Contrary to your belief, you don't have to feel threatened when people of color take advantage of capitalistic opportunities. After all, that's how this country was built.

Lynette Fletcher
via the Internet

Loaded Questions
Patricia Calhoun: I've been reading your articles of late and must say I enjoy your writing. However, I'm curious about recent articles, including your May 6 "The Ten Commandments," that somewhat lampooned the NRA. My question: Do you do this because the NRA can be an obtuse, callous, paranoid group, or do you disagree with the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms? If you disagree with the Second Amendment, your staunch support of the First in your May 13 "If Books Could Kill" is curious. Very politically correct but, I'd have to say, a bit hypocritical.

Freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and the right to bear arms are all integral parts of what makes America America and what gives Americans a level of freedom enjoyed nowhere else. All of these freedoms carry a price, in that they can be (and often are) abused. The price for each of these freedoms is individual responsibility. I think one needs to be very careful in attacking one of these freedoms, because each is part of a whole. Perhaps we need a few more safeguards and restrictions on the Second Amendment. However, when a restriction is placed on any of these rights (the upcoming possibility of making flag-burning illegal comes to mind), we must be very careful and realize that we are paying a price in freedom for added security.

I hope you don't think I'm some right-wing gun nut, because I assure you I am not. I end this note with a quote from Benjamin Franklin: "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Dan Walter
via the Internet

In his May 13 letter, Lee Whitfield questions why God didn't act during the Columbine shootings. I ask Lee how he knows God wasn't responsible for preventing the 25-pound propane-tank bombs, as well as the rest of the unused heavy firepower, from being used? We live in a society that asks what God has done for us lately instead of counting the many blessings He has given.

Matt Branaugh

Lee Whitfield, with his denigration of "Christian theology," can't have it both ways. A God who interferes with Harris and Klebold's plans to shoot up Columbine would also interfere in your life, telling you how to treat other people, whom to have sex with, etc. A God who creates free moral agents and delegates to them their own limited sphere of sovereignty, then works with and through them, despite all of their flaws and weaknesses, ultimately to bring about His glorious kingdom, is much more powerful in the long run than a God who gets what He wants because He holds all the keys and pulls all the strings.

And, yes, although it may be difficult for the survivors to find comfort in this reality now, Harris and Klebold have already met the great beyond and will be held accountable there.

Timothy P. McMahon

There is one bright side to the school killings. Just think: If the killings would have been done by knives, they would have to pass a law banning all knives. Jesus was killed on a cross--how do we know that all the people wearing crosses are not planning a cross murder? Oh! You think this letter is silly. You are right. Almost as silly as this gun control. What we really have to learn to control is this generation of teenage brats.

Jim Parks

Spanning the Ages
Regarding Eric Dexheimer's "The Royal Grudge Bridge," in the April 29 issue:
The more places I ride, the more I see that what people on the road are looking for is exactly what Bill Fehr wants to change. Look at downtown Nashville, where Ernest Tubb's record store is rubbing elbows with the latest Hard Rock Cafe. You see the honest world of "reptile advertising" trying not to be bulldozed by the quick-money blitzkrieg of faux-nostalgia theme-park money machines. The great roadside attractions and their highway signs are a more vital part of our cultural history than mountain bikes and ESPN2 will ever be. If Fehr is successful in extorting control of the bridge from its present proprietors, he will need to look closely at the glorious rebirth of the Burma Shave sign and Route 66 before he starts his "modernization" of the Gorge.

Thanks for a great piece of work.
Stephen Foulk

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