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” The government already limits what kind of weapons we can own, such as grenades, missiles, etc., with good reason.
As for a “well-regulated militia,” it was regulated by the state governments. They chose the officers, and militia service was compulsory, not voluntary. The weapons were locked in a local armory, not in their homes. At the beginning of our War for Independence, only about 13% of colonials owned firearms.
This brings us to Mr. Swift’s statement that “Our modern firearms are no different than the ones the “militia” had in 1776.” The rifles back then could only shoot up to two bullets per minute by an expert, which is nothing compared to up to 45 rounds per minute for an AR-15.
Mr. Swift also states that the “AR-15 is not a military grade weapon.” The ArmaLite company developed the AR-15 in the late 1950s as a military rifle based on the AR-10. Both were originally select fire (semi and fully automatic fire), but the versions made for civilians are semi-automatic only (one shot per trigger pull). This is the only substantial difference between the military and civilian models.
The breakthrough of the AR-15 was its cartridge. Rather than the traditional high-powered 7.62 NATO round of the AR-10 and M-60, the AR-15 uses 5.56mm ammo. While this is much smaller and lighter, the bullet flies much faster, and spins at such a rapid rate, that when it hits flesh, it is unstable and tumbles, causing massive internal trauma, rather than a single bullet hole that often exits the same size.
In addition, large capacity (30 round) magazines were developed and became standard in the military. These enable shooting that many bullets before having to stop and reload. There are also 100 round magazines on the civilian market.
The AR-15 was designed to kill or wound as many people as quickly and as easily as possible. Assault rifles are not what we’ve all hunted with over the generations. Given how effective our assault rifles have been on the battlefield, the Soviets redesigned their AK-47 to use similarly sized ammo, creating the AK-74, first used in Afghanistan.
The NRA does not refer to AR-15s as assault weapons, but rather as Modern Sporting Rifles. I’m not sure how sporting it is to unload 30 bullets into a deer in rapid succession. It is not responsible to allow the civilian ownership of these mini weapons of mass destruction. They can do as much damage as a hand grenade, but at a much longer range. Grenades are not legal for a reason.
As for gun buyers who have to “jump thru the many massive hoops and laws on the books today,” Mr. Swift greatly exaggerates. To purchase a gun from a licensed dealer in Macon County, you have to fill out a form and wait for a federal background check and pay the money. That’s it. You can also pay cash at a gun show to anyone except a dealer with no paperwork and no background check.
There are also websites connecting buyers and sellers to do the same. If Mr. Swift really wants to cut down on illegal guns, he would support closing the gun show loophole, and require every gun buyer to submit paperwork and pass a background check.
As for the argument that we have a right to defend ourselves, I agree. I own a 19th century rifle design called a 30-30 lever action. Remember those old Western movie shoot outs from a cabin? It’s small, handy, fairly light, and it holds 6 or 7, and you can reload as you shoot. It’s also good for bringing home venison or pork.
The AR-15 is the weapon of choice for mass shooters. It’s time to stop selling them and similar designs to civilians. Unless you are planning on killing a lot of people, we don’t need 30 or 100 round magazines either.
It’s time to use common sense for the common good.
Dan Kowal – Franklin, N.C.