Letters to the editor (08/11/12)

........................................................................................................................................................................................

We need to talk more about real gun laws
Editor:
Another mass killing using guns! Another mass insistence by conservative spokespersons and politicians that now is not time to have a national conversation about mass killings with guns — just too emotional!
Yet, did anyone pay attention to the last speech by NRA’s Wayne La Pierre at the most recent CPAC meeting (Crackpot’s Political Action Committee)? The speech, a lesson in paranoid schizophrenia, driven by highly emotional conspiracy theories, is what passes for a national conversation about gun control from the nation’s most radical definition of conservatism (really frightening people).
Recently, Mother Jones magazine published an article, replete with an interactive map (click onto the dots and read about 50 incidents of mass shootings/killings since 1980). Prior to that date, I can only think of one other in the second half of the 20th century, the University of Texas clock tower mass shooting in Austin, Texas.
So what changed in 1980? Let’s see, 1980 was the first time that the NRA became politically active, endorsing Reagan over Carter. It was also the first time the NRA leadership began the long active journey into political paranoid schizophrenia, becoming nuttier with each passing election, helping to defeat any office holder or seeker who even mentioned a national discussion about gun control.
And just think, the NRA only has around four million claimed members, with an extraordinary amount of fear driven political/financial clout for such a ridiculously small, but loud percentage of the population. Besides that, the mentally limited NRA leadership can only quote one half of the Second Amendment, never the conditional why of the amendment.
Heck, read the Amendment: “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.”
See, it is one sentence, not confusing, and simply enough written for a fifth grader to understand, plus the second part follows the reason for the amendment and allowing the why that the right to keep and bear arms even exists.
Even worse, the leadership of the NRA never mentions the founding period’s Militia Act of 1792, with the Act’s conditions set forth for organizing militias. Just think, one function of the act and militias is described as protecting the nation from nuts with guns from threatening the safety, peace and security of the nation (insurrections) (think CPAC, etc., again).
As well, the act also carries the first mandate by law “requiring” citizens to buy material goods (another recent national argument — sure are a lot of political liars).
Will the nation ever have a national conversation about gun laws designed to protect its citizens against mass killings, with guns in the hands of, for lack of a better words, crazy nuts — political, religious or otherwise?
Probably not, or at least not as long as the leadership of the NRA, with the help of organizations like CPAC and the Republican Party/Fox News control politics and national conversations with misinformation,  fear and emotionally driven paranoid/schizophrenic, truly insane, politically driven conspiracy theories (however, the elite leadership of these organizations fully understand the cognitive limitations (bias loaded dissonances) of their audiences/followers — and take full advantage of same).
Welcome to just one area of the past 32 years of American slippage into national insanity!

Terry Mehaffey
Los Lunas
Lawmakers didn’t have the ratepayers in mind
Editor:
Regarding the article, “Locals raise concerns on PNM plant” in the July 18 edition of the News-Bulletin, it’s all about unintended consequences.
Let me remind everyone of why this is happening. I served on PNM’s required Integrated Resource Plan Committee for the full year in 2011.
In March 2004, the New Mexico state Legislature introduced Senate Bill 43 and Gov. Richardson signed it into law, which initiated the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard.
But apparently the bill wasn’t stringent enough to satisfy the radical environmental lobbying groups or our  N.M. legislators. In 2007, Sen. Michael Sanchez introduced Senate Bill 418 which upped the ante for renewable energy requirements for PNM.
PNM is required by state law to provide 20 percent of their energy resources as renewables (wind, solar and biomass) by 2020. At the time, it was all so politically correct and Richardson could have his “green energy legacy.”
But did any of our legislators think of the unintended consequences or the cost factor to ratepayers? Apparently not, as is so often the case. In fact, I called one of the many legislators who voted for the Renewable Portfolio Standard bills to ask him why he voted for it and he didn’t even remember it. Unbelievable that something that would impact our citizens and our ratepayers could be so easily forgotten.
Let’s talk about unintended consequences. First of all, everyone needs to realize that renewable energy only has a certain limited capacity factor and has to be “backed up” by building more, not less, coal, natural gas or nuclear plants. Makes one wonder where is the “environmental savings” from renewables?
And now we have the problem of where to put the proposed natural gas plant that PNM is required by law to build and you to pay for. All of the problems mentioned in the July 18 article are unintended consequences of our lawmakers not knowing the facts before they voted: gas plants, “Not in my Back Yard”; the big issue being water, impact on their wells; declining property values; transmission lines.
Now to the cost of the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard. In February 2011, the American Tradition Institute and the Rio Grande Foundation released the The Economic Impact of New Mexico’s Renewable Portfolio Standard. Over the next eight years, by 2020, New Mexicans could pay as much as $2.3 billion dollars more for electricity because the New Mexico Legislature imposed this law on our utility companies, with zero effect on the environment.
When you see Michael Sanchez’s picture so proudly advertised in the News Bulletin, just remember that he’s been “on board” with this whole debacle right from the beginning.
I wonder if he even remembers introducing SB 418 in 2007, or if he too has forgotten the impact of this bill on New Mexicans.

Donna L. Crawford
Los Lunas